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Web 3.0or blockchain gaming is heralding a new age in digital entertainment, expanding the scope of what games can offer.
In the first quarter of 2023, blockchain gaming projects attained $739 million in investments, with the overall industry expected to surpass $30 billion by 2030.
This sector of gaming has matured remarkably over a relatively short span.
The early offerings were more about financial transactions than immersive gameplay, but the tide is shifting as newer Web 3.0 games like Axie Infinity deliver a holistic gaming experience while still harnessing blockchain technology.
Despite some maturation, Web 3.0 games still face significant hurdles.
Today, players demand more agency, interaction and return on their investment of time and effortand this is just one of many challenges the sector has to overcome.
Challenges, opportunities and distinctive features of Web 3.0 games
The most glaring difference between Web 3.0 games and traditional video games is gameplay quality and overall user experience.
Today’s video games are crafted by professional studios that have honed the art of creating immersive universes with compelling storylines and robust mechanics.
This is a very high bar for their blockchain counterparts.
Delivering an experience that rivals these behemoths while also offering a blockchain-driven element is a formidable task.
Another pressing challenge is the complex onboarding process often associated with Web 3.0 games.
Blockchain technology, while increasingly popular, still represents a degree of unfamiliarity among the general public.
Add to this that players often have to pay high entry fees, and it’s not difficult to imagine why Web 3.0 gaming can struggle to find wider appeal.
However, these very challenges hold the key to unlocking the potential of Web 3.0 gaming.
Unlike traditional gameswhere players often have limited rights over in-game purchases Web 3.0 games introduce the concept of true ownership.
Once purchased, in-game items belong wholly to the players, who are then free to trade or sell them as they see fit.
They remain in the players’ wallets, beyond the reach of any external control or potential server shutdowns.
This unprecedented level of control and economic involvement fosters a more engaged and invested gaming community.
Web 3.0 games offer an exciting canvas for new development strategies, allowing game designers to convert current challenges into opportunities.
By focusing on creating compelling, enjoyable and immersive experiences, developers can draw traditional gamers into this new world, and by simplifying the onboarding process and lowering entry barriers, make new Web 3.0 titles more accessible to a broader audience.
Key success stories
At the front of this transformative wave, we find games like Alien Worlds, Splinterlands and Planet IX, each offering unique gameplay mechanics and community-focused strategies.
Alien Worlds emphasizes user engagement through its interactive mining mechanism and multi-planet dynamics.
Splinterlands, on the other hand, combines the nostalgic charm of collectible card games with blockchain technology to create an engaging and rewarding environment.
Planet IX offers a strategic resource management game with the twist of blending the real-world economy with a decentralized digital one.
These games continue to succeed even while some of their peers are floundering.
Axie Infinity was a household name in the crypto space, but it suffered debilitating setbacks due to a hacking incident.
The resilience demonstrated by Alien Worlds and Splinterlands can be chalked up to consistently attracting and engaging new players.
This attraction hinges on strong community engagement, continuous development and an engaging gameplay experience.
So, the writing is on the walla successful Web 3.0 game needs to strike a delicate balance between an enjoyable gaming experience and a robust blockchain economy.
The adoption challenge
Considering the potential implications of these successes, we must confront the potential barriers to widespread adoption.
In their current state, Web 3.0 games face hurdles such as unsustainable economies, an oversupply of in-game non-fungible tokens (NFTs), high entry fees, incomplete ecosystems and gameplay that often doesn’t measure up to the standards set by traditional games.
Developers can bridge the gap between Web 3.0 and traditional gaming by shifting the focus toward improving gameplay and enhancing the gaming experience.
By employing sound tokenomics and designing complete ecosystems, they can appeal to mainstream gamers by offering something classic gaming cannot, extending the reach of Web 3.0 games.
As Web 3.0 games push through these barriers, they must also be wary of potential hazards.
The inherent risks associated with blockchain and cryptocurrencysuch as smart contract vulnerabilities and phishing attacks are equally applicable to Web 3.0 games.
As such, educating players and maintaining robust security measures is crucial.
The future of gamingooking bright
With the right blend of innovation, patience and perseverance, Web 3.0 gaming has the power to shape this nascent industry into one that transcends traditional boundaries and redefines the gaming experience.
I believe we’ll see further integration of AI technologies, which can provide more personalized and challenging gaming experiences.
Despite some controversy, I think we will see the adoption of NFTs in major traditional gaming IPs, which will likely significantly boost Web 3.0 titles.
The full convergence of the traditional gaming industry and blockchain technology will eventually become a reality, and it’s best to prepare for it.
On the cusp of this transformative shift, keep in mind that the ultimate goal of gaming remains the sameto entertain, connect and enrich our lives.
As developers, it’s our responsibility to ensure that these foundational principles remain at the heart of all advancements.
Ilman Shazhaev is the CEO and founder of Web 3.0 AAA title game Farcana, a next-generation esports-oriented team-arena shooter built on Unreal Engine Five, where Bitcoin is used as the primary reward mechanism for players. He is a techpreneur and pioneer in the metaverse and artificial intelligence space.
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