In recent years, we are starting to see both indie game developers and triple-A studios adopting a crawl-walk-run approach, incorporating more Web3 elements within game releases over the coming five years. Despite the success of a few blockchain games, including the global hit title Axie Infinity — blockchain gaming and NFTs have been facing their fair share of resistance.
Major Players Edict
For instance, in Oct 2021, Valve has decided to ban all blockchain and NFTs on Steam. Some speculate it may be due to them wanting to avoid any scams and frauds on their platform (which is, unfortunately, prevalent in the scene right now); or it could be due their walled garden approach, insulating themselves and controlling their APIs and how games work with a centralized model for the games that they host.
Misunderstanding From Gamers
The resistance also stems from skepticism and lack of understanding of NFTs, cryptocurrency, and blockchain games from the gaming community. Much of the critique stems from uncertainty on the role of this new technology. Most people are assuming blockchain games are merely crypto-centric (which is indeed how many games have started out).
However, we haven’t explored what can be done in the mainstream space. Blockchain games don’t have to be associated with crappy, low quality or scammy games. Take Pokemon Go as an example again. Imagine Pokemon Go with NFTs that you can get with your Pokemon…and that’s just the beginning.
Lack of Understanding from Developers
It isn’t just the gamers, the tech has been tough to understand for developers (even Triple-A Studios) as well. Many studios aren’t equipped with the in-house know-how to incorporate Web3 elements to their games at scale yet.
As a result, the bigger studios are most probably waiting to witness the success from smaller more crypto-native studios first with blockchain gaming first, instead of going head-first in it.
Path to Mainstream Adoption
Undoubtedly, one way to overcoming the resistance is for more people to be more familiar with the tech and its use-cases, and more gaming studios to demonstrate how the incorporation of the technology brings value to the gamers.
Another item high on the agenda is to create interoperability of different gaming universes. In reality, most virtual assets are trapped in the walled gardens created by game developers. For example, an axie (NFT) in Axie Inifinity is only has utility within one game. If an NFT’s utility exists only within the confines of the game in which it originated, it’s not much different from the many collectibles, art projects, and profile pictures being minted every day outside of a gaming context.
In a game development context, interoperability implies that there are other blockchain games prepared to utilize NFTs and recognize their value accordingly.
What if we can take that outside of the game and make it something players can trade or use for other things or other games? That opens up a world of opportunities awaiting exploration……
Despite the resistance, we are seeing a prominent future for a mainstream adoption of blockchain technology in gaming with people becoming more educated and literate in Web3 elements. With more game studios venturing into the space, and building the game with interoperability in mind, we are excited to see where this is all heading.