The blockchain gaming ecosystem has experienced explosive growth in value over the past 18 months as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), play-2-earn (P2E) games, and the “metaverse” went mainstream. However, the ecosystem is experiencing huge challenges in onboarding players and projects, with issues such as cost of entry, scalability, and technical prowess limiting the growth potential of the ecosystem. We highlight these challenges and present some of the projects developing solutions to enhance the GameFi industry.
The explosive growth of the GameFi ecosystem
Traditional gaming is expected to cross the $300 billion mark by the end of the year, according to a news report by DFC Intelligence. By mid-2020, there were over 3.1 billion video and online gamers worldwide, representing close to 40% of the world’s population. According to Statista, the number of gamers grew to 3.24 billion across 2021, with Asia and Europe leading with 1.48 billion and 715 million gamers respectively.
The gradual growth is set to continue in the coming years, and blockchain gaming could benefit greatly, alongside VR, XR, and AR gaming. The ecosystem is rapidly evolving with new upgrades and projects launched by the day. Blockchain games, unlike their traditional predecessors, operate on a ‘play-to-earn’ model rather than a ‘play-to-win’ model. This concept involves giving players financial incentives to play and progress through games, allowing players to earn passive or full-time income from participating in the ecosystem.
However, the demand for GameFi products is growing so fast that most projects or the ecosystem itself can’t keep up. This limits the mass adoption of blockchain gaming as the challenges present barriers to entry for new users in the space.
Understanding the pitfalls of the GameFi industry
As explained above, the blockchain gaming ecosystem suffers from various challenges, one of the most prominent being that most games are very expensive to start playing. For example, the top GameFi project Axie Infinity requires about 3 Axies (it’s in-game NFT), or about $90 for the cheapest Axies to start playing the game. This limits the number of gamers who would like to play, as these games could be more expensive to play than their traditional counterparts.
Secondly, the GameFi industry focuses too much on “earning” that they forget the entertainment value for games. If you have visited several blockchain gaming platforms you may have noticed they are simple clicking games that have little to no entertainment value. This arises from the difficulty of creating Call of Duty-Esque games on blockchains, lack of creative writing, and technical weakness in developing the gameplay.
Lastly, play-to-earn games are usually built as standalone projects with no gaming studio backing. This sets out the problem of non-continuity. This means that once a game is stale or overplayed, it simply goes dead instead of giving players more utility to keep them on the platform. New players entering such markets find themselves with no liquidity to play for, making it incredibly hard to earn on the game.
To solve these challenges, several development teams are creating solutions to this end. One of the projects providing the GameFi industry with solutions is Attack Wagon, a development studio for Free to Play and Play To Earn games. The development studio is soon to launch its first game, which is called Scrap Guilds.
A look into the future of the GameFi industry
Attack Wagon’s Scrap Guilds is a sci-fi role-playing game that facilitates the use of the Attack Wagon token ($ATK) and includes a variety of different avenues for players to earn money, through playing as well as through passive means. With the recent challenges faced in the GameFi industry, Attack Wagon aims to provide lasting solutions to boost the mass adoption of blockchain gaming across the world.
First, the decentralized gaming project tears down any expensive paywalls, allowing every player to participate in the game. The development team has made the initial setup of the game free to play, with the player being able to build up the value of their account by playing, solving the cost barrier for new players. Another project that offers P2E gaming with no cost of entry is Liberty Gaming Guild. They call themselves the ‘gateway’ for gamers to gain access to expensive and inaccessible NFTs blockchain gaming and provide an ecosystem for gamers to learn and flourish within the gaming community. They do this by lowering the entry barrier for participants and offering scholarships.
On the issue of boring and non-entertaining games, many blockchain games such as Gala Games, Mobox, and Attack Wagon are creating games that offer more than earning features. Games on these platforms offer rich lore and backstory surrounding them, entertaining the gamers and grabbing more of their attention, which allows them to have fun while boosting their earnings. Imagine earning rewards to play Call of Duty, Unchartered, or FIFA. This is the future of blockchain gaming, with the most entertaining games attracting the most gamers.
Blockchain games also require a community to rally around them and a development studio to keep the games fresh and playable. With projects such as the above building development studios, these communities will be bringing out newer titles adding to their initial releases. Attack Wagon is also creating a long-term view on each of its games, allowing players to earn on multiple games, with the value generated being transferred over and continued across several titles and for the long term. Also, Liberty already had a wide game collection and is set to continue to expand. This way they can offer a wide choice to their community and meanwhile add more and more scholarships. They can be seen as the go-to guild for crypto play-to-earn games.
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