Last year was big for the play-to-earn gaming scene, which goes hand-in-hand with the crypto world, but as the games become more advanced and provide more opportunities for users, what’s next for the industry?
Perhaps it’s building out the gaming experience or creating new openings for non-crypto-native players to enter the space, but there’s a range of opportunities and challenges for builders and gamers.
“The goal is to bring the Web 2.0 traditional gaming masses to web3,” Alex Paley, co-founder of Solana-based blockchain gaming studio Faraway, said to TechCrunch. “The only way you do that is by removing as many artificial barriers as possible.”
The blockchain gaming industry grew 2,000% in the past year, according to a DappRadar and Blockchain Game Alliance report from Q1 2022. The report added there were $2.5 billion in investments for the blockchain gaming space last quarter, compared to the $4 billion raised for the sector across all of 2021, showing a significant acceleration in money pouring into this space.
While the web3 gaming world is known for play-to-earn economies, a number of crypto gaming studios are offering free-to-play options for new users who want to experiment, but might not want to fully commit.
About 10 years ago, amid the height of mobile gaming’s free-to-play era, the free games market was huge. From Angry Birds to Candy Crush, there were myriad ways for nongamers (and seasoned gamers) to pick up their phones, download an app, and play within minutes.
Candy Crush has existed in both a free and premium way for 10 years and, in turn, generated billions in total revenue and over $1 billion in revenue in 2020 alone, according to a report by Business of Apps.
“That was the beauty of free-to-play; it greatly expanded the audience of people who can try your game, and it’s equally as important to do that in web3,” Paley said.
Now, some crypto games are considering the free-to-play model as a way to help new gamers enter the often gated crypto gaming market, which is known for having a play-to-earn model.
“We see a great future for web3 gaming, and in many ways I see the introduction of blockchain into gaming as transformative as free-to-play gaming was to mobile,” Phil Sanderson, managing director and co-founder of Griffin Gaming, said to TechCrunch.
But there need to be more accessible games through easier onboarding for the non-crypto-native audiences, and the fun factor will drive their success at the end of the day, Sanderson noted.