The 2022 crypto crash brought much of web3 gaming to a halt. How is the industry faring now? Rian Rabinowitz of Polygon Labs and Melty Tantiwanich of XP Foundry join Warren and Xander for a roundtable on the topic.
We take a hard look at the web3 landscape, lessons learned amid the crypto crash, and how things might change in the near future. If you’re in the web3 gaming space, it’s an episode you’ll want to pay close attention to!
Full episode summary
The current state of web3
- Rian: People who are used to web2 tech in general still believe that crypto is a bit of a scam.
- Crypto’s main sin is getting a lot more attention because it’s new, exotic and threatening.
- Melty: Market conditions have pushed teams to be more selective in their crypto products.
Recap of the crypto crash and its fallout
- Warren: I feel like the Axie team created a lot of excitement along with inspiring more builders right now in the industry.
- While the play-to-earn model semi-worked for Axie, it didn’t work with other crypto products and is partially responsible for the current collapse of the web3 gaming and crypto industries.
- Quick-to-market strategies that weren’t executed well also cast a negative light on Web3 gaming.
- Rian: Though there’s a lot of negative representation in early web3 gaming, there’s a lot of really interesting gameplay that appeals to traditional gamers in web3 games.
The difference between game-first and crypto-first games
- Crypto-first games created a gig-based economy where the success of the games were tied to the ability to extract value from the games.
- Warren: But now, web3 game creators are working on making compelling games to make a quality product.
- Melty: Play-to-earn players are people who play like it’s their job. But the main incentive was the “earn” ability of it. This is why we’re saying that play-to-earn doesn’t work – because how can there be a game where everybody wins like that?
- Not all games built on web3 technology work with a play-to-earn model.
Polygon on expanding the web3 ecosystem
- Rian: At Polygon, we want people to know that we’re a blockchain company and we’d love people to be building with us. However, at the end of the day, their consumers don’t need to know that Polygon is behind it.
- One of the core missions of Polygon is to prioritize onboarding massive brands to make crypto feel a little bit more approachable.
- Most of the successful games in the web3 gaming market now are free-to-play games.
- “Web 2.5” is a sweet spot where you can incorporate blockchain technology without necessarily making it the forefront of the experience.
Web 2.5 gaming
- Games are now using an opt-in model on Web3 gaming.
- Game developers are starting to realize that you don’t have to just build your entire project for people who are willing to spend $500 on an NFT and teams just need to build compelling free-to- play games.
- Melty: As an advocate for free-to-play games, the more accessible the game is obviously the higher the player population will be, and the richer the economy is for the game.
Web3 transitioning to mainstream
What are different pain points that still need to be solved in order to make the transition from where we are today to the mainstream?
- Rian: One of the pain points are with the onboarding process and wallets. There’s like 30 different steps to set one up. You want to introduce a new technology without creating additional barriers for gamers or anybody else.
- Melty: One of the key things to transitioning to mainstream is that game developers should know how to pivot within the ecosystem for both developers and users.
- Warren: A lot of leaders from the traditional gaming companies are working on building startups that are focused on building web3 games.
The future of the web3 space
- Melty: There’s going to be so many games with earning capabilities. It doesn’t have to be play-to-earn, it can be create-to-earn, it can even be move-to-earn, sleep-to-earn, or even diet-to-earn – whatever people are coming up with at the moment. But there’s going to be so much of that. And players are going to gravitate to the ones that have built the most fun.
- Rian: We’re gonna see some awesome AAA games that are actually out and people are playing them.