According to Delphi Digital’s latest report titled ‘Future of Crypto Gaming’: “Web3 represents the biggest opportunity for gaming since mobile”. So, let’s start with the big question - what exactly is Web3?
(Don’t sweat it, we got you!)
According to industry experts, Web3 is an umbrella term used to describe a new version of the internet that is being built using blockchain technology. This new internet (web3) will be more decentralised and would allow users to have ownership over their digital identities and assets. Which means games built on Web3 will also enable their players to truly own the assets they acquire within the game. These games are already becoming the fastest growing niche in the world of crypto.
Web3 games accounted for nearly half of all the economic activity in the blockchain industry in 2021. According to Coindesk, 1.4 million unique wallets interacted with Web3 games in the same period. It's a great time to experiment with Web3 games and potentially accumulate significant value. However, Web3 gaming can be a bit perplexing for players who are used to traditional video games. Let this article be your guide to gaming in Web3.
Web2 Vs Web3 Gaming
Millennials and GenZ gamers might remember buying CDs and console cartridges to play video games. It’s fascinating to see how games have adapted and evolved along with our computational and technological development. In the early 2010s, as mobile phones got more advanced and web2 systems matured, we entered a new era that opened up previously untapped possibilities for gaming. This era can be categorized as Web2 Gaming and it was marked by downloadable games and packages, free-to-play titles, e-sports, guilds, streamers, and degenerate piracy. It was glorious!
Now another paradigm shift is upon us. A new internet is being built on top of blockchain technology, and just like before, games are also evolving. This new wave of blockchain enabled games are called "Web3 Games." Let’s look at some of the new features that Web3 brings to gaming.
Digital Asset Ownership
People are increasingly spending more of their lives in virtual environments. Some industry experts believe that digital assets inside these virtual worlds can potentially become more valuable than assets in the real world. But, how will someone actually prove ownership of a digital item inside a Web3 game? This can be accomplished by tokenising assets through blockchain technology which will allow a user to provably show ownership of a digital asset inside a Web3 game. Even though some web2 games allow players to trade in game items, the ownership of these assets ultimately rests with the developers. Furthermore, assets from a Web2 game hold no value outside of its ecosystem.
Financial Incentivization (GameFi)
GameFi is usually defined as the intersection of gaming and finance. Enabling ownership rights over in-game assets turn the pseudo-economy of a game into a real one. Unlocking new applications for these assets such as trading, lending etc.
Communities are groups of people from different walks of life that share an interest in a particular project. In the case of Web2 games, a community usually forms after the game is launched. However, in Web3, people interested in the project can join the social channels created by its developers and participate in the creation of the game. Some games even conduct token auctions and effectively distribute the ownership of the project across the community. In other words, no matter how devoted a community is to a web2 game, they can only contribute to its development passively, whereas Web3 games give the community an opportunity to shape the future of the project.
In Web2, we have seen gaming models like buy to play and free to play. Web3 has also introduced a new financial model for games — Play-to-Earn.
Play to Earn is arguably the most popular Web3 gaming model that gained prominence with the launch of Axie Infinity. Here’s their spiel: play-to-earn games reward players with tokens for the time and effort they spend in the game’s economy. Players can convert these tokens into other digital assets or fiat currencies. Sounds too good to be true - where’s the catch?
Earning with play to earn games is possible, but it’s not guaranteed. You see, most play-to-earn tokens gain their value through market speculation, and if the market decides that the 1000 tokens that you just earned by grinding in a P2E title are worthless, then they are. That’s why it’s super important to set proper expectations and vet web3 games according to their potential. Don’t worry, we'll give some pointers on how to choose web3 games in the latter half of this article.
Prerequisites to Playing
Before we get all hot and bothered about earning digital assets in web3 games, there are a few steps that we need to take care of. These include:
1) Deciding which game to play
2) Setting up a crypto/web3 wallet
3) Funding the wallet with some crypto
4) Buying assets that are required to play the game.
Let’s break down each step.
Deciding Which Game to Play
We’re fairly confident that you’ll make a good decision after going through this article, so we’ll leave this up to you. One piece of advice though - Never buy into hype. Always Do Your Own Research (DYOR). Don’t worry, we’ll talk about some fun Web3 games to play later in the article.
Setting up a crypto wallet
No complexity here. The point of creating a crypto wallet is that you’ll need one to store all the amazing Web3 game assets that you will earn while playing a Web3 game.
Note that games built on different blockchains will require different wallets to access. Think of creating a web3 wallet as creating an account or profile in Rockstar Games. Now you can use the same profile to save your in-game accomplishments from different Rockstar games like GTA or Red Dead Redemption. But you can’t use the same account/profile in a Ubisoft game. The same logic holds true here--different chains, different wallets. Some popular wallets to start with are Metamask, Argent and Rainbow.
The process of setting up a web3 wallet is fairly easy.
1) Install the wallet's browser extension
2) Enter personal information and create a password
3) Here’s the big one-the wallet provider will generate a series of random words, also known as a "seed phrase." It’s extremely important to note down or store this seed phrase safely as it's the only recovery key to your web3 wallet. If you lose it and get locked out of your wallet, it will be impossible to recover your funds. We recommend noting the seed phrase on a piece of paper or on a device that is not connected to the internet. People have lost millions by being reckless with their seed phrases. Be careful.
Funding the Wallet
Now, let’s add some digital assets into your newly created wallet. You’ll use these funds to make transactions within the game’s economy.
Step 1: Learn about the digital currency you will need to play your chosen game.
Step 2: Buy that crypto on the platform that it is available on. This can be a traditional crypto exchange like Binance or a decentralized exchange like Uniswap.
Buying Game Assets
Most web3 games require players to buy characters or tokens to start playing the game. In the case of Axie Infinity, you’ll have to buy Pokemon like cute beasts called Axies. In Pegaxy, you can buy flying horses known as Pegas. These digital assets are your passes to play and earn within the game.
Top Web3 Games to Play
Blankos Block Party (BBP)
Blankos is one of the most entertaining web3 games in our opinion. It's a dynamic Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO) that is designed like a block party. The game focuses on collecting unique characters called Blankos, completing challenges such as shooting games, and exploring the block universe. You can enjoy this amazing game for free. However, in order to earn money in the game, you are required to buy a Blanko NFT and level it up. The way to earn digital tokens in the game is pretty simple: buy a Blanko NFT, level it up by competing challenges, then trade it for other digital assets or fiat.
CyBall is a futuristic football simulator NFT card game. To earn digital rewards and experience, players form a team of 7 Cyborgs (CyBlocs) and compete against others in the game. Test your tactical skills with CyBall while earning digital assets.
Not exactly a digital game, Stepn turns the mere act of walking or running into a game by rewarding users for these activities. Dubbed a "move-to-earn game," Stepn has quickly gained massive popularity in the space due to its unique concept. To earn tokens for walking, you’ll need to buy a digital sneaker in the game that will track your step count and reward you accordingly. We’ll not say it's easy to make money with STEPN, but it’s definitely fun.
The OG that started it all. Axie Infinity is arguably the most popular web3 game. It features Pokemon-like beasts that players can purchase, level up, and battle against other players. The game enjoyed a remarkable run in 2021, but it seems its star is currently down with the rest of the crypto market. Despite that, the game's got it all: a doxxed development team, big backers, high transaction volume, and hundreds of thousands of daily active users.
Tips for Choosing a Good Game
Fun or Not
Let’s not forget the ‘point’ here—which is to play ‘games’. If a web3 game is just visually strapped onto a decentralized finance (DeFi) mechanic, then we’re hard pressed to say - It's not a game, it’s a hustle. A good game should probably have some lore, stunning visuals, and the big one - gameplay. Surprisingly, most web3 games lack engaging gameplay, which is the most important element of a game. Our advice: don’t give your time or capital to boring games.
While it's a running trend for projects in the crypto industry to keep the identities of their founders anonymous, there’s no reason for game developers to do the same. Nobody’s coming to knock on their door for designing a great or awful game. A team that has doxxed itself signals that it has skin in the game. It also informs the investors about the experience and competence of the team.
Community is a fairly accurate marker of whether a project will succeed or fail. If a project is struggling to gain market attention and form a strong community, it’s not likely to succeed. This is because communities keep a project alive and kicking in the world of web3. Also look out for the values on which a game has built its community on. Find out why these people have come together to form a community. Do they enjoy the game so much that they want to bring others to it, or are they just in it to make some quick money?
A detailed roadmap informs the community about what the developers are building and the timeline for the project. It’s also a great tool for maintaining accountability within the project’s leadership. Some things to look for in the roadmap: What’s the scope of the project? Are the developers aiming too low or too high? Are their projections realistic? Are they hitting the milestones laid out in the roadmap?
Unfortunately, the Web3 space is littered with scams. In their search to make a quick buck, people ignore obvious signs of a fraudulent project. Here are some signs that the project/game you’re planning to invest in is a scam.
- There is no clear Product or Service.
- The team is anonymous.
- Continuous promises of making money.
- Founders encourage the community to be hostile to critics.
- Token Distribution is Sus.
Web3 games have seen remarkable growth in the last year. However, it’s also important to note that we’re super early in the evolution of this nascent space and it’s hard to determine which economic and game design models will lead to mainstream adoption. That said, we can’t be more pumped to get to play a part in the making of this industry.
Lastly, Web3 games do allow players to earn money, but let’s not forget why we’re in the gaming industry in the first place. It’s to play some amazing games, explore incredible virtual worlds, and immerse ourselves in their captivating stories. Go Play!