Shripati Acharya on the future of Web3 gaming
Shripati Acharya, Founder and Managing Partner, Prime Venture Partners, keeps a close eye on the changing gaming ecosystem.
After studying the impact of new technologies, including blockchain and cryptocurrencies, on gaming, he emphasizes the importance of creating an immersive experience for the long-term growth of Web3 gaming.
“There's no game without gameplay, right? That's the core thing, which means attracting the user, entertainment, and creating a right balance of how easy it is for the gamers to progress in the game versus how challenging you make it,” remarks Shripati.
Web3 gaming: A closer look
Gaming as we know it, or Web2 gaming, is all about free-to-play games. Ardent players can start playing for free and make in-app purchases to get new avatars, ammunition, and power, and such games generate revenue from in-app purchases.
On the other hand, Web3 gaming uses new-age tech innovations like blockchain to open new monetization avenues for game developers.
Typically, gamers have to buy NFTs and other assets to start playing. Also, the use of blockchain’s distributed ledger system means the assets, including weapons players acquire, are independently available and can be traded in an open marketplace.
“For gamers, Web3 is exciting because they can go and trade, and it's open and transparent, and they own the assets themselves. For the developers, it is exciting because their economy, which previously consisted of a small percentage of the free-to-play gamers, has now become in-app purchases like paying users. Now, you have in-app purchases plus all this entire transfer [trade],” adds Shripati.
While Web3 gaming opens new opportunities for developers and players, it comes with unique challenges.
Firstly, there’s the complexity of setting up crypto wallets to play these games. It can alienate new and amateur gamers. The onus is on developers to build a user-friendly interface and hide the complexities of Web3 gaming from players.
Also, the play-to-earn model will likely attract gamers looking to make quick money. That means they’ll play for a while, accumulate assets, sell them in the open marketplace, and never return. For instance, Axie Infinity, one of the pioneers in Web3 gaming, is struggling despite an outstanding start.
“I think it’s a challenge faced by a lot of early Web3 games — the focus is not on gameplay, and the focus and the positioning of the game are — "Hey, look. This is a place for you to come and make money." When that happens, the core user cohort who are there for just the gameplay is missing,” explains Shripati.
If Web3 games want to survive in the long run, they need to attract regular gamers who play for entertainment and fun.
Also, many developers feel tempted to introduce their tokens without understanding the economics of crypto markets. That makes it difficult for them to maintain the value of their tokens.
Before creating a new token, developers should contemplate whether it’ll add to the gaming experience and provide more value to players.
The way forward
Large-scale adoption of Web3 gaming is inevitable. The transition won’t be all black and white.
Web2 games will incorporate specific elements of Web3 gaming as they see fit. However, the games that deliver frictionless onboarding and gameplay and mask the complexities of Web3 can stand the test of time.
Of course, developers will gain a deeper understanding of tokenomics and find newer ways to monetize their offerings. But their core focus should be on retaining regular gamers with an immersive experience.
It’s the reason why popular games like League of Legends and Call of Duty have been around for decades and still continue to attract players.
“Ultimately, these games will be immersive, they'll be entertaining, and it'll be about gameplay,” concludes Shripati.
You can listen to the full episode here.
02:30: What is Web3 gaming?
09:30: NFTs, tokens, and monetization
15:15: There is no game without the gameplay”.
23:00: Future of Web3 gaming: Crypto and micro-payments