There is no denying the prevalence of blockchain games. In the last year alone, the industry has grown 2000% from Q1 2021 and over $10.5 billion was raised in NFT and blockchain gaming funds in the first half of 2022. Although this industry is booming, there is still a heated debate in the background – whether web 3.0 games need to be fun or focus on functionality to ensure sustainable user retention.
There are two types of web3.0 or blockchain games, those that start from the traditional game developer side, and those that are first created based on tokenomics. It is not obvious which of these two approaches to developing blockchain games ensures longer user retention. Some argue that as long as blockchain games provide users with high revenue streams, they will succeed in sustaining and growing their user base.
Taking a different stance, traditional South Korean game developer Wemade is changing the paradigm with CEO Henry Chang stating, “To be a successful video game, games must be fun. But to make the game’s life cycle longer, games must have a well-designed in-game economy . He added “Games that can adapt the blockchain technology like coins, NFTs and Defi, they can extend the economy beyond the game to the real world. The items in the games can be valuable in the real world. Its tokenomics in the game, can make the game more fun. Players can earn money by playing games”.
Launched just a year ago, MIR4 Global is certainly the most successful and sustainable blockchain game ever created. Originally developed by traditional game developer Wemade, the game combines high-quality graphics and features with a strong in-game economy. Available in 170 countries and in 12 languages, MIR4 has recorded over 20 million cumulative users and $160 million in game revenue so far.
More than just tokenomics and functionality
MIR4 has millions of users playing every month with a peak of 6.5 million in Q4 of 2021, which is exceptional for an MMORPG. The number of concurrent users never drops below half a million, which is proof of a sustainable in-game economy. It is a clear example of successful user retention of Play and Earn (P&E) games with a focus on fun rather than strict financial gain.
Aware of the social impact P2E games have on individuals, MIR4 is designed so that users don’t have to spend 12 hours a day just to earn game tokens. Instead, the approach is to give users an incentive to enjoy the game without losing touch with reality. As a result, players can earn some side income through the games, without it taking over their lives.
In addition, MIR4 aims to curb inflation in the ecosystem by ensuring that users play and earn and pay. The game encourages users to invest their earned tokens back into the game, enhancing their gaming experience. By bringing in utility and immersive gameplay to create a fun journey for players, well-crafted games with strong in-game economics result in high user retention rates.
However, mainly non-fun games centered around financial profit result in players engaging for a short period of time, always trying to cash out and move on to the next highest paying game. When games are not fun, users are not motivated to use their earned tokens in the game, thus driving inflation in the ecosystem. Games that cannot solve inherent inflation problems are doomed from the start!
Regarding P2E’s sustainability, Benjamin Charbit, former Ubisoft Game Director and CEO of Darewise Entertainment, added:
“Sustainability can only be achieved by managing the balance between user growth and asset inflation. Games need (1) a balanced financial design so players keep playing and earning, and (2) enough resources to keep them spending. Finally, tokens absolutely need tools to motivate players to collect.”
Following a similar line of thinking, when asked whether P2E games should choose between functionality or fun, the CEO of Shiryo (a NFT Trading Card Game), Jordan Fung said,
“Games should be low barrier to entry with a focus on giving passionate players a great experience. It’s community passion that informs value in games and creates buzz – paywalls don’t. If a game is fun, they’ll refer it to friends . If a player’s time is rewarded with fun items or experiences – the time adds value. Without fun, there are no referrals – without a value meter, there is no basis for the price.”
Follows the market momentum
The in-game system ultimately allows players to enjoy the gameplay and then convert their earnings into fiat currency. CEO of FOTA (A Triple-A Metaverse MOBA game), Gray Trinh said,
“GameFi is the inevitable trend for the entertainment market, allowing people to own in-game assets and monetize their favorite characters. With Blockchain and entertainment comes a whole new creative economy. However, the gameplay and economy aspects play in a similar way. It must make people feel fascinated in the virtual environment so that they can start the financial activities inside the game. In addition to that, GameFi can go above and beyond to find ways to connect with actual high-end fashion brands to promote their NFTs and increase their brand engagement with GenZ gamers, aka fashion brand, users.”
Wemade has focused on exactly this for over 20 years by creating games that immerse players in interactive gameplay, great stories and impressive graphics. Embedded with blockchain technology, well-crafted fun games will soon become the norm in the industry. Mr. Chang shared his vision for the gaming industry, he said “In the next three years, all games will be blockchain games, and Wemade will emerge as an open blockchain gaming platform”.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial or other advice.