Traditional Gaming Communities Worry About Crypto Gaming
Among the fascinating aspects of the booming Metaverse trend, Play To Earn (P2E) games stand out, letting gamers monetize their gaming experiences.
P2E gamers are capable of generating a substantial revenue stream by completing various tasks or acquiring in-game assets like NFTs and earning crypto while enjoying Play To Earn Games.
Crypto gaming is receiving a lot of attention from leaders in the video gaming industry due to rapid Web3 technological advancements and the popularity of Blockchain technology.
However, this new Crypto Gaming trend seems to be raising some eyebrows among traditional gaming communities that question the credibility and true motives behind Metaverse and P2E.
This week, Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2022 in San Francisco showcased three new game industry trends: Crypto Gaming, Metaverse, and NFTs.
GDC Crypto Gaming Sentiment
Game Developers Conference is usually dominated by one of two things: video games or the technology that makes them possible.
Fighting games and cozy puzzle games rub shoulders with motion capture demos, cloud computing booths, and other technologies. For many developers, these technologies are the backbone of their creative endeavors.
This year, GDC introduced a new category: blockchain-related products.
The Moscone Center’s show floor at GDC featured several NFT, crypto, and web3 companies.
In conversations with game developers, their ambassadors say web3 blockchain games will one day seamlessly blend in with the existing video games industry structures.
It is predicted that not too far in the future, gamers will treasure digital assets like items and armor for their trading capability, transferability across platforms, and, most importantly, their ability to be traded for cash. Blockchain will be the future of such assets.
Despite the many GDC booths and panels exploring blockchain and gaming, the two don’t seem to be quite a good fit. There has been an intense backlash against game companies’ plans to enter the NFT.
Ubisoft Entertainment SA, Electronic Arts Inc., and Square Enix Holdings Co. were all booed after announcing interest in or introducing non-fungible tokens into gameplay.
Earlier this week, West Realm Shires Inc., which also owns crypto exchange FTX US, announced it would acquire the creator of the popular digital card game Storybook Brawl and incorporate “gaming and crypto transactions in a way that hasn’t yet been done in this space,” according to a statement. Fans are inconsolable.
Part of the issue COULD BE that, in many cases, blockchain has been imposed from the top.
While it may be interesting to investors, neither gamers nor more than 70% of game developers are asking for it, according to GDC’s own survey.
Gamers Are Not Convinced
In the eyes of some gamers, web3 blockchain-based tech comes across as just a way for companies to make even more money off players without meaningfully adding to the fun of their experience.
They have yet to hear a convincing argument about why their escapist activity needs real-life financial stakes–particularly ones involving transactions that have an outsized environmental impact.
Some of the GDC’s booths and panels seemed to be aimed at convincing people that blockchain will eventually be incorporated into gaming. The developers can either climb aboard the train or watch it blow smoke in their faces.
Tomi Brooks, head of business development for blockchain and NFT game developer Double Jump.Tokyo, which is helping Square Enix and Sega Games Co. explore NFTs, told that “for gamers, there’s a split.”
Some “think NFTs are great and understand the technology and want ownership of virtual items they put their time into. The other side is saying this is not good for the environment.
But maybe they don’t understand there are different types of technologies.” (His company’s tech still has “environmental impact,” he adds, “but we’re going to donate 20% of the revenue to a cause.”)
Today, blockchain gaming is more about blockchain than gaming. The economy is the main focus, with gameplay or fun a lesser consideration.
Jawad Amjad, who works with an NFT games company, sees why gamers are distrustful of NFTs right now.
“You can see a lot of effort going into the marketplaces, but not the games,” he said. “I think it should be the other way around: You create a game first. You market it. You get the user base. And if the users like that game, then you create the NFTs.”
Some Seem To Be Angry
Yes, it seems like gamers are angrier about NFTs than they were about horse armor, the $2.50 micro-transaction that became a symbol of corporate greed when it was announced in 2006 before video game companies really knew what monetizing downloadable content should look like.
Loot boxes, the randomized item mechanisms that resemble slot machines, have led to much anger (and even some brief U.S. Senate inquiries).
On Dec. 7, Ubisoft revealed Quartz, a platform for NFTs that allows players of the shooter Ghost Recon to buy and sell certain equipment. The backlash was quick and loud.
A YouTube video announcing the service had a ratio of 95% dislikes to 5% likes, while internal documentation reviewed by Bloomberg showed that in just a week, customer sentiment about the Ghost Recon brand flipped from mostly positive to severely negative.
So many Ubisoft employees complained about the initiative that CEO Yves Guillemot held a sudden Q&A with staff to address concerns, as Kotaku first reported.
Why Do Gamers Hate NFTs?
There are a lot of factors — the environmental impact associated with crypto mining, the frequent scams, the urge to never see a cartoon monkey again — but the biggest is that their mere presence in a video game is an erosion of trust.
Games, especially the big-budget ones with massive worlds, require a large commitment of both money and time from players.
There’s a certain understanding that comes with that. If the players are to sink dozens of hours of their life into the new Fallout or Final Fantasy, they need to trust that the game is going to play by a fair set of rules.
When games start asking for more money, it chips away at that trust by raising questions about the fundamental nature of a game’s design.
Players Feel Compelled To Pay
For example, the wonderful 2018 game Assassin’s Creed Odyssey courted controversy when it introduced a set of boosters that you could buy with real money to level up your character more quickly.
This set off alarm bells in players’ heads. If getting new levels felt slow, was that because of genuine artistic decisions or because the developers wanted players to feel compelled to pay to speed things up?
In the case of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, it was easy to ignore these boosters, but they created the appearance of impropriety and made some feel a little like chumps for playing — and for paying $60 for the privilege.
Nothing New Here
This isn’t by any means a new phenomenon. Arcade games were made hyper-difficult so players put in more quarters. Free-to-play games like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush are designed around making it as tempting as possible to buy their digital gems.
P2E NFT Gaming is Different
But NFTs tests players’ trust in a new way. Every P2E game that uses NFTs, whether it was built from the ground up to be “play-to-earn” or it just grafted on blockchain later like Ubisoft Quartz, is designed around an economy where players can buy and sell digital items to one another.
As a result, every player is incentivized not to have a good time but to make as much money as possible. Economy comes first; enjoyment and artistic value are often secondary.
Blizzard’s Diablo III, the action-role-playing game released in 2012, provides the perfect historical example of how poorly this can go. The third Diablo introduced an auction house in which players could trade gear for real cash (and Blizzard would get a cut of every transaction). Players could ignore it, but it was always there, haunting the experience.
When players defeated a challenging boss, and it failed to drop that one unique sword they really wanted, they’d have to wonder: Is the game rigged to make them want to spend more?
Should they just go buy it instead? And when they actually got a cool piece of gear, they’d feel like they were missing out if they didn’t put it up on the auction house to try to earn some cash.
Game Economy Brain Shift
Everything feels different when a video game is coupled with an economy that can impact players’ real wallets. A player’s brain shifts from enjoyment to work. Every decision they make will be influenced by whether they will win or lose their money.
Players will second-guess every aspect of the game. They won’t even be able to trust word of mouth — their buddy sending video game recommendations to the group text comes off differently when they know that joining makes their Axies go up in value.
And as for Diablo III’s auction house? Blizzard spent nearly two years trying to figure out a solution to make it more palatable, then decided that it couldn’t and removed it entirely. Turns out, it sort of broke the game, and everyone hated it.
Despite various opposing viewpoints, Blockchain may be one of those unstoppable movements that become less inevitable as time passes, potentially becoming the widely accepted future video-gaming industry-mainstream trend.
Given the impressive growth of the booming Crypto Gaming sector, which has now attracted massive investments from major companies, there is no doubt that Crypto Gaming shows a great potential to become a powerful blockchain extension of the Video Gaming Industry in the near future. Disclaimer: The information provided on this page does not constitute investment advice, financial advice, trading advice, or any other sort of advice and it should not be treated as such. This content is the opinion of a third party, and this site does not recommend that any specific cryptocurrency should be bought, sold, or held, or that any crypto investment should be made. The Crypto market is high-risk, with high-risk and unproven projects. Readers should do their own research and consult a professional financial advisor before making any investment decisions.
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