Do We Even Want Diablo on the Blockchain? - The Future of GameFi is Indie Gamesby@mamkinlabs
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Do We Even Want Diablo on the Blockchain? - The Future of GameFi is Indie Games

by MamkinLabsJuly 30th, 2023
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Why are big game studios and successful Web3 games incompatible? I have tried to answer this question.
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Hi! I’m Andrew, an entrepreneur, experienced investor, and, more recently, Web3 developer. And what pisses me off is the claim that game industry giants like Blizzard or EA can easily get into GameFi and make a normal Web3 game that everyone will love and that will onboard everyone.

Let’s discuss why a successful Diablo with blockchain bolted on will never happen and why the industry’s future lies with indie studios.

About GameFi in simple terms

There is classic gaming, which we all know well, and then there are gaming projects on the blockchain. Their main point is that the user receives a profit for participating. Each item in the game is the property of the player: clothing, weapons, artifacts, houses, and so on. All this can be sold for the tokens of a particular project and then exchanged for real money.

This is one of many ways to make money. It all depends on the game: you can participate in tournaments or rent virtual land. GameFi is based on the Play-to-Earn principle. Indeed, as the industry has evolved, project mechanics have multiplied (for example, STEPN works on Move-to-Earn), but the essence remains the same — the player gets paid for using the app.

Web3 Grail

I agree; the prospect of playing AAA games while enjoying the gameplay, graphics, and earning simultaneously sounds delicious and enjoyable. Diablo IV was recently released, and I’m sure many people would have been waiting for it even more if the project while maintaining all its benefits, paid players for spending time in the game, clearing fortresses, and destroying thousands of monsters.

Here I come to the most crucial aspect of any GameFi project and, literally, the Holy Grail that every Web3 developer is looking for — sustainable tokenomics.

What the heck is this tokenomics of yours?

It is the science of token economics. A proper understanding of tokenomics shapes the value of a cryptocurrency and investors’ interest in it. Sound and quality tokenomics ensure a project’s longevity by preventing the value of tokens from dropping. The success of a particular project largely depends on the right decisions in tokenomics — the wrong ones can simply ruin even the most promising games. Think of Axie or Illuvium, whose tokens fell, leaving no memory of their former heights.

There has not yet been a single case of implementing sustainable tokenomics into a full-fledged working project. Giant gaming corporations do what they do best: big worlds and incredible graphics, but none of that matters if there is no understanding of the possibilities of a decentralized economy, blockchain technology, and community building and strengthening.

And there’s no understanding…

There have been many attempts to stitch the open economy and blockchain into an already finished game, but it still looks and feels foreign. And how wrong it is concerning the players, I do not have to say, because, in the output, they get the real “something” with half-mechanics, dull gameplay, an unrealized potential sticking out from everywhere, and a big round bagel in place of tokenomics.

Of course, some smart guys will find a benefit here and take advantage of it, but most users will be discouraged or disappointed. Remember how outraged audiences were when GSC Game World announced that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 would use blockchain technology? A wave of discontent and criticism forced the developers to abandon this decision, demonstrating that the big game studios should not even pry into the Web3 field. So no Diablo on blockchain — but that’s for the best.

Corporations don’t belong here

Web3 Gaming is always about risks. No one ever has a 100% guarantee that the project will take off or fall into oblivion. The success of an endeavor depends significantly on many factors and especially on community involvement. And you know very well how corporations prefer to avoid taking risks. They have multi-million dollar budgets and the reputation of other products at stake.

And the average user needs to be more confident in crypto because the industry is still closed.

Many projects that raise money don’t care about the community, so they sell useless tokens, NFTs, and empty promises. Some don’t even release games at the end of the day, so trust issues are logical. Again, GameFi is uncharted and shark-infested waters for corporations that don’t like to take risks and lose profits.

Why does GameFi need indie developers?

Web3 Gaming requires an entirely different approach in every aspect, and this is where indie studios with independent developers will play their part. They do not obey the generally accepted rules but establish their own. Think of PUBG, which went from being a mod for Arma 2 to one of the best-selling games ever. Think of Minecraft, which created such a trend for crafting that it was added to many AAA games. And Minecraft was made by just one person.

Indie developers have the necessary creative skills and flexibility, are not afraid to think outside the box, and can build a much closer relationship with the community than the industry titans. First and foremost, indie studios strive to create an engaging and exciting game, to surprise the player, to diversify their gaming experience. Profit is not in the first place for them. And if the project does not become a hit, there will be no significant earnings, let’s be honest. The same factors will work for Web3 Gaming.

The guy with the big wallet does not dictate to indie developers. He does not strangle them with a noose for any step away from the current trends and does not prohibit original ideas. The product’s commercial success is not paramount to indie developers. I believe that GameFi will change the game industry, not by huge, soulless corporations driven only by a lust for profit but by fearless indie pioneers unafraid of deep water.

P.S. By the way, I’m developing my own Web3 game project right now, racking up all sorts of bumps and gaining valuable experience, so to speak, in LIVE mode. If interested, join in :)

Also published here.