Despite investors continuing to pour billions into blockchain gaming companies in 2022, the GameFi sector is yet to solve its biggest problem – lack of mass gamer adoption.
Experts believe the problem lies in complicated onboarding experiences for new players, as well as games that focus far too heavily on tokenomics and earning aspects over gameplay.
A recent survey from Coda Labs found that traditional gamers have yet to cozy up to web3 games. The survey found that out of 6,921 respondents over five countries, only 12 percent had tried a blockchain game before, while out of those that hadn’t, only 15 percent were interested in doing so.
John Stefanidis, founder of NFT gaming platform Balthazar, told AIBC he believes the problem lies in a clunky user experience, and gaming experiences that just “aren’t fun.”
Stefandis says “there aren’t real gamers playing web3 games” for this reason.
As well as the low bar for entertainment on these games, the requirements to even begin playing are often complicated and off-putting for users.
He added that the process to setup is complicated for those unfamiliar with blockchain games as they would need to “download a wallet and buy an NFT, just to play the game.”
“Game companies assume people will be comfortable downloading a crypto wallet.”
He suggested that the fact blockchain gaming is so new means the games should be really easy to access for users willing to “try it out,” but not wanting to spend hours doing so.
Mark Monfort, founder of blockchain gaming consulting firm NotCentralised had similar views, telling AIBC that “There needs to be a focus on making games that are actually fun to play and giving them the option to participate in an earning mechanism rather than just forcing them to do so.”
He added that blockchain “Games have been far more about value transfer and profit sharing than what games should be about, which is entertaining experiences.”
Meanwhile, Jonathon Miller, managing director for cryptocurrency exchange Kraken in Australia, believes it is very “early days for the GameFi space,” and the “high cost of entry or low odds of winning and having fun” is hindering the mainstream adoption of GameFi.
Put the fun in GameFi
Miller believes that while the “ability to play-to-earn and create true player-ownership of virtual goods are both admirable goals that seek to improve upon some of the flaws of the current gaming industry,” but that fact can’t be the selling point itself.
“The needle these gaming companies need to thread is that happy-medium where the utility of blockchain technology is a value-add to the gaming experience, but not the whole experience.”
While Miller believes that “the management of virtual economies is incredibly difficult,” Monfort believes that further regulation will improve adoption in the blockchain gaming space stating that this is “another complication” that is needed to be taken “into account for development studios,” that can hopefully be solved by “regulators” or seeing more “on-chain compliance created by the web3 space.”
It’s clear that GameFi has huge potential, however blockchain gaming companies must rectify the user experience issue to get closer to reaching mass adoption.
According to statistics from GameFi aggregator portal platform Chainplay, 58 percent of investors worldwide stated that poor-in-game economy design is the number one reason for declining GameFi profits.
Highlighting the need for blockchain game developers to improve the entertainment user experience for users, the aggregator portal further reported that 81 percent of GameFi investors prioritize the fun factor over earnings when it comes to future GameFi projects.
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One of the first European countries to regulate the gaming sector, Malta is a hub of global business. The island is an obvious choice for SiGMA’s presence in Europe and a strong foundation for the field’s future. With a plethora of prospects for both investors and entrepreneurs looking to shape the future of this multi-billion dollar business, Malta Week will bring together industry giants among the affiliates, operators, and suppliers of the gaming sector.