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6/6/2024

Robbie Ferguson on The Current State and Future of Web3 Gaming

Robbie Ferguson
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TL;DR

Throughout gaming history, every monumental genre shift in monetization and accessibility started with a breakout game.

  • Digital Distribution: Steam 
  • Social Gaming: Farmville 
  • Mobile Gaming: Angry Birds 
  • Free To Play: League of Legends

We are now at another inflection point for gaming, powered by the new monetization and distribution models of web3 gaming, with over 330+ games building amazing games with our Immutable tech stack.

One shining example is Guild of Guardians, which recently launched with its 4.9/5 rating on the app store and over 30K downloads within the first two days of going live. This could be one of the first dominoes for web3 gaming going mainstream. 

It’s no longer a question of “will web3 gaming go mainstream?” but “when.”

Here’s what our very own Robbie Ferguson, co-founder and President of Immutable, had to say on the state of web3 gaming in 2024.

The following is an edit of the Talking Tokens podcast episode which aired on 28th May, 2024

The magic moment for web3 gaming

Gamers spend countless hours grinding away at games in pursuit of skins, upgrades, and status – but at the end of the day, their efforts go unrewarded beyond the scope of their game world.

Imagine being able to own your digital assets instead of leaving them in the hands of game publishers and their decisions. 

Robbie believes we are on the cusp of the "magic moment" where gamers can experience the value of owning their digital assets without needing to understand the underlying blockchain technology.

"I've been reading Twitter all the last week around the Guild of Guardians launch. There are so many comments around people saying, 'I hated web3 gaming. I never got it.' There was literally a tweet here, which is, 'My brother has never tried web3 gaming before. He never wanted to write down his seed words. But he's been playing Guild of Guardians, he's created a passport account, and he's completely addicted.'"

"And to me, that's the magic moment where you can experience the value of, hey, now your time isn't wasted. You can sell something for real value without having to know what infrastructure it is. You're just experiencing the value."

Aligning incentives between players and publishers

Unfortunately, gamers typically get the end of the stick when it comes to game publishers “experimenting” with new business/monetization models to help keep player retention high, while their own costs low. 

“Everyone hated free-to-play when it first came out. They revolted against any new form of modernization, and quite frankly, why shouldn't they because it's often been at their [the gamer's] expense,” says Robbie. 

But web3 gaming is steered by passionate CEOs and founders who are enormously driven to prevent players from continuously getting ripped off and align incentives between players and publishers.

"This is the first time the system is trying to align the incentives of players and publishers. The most important concept of web3 is cooperative ownership."

Overcoming barriers to mainstream adoption

Robbie asserts there will be over 10M gamers playing web3 games this year.

Of course, the path to mainstream adoption is not without its challenges. Robbie identifies two main blockers that have hindered web3 gaming thus far:

“The main blockers to web3 gaming adoption have been infrastructure readiness (wallet creation) and content readiness (game development time). However, with the launch of products like Immutable Passport, onboarding players is becoming much easier. Additionally, the funding that went into web3 gaming over the past few years is starting to pay off, with high-quality games getting published.”

Immutable is tackling these challenges head-on with products like Immutable Passport, which now boasts over 1M signups, and allows for seamless player onboarding.

"To be clear, web3 isn't a genre. It's not a vertical, it's a 'horizontal'. Every multiplayer game should become web3 over time. Hyper casual games have flocked to web3 in many because the monetization structure is better."

The future is bright for web3 gaming on Immutable

As the barriers to entry continue to fall and more hit games emerge, Robbie is incredibly bullish on the future of web3 gaming. 

He predicts that gaming goods, already a $150 billion market, will grow to trillions of dollars as players gain true ownership of their digital assets and developers tap into new, more sustainable monetization models.

"When players have the option to sell, you have brand new monetization mechanisms, secondary marketplaces, royalties. But you also will take the size of gaming from $150 billion to trillions of dollars."

With Immutable leading the charge, that future may be closer than we think. With hundreds of high-quality games building on the Immutable platform, our content pipeline is robust and promising.

"In the next weeks and months, we have some of the biggest games in the world launching," referencing games like Pixelmon, Treeverse, Illuvium, Guild of Guardians, Space Nation, and Blast Royale, which has 5 million installs.

As gamers ourselves, we couldn't be more excited for what's to come. 

"I'm extremely excited," Robbie shared. "It's just that one hit that will be the inflection point."

Explore our Play Page to get started!

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