We are in the first innings of the next phase in exponential growth for gaming.
This growth is fuelled by in-game asset ownership enabled with blockchain technology, also known as web3 gaming.
Compared to traditional gaming, web3 gaming is a blue ocean where most games are still under development, set to release over the next 1-3 years. This creates an unprecedented opportunity for game studios, both big and small, to succeed and thrive in this unexplored territory – not unlike the advantage gaming giant Zynga had in the early days of mobile gaming.
A recent analysis by Coingecko shows that 29 of the 40 largest gaming companies globally are venturing into web3, with 7 studios developing web3 games in-house and others directly investing in web3 gaming projects, blockchain game development, or hiring for blockchain-related positions.
These include Sony Playstation, Ubisoft, Konami, The Pokémon Company, Square Enix, Epic Games, Sega, Bandai Namco, CCP Games, to name just a few.
With major game studios piling into web3 gaming, the industry is improving in leaps and bounds by prioritizing substance over fleeting popularity, resulting in exceptional gaming experiences centered around core gameplay mechanics.
Here are 6 ways big studios are embracing web3 gaming.
#1 CCP Games raises $40M for new triple-A Web3 game in the Eve universe
Known for their massive flagship game EVE Online, CCP secured $40 million in financing led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), along with participation from other notable venture firms like Makers Fund, Bitkraft, Kingsway Capital, and Hashed.
The new triple-A game will be set in the EVE universe, takes CCP's extensive experience in creating engaging virtual worlds and combines it with web3 technology. This project aims to expand the EVE Universe, leveraging blockchain to offer new and enhanced player experiences.
"Since its inception, CCP Games’ vision has been to create virtual worlds more meaningful than real life, said CCP Games CEO, Hilmar V. Pétursson. “Now, with advancements made within blockchain, we can forge a new universe deeply imbued with our expertise in player agency and autonomy, empowering players to engage in new ways.”
With key game systems developed on-chain, this new project will also leverage smart-contract blockchain technology, focusing on persistence, composability and truly open third-party development to create a new relationship between virtual worlds and players.
#2 Sony files a patent to enable interoperability of digital assets
This recent patent filed by Sony covers technology designed to revolutionize the way in-game assets are managed, allowing for seamless transfer and ownership across devices including smartphones, tablets, computers, and VR headsets. The core objective of Sony's Web3 strategy is to integrate blockchain technology into their gaming ecosystem.
By embracing NFTs, Sony aims to reward players with unique digital assets for their in-game achievements. These assets, ranging from rare weapons and skins to exclusive artwork and avatars, can potentially be used or traded across different games and platforms, offering a new level of engagement and value to players.
Sony is also developing a blockchain that, according to their ambitions, aims to become the "backbone of global web3 infrastructure", further signalling their commitment to being a leading player in the blockchain industry.
#3 Epic Games changes content policy to include blockchain games
Recently, the Epic Games Store reopened its doors to Immutable’s flagship trading card game Gods Unchained following a content policy change. This move came after the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) had assigned an Adults Only (AO) rating to the game, primarily due to its web3 mechanics where players can earn NFTs or crypto tokens with real-world value.
Epic Games' decision to amend its policy and allow Web3 games with an AO rating back onto its platform marks a significant shift, highlighting the company's openness to the evolving landscape of gaming and blockchain technology.
With a vast user base of over 230 million players, the Epic Games Store provides a platform for Web3 games to gain exposure and attract a wider audience. This strategic direction indicates Epic Games' commitment to supporting the growth and adoption of Web3 gaming while maintaining its standards.
#4 Konami is developing a marketplace for in-game NFTs
Konami is integrating blockchain technology into its gaming marketplace to provide a platform for players to trade digital assets. In addition to the marketplace, Konami is actively recruiting talent with expertise in blockchain and Metaverse technologies. This recruitment drive is aimed at strengthening the company's capabilities in developing systems and services that utilize blockchain technology.
Konami also recently announced the launch of their first web3 initiative “Project Zircon”. Konami's entry into Web3 gaming represents an effort to diversify its gaming offerings and stay competitive in the evolving digital entertainment landscape.
#5 Square Enix president doubles down on their commitment to web3
In its recent New Year's letter, Square Enix, a leading game developer known for iconic series like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, outlined a strategic shift towards integrating blockchain technologies into its operations for 2024.
The company's President, Takashi Kiryu, emphasized blockchain entertainment/Web 3.0 as a focused investment field, where they’re “working to modify our organizational structure and optimize our resource allocations to support these efforts.” The letter highlighted Square Enix's aim to aggressively apply blockchain and other advanced technologies to enhance content development and publishing functions.
#6 Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovation Lab partners with Immutable
Last November Immutable announced a groundbreaking partnership with gaming giant Ubisoft to create a new gaming experience that will further unlock the potential of web3. With this partnership, Ubisoft pursues its exploration of decentralization through its Strategic Innovation Lab.
Nicolas Pouard, Vice-President of Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovation Lab and Head of its Blockchain Initiative said: “As the platform of choice for many leaders within the Web3 community, Immutable offers both cutting-edge technology and a unique expertise in seamlessly integrating decentralized technologies into games. We’re excited to partner with them and look forward to bringing that level of fluidness within a full-fledged game, so players only have to focus on the fun of the experience.”
Immutable makes web3 game development easy for gaming studios – big and small
Moving into a brand-new industry like web3 gaming can be daunting. That’s where we come in.
The Immutable gaming platform makes it easy for game studios and independent developers to safely and confidently build and launch successful web3 games.
Our product suite includes pre-built solutions optimised for usability, helping developers get to market faster without sacrificing security or player experience. Builders get personalised web3 guidance, live support for their communities, and access to the largest ecosystem in gaming, with over 200+ games building on Immutable.
For more information, please visit: https://www.immutable.com/