As Web3 technology gains traction in the gaming world, industry leaders discuss the hurdles and opportunities for mass adoption, predicting a significant increase in players within the next two years.
Saudi Arabia is working hard to grow its economy in new ways, so it’s not just relying on oil money.
The country is diving into the world of new tech like blockchain and artificial intelligence, and they’re also getting into the video game market.
Although Saudi Arabia isn’t yet a big name in video games or AI on a global scale, people who know a lot about this stuff think the country’s efforts could have a big impact down the line. Yat Siu, the co-founder of Animoca Brands, said that Saudi Arabia is really interested in this next wave of the internet, known as Web3.
Saudi Arabia pays to become a Web3 game developer
Saudi Arabia is teaming up with companies like The Sandbox and Animoca to explore the next phase of the internet.
Yat Siu, an executive in the industry, believes Saudi Arabia gets that the future of gaming will be tied to blockchain, where players actually own the items in the game.
Saudi Arabia is a big player in the Middle East’s growing video game market, thanks to its young people who are really into tech.
A report from Boston Consulting Group says that Saudi Arabia makes up almost half of the gaming market in the region and is worth over $1.8 billion.
In 2017, Saudi Arabia set up the Saudi Esports Federation to help grow and manage its video gaming scene. According to a Bloomberg report in April, the country invested a whopping $38 billion through its Public Investment Fund to become a big name in global gaming.
Yat Siu says that while the Saudi government understands the big picture of Web3 and how it could work with esports, there’s still some confusion. This is mainly because the country hasn’t set clear rules about things like cryptocurrency and other digital assets yet.
He also points out that other places, like Hong Kong, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates, are ahead in this area. They have clearer rules about what you can do with cryptocurrencies and Web3, making it easier to plan out a strategy.
It’s still unclear what Saudi Arabia’s plans for Web3 gaming will turn out to be, but according to Yat Siu, the country is studying other markets to figure things out. He feels that Saudi Arabia’s eagerness to be at the forefront of new technology is something special.
The incoming Web3 adoption
While some traditional gamers and developers are sceptical, games developers believe that for anyone to really get into Web3, whether in gaming or another area, they need a good understanding of finance.
At this stage, just having a bank account isn’t enough; you need a higher level of financial know-how to be a true Web3 user.
Getting people to use Web3 isn’t just about giving them a digital wallet; that’s actually the easy part.
The real challenge is making them understand that they now own something valuable, like a digital asset, and that it can do different things and has its own kind of value that needs to be maintained.
A spokesperson from FootballCoin, an independent blockchain game, says that Web3 games also allow people to be part of an ecosystem. In this way, individuals are more than simply players of the game and, basically, become a partner in the game.
Footballcoin is a Web3 game which empowers people to buy and sell digital assets. But in the end, Web3 should make the gaming experience better, not just be a way for people to make money.
Web3 games are still emerging. In the booming play-to-earn gaming arena, not all Web3 games and projects are created equal. Let’s delve into the complexities of Web3 gaming, exploring the issues that have hindered growth and how pioneering projects like FootballCoin have managed to innovate and thrive.
The world of play-to-earn games is more than just a way to pass the time. Players are looking for an interesting digital environment, and a huge added bonus is the ability to earn tokens or some sort of real-world benefit while getting involved in this Web3 world.
The play-to-earn games craze started in 2021. During that time, Web3 was going through big changes.
One of the highlights was a game called Axie Infinity, which allowed players in developing countries like Ghana and the Philippines to make a lot more than the minimum wage.
However, a serious issue with a token bridge and a drop in market interest caused the earnings from these games to decrease significantly.
Why most P2E games aren’t scaling?
When you take a broader look, only a few projects in the play-to-earn game world have managed to grow steadily.
This seems to be because of some basic problems with the way play-to-earn works.
To start playing, people might need to spend hundreds of dollars to buy the NFTs necessary to participate.
Even those who are willing to pay that much might be let down by the games themselves, which can have poor graphics and no real storyline.
But the issues don’t stop there.
Many Web3 games that make money through selling NFTs are still in the early stages of being made.
If the game’s developers don’t add new features quickly enough, players can become frustrated.
There can also be a need to keep coming up with new collectable items all the time to make sure there’s always money coming in.
The biggest problem, as seen with the game Axie Infinity, is related to the rewards given to players.
According to a research report by CoinGecko, For every Axie Infinity player, there are 2,155 Roblox players. While there may be many issues with the game itself, this is a clear indication that the world of Web3 games is still considered an emerging technology.
Giving away lots of tokens to attract new players might sound like a good idea, but it can actually be very harmful to the value of that digital currency.
Since the prices of digital assets change a lot and are affected by supply and demand, increasing the total number of tokens available can reduce their value.
This can lead to some pretty nasty results. Gamers who get tokens as rewards might not keep them unless there’s a really good reason to, which can put more pressure on selling and lower prices even more.
This can start a harmful cycle where the value of the digital asset keeps dropping. If the value falls by a large percentage, everyday players might stop playing, and when the community gets smaller, the entire project can fail.
Let’s look at what makes a game a Web3 experience
First of all, all Web3 are blockchain-based.
It’s not only the economy part of the project that is based on blockchain because everyone can do that.
You can recognise a Web3 project by asking yourself these questions:
Is blockchain technology used in this project?
Are there automated actions that happen when certain conditions are met?
Is it decentralised?
Can I buy or sell my digital assets?
Do I have the private keys of my wallet?
If the answer is “Yes” to all of these, then you are indeed looking at a Web3 project, and in this particular case, a Web3 game.
How to choose a good Web3 game
The first step towards a better change or choosing to spend your time and invest in a reliable Web3 game is recognising the main risks in the Web3 world today.
The success or failure of play-to-earn projects right now depends on either attracting new users or being able to keep giving rewards to current ones. Neither of these approaches is likely to work for a long time.
There’s often a lot of excitement at first, but without interesting stories or engaging gameplay to keep players interested, that excitement fades quickly.
A high-quality gaming experience might make players less concerned about earning and more focused on playing.
However, when neither earnings nor engaging play are present, players tend to lose interest and leave.
Projects are constantly trying to find a balance between drawing in new players and keeping the current ones satisfied, and it’s a struggle.
The Web3 game of the future
Even though there are big challenges facing this still-young field, Web3 gaming has the chance to be more than just a passing trend that’s not sustainable. And this has already been proven by reputable Web3 games.
FootballCoin emerged as an innovative concept in the world of gaming when it was launched in 2017.
Not just a game, it symbolises a vision to integrate the world of football fans with the burgeoning sphere of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
What makes FootballCoin stand out is its holistic approach to creating a world-class gaming experience.
The developers didn’t merely focus on providing a fun experience; they also enabled players to win real prizes.
Through this game, participants can engage in football manager-type contests and fantasy sports, appreciating the tangible benefits of blockchain technology.
FootballCoin’s economy is another unique aspect.
The game has introduced two major types of player cards – free and collectable. In the Web3 world, these collectables are known as NFT trading cards or sports cards.
These trading cards, ranked based on the player’s real-world value, notoriety, and achievements, bring an additional layer of complexity and engagement to the game.
In a market where partnerships and collaboration often dictate success, FootballCoin’s affiliations with reputable companies like Sportradar, Perform, Omnisport, and BoostIT stand as a testament to its credibility.
Its cryptocurrency, XFC, has also gained respect, being listed on well-known exchanges such as Coindeal, Livecoin, InstaSwap, and Exrates.
From the perspective of a technology enthusiast, the game represents a project that respects core Bitcoin philosophies.
For gamers, it’s a gateway to a top-level gaming network where they can win real cryptocurrency rewards.
In a landscape filled with fleeting trends and unsustainable models, FootballCoin shines as a durable Web3 project that has withstood the test of time.
It continues to innovate and grow, carving a niche that bridges the gap between the crypto sphere and the passionate world of football fans.
Its continuous delivery on promises, alignment with both gaming and tech values, and innovative integration of blockchain technology make FootballCoin an exemplary model in the industry.
September 2022 brought a lot of interest and new active users to the blockchain games industry. New blockchain games, such as FootballCoin, appear on gamers’ radars.
Many blockchain games registered an increase in user activity in September, as many play-to-earn (P2E) games reported significant increases in their active users.
According to DappRadar data, half of the top ten games have increased in the past 30 days in terms of unique wallet addresses interfacing with DApps smart contracts. All five top games were in the green in that period.
The Web3 gaming platform Gameta and the blockchain-based games Alien Worlds and Solitaire Blitz, Benji Bananas, Splinterlands, and Benji Bananas are the top DApps that have seen growth during September.
Many of these blockchain games are mainly used on mobile devices, and they have a huge potential to bring in new users and familiarize them with the blockchain. The main advantage of all these P2E games is that they allow anyone to earn crypto without any prior investment or knowledge.
According to DappRadar’s report, these games have brought “1.7 million users from Web2 into Web3 gaming”. They believe that users are now convinced that it pays off to invest in crypto during bear markets as it will pay off during the next bull market.
Although it’s not clear what caused the increase in Benji Bananas users, hosting a gaming event that featured a number of valuable NFTs for the winners did undoubtedly help.
However, it’s worth noting that some games did experienced decreases over the last 30 days.
NFT games are not dead!
This blockchain game surge comes as a revigorating response to the news that the NFT market registered a 97% drop in trading volumes since January 2022. (source Bloomberg). While some complain that the NFT trend is dead, this new wave of blockchain gamers proves that there is still a lot of interest.
More blockchain games are becoming just as easy to use and enjoy as ordinary games. Some may have been off gamers’ radars but are starting to pick up. Blockchain games such as FootballCoin use daily activities as a hook, ensuring that users find enjoyment once they interact with it, while solid tokenomics encourages everyday use and retention.
It’s true that NFT prices have declined, but many games, which don’t usually make the news, require relatively inexpensive NFTs, and this still attracts new users.
Eduard Banulescu, the brand manager of FootballCoin, a pure P2E blockchain game, pointed out that the fantasy football game has seen a surprising increase in daily active users.
FootballCoin’s representative emphasized the importance of user activity and the number of people who start using Web3, including blockchain games: “We are proud that FootballCoin was one of the very first play-to-earn games. We’re also happy to see a great increase in interest in these types of blockchain games. The platform has been updated consistently over the past five years. We’ve also seen continuous, albeit sometimes slow, growth in terms of our user base. In recent months, however, the number of new FootballCoin users has spiked. “
Just like the top blockchain games mentioned by DappRadar, FootballCoin has also seen a remarkable increase in the number of users and demand for its NFTs. According to Banulescu, FootballCoin registered a 35% increase in new accounts during September 2022.
“Over the past month, we’ve seen a 35% increase in the number of new accounts. Fortunately, many of these accounts have also been active in the game. The prospect of earning crypto rewards and of owning the assets that they purchase in the game seem to have been particular highlights for new users. With the World Cup fast approaching, we are planning to introduce additional rewards and features.”
FootballCoin has many years of experience in this industry. t’s probably one of the few truly independent crypto projects that still exist. Considering the fast evolution of Web3, this might be one of the blockchain games that will evolve during this era of global crypto adoption.
P2E grows and games feature real world events
FootballCoin is a fantasy football game that attracts thousands of new users each month. As the 2023 World Cup is fast approaching, the blockchain game promises to feature the popular competition.
FootballCoin already features the world’s best football leagues, including Premier League, Serie A, and the Champions League. Furthermore, the Brazilian top-tier Série A, highly requested by users of the game, will be added in October 2022. Users will have the opportunity to test their skills as football managers and choose their football team before each stage of the competition.
While the FootballCoin team hasn’t yet disclosed the total prize pool for the World Cup, users will get to play for free, at least for the first stages, where all teams are still involved in the competition.
Blockchain supports many aspects of our modern life, and it has already proven to take the gaming industry to the next level.
Since personal computers became a regular item in households, computer games started to earn their place as an entertainment option in the 20th century. The first goal was to provide fantasy worlds for players to escape their daily routine. Games began to compete with traditional entertainments such as movies, theatre performances, circuses and zoos for players’ attention very quickly.
As the planet’s population keeps growing, it is forecasted the world’s population will surpass the 8 billion milestone by 2023, according to Worldometer. By then, we can safely assume that gaming will become a part of everyday life and that gamers will represent a large portion of the total population.
It is not surprising that the boundaries between media, games, sports, and communication are slowly disappearing. This creates new business partnerships and leads to more mergers and acquisitions all over the globe.
Second Life, a virtual game universe, was a pioneering attempt to create a portal into the metaverse. The game features its own virtual currency. Many players in different countries gave up their jobs to devote 100% of their time and effort to the virtual world.
Blockchain technology has reached millions while the NFT craze took off in 2021. However, this is just the beginning and there’re more use cases for blockchain, that we’ll likely hear more about it in the near future.
One of the first and main use cases for blockchain that the industry has embraced is ownership of digital items. As the internet evolved, there was a huge need for detecting fraudulent digital items and keeping track of your own digital creations, or digital acquired goods.
But how is blockchain being used in transforming the gaming industry and what are the blockchain gaming models used today?
The gaming industry today
According to Newzoo, the worldwide gaming revenue reach about $180.3 billion in 2021 and the total number of gamers was about 3.2 billion. These numbers represent a 20% increase compared to 2019 before the pandemic started.
Most of the revenue is generated by digital distribution channels. The main growth engine of the games industry is mobile games, which have a market value of $93.2 billion.
Over the last five years, the game development industry has undergone a significant transformation. Even smaller studios can now create games for the global marketplace thanks to the development of digital distribution platforms and mobile app stores.
China is the largest region when it comes to gaming revenue and it accounts for over a quarter of all sales. And if we were to look for the region with the higher profits and fastest-growing rate, we would look at the Asia-Pacific region, where we’ll find 55% of all players.
But the feature is here and the gaming industry will be heavily influenced by the latest technology developments. Market leaders are embracing new technologies such as blockchain and virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality (VR). Numerous blockchain-enabled gaming apps have been developed in recent years. This will lead to a significant increase in the market’s potential growth by 2022.
How has the gaming industry evolved in the past few years?
The gaming industry can only thrive as long as the gamers are happy. And when the gamers keep increasing in numbers, the leading companies need to really listen to what they have to say. That’s why we’re starting to see two gaming models emerge from the market.
Pay-to-Play (P2P) gaming model
From the 1970s to the 2000s, pay-to-play (P2P) was the most popular business model in the games industry. This model allows developers and publishers to generate revenue from game sales, and sometimes subscriptions. In-game advertisements were rare and that kept the gamers happy.
However, this model leaves players with little to no chance of extracting any value from games. The only thing that matters is the enjoyment and satisfaction they get from playing the game. But once the game is finished, or let’s say, it gets replaced with the latest version, all progress get deleted and the gamers have to start all over again.
Free-to-Play (F2P) gaming model
The free-to-play (F2P) gaming model gained popularity in the 2000s and 2010s and, in the beginning, it was viewed as a bad business model by some gaming companies.
It was believed that the F2P model could not only have the effect of generating low revenues for some games, but that it could bring the entire gaming industry to the ground. However, time has proven quite the opposite and the F2P model build an entirely new world for gamers to live in.
Free-to-play games are the type of games that require no up-front payment from gamers. However, the F2P model allows players to purchase in-game items and upgrade their characters within the game. Ads make up the majority of the revenue for gaming studios. Streaming and e-sports are monetization tools for players. At the same time, there are specialised tournaments where elite players can also receive rewards. An entire industry was born from the F2P model.
Fortnite is a perfect example of the success of free-to-play business models. Fortnite, which was launched in July 2017, generated more than $5 billion in revenue in its first year. Its user base grew to 80 million monthly active users by 2018.
Many of these games are now experimenting with the blockchain technology and new games are launched every year. Many of the metaverse games we see today try to incorporate blockchain-based economies to incentivise players to participate in their tasks and keep track of their digital assets.
One remarkable game, that aims to remain F2P is FootballCoin, a fantasy football game, that many European football enthusiasts love to play. It’s not only free to play, but the game is built on a free-to-earn model, which enables players to buy NFTs in the game, with their crypto earnings. Of course, gamers are free to take those crypto earnings and exchange them for any fiat currency, using a cryptocurrency exchange.
Play-to-Earn (P2E) gaming model
The play-to earn (P2E) model is exactly as its name implies: It allows users to play and earn tokens. Because it combines entertainment and reward, this model is a powerful psychological incentive.
The main concept behind the P2E games is that players get rewarded for putting in more effort and time into the game. This creates value for them, other game participants, as well as for developers. In exchange for their participation, they receive digital assets that can appreciate in value over time.
Noting that blockchain technology has been used in such assets has caused scarcity in digital assets in games. These can take the form of NFTs and represent any character, from CryptoKitties kittens to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether.
Many of the popular metaverse games are actually functioning on a play-to-earn gaming model, and aim to encourage gamers to purchase popular NFTs to join the game. This model gives a true utility to NFTs but can be discouraging for new gamers, that do not afford to invest in a game. The bright side of these NFTs games is that gamers are free to sell their NFTs and in-game assets. This way, they don’t lose the funds invested to play the game.
What’s the best blockchain gaming model?
These gaming models exist because the gaming community wants them and accepts them. As long as there is a demand for a game or a particular gaming model, there will always be a company looking to serve that need. And since we have all these new blockchain gaming models to serve us, why not take the industry to the next level.
Free or not, gamers want to own their digital items, and blockchain helps them get it.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have reached a higher level of popularity and acceptance by both the online and crypto communities. NFTs with utility are here and are no longer considered a bubble, as more projects join the space and give new utility to the created NFTs.
The rise of metaverse NFTs in 2021
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) caught the public’s attention when the record-breaking Beeple’s The First 5000 days was sold by the Christie’s arthouse for $69 million, on March 11, 2021. This became the cornerstone of NFT art and spiked a new trend for digital artists and traditional artists as well.
Since then, NFTs have expanded to include music, art, in-game assets, and even tweets. Basically, anyone can tokenize any real-world or digital asset and use NFT minting to provide unique ownership. FootballCoin is one example of one of the first free-to-play blockchain games to offer in-game NFTs, that are available for trading.
According to DappRadar’s report, the NFT market generated over $23 billion in 2021.
The most significant move for NFTs and the entire metaverse space was when Facebook announced its rebrand as Meta, on October 28, 2021. The social media network aims to become more than a social media channel, and will not focus on creating a new metaverse, which will integrate social media, virtual working spaces, gaming experiences and more. The news created huge waves within the crypto space, and most metaverse-related cryptos surged in price. Some of the most hyped coins were Decentraland (MANA) and Sandbox (SAND).
However, the NFT craze started way before that. Most of you might remember CryptoKitties, the Ethereum-based game, launched in 2017. The game caused network clogging and a huge network gas fee increase, as the demand for digital kitties increased. Most of the kitties collectors were attracted to the game by the potential of breeding and selling their NFT. The hype slowed down over the next months, but the idea of speculating over the price of digital assets remained in the crypto community.
Today, investors can find new and trending NFT collections on platforms such as OpenSea and Rarible. Some of the most popular NFT collections are CryptoPunks and Bored Apes Yacht Club (BAYC).
GameFi is the game-changer
GameFi protocols were the key moment of watershed for NFTs who followed the metaverse hype. What is GameFi? GameFi can be described as the integration of gaming and decentralized finance (DeFi) within one ecosystem. According to Huobi Research, GameFi has revived interest in blockchain gaming.
Axie Infinity is the leading protocol in this area in 2021. This game universe allows gamers to collect Axies and create kingdoms for their pets. AXS, and SLP are the native tokens that power the game ecosystem.
Sky Mavis, a Vietnamese game developer, developed the Ethereum-based game. It was first released in March 2018. The Axie-Infinity collection quickly rose to become the most traded NFT in NFT history due to the excitement created by the community around it. The collection has more than $4 billion in annual sales. Axie Infinity’s current trading volume has outperformed other blockchain games by miles.
This game is based upon Ethereum but blockchain-based games are becoming more popular across other blockchain networks such as Solana or the Binance Smart chain. Many games have enjoyed popularity on blockchain networks, including Splinterlands on Hive and Wax and Alien Worlds on Wax and Upland on EOS.
Refusal to adhere to traditional gaming regulations
GameFi is disrupting gaming by introducing blockchain technology. However, traditional gaming has not been well-received this innovation. Steam/Valve removed all blockchain-based games in 2021. Over 26 companies and advocacy organizations have called upon Steam/Valve to reverse its ban.
The South Korean government also blocked the release of new play-to earn (P2E) games and requested that existing blockchain games with a model P2E be removed be from the Apple Store and Google Play Store. Epic Games, creator of Fortnite, stated that they are open to blockchain-based games that support crypto and blockchain-based assets.
But the GameFi trend continues to grow despite the opposition from regulators and the traditional gaming industry. ProShares, the company that launched the first Bitcoin-based ETF, has plans to launch an ETF focused on Metaverse. The ProShares Metaverse Theme ETF was filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. If the registration is accepted by the SEC, it will track the performance of the Solactive Metaverse Theme Index, which includes companies involved in the adoption and usage of metaverse-related technologies.
Even one of the big four consulting companies, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Hong Kong, have dipped their toes into the Metaverse. A land plot was purchased by the company to play in a metaverse Sandbox. After a deal with Velas Network, a Swiss blockchain startup, Ferrari even hinted at NFTs.
These enterprises can use blockchain technology to build business models within the Metaverse, and gain efficiency and compatibility with the real world. It is very likely that 2021 will be regarded as the year for NFTs and DeFi, and 2022 will be the Year of GameFi and Metaverse.
According to the publication Le Matin Dimanche, the football-themed NFT website, Sorare, has been banned in Switzerland.
Here is an excerpt from Rebecca Garcia’s article investigating the recent official forbiddance of the game in Switzerland.
“Buying virtual player cards or footballers with the purpose of creating a customized team: is this a game, or simple speculation? Swiss authorities have leaned towards the latter and have taken the decision to ban Sorare.
The ideas behind fantasy football and Sorare are simple enough. Users are encouraged to purchase cards of football players. If they perform well in real life they accumulate points. You can also attempt to buy the card at a smaller price in the hope that its value will skyrocket in the future and that you can sell it for a profit.
“The users are delighted to try and double their bet in 24 hours. But, they might invest 20 francs and spend a whole day researching this so that they can win 20 more times,” says one blockchain expert. Therefore, there can be a lot of effort involved for not much.
Banned in Switzerland, and soon elsewhere?
Although the platform views itself primarily as being focused on football fans, l’Autorite Internationale de surveillance des jeux d’argent (Gespa) has banned Sorare. The officials have decided that the game encourages financial speculation for which they do not own a valid authorization. This is vital to be able to function legally in Switzerland.
Gespa simply motivated their decision by stating that games of chance, or gambling are prohibited in Switzerland, and therefore Sorare is banned.
One of the market’s leaders, FootballCoin, a similar fantasy football game estimate that over 70% of its users join their game because of an interest in sports. The other 30% are, however, interested in the blockcain technology. Do you absolutely need to know football to be able to play? “No, but it helps,” the game’s representatives state.
Thousands of speculative users play Sorare every month looking to buy more cards. “I’ve made 50.000 to 200.000 dollars a week on Blackpool”, says Max M, one of the managers in this DAO (Decentralised Autonomous Organisation) launched in Sorare.
Here it’s not a matter of playing the game well, but making the right financial decisions. “I can redeem my cards and grow my collection.” This user owns a large number of unique cards. Even if a user has the exact same selection in the game, they might be at a disadvantage because of the rarity of the cards.
The unique card of Kylian Mbappe has sold for 54.147,97 Euro. “I was offered five to ten times the price I paid to buy the card, but I wasn’t interested.” And, the card could grow in value from one week to another while new cards are released all the time. A win-win.
Collect them all!
The people that bet on Sorare might take an interest in the football matches so that they can know the performances of the players. In the search for good tips, they may scour the internet to find good statistical data and info that will help them in retrieving the golden nuggets. Among the clubs that sign and register their players, there are those that want their slice of the pie.
“The most important is for it to be an official platform, otherwise it will disappear,” says Crystal Ohad, head of Real Manager. It’s important to consider the long-term perspective when it comes to investing in developing a collection of cards. The official ban of Sorare in Switzerland could end up being a big break on their activities.”
It is important to note that games such as FootballCoin continue to function openly on a global scale, with the game using strictly a fantasy football system that involves, exclusively, the use of skill, unlike Sorare where teams are composed of 5 players a side and the rarity of the cards determines the outcome.