In our last blog post, we talked about the double-edged sword of the most popular sector in blockchain gaming right now: the so-called “Play-To-Earn” or P2E sector.
On one hand, it’s impossible to deny that the ability for players to actually participate in revenue generation in gaming is a much welcome new aspect made possible by blockchain technology. Yet on the other, the focus on a token economy has inadvertently created a mass influx of “gamers” who are less interested in the original purpose of gaming (fun and entertainment). This, in turn, motivates competition and new games that only attempt to improve this revenue generation for players, doing little to stimulate actual gaming innovation.
The gaming industry was and still is broken
We’re in no position to point fingers. After all, in crypto and blockchain, a principal part of decentralization efforts means that users (thus, gamers) vote with their wallets. And by all means, democratized development should reflect the needs and demands of the majority.
At Cradles, we believe that it is equally important to keep the bigger picture in focus, especially if we were to call ourselves (and we most certainly do) an active participant in the blockchain gaming industry.
Blockchain technology has been for years touted to be a solution (if not the solution) to what many gamers perceive as the twilight of principled gaming development. Yet its inability to deliver on its promise isn’t merely a problem of mass adoption, but also an issue of the inability to tackle the root causes that afflict gaming in general.
And, as we discussed in our previous blog post, redefining the role of the player, from a passive consumer to an active generator of revenue, is a great step to redress the player-producer power imbalance.
But there are bigger issues, and there are few quite so fundamental as the fact that there has been a genuine lack of true evolutionary changes in games. Realism is improving with better quality graphics, ambiance, and sound. The sheer quantity of content has also expanded, with wider open world universes and the ability to host tens of thousands of users simultaneously.
Surprise, surprise: Gamers prefer games that prioritize gamers
But more and more gamers are agreeing on one thing: gameplay has deteriorated over the years. Even as more players enter the industry, sales continue to go up, but the biggest game publishers are being criticized by players as becoming blatantly bad at doing what they’re supposed to do: producing good games.
In fact, more gamers believe that independent games or indies have better gameplay, better storylines — superior gaming experiences. Though usually at lower quality graphics and sound. Into Indie Games finds that modern gamers are preferring indie titles more and more simply because they think more about gamers and try to appeal to them first, rather than put the business at the forefront.
Dual Chroma’s game writer Julia Nolan reflected recently: “Indie games are popular because they can take creative risks that are much greater than those AAA studios can. This means that you can get some truly innovative (and often deeply meaningful) games about a wide range of topics.”
Playtra Games CEO Dan Bernardo insists as a gamer himself that players look for titles that challenge the preconceived notions of what games are. Because of this, they seek true innovations and genre-defying games that “rise above the noise of thousands of games being developed”.
It isn’t just smaller labels and development houses that have sat up and taken notice. Older players in the industry, many of whom are struggling to hold on to profits, are finally giving in to what has always been obvious. This year, production giant Nintendo oversaw a gradual shift of focus to collaboration with indie games as it sought a return to its original gaming roots. And why not? When they made their name thanks to a rich tradition of creative innovation and ground-breaking gameplay?
Play to Experience, Experience to Earn
In understanding what makes games successful, it is clear that game developers must first understand what makes gamers tick. And this could be even more important to remember when building the next generation of games on blockchain.
P2E is amazing. Great graphics and sound are too. Transparent transactions and blockchain security are awesome concepts. But let’s also work on giving gamers a reminder of why they first picked up a game and got hooked. Let’s also remember to push boundaries and experiment, to ask the bold questions, and to question the preconceived limitations of gaming.
So yes, let’s continue to reward players with financial incentives for playing, and give them the most realistic experiences that graphic cards and software can. But let’s also remember to reward their senses with rich experiences and unique gaming encounters.
And we can, and should, use blockchain to do this.
Blockchain technology has yet to test its true limits. Certainly, in the sphere of gaming, blockchain should not be seen as a mere facilitator of innovations like income generation for players, but as a foundational technology that allows new gaming possibilities, while ushering in the age of the metaverse.
3.5 billion gamers worldwide demand this.
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