Q&A: What is the path forward for blockchain gaming?

For game developers looking to bring scale, cost reduction, and de-risk their entry into Web3, Stardust Supernets is the way to go


Parilov/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


The gaming industry is increasingly being disrupted by the emergence of blockchain technology, most notably NFTs. The approaches to game creation, distribution, and monetization are all being rethought with the mission of generating better gaming experiences for players serving as the north star for developers. However, a long road to mass adoption of blockchain gaming still remains; if the past is any indication of what’s to come, it will be highlighted by highs, lows, and formidable resistance from the traditional gaming world.

Canaan Linder, CEO of Stardust, recently took part in a panel discussion to discuss the path to mass adoption of blockchain gaming and dive into the challenges of scalability, usability, simplicity, and regulation. As you’ll read, Canaan’s Web3 mission began upon realizing how difficult building a blockchain-powered game truly was. Today, he leads Stardust in its efforts to enable game developers to focus on creating epic experiences for players, instead of tediously tinkering away with blockchain technology to bring its functionality to games.

Moderator: All of us on this panel have committed to this Web3 Gaming genre in one way or another, and we also all agreed that gamers generally are skeptical of the concepts of NFTs, blockchain, and wallets. The term “rug pull” comes up a lot — gamers just don’t want money grabs in their fun. So, with all of this in mind, can you each tell us why you decided to build games in Web3?

Canaan: In 2018 when I first tried to build a blockchain-based game — a better version of CryptoKitties — I realized how difficult it was for developers to build, and players to play, these incredible games. Stardust’s mission is to help game developers be successful in Web3 by providing a platform that enables them to focus on building great games. With developers now able to focus on gameplay and not blockchain technology, games will have a focus on fun and rewarding experiences. Many players’ frustration with Web3 games is well-founded. Most “games” have just been speculative investments and positive reinforcing economic loops that form ponzinomic-based economies. However, while the industry has been “hyping” up speculation, real games have been building quietly for the long term. Games like Wildcard, Azra and Jungle are fun, creative, rewarding and embed NFTs so well that without knowing what it is, you wouldn’t even know it’s there. 

Key Takeaways: 

  1. For blockchain gaming to reach the level of mass adoption, focusing on creating great games is what truly matters — not creating gaming systems that fuel speculation.
  2. As time progresses and blockchain-powered games further reduce the many varieties of onboarding frictions that players experience, NFTs will be much less visible on the front end for players. This will lighten the mood for many traditional gamers who have put up walls between themselves and Web3 and greatly further adoption.  

Moderator: Canaan, you are building a platform to enable studios to bring their games to blockchain. Can you comment on how important the crypto community and ethos is, and what your approach to bringing games to market is?

Canaan: Community is the cornerstone of how incredible games are built and sustained over the course of decades. Sites like Reddit have completely changed the way game developers think about and iterate on feedback; we’re even able to gauge community sentiment about potential changes before they enter the game. Games like Eve Online, Runescape, and World of Warcraft have die-hard fans and evergreen players because the community feels that they have the ability to provide feedback directly to the developers of the game and be heard. Balancing a strong community of NFT enthusiasts and players is key to bringing blockchain games to market. Many current games have communities that tend to be more focused on speculation and price action — participants might not even play the game. While this is indeed a new cohort of users that has value, it’s extremely important to create an economy so that non-financially driven participants can coexist with it in a harmonious way.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Involving players in the game-building process is essential to growing a large, passionate fanbase and a long-lasting game.
  2. While blockchain gaming participants who focus on the collection and speculation of digital assets have value to their respective gaming ecosystem, game developers must ensure that they do not cater to them in such a manner that they lose gamers focused on having fun. After all, the audience of gamers that is willing to spend money on games purely for entertainment is the cohort that powers the virtual economy — take them out of the equation, and the economy collapses.

Moderator: What were the use cases that you found the most important to solve with Web3 gaming, that won’t be solved with Web2 gaming? 

Canaan: The gaming ecosystem today we have is closed, which works well, but the gaming ecosystem we will all create together is going to be 100x better. Right now, every game developer has to build everything themselves, whether it’s a marketplace, creator program, or UGC framework. With Blockchain, all of these apps can be made independently of the game and be integrated by anyone. Indie developers will have access to the same growth superpowers that the largest developers in the world do. Going further, these applications can be shared across games, leading to larger amounts of usage and liquidity, which is better for all. It takes a lot of learning to realize Web2 is so limited, but as Web3 evolves gaming and beyond, everyone will start to understand the power of an ecosystem that is built collaboratively. It enables the continual innovation and composability that will drive the gaming industry forward

Key Takeaways:

  1. Blockchain will enable smaller developers to access tools that typically only the largest studios can utilize, meaning players will receive better and better games.
  2. Web2 gaming is far more limited than most people realize. Implementing blockchain technology opens up the world of game development to be a much more global, collaborative effort and will produce new advancements that significantly further the gaming industry.

For game developers looking to bring scale, cost reduction, and de-risk their entry into Web3, Stardust Supernets is the way to go. 

As game studios look to incorporate Web3 components and scale their games on application-specific infrastructure that supports numerous blockchains, Stardust offers a frictionless experience so game devs can do what they do best: Build great games. 

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

This content is sponsored by Stardust.

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