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Web3 Gaming Needs to Focus on Gameplay and User Experience: Protokol CEO Lars Rensing

Last Updated July 1, 2024 11:00 AM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated July 1, 2024 11:00 AM

Key Takeaways

  • Web3 gaming should prioritize gameplay and user experience over quick monetization to attract traditional gamers and overcome skepticism.
  • Education and long-term value creation are crucial for the adoption of Web3 gaming, said Protokol CEO.
  • Rensing said the future of Web3 gaming lies in providing true digital ownership through NFTs.

Blockchain gaming has been making significant strides in the gaming industry, yet many players from the traditional Web2 space remain unaware of the potential benefits of Web3 gaming. An enriched user experience, with a focus on engaging game narratives, could be a game-changer for the Web3 gaming industry.

CCN spoke with Lars Rensing , CEO and Co-Founder of Protokol, a company specializing in custom Web3 solutions for enterprises, who shared his insights on the future of Web3 gaming.

Prioritizing Gameplay Over Monetization

Rensing emphasized the importance of prioritizing gameplay over new monetization strategies through Web3 implementation. He also addressed the skepticism from veteran Web2 players towards Web3 games, strategies for Web3 gaming studios to overcome these negative perceptions, and the critical role of user experience in building and retaining gaming communities.

According to him, Web2 gaming involves developers maintaining ownership and control over in-game assets, whereas Web3 gaming empowers players with true ownership through NFTs, allowing them to trade and sell these assets freely. Additionally, Web3 gaming introduces innovative elements such as play-to-earn models, decentralized economies, and community governance. Despite these benefits, many Web2 players remain unaware of them due to the perceived complexity of blockchain technology and limited exposure to the advantages that Web3 gaming can offer.

Web3 Gaming Must Prioritize User Experience to Overcome Skepticism, Says Rensing

CCN inquired about improving user experience in Web3 gaming and its importance for industry growth and Rensing highlighted several key points.

He stated that many critics argue that current Web3 games are of lower quality compared to traditional Web2 games. This has been attributed to Web3 developers prioritizing rapid market entry over thoughtful gameplay development, often attempting to capitalize on the hype surrounding blockchain technology. As a result, some games are released before they are fully polished, leading to a perception of inferiority.

Rensing emphasized that Web3 companies need to shift their focus from viewing games merely as vehicles for monetization. Instead, they should prioritize improving the overall user experience. This means dedicating more effort to developing engaging and immersive game narratives, which are essential for retaining and growing their player base.

Enhancing the user experience is crucial for several reasons:

  • Overcoming Skepticism:
    • High-quality, engaging games can help change the negative perceptions held by many Web2 gamers and industry veterans. Demonstrating that Web3 games can provide a comparable or even superior experience is vital for gaining wider acceptance.
  • Building Sustainable Communities:
    • Focusing on the user experience ensures that games are enjoyable and engaging, which is key to building a loyal and active community. This sustainable approach supports long-term growth over quick, short-term gains.
  • Differentiation in a Crowded Market:
    • As the Web3 gaming market becomes more saturated, games that offer rich narratives and superior user experiences will stand out. This differentiation is crucial for attracting and retaining players.

He said:

“One of the places developers should start specifically is breaking down the barriers to entry for traditional Web2 users. Onboarding needs to be made much smoother for this audience, so they don’t change their minds in the presence of any friction. Enabling multi-wallet and multi-currency support as an example provides users with the freedom to use their preferred wallets, and the choice also provides them the ability to choose wallets and currencies that limit transaction fees.”

Rensing Urges Web3 Developers to Attract Traditional Gamers

CCN asked Rensing to elaborate on why he believes game developers should prioritize gameplay over finding new ways to monetize through Web3 implementation. He explained that traditional Web2 games have always prioritized gameplay, while the allure of Web3 gaming often lies in its monetization models. As an example he took Axie Infinity that popularized the play-to-earn model, where players earn tokens for participation and contributions to the ecosystem.

To appeal to traditional gamers, Rensing says developers need to focus on the gameplay experience they are accustomed to and added that by prioritizing gameplay and creating narrative-rich, engaging games that can compete with Web2 titles, Web3 developers can start overcoming current skepticism.

However, he warned, that there are inherent challenges in this approach. The management of Web3 games is complex due to the real-world value of in-game items. Unlike Web2 games, he said developers cannot easily fix or reset issues, requiring more careful development stages. Despite these difficulties, addressing them is crucial for retaining and attracting the gaming community.

Additionally, commented Rensing, developers can work on smoother integration of Web3 technology, enhancing the gaming experience without compromising gameplay quality. By focusing on these aspects, Web3 games can better retain their player base and appeal to a broader audience.

Education and Long-Term Value Key to Web3 Gaming Adoption

When talking about skepticism among Web2 players, Rensing stressed that navigating GameFi is challenging due to the involvement of blockchains, protocols, and the need for developer expertise and user engagement.

Veteran Web2 players often view Web3 games with skepticism, primarily because of unfamiliarity with blockchain technology and its complexities. Traditional gamers, accustomed to centralized systems and clear developer control, might find the decentralized nature of blockchain games off-putting. Additionally, the volatility and speculative nature of cryptocurrencies, which underpin many Web3 games, add to this skepticism.

A recent report  from the Blockchain Gaming Alliance (BGA) highlighted several key issues affecting the industry. Over half of the respondents identified onboarding as the main challenge, while 70% pointed to the widespread misconception of blockchain gaming as a scam. Approximately 35% of respondents indicated that user acquisition remains a significant hurdle. Moreover, the cost of entry into play-to-earn games, which often requires purchasing an NFT asset, can be prohibitive for traditional gamers exploring Web3 games for the first time.

The cyclical nature of the blockchain market and the associated media coverage can also contribute to negative perceptions, further complicating the industry’s efforts to attract and retain players from the Web2 gaming community.

Rensing asserted:

‘’Web3 gaming studios can mitigate skepticism through education. Offering tutorials, webinars, and informative content helps players understand the benefits of true asset ownership, decentralized governance, and play-to-earn models.

The key is to think long term. Create a strategy, plan out how your in-game tokens will inform the player journey, and what value they offer in-game, as this will underlie what value they hold in the real world. How can players use their hard-earned in-game tokens to progress further in the game, reinvesting them in fellow players and an in-game economic system?’’

Future of Web3 Gaming Holds the Promise of True Digital Ownership Through NFTs

Focusing on user experience is, according to Rensing, critical for retaining gaming communities across the board, including in Web3 gaming. A strong, engaged, and loyal player base is essential for making players feel valued, connected, and motivated to play. Gamers primarily seek a good, enriching game experience, which should be the foundation of any gaming platform.

He furthermore elaborated that one of the biggest challenges facing the adoption of Web3 gaming is educating the highly vocal gamer market about how blockchain and Web3 can enhance their gaming experience. Some developers are resistant to using blockchain technology in games. However, companies that listen to their players’ needs present a more optimistic view.

He explained:

“For example, last year Sorare, a blockchain fantasy sports game based in Paris, announced a four-year licensing agreement with the Premier League, which opened up a new way for fans to engage with their favorite football teams, powered by blockchain technology. If you lean into the existing excitement or interest of the end-user, you’re much more likely to have engagement.”

Rensing concluded that the future of Web3 gaming holds the promise of true digital ownership through NFTs, allowing players to trade and use assets across multiple games. He said play-to-earn models will democratize gaming by offering financial incentives. It is anticipated that Web2 and Web3 gaming will converge, with hybrid models integrating traditional and blockchain-based elements to offer a seamless and enriched gaming experience. This evolution will likely create new opportunities for player engagement and innovation in the gaming industry.

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