Web3, GameFi, Metaverse, they’re all faced with the same exciting challenge – the mass adoption of casual gamers. According to the latest research, there are at least 2.2 billion mobile gamers and 250 million console gamers worldwide. Metaverses have come a long way since the introduction of blockchain technology, and experts now predict that around 400 million people play Metaverse games each month (both on and off-chain).
What’s interesting is the perspective of Metaverses in how they go about attracting casual gamers to take the small leap, play their games, and build a bond in the process. In this article, we will look at how new gaming experiences, player ownership, long-term gameplay design, and accessibility for all are creating a new casual gaming culture that will take market share away from mobile puzzle games and consoles.
Incredible Gaming Experiences Await!
Many of us grew up with console games, fighting the main boss over and over, playing game after game of our favourite sports titles, or shooting enemies on the same maps time after time. If we’re honest, it could be a little repetitive, but what other option did we have? Traditional boxed-product gaming focused on creating increasingly impressive visuals with each new title release, with only a few development studios really digging deep into the gamer psyche to create games that evolved to keep the player engaged for years.
Now, with Web3 gaming, we have arrived at the place our inner child wanted. Games that are constantly updated with impressive new additions, that continue to evolve and challenge the gamer, and that offer new strategies that Web2 and traditional games simply couldn’t. With play-to-earn (P2E) gaming models, players have a greater stake in their actual gameplay, playing for more than just pride. NFT collectables are more than just a badge of honour or rank, they contribute to the overall gaming economy, offering unique access to gated content (such as events and tournaments), and bringing brand new utility to the gaming world.
Hundreds of millions of Metaverse users are enjoying incredible gaming experiences already, but the fun doesn’t stop there…
Beyond the Games – More Activities Than Ever
Metaverses are virtual worlds for shared experiences, with gaming forming one crucial aspect of the overall entertainment. Some projects, like The Nemesis, also place focus on hosting concerts and events, whilst others develop with education, creativity, or community in mind. It must be broadcast, however, that gaming is kickstarting the metaverse revolution and putting it at the forefront of innovation and technological development.
In recent research regarding US metaverse user behaviour, it was found that on top of gaming in metaverses:
- 28% of users take part in virtual recreations of social/life events
- 27% watch in-game movies, previews, and TV shows
- 22% use Metaverses as a space to meet up with their friends and make new connections
- 20% attend in-game concerts
- 17% shop in virtual stores and marketplaces
- 14% attend in-game meetings
- 13% travel to digital versions of real-world locations
- 13% invest, lend, and bet with in-game currencies
- 11% use the metaverse for educational reasons
Web3 Gaming – Ownership, Trading & Other Strategies
In Web2 metaverses, like Minecraft, Roblox, GTA V, and Fortnite, you can spend your real-world money on items, adorn your avatar, and connect with others online, but in terms of ownership, it’s a one-way system. You can spend, but you can’t earn. You can own, but that ownership offers limited reward – it’s mostly for appearances.
In Web3 metaverses, like Gala, The Nemesis, Bloktopia, and dozens more, the concept of land ownership is introduced, producing an intriguing new strategic concept for casual gamers to indulge in. Some gamers might be familiar with owning land, like in Minecraft, but with cryptocurrency-based economics at play, there’s the potential to develop, rent, and sell land for real-world earnings too. Experts and novices alike will quickly understand the opportunity here and find the strategy that works best for them.
The macro-economy that The Nemesis has employed is particularly interesting. On top of playing fun games with others, you are able to sell products and services, host events, and create P2P value exchanges with genuine rewards. NFT-based land ownership is complemented by unique NFT companions who can take up residence. Perhaps even more intriguing to the casual gamer entering this metaverse are the different planets with different attributes that mean land and companions have different relationships with features and gameplay. In a gaming ecosystem where everything can change, it pays to be engaged.
Designing Metaverses for Long-Term Gameplay
As mentioned, Web2 gaming was all about creating new titles in order to build a loyal bond between players and studios. EA Sports (FIFA, Madden), Rockstar Games (GTA Series), Activision (Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot) are just a few examples of the old model. This approach to games design often gave games an incredibly short shelf-life, with titles ending up in the second-hand discount bucket often just months after release.
With Web3 and metaverse building, the approach is reversed. Create one ecosystem in which players will stay for years and years, by continually adding new layers, updates, functionalities, token utilities, events, rewards, and so much more. Long-term gameplay is no longer assured by creating new titles with better graphics and storylines, but by developing the overall quality, enjoyment, and reward design of the metaverse. As more players join and engage with metaverses, the builders are able to take on more ambitious developments, with growth being symbiotic in nature.
When players can buy and develop their own land, playing architect on all sorts of customisation journeys, they have more reason to remain loyal and continue playing, as has been proven by titles like Minecraft, Roblox, The Sims, and Skyrim. Combine this concept with incentives like earning models, NFT artwork integrations, the role of fashion and identity, and marketplaces for just about everything, and Web3 metaverses like The Nemesis are set to win long-term gamers over new rinse and repeat Web2 titles.
Accessibility for All
One of the biggest challenges for Web3 gaming is making metaverses globally accessible, ensuring that they’re easy enough to find, join, and get started. Players want immediate action, rapid onboarding, and minimal hoops to jump through, as well as the option to play on mobile with the same level of experience as via their computers.
Keeping the front-end friendly and accessible to all ages and ability levels is what will drive new users to take the leap and get playing. The Nemesis has solved this problem by making their game browser based and giving new players the option to jump in quickly and have a play around without making an account first. No downloads, no app stores, and no wallet connections required for first-time users. For the full experience, users will want to connect a wallet and make an account, but the initial step is so hurdle-free that anyone can start enjoying their 3D environments and virtual adventures with just a click.
Verdict: The Bond is Being Built
Metaverses are experiencing a great deal of success and momentum with regards to bringing casual gamers to their ecosystem, and this is the start of a very long and exciting journey. Already GameFi is starting to win market share, enter discussions, and earn a position at the forefront of innovation, but it’s vital that they continue to explore gamer psychology to understand what makes them attractive. Simply offering a P2E model or integrating NFTs will not be enough, as many games will find out. There’s something much bigger at play here, the overall opportunity to offer a game that grows and evolves, reward users for playing, and deliver a diversity of entertainment opportunities and ways to express themselves online.