The journey of traditional game makers

With the maturity of public chain, side chain, Layer 2 and other technologies in the past two years, more game companies have begun to enter the blockchain industry, and more and more funds are concerned, which gives the industry a mature possibility.

Proceed cautiously. Traditional game developers have maintained this attitude for four years.

According to DappRadar data, as of November 10, 2021, there are a total of 1,070 game Dapps on the entire network. Since July of this year, the number of chain games has increased dramatically. The number of players has increased from 80,000 in early April to 1.33 million in October, with an average monthly increase of 270%; daily transaction volume has increased by more than 181 times, reaching US$544 million in early October.

The popularity of blockchain games is soaring, but from the current business model, its development is still relatively rudimentary, mainly focusing on users’ game assets, but compared to traditional games, it has made progress.

“In the past few years, due to the performance of the public chain and the immature game development team, etc., chain games were more like speculative behavior,” a chain game investor told Lianxin. With the maturity of technologies such as blockchain and Layer2, more game companies have begun to enter the blockchain industry, and more and more funds are concerned, which gives the industry a mature possibility.”

Even so, the development of chain games is still in the early stage of the consensus of the industry. At this stage, chain games can only serve as traditional game companies’ thinking and experimentation on future game models. If you put too much into it, it is very likely that the gains will not be worth the loss. Most developers Proceed cautiously in this kind of thinking.

And this collective attitude has been maintained from 2018 to the present.

Considerations before making a decision

According to the statistics of blockchain game platform service provider Blockchaingamer, as of November 10, investment in the field of blockchain games this year reached 2.56 billion U.S. dollars. With the blessing of capital, blockchain games have become more popular.

“Blockchain games are an outlet for practitioners, but for capital, there is a certain amount of false fire.” Da Hongfei, CEO of Distribution Technology, said that the traditional business sector is affected by various isolation measures and lacks sufficient appeal. And with a sufficiently large investment opportunity, it is understandable for capital to run into the market after paying attention to the reshaping of blockchain games for the game industry.

The last time everyone paid so much attention to chain games was in 2018.

In March 2018, the country stopped opening the game version number, and in December, the country restarted the game batch number review. In just 9 months, China’s game industry has encountered an unprecedented winter trough. According to China’s industry information, the growth rate of game players in 2018 was the lowest since 2015.

Policies are tightened, new players have dropped sharply, and traditional domestic games are facing a crisis. At this time, blockchain games are stepping into the country, like mushrooms after the rain, and a lot of budding.

“At the beginning of 2018, there was a big fire in the circle of chain games. At that time, there were not many people doing it in China. In the middle of the year, we began to consider making blockchain games.” A person in the circle told “Chain New”, and many people in the circle had I don’t know what the chain game is, I thought it was just to change the traditional game, but I didn’t expect that the distribution and operation behind it would be so complicated.

Even if the country does not fully understand blockchain games, it does not hinder everyone’s passion for change. The CryptoKitties (CryptoKitties) fire quickly caught up in China and started the first wave of chain games.

After several years of development, chain games have begun to emerge, and some high-quality projects have also entered the project plan stage. Chain game projects based on ancient myths, comics, novels, overhead worlds and other backgrounds have appeared in early 2021, again attracting capital attention and industry heat.

Whether it is 2018 or now, people have the same choice of chain games-move forward with caution. Each round of the chain game’s explosion is inseparable from its solutions to the three major pain points of traditional Internet games.

Whenever a game is about to stop serving, how the official will dispose of virtual assets and how the players feel will become the focus of everyone’s attention. In August 2015, Tencent’s online game “Apocalypse of the Dragon” announced the suspension of service. When the service was suspended, the official promised to exchange part of the player’s equipment into a designated “gift package” as a finishing touch, but in fact it did not meet the players’ real demands.

“I have invested a lot of time, energy, and money. In the end, it was a passing moment and my heart was empty.” A player said when “Apocalypse of the Dragon Realm” was suspended.

In addition, even in game operations, most games do not support player trading accounts and resources. Many players will encounter scammers and suffer losses when trading privately. Many third-party rental accounts/trading platforms will be sued by manufacturers and brought lawsuits.

It can be seen that the inability to open/freely trade accounts and in-game resources, the inability to enjoy account ownership, and the account no longer has value after the game is suspended, have always been problems that traditional games cannot get rid of. The emergence of blockchain games hits the pain point of traditional games.

“Blockchain games will not encounter such problems. All assets can be stored in personal wallets through Tokens.” A chain game investor told “Chain New” that most of the players in chain games are given Game ownership, for example, in “Axie Infinity”, players can not only trade game resources such as pets and land, but theoretically, the resources in the chain game will exist forever and will not be affected by server shutdown.

The response to the second pain point comes from chain games’ total control of resources. According to “Chain New”, chain games usually limit the total number of game coins or resources, which makes the resources themselves scarce in the game.

Compared with traditional games, taking card games as an example, most game manufacturers will desperately launch newer/good-looking character cards, stronger promotional activities, and push the payment rate up, but this usually breaks the current level of in-game character strength Balanced, and this kind of intensity increases, the more difficult it becomes in the later period, most of the income comes from the first month, and the later growth is weak.

A senior game planner told “Chain New” that chain games have certain restrictions on the resources and total amount in the game. In this case, the value of intermediate characters and resources will also get a certain value increase. This can also solve the problem of numerical expansion in the content settings of some new characters. A senior game planner told “Chain New” this way.

The third pain point lies in the revenue sharing concept revealed by Lianyou games. Many people recognize the chain game the first time, that is, to recognize its Play to Earn (Play to Earn) feature.

In traditional games, it is difficult to form a system for power leveling or gold mining, and it is often the least valued link. The leveling platform charges 100 yuan, and it is common for the power leveling player to divide 20 yuan.

Of the revenue sharing of blockchain games, only a small part will be attributed to developer revenue. For example, Roblox’s 2020 developer sharing accounted for only 17.5%, and the Axie Infinity agreement stipulates that the commission rate is only 4.25%, and 95% of the revenue goes to Up the player.

Mir4 players told “Chain New” that “black iron” transactions only charge a very small fee, and no transaction fee is charged for other props and resources. And sandbox games such as Sandbox, it is proposed to give up 100% of the share to creators.

Slowly developing chain games

Although the emergence of blockchain games hits the target of the disadvantages of traditional games, in fact, when domestic blockchain games began to develop in 2018, their status is not very optimistic.

One of the first to bear the brunt is technical issues.

“(2018) Well-known public chain projects, performance cannot support high-frequency applications, the public chain with faster processing power is considered EOS, but even if all the above computing power is allocated to a mobile game, it is far from enough. We will still choose the form of centralized plus Token.” According to media reports, this was the idea of ​​many practitioners at that time.

The weak processing power of the public chain was the limitation of the underlying technology of the blockchain at that time, which objectively restricted the creativity of players in the game market, leading to the dominance of simple gambling games that year, and restricting the development of the first generation of domestic chain games .

This leads to the second dilemma-chain game design shifts from gameplay to profit.

Is rolling the dice and guessing the size a real chain game? According to incomplete statistics, in 2018, the number of gambling games accounted for 50% of the total number of Dapps on the Ethereum public chain, and the proportion on the EOS public chain was as high as 60%. NeoWorld founder Kane once said: “I don’t think such applications can be called games. (They) only solve people’s needs for gambling, but not for playing.”

Blockchain games are inseparable from games. Play to Earn is also Play first, and the playability of the game is definitely the core. Deviating from this point is the key to the weakening of chain games.

Of course, it is precisely because of the nature of chain games to make money that they are more attractive to hackers than traditional games, which poses a great challenge to the security of chain games.

On October 31, 2018, within 10 hours of launching the EOSCast game, it was breached after 9 consecutive strong attacks by hackers. The hackers finally made a profit of 72,912 EOS. Estimated at the market price of 35 yuan/EOS, the platform loss exceeded 2.55 million. Yuan. On October 10th of the same year, EOSDice was attacked by hackers and lost 4,633 EOS. Then, on November 8, hackers launched 304 attacks on FFgame quiz game contracts, with a total profit of 1,331 EOS…

An endless stream of hackers stealing coins has cast a shadow over Dapp applications, making people realize that smart contracts based on blockchain technology are not as secure as people think. For this reason, many traditional game markets that were eager to try. The developers are too late to make a decision.

In addition, the reason for the hesitation of traditional game manufacturers is the volatility of token prices.

Take the price of mir4 ore as an example. The value of ore mined for a day has dropped from US$100 to US$3 in a short time. The fluctuation is too large. This reflects that the relationship between the official and the goldsmithing studio is not harmonious.

In the world of chain games, all chain games are based on the banner of making money. The cost of gold-making studios tends to zero, and the enthusiasm is even higher. However, robot mining allows the output of resources such as “ore” to be far greater than the player’s consumption, and supply exceeds demand, which triggers a price collapse.

The actions of the big factories

In 2018, the domestic chain game market is very single, mainly collection and trading games, similar to CryptoKitties (cryptocat), a monotonous simulation development game with a “nourishing-health-raising” cycle.

At that time, there were very few contestants in the Chinese market, and most of the games with high traffic were pet series developed by non-professional game teams, such as the Letz dog developed by Baidu, the block cat developed by 360, the Baolima of Chenxin Technology, and the extremely The cloud fish of and so on.

Although companies with professional game team backgrounds such as Linekong Interactive and NetEase have also stepped in, they have developed dongles, lucky cats and other chain games, but in general they account for a relatively small proportion.

Soon, the popularity of domestic chain games was declining rapidly as the number of games increased and the enthusiasm of players decreased. The Leitz dog that was in the fire that year reached a maximum of 200,000 yuan per dog. Less than a week after the Blueport Interactive Dongle went online, the transaction volume exceeded 5 million U.S. dollars. But within a month, the heat plummeted.

And this year, represented by the concept of Metaverse, chain games have once again attracted the attention of major manufacturers:

ByteDance: Acquired PICO, a leading domestic VR industry manufacturer, at a high price of RMB 9 billion; Code Qiankun, the lead investor, launched the platform game “Restart the World” that integrates creativity, entertainment, and social interaction; it also developed its own internal platform game Metaverse social product Pixsoul.

Baidu: The launched social game “Silver” claims to be composed of infinitely connected virtual spaces. Each user has a set of avatar3D character images, and can also carry out activities, exhibitions, live competitions, etc. in an immersive customized space.

Tencent: Tianmei Studio announced a new project “Z PLAN” this year and recruited. According to sources, this may be the first Metaverse game project.

Perfect World: It means that Metaverse-related elements have been integrated into the game development, and Perfect World can be found on the recruitment software. Currently, it is recruiting virtual pets to plan for the Metaverse game system. However, it does not require too much that applicants need to have too much understanding of the metaverse, but focuses on pet habits and other aspects.

Kunlun Wanwei: The layout of “Metaverse” began in 2019. Currently, the relevant team is about 200 people. The game community platform GXC has been launched, which has formed the Opera GX browser for gamers and the game engine GameMaker Studio for developers. Closed-loop platform.

Zhongqingbao: This year announced the Metaverse simulation business game “Master of Brewing”, and plans to set up a research and development team of 48 people, with a research and development budget of about 100 million yuan.

In April this year, Century Huatong’s self-developed simulation game “LiveTopia” landed on Roblox, the world’s largest Metaverse community. 5 million daily active users and 40 million monthly active users made this game the first phenomenon-level Metaverse game.

Since 2018, chain games have experienced a wave of concentrated budding. Judging from the current development situation, even if the chain game has achieved certain development results, it is still in its infancy and cannot support the new window of the overall game industry. If the chain game is to be used as a “life-saving” “Straw”, it seems that it still can’t bear it.

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