#1: Big Time Launches Open Loot Service
With web3 gaming still being in the early pioneer stages, many game developers are not only learning brand new skills but are also developing brand new tools and strategies to help themselves and others adapt to the unique challenges presented. This has been especially true for blockchains such as Ronin and Immutable, which were created to help solve for the issues of building games on Ethereum. And we can see another example this week. Big Time Studios, the developers of web3 RPG Big Time (currently in early access), recently unveiled a service platform for supporting web3 games called Open Loot.
According to the team: “Through experience and relentless iteration, we arrived at a design that ensures that casual players can jump right into the fun without having to think about wallets, self-custody, procuring cryptocurrency, signing on-chain transactions, and many of the hurdles that for the vast majority of people represent a barrier to entry.”
The main areas Open Loot looks to address revolve around NFT/Token management, marketplace management, marketing, and economic strategy.
Another quote: “With Open Loot, game developers can distribute their NFTs instantly and without gas fees via fixed-price sales, auctions, airdrops, and loot boxes. Players can fund their accounts through their bank accounts, credit or debit cards, and cryptocurrency. The entire experience is secured by our team, which manages customer support, payments, fraud prevention, and chargeback management on behalf of partner studios. Our end-to-end solution allows game developers to focus on what they love most, building games.”
With many game developers looking to enter the space who are used to relying on app store payment processors (and lack crypto expertise), there’s a lot of value in letting someone more experienced handle the crypto and credit card side of things. The financial aspects of web3, not to mention the smart contract side of things, are constantly evolving with several tricky areas. The platform is definitely not without competition, but handling on-ramp elements like KYC, chargeback management, and credit card processing for crypto alone might give the service a notable advantage. Many mobile developers also lack a lot of the community marketing aspects that are drastically different in web3, so any help the platform provides on this angle could potentially add value too. We’ll see how it shakes out.
All that being said it’s important to acknowledge that while Big Time has been fairly successful so far, its game is still in early access and the development team will likely have more things to learn themselves well into full release. There is no price or sales information provided, just a typeform to apply as a partner. Additionally, Big Time Studios also announced the Open Loot Ecosystem Fund, a pretty typical move that most platforms in the space follow to better compete for projects. So far, Open Loot has won over three early game developer partners — GC Turbo, Hit Factor, and Motor Meta — as well as Circle, a global payments solution.
The platforms wars are heating up, and we’re excited to see how Open Loot (among others) looks to improve and attract more promising developers over time. We’ll keep you posted.
#2: Golden Bros Goes Gold
After a prolonged early access period starting in April, Netmarble’s Golden Bros — a real-time 3 vs 3 combat shooter — finally launched on July 28th on mobile and PC.
The game is one of the early pieces of Netmarble’s broader mobile web3 strategy. The company’s first move was adding web3 elements to a live game, A3: Still Alive, followed up by a new game launch, Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds. Despite an overall nervousness from large mobile developers to release web3 games on app stores, Netmarble is helping pave the way. Unfortunately, the UX challenges have not always been smooth, leading to some negative reviews on both Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds and Golden Bros. There was also meaningful complexity with Golden Bros’ NFTs, tokens, and wallets during early access, especially on iOS, which required iOS owners to use the PC or Android version to properly link the Cube Wallet that Netmarble decided to use as the primary wallet for Golden Bros.
Due to the limited supply of NFTs available during the pre-sale, Netmarble decided not to gate play to only NFT holders during early access. It also soft launched in the Philippines, which is a notable P2E / guild hub. This allowed for a mix of free and paid players, although it did mean potential ping issues depending on where in the world you were playing from. The early access period itself was fairly rocky in terms of bugs and balance issues as would be expected.
When the Grand Launch hit, some players felt a bit of a bait and switch regarding token earnings. During early access, players were told they would be able to exchange the virtual token earned while playing (eGBP) for the real token (GBC) upon launch. Instead, just before launch, Netmarble changed things up; now, eGBP converts into a new token called Red Gadget at a ratio of 100:1 with the option to exchange one more time from Red Gadget to GBC. It’s likely that the less-than-generous 100:1 ratio was a result of an extended early access period that enabled players to earn many more tokens than expected without losing durability on their NFTs.
As a 3v3 combat shooter, the gameplay itself is primarily a fast PvP match with an interesting mix of some PvE elements added in. Outside of just balance changes and bug fixing, Netmarble did slowly introduce some new features such as equip-able items and collectable cards. One of the odder choices (perhaps due to the portrait vs landscape configuration) is Archero-style controls in which players need to stop moving to shoot, which leads to some pretty odd fights. It’s still too early to tell if the game will get traction as it only has 10K+ downloads on the Google Play store, although initial reviews have not been kind. It currently has a 3.7 rating at the time of writing.
- Animoca Brands announced new ways to earn TOWER tokens from Crazy Defense Heroes with NFT ownership. Link
- Roblox is hiring a senior engineer to help make the Roblox Marketplace “web3 ready.“ Link
- MetaGods, a P2E RPG, released a free-to-play early alpha on its website. Link
- Decentraland announced a major SDK update alongside a manifesto. Link
- Everseed released a second expanded demo for NFT owners. Link
- MetalCore sold out of its 10k Infantry NFT mint. Link
- The World Eternal Online started granting alpha access to select players. Link
- Zed Run released an airdrop for its new governance token. Link
- Infinite Fleet, a sci-fi MMO, released a closed beta for ship NFT owners. Link
- Eternal Dragons launched its 4th NFT mint, this time for Hunters. Link
- Legends of Venari, a creature collection RPG, launched it’s beta season. Link
- Eykar, a Starknet strategy game, released a testnet Alpha. Link
- CLUB, a football management game, began its Season Zero. Link
- Magicave, an NFT digital toy startup, raised $5.6M in seed funding led by BITKRAFT Ventures, Fabric Ventures, Geometry, and Sferion. Link
- Socios.com announced a $100M investment in FC Barcelona for a metaverse push that includes web3 games. Link
- AO Labs raised $4.5M for a community-built casual game called Spacebar, led by YGG. Link
- Alchemon, an NFT card game, raised $1M in a round led by Borderless Capital. Link
- Binance deployed a new “Soulbound token” tied to KYC verification to allow specific dapps to use the verified status and reduce KYC duplication. Link
- Nomad, a bridge between blockchains, was hacked and then looted by repeat hackers for nearly $200M. Link
- The Solana ecosystem experienced a hack that led to the draining of many wallets, although the exploit seems to be on the mobile wallet side and not the network. Link
Notable Market Moves
- This was one of the first weeks in some time where most token values weren’t just following Bitcoin and Ethereum movements. Most of the tokens were in the green this week, but some definitely fared better than others. Bitcoin and Ethereum, on the other hand, were roughly flat.
- ApeCoin saw a pretty strong boost on August 2nd thanks to mega-brand Gucci announcing it would accept payments in ApeCoin, further entrenching Yuga Labs projects in popular fashion and culture.
- Gala also saw some strong steady gains partly due to an announced partnership with OpenSea to better feature Gala in its own collection.
- Bora was the strongest gainer at 20.29% but without any clear indication on what caused the weeklong creep upwards with the biggest movement on August 2nd and 3rd.
- WAX also gained a modest amount on the back of a new content release for Music Mogul despite Blockchain Brawlers dropping about half its players this week according to Dappradar.
Content Worth Consuming
How Yuga Labs hopes to get to the metaverse first with Otherside (VentureBeat) - “Our real vision for Otherside is for it to be an open, interoperable world. I’ll use a very strange analog that isn’t right, but it’s the easiest way to explain it. This is our digital Disney World. What’s cool about this digital Disney World and why it’s differentiated is it’s an open world. It’s not just a place for our IP. It’s not just a place for apes and mutants and punks and Otherside characters. It’s a place for anybody. It’s for your own character. That’s the identity part and the ownership part. If you’re a Cool Cat you’re welcome. If you’re something new that you’ve cooked up in your brain and you want to create a new character for yourself in this world, you can use our SDK to do that. That’s the vision.” Link
Web3 Gaming Player Archetypes (Vader Research) - “One exception of guilds being deflationary and non-value extractive for any game economy is the zero-sum wagering model. E.g. Guild A bets $10, Guild B bets $10 → winner guild earns $18, game dev earns $2, loser guild earns nothing. The growing popularity of this model through various token engineering has led guilds to invest heavily in their esports teams. Another exception of guilds being inflationary and extractive could be whether guilds act as a deflationary player acquisition channel — similar to an influencer. So that the earnings that guilds extract from the game could be justified by the earnings they bring through their brand & distribution channels. Another exception is guilds becoming UGC creator/developer agencies/bootcamps as discussed by Carlos Perreira.” Link
Consumer Insights into the Blockchain Gaming Landscape (Crypto.com) - “In our collaboration with Newzoo, we surveyed over 4,000 gamers across three countries to gain an insight into the blockchain gaming landscape.” Link
A Road forward for Web3 Gaming (0xKepler) - “An additional issue arises when all in-game activities are denominated in the same asset. Web3 games frequently awarded one in-game currency for all actions across game modes. This means teams set the value of each activity, expressed in earnings per minute, beforehand. Players only focus on financial gains and optimize their gameplay towards it. Therefore, some modes or gameplay activities may never be played, even though they make the game more varied and fun. In a way, it takes the choice of what and how to play away from the player. Player choice is a crucial element of games and part of what makes them entertaining and fulfilling. Daily caps on activities or earnings can help mitigate the issues but represent a hard-cut solution for players. An alternative would be a daily rewards pool shared by all players for each activity. If more players partake in one action, earning potential per minute decreases, leading to a self-rebalancing effect.” Link
Soulbound Tokens: Accumulating Power and Reputation in Web3 Games (Ancient8) - “Web3 principles and blockchain technology are disrupting many aspects of the gaming industry. Souls and Soulbound tokens take an innovative step towards representing and publicly verifying an individual’s reputation, achievements, and skill level, which will have wide-ranging implications for web3 games, guilds, players, etc. While SBTs are still a new concept, developers are already building SBT products that could be ready to use potentially by the end of this year.”
What VCs Look for in Web3 Games (The Metacast by Naavik) - “On this week’s Crypto Corner, Play Ventures’ Anton Backman and Konvoy Ventures’ Philip Collins join your host Nico Vereecke for discussion about how we see the Web3 Gaming space evolve over the next 2 years.” Link