#1: Pocketful of Quarters Gets an Inside Track With Unity
In a move that should be of interest especially to indie Web3 game developers, Pocketful of Quarters (POQ) became a Unity Verified Solution Partner. This gives all game devs on Unity the opportunity to use its SDK in order to easily integrate POQ’s blockchain technology into games. POQ has a unique take on utilizing tokens in games that’s very different from the typical P2E approach seen thus far. Rather than its Quarters tokens being a vehicle for cashing out to earn, they are single purchases focused instead on working across all games using its SDK. The inspiration for the idea — clearly from arcade games — is referenced in the name arcade tokens, which had a similar idea of buying a token that worked across all game machines but had no resale value. In this sense, the blockchain is being used as an enabler for the cross-game functionality rather than a peer-to-peer financial system.
The upside of this approach is it is more easily approved by app stores, and there’s no concern over crashing prices or being overvalued by speculators. It’s also not obvious to players that the blockchain is involved at all, which makes the system feel more like buying gems in one game that you can use in others without any friction or expectation of cashing out. The downside for players is that unlike gems, the price is constant and never discounted. This does allow players a way to essentially convert some of their fiat into a more liquid cross-game currency through a single transaction. An important consideration is that the inability to cash out means that the value of the ecosystem is dependent on the quantity of games participating.
POQ has stated there are 60 game companies signed up and expected to launch within the next year, so it may take some time to get an estimation of player interest, but the Unity integration is likely to improve that. To prevent other means of cashing out, the games that are signed up aren’t allowed to implement a cryptocurrency in them, which may reduce interest from some developers. Overall, the concept is a bit of a retro approach and doesn’t do much to push Web3 technology forward, but there’s likely to be a niche audience that’s receptive to the concept.
#2: Get Ready To Catch Chainmonsters
Collectible-based games are a natural fit for NFT-driven technologies due to the ability to trade and the player desire to acquire a fuller collection. Unsurprisingly, Pokemon is often referenced by Web3 game devs as an inspiration for their upcoming collectible-driven games. Despite the number of titles claiming to try and replicate the experience of collecting monsters as NFTs, one game has the potential of being the first close rendition — Chainmonsters. The game has been in closed betas for some time now, with the most recent beta phase ending April 15th and a newly announced one to start soon. Alongside the new beta phase will be the release of a free public demo that will be available until the full 1.0 release in February 2023. Luckily, with the game being developed in Unity, the demo will be released on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. Most importantly, in the grand scheme of Web3, this will be the first big game on the Flow blockchain, as NBA Top Shot and its ilk are just a fun skin on collecting NFTs.
Dapper Labs created Flow based on the lessons learned from developing the original NFT project, CryptoKitties, which has bred many clones since. Despite desiring Flow to be a chain based on both collectibles and games, it’s so far only been able to achieve the former. With there being a lot of interest in the chain and its potential, given the success of NBA Top Shot, there’s high anticipation to see how it handles the games aspect. There are other games looking to come out on Flow as well, such as Animoca Brands’ MotoGP Ignition, but capturing monsters as NFTs is something much more likely to attract a large portion of the Web3 audience. While the demo won’t change much in the months until full launch, the next beta phase is already touting improvements in monster design, UI cutscenes, and mobile performance. The game is free-to-play, and the demo will be free as well, so it’s worth giving it a try to see if any game can deliver on the dream of being “Pokemon with NFTs.”
- Life Beyond launched the first phase of its Alpha for Apartment Key and Passport holders. Link
- Gods Unchained announced $GODS staking rewards that don’t require token lockups but do require some activity. Link
- Also, Gods Unchained announced a player advisory council system. Link
- The Otherside is running two load tests on the 6th and 9th ahead of its announced “First Trip” launch on July 16th. Link
- KOGs, a Web3 game based on POGs, announced a new promotion to burn KOGs in exchange for a limited edition collection. Link
- Mytheria, a Binance collectible card game, launched an open beta. Link
- Upland released its Metaverse Motors car NFTs. Link
- The Harvest, a MOBA class-based shooter, launched its first NFT sale on July 7th. Link
- Splinterlands revealed more details on its upcoming Modern and Wild formats. Link
- Undead Blocks ran a Tournament from July 8th to 10th with a $20K prize pool. Link
- SHIB coin announced plans to create a stablecoin called SHI, a reward token called TREAT, and a collectible card game.
- Crazy Defense Heroes added NFT rewards to its Daily Star Chest rewards that only previously gave TOWER token rewards. Link
- Crypthulhu Studios raised $3M for its Flow chain Dimension X game in a funding round led by Coatue and Dapper Labs. Link
- Planetarium Labs raised $32M in a Series A funding round led by Animoca Brands to help build on the success of Nine Chronicles with new games. Link
- Konvoy raised a $150M fund with 20-30% earmarked for blockchain games. Link
- Immutable X announced a staking program for its IMX tokens that just requires having tokens and performing marketplace trades. Link
- The Sandbox announced a partnership with BAYZ DAO to expand into Brazil. Link
- Yield Guild Games announced its new Playhouse content creator program. Link
- Polium announced a Web3 game console. Link
Notable Market Moves
- Most of the tokens this week benefitted from an overall upswing in crypto markets around July 4th, especially the top six which all saw double digit percentage gains.
- StepN is continuing to try and climb its way back towards its 30D high thanks to the interest generated by its continued economy changes and announced APE realm. Its utility token, GST, hasn’t seen any lift in value, so it remains to be seen if the optimism in GMT continues in the long-term.
- The Sandbox saw the biggest increase at 29.39% thanks to the hype around Alpha Season 3.
- ApeCoin also saw some solid lift thanks to the announcement of the load tests and First Trip launch on July 16th.
- There’s been a lot of talk about games being more recession-resistant, and that’s likely to continue across the industry. Of course, with blockchain games, most of what we’ve seen fall apart so far actually has little to do with the broader economy and more to do with poor fundamentals and bad economy designs specific to the games (that was turbocharged as crypto as a whole fell into a bear market). Over the remainder of the year — and no matter what happens in the economy, recession risk and all — expect a continued shift away from ponzinomic-driven games and more toward projects that are built for fun (not player profit) with sustainable models. That might mean more pain for many “top” projects and patience for new game launches, but despite any short-term pain it should lead to a stronger and more robust industry in the future.
Content Worth Consuming
- Axie Infinity and Polygon Leaders Tackle the Bear Market in Crypto, NFTs, and Blockchain Games (GamesBeat) - “But what I believe is happening in the long term is that our digital lives are starting to become more and more important to our physical lives. Is that a trend that stopped in the last couple of months just because the macro environment started raising rates? No. We might have had a pause or a consolidation in that trend. In my opinion, COVID ending and people going outside and things like that, that was actually the catalyst for this kind of short-term pull-back in gaming and the metaverse theme. But in the long term, everyone is aligned that people are going to be spending more and more time in front of screens and getting a lot more of their fun, their status, their social connections from these digital environments, more so than physical environments. It’s written. But timing is always difficult.” Link
- Star Atlas Releases its Inaugural Triple-A State of the Economy Report (Star Atlas Medium) - “The Department of Economics at ATMTA, Inc., the developer of Star Atlas, has unveiled its flagship report titled State of the Economy, presenting a comprehensive set of tools and data for a birds-eye view of the Star Atlas economy. The report brings a series of firsts, including the first Census of the Star Atlas Universe, and the introduction of the labor force as a key concept in metaverse econometrics. The research also points to Star Atlas contributing roughly 1% to total global crypto adoption in December 2021.” Link
- Web3 Game Funding in a Crypto Winter (Naavik Metacast) - “On this week’s Crypto Corner, BITKRAFT Crypto Team members Carlos Pereira and Jamie Wallace join your host (and their colleague) Nico Vereecke to discuss the current state of Web3 fundraising. Now that expectations have come back to earth, what’s the best way forward for Studio Founders? What do you do when the price of your token is unfairly low? How should you approach fundraising today? What lessons are to be learned from the previous bull cycle?” Link
- NFT Fantasy: Why Items-as-NFTs Does Not Enable Transfer of Assets Between Games (Load-Bearing Tomato) - “Even if you were able to wave a magic wand and make all of the things that prevent it irrelevant, you’d still just be left with something that adds complexity while providing no additional value. The only extra functionality that would provide over a regular cross-game promotional item (like Little Big Planet was doing 10 years ago) is the ability to trade those items between users .. which Steam was doing 9 years ago. If you’re currently thinking something about ‘but decentralization’, hold that thought. That’s a falsehood people have been selling, and I’ll address it in a future article. The point of this article is singular - to show how NFTs do nothing to mitigate any of the difficulties of asset sharing.” Link