Trading Card Games (TCGs) have always been a natural fit for Web3. Their real-world analog cousins are inherently collectible, generally have a notion of rarity, and have a thriving secondary market. For instance, the infamous Black Lotus card from Magic: The Gathering earlier in 2023 broke its own sales record at $540,000, and there is a long history of high-value cards changing hands. 

So it is no surprise that some of the earliest entrants into Web3 gaming were TCGs. But how are these games doing? Have they justified the early hype? Or have they disappointed and not quite lived up to their potential? And where might they go from here?

In this episode your host, Niko Vuori, dives into Web3 TCGs with Naavik’s Web3 analyst Devin Becker, who recently published an in-depth look into the genre, which is a must-read for anyone interested in this space.

To learn more, be sure to read Devin’s piece on Web3 TGCs at You can find Devin Becker on LinkedIn.


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This transcript is machine-generated, and we apologize for any errors.

Niko: Hello, and welcome to the Naavik Gaming Podcast. I'm your host, Niko Vuori. We have a great episode for you today, and a particularly informative one as well. Our topic is the state of Web3 trading card games, or TCGs. TCGs have always been the most or at least one of the most natural fits for Web3.

Their real world analog cousins are inherently collectible, generally have a notion of rarity, and have a thriving secondary market. The infamous black Lotus card from magic, the gathering just earlier in 2023 broke its own sales record at 540, 000. So there is a long history of high value cards changing hands for real money.

So it is no surprise that some of the earliest and most hyped entrance into web three gaming were TCGs, many founded by industry veterans, but how are these games doing? Have they grown into the early hype and often large valuations they raised venture funding at, or have they disappointed and not quite lived up to their potential?

At least not yet. So to dive into the web3 TCG space, we have Naavik's very own web three analyst, Devin Becker, who recently published in December, 2023, an in-depth look into the genre, which is a must read for anyone interested in the space. We will put a link in the show notes as always. Devin, welcome back to the pod.

Great to have you here.

Devin: Yeah, man. Thanks for the excellent intro. I think you took a little bit of my talking points from the beginning there, but well said very interesting space. And I'm excited to be in here talking about it. I'd actually give a good reason for that. Why one of the, one of the later topics, I think on this.

Niko: There you go. Awesome. I'm sorry if I took any of your thunder here. You are the expert. I am merely the host. Our listeners will learn much more from you than they will from me. Why don't we start from the very top here? 30, 000 foot view for our listeners here. What are Web3 TCGs? Why are they at least theoretically a great fit for Web3 above and beyond what I mentioned in the intro?

Devin: Yeah, a big part of it is the stuff that you mentioned in the intro, which comes down to the fact that They were inherently collectible in the sense that they're like a modular game where you can collect multiple pieces and have a reason to collect multiple pieces, which a lot of games lack. So this is already like a motivation for collecting multiple things in a and some of a reason for NFTs to exist.

And then that secondary market has existed since the very beginning. There was never not a secondary market for at least the physical card games. The big problem was that digital card games just didn't have a great way to handle that. And in theory, they could have solved a lot of that and kept it a little bit, within their own sort of ecosystem, but it just was too complicated to handle. Not that we've solved everything, but Web3 does make it, I think, a little bit easier to treat secondary markets as secondary markets and not some weird sort of internal market in the game. And so I think that's just been a, like a big obvious use case for this.

It's just, it makes sense to have this for going back to, again, Magic the Gathering, the original one, it was never not a market that made sense as a collectible that's tradable.

Niko: Yeah, and I think that collectability, tradability, I think those are probably the two key things that I pick at and rarity as a kind of a third one.

So why don't we highlight a few again at the 30, 000 foot level without going into the details, we're going to do that in a bit on some of these games. Why don't you highlight a few that you think deserve a look and just a very quick note on why you think so.

Devin: Yeah, a lot of the ones that were covered in the articles, I think are the ones really worth checking out in the sense that they've been around for a while, had a chance to polish things up and try to continue to iterate in the actual open market, which is, of course, useful for getting things into the space where players are enjoying them, or at least trying to get there.

And Gazlan Chain is one of the big ones. That's just been around for quite some time and has it had a chance to really improve the game over the last year. Skyweaver as well, it came out really polished and I always find it funny that people that haven't played it because it just looked so good from the beginning, not just visually, but like the polish, the animations, the style, but just always lacked a little bit of traction there.

And then Splinterlands almost at this point, I guess for just seeing some of the older sort of iterations and unique ideas around how you would implement it in the blockchain. And Parallel is one of the newer ones that's in the sense of Getting towards being a more of a public release whereas it's been a bit more closed prior to that, but I think it's worth looking at just a lot of the, even the minor ones because they're interesting.

Just some of the ones that like I mentioned offhand in there, like Dark Country, which is never really got a ton of traction, but was interesting at the beginning. And there was like Deviants Factions that really tried to make a go at it. A lot of people really put in good effort in the space, just not everyone can succeed.

Niko: Yeah, isn't that games for you more broadly? So let's do a quick sanity. We're going to go into those titles in more detail or some of those titles, maybe even all of those titles, but let's do a quick sanity check against something that most listeners will be more aware of. I think, and that is popular web to TCG's on mobile.

How big are. Those web two TCG, some of the names there and how does web three compare so far on some of the metrics, popularity, private news, things like that.

Devin: Yeah, Hearthstone was the big one that made things really big in the TCG, like a lot of cop cats, things like that, but it's diminished a little bit over time.

But even that said, that's still looking at, according to the data to AI estimates around three to four million a month. And then you've got other ones like Marvel snap doing more than double that at more like seven to eight million a month. And that's from four more Hearthstone people, which is the funny part.

It's like they, they iterated on what they thought worked and clearly that's the case. So market size wise, that's. Definitely, I'd say a lot bigger than web three has been, however, we don't have an accurate way to gauge like number of players, not that we necessarily do for mobile either with more, it's still more estimates, but I think it's a little bit more potentially accurate because people aren't playing with multiple walls or multiple accounts as frequently on mobile, not that they can't, of course, people have emulators on computers and stuff like that.

So I would say though, just because. Maturity of the market and those two, a few games that are doing really well has made it much, much bigger than a web three. But the potential is clearly there because of the tradeability again, is not something that exists in those games.

Niko: So if we take some of those numbers about a hundred million a year in. Gross revenue, give or take would be just a few.

Devin: If you include all the super tiny ones, I'm sure it goes up significantly after that, even as they all add up.

Niko: Because of course, long tail, but for a single title, we're probably looking at marvel snap, something like 100 million, maybe a little more a year in gross revenue, at least according to data dot AI estimates.

Devin: Yeah, it's doing quite well for a game that doesn't even really sell cards to the players like all the rest do. So it's interesting twist on things.

Niko: Yeah, big numbers, 100 million. It's not Supercell, it's not Clash of Clans, right? But it is still a very sizable and very healthy business there. Okay. Let's talk about the player base now.

Are the Web 3 TCG players already existing Web 2 TCG players or analog? Players or is web three tapping into a brand new audience being exposed to TCGs for the first time, perhaps.

Devin: Yeah, it's hard to get accurate demographic information, but just anecdotal based off of my observations in the market.

It's definitely an interesting mix. You've got a bit of the kind of typical TCG players that are interested in more so the digital TCGs, whereas I don't think you're going to find as many people that are really into the physical ones diving into the web three space unless they just want to try out the sort of collectability aspect.

Things like that, but the actual like web three native players tended to play whatever they could get their hands on. So these ones that are older, especially have a lot of those players that just stuck around after finding some interesting stuff about the game or just really liking playing it. But these aren't necessarily games where you're making tons of money on trading things like that.

So it's nice that it's more so the actual players outside of some of these games that do have a bit of the bot side of things. Unfortunately, just due to some of the play to the urn nature, I think attracts a little bit of that. So it's a nice mix. Obviously, it would be much better if there was a lot more of the native players mixed in.

And then also that this was growing the market interest in TCGs in general. But I would say it's actually not bad considering we're potentially bringing in. As you hit a new audience due to the tradeability or the play to earn aspects.

Niko: And how has that evolved over time? I'm sure some of those during the crypto bull were new to TCGs, but they perhaps were more attracted to the financial motivations as were many in the many games, how has that evolved over time?

What does it look like now? Did it peak and then decline? Has it plateaued? Is it stable? Is it growing? What's the state there?

Devin: Yeah, I'd say like some of these are growing and some of these are shrinking sometimes by drastic amounts. It really depends on a lot of times, whether the game's kind of aging well or not in terms of whether they've been able to improve, acquire more users, scale things up and keep things going.

Unfortunately, TCGs. One of those ones too, where if you don't have constant new content flowing, they just die. They're one of the genres of games that kind of always needed live ops of some kind, or whether you could say that DLC or whatever, they can't just sit idle and survive. So in general, I think the market.

Is always growing, especially after the bull market TCGs in general, the physical space and also crypto at around the same time during COVID, I think, injected a lot of interest and money into the space. I think we shook off a lot of the people that were just trying to play to earn or some of the bots.

So it's actually in areas where it shrunk a little bit, but then grew again with more genuine players. So I think it's. Even the shrinkage was helping grow into a healthier direction. I think.

Niko: So right now you'd say this is a reasonably healthy state of affairs right now. We've flushed out some of those speculators and it's more the people who are there for the love of the game or believe in the projects that they're backing going forward.

Okay. And we're going to talk about the future, actually, later on in this episode, we're going to talk about 2024 and beyond to see where we're going. Okay. We've mentioned a few names already. And again, we will be going deeper into each of those, but what is the current state again, at the high level here.

State of development of these games. How many are live and actually operating and have been around for a while, have a bit of a track record versus how many are still in development, or maybe they're in private beta or something like that, or they're just don't have enough content yet. How would you categorize the state of affairs from a development perspective?

Devin: I would say there's definitely less than 10, like live games with at least enough live players to be able to play. Some of them are around with just a trickle of players, I think at best, but it's more about five or six that are like really active ones. And of course, in the space, we don't have a way to even fully index all these to know about some that might just be super obscure ones.

I know that there are some, say for example, in Asia that, that might not be completely aware of just because they, the language barrier, they end up obscure. I've seen some of that from the earlier Japanese games. But it's mostly about four or five that are like live playable, heavily polished at this point, or at least been around long enough to have iterated a lot.

And some of them slap that beta tags on there or try and put add caveats, but are still like done enough. Luckily. TCGs are one of those genres of games because you're just trying to emulate a very simple physical thing. It's more just the complexity of the coding rules that add to the development time in general.

They're not actually that long a development time compared to a lot of the games out there. And that makes it so that a lot of them are able to launch within a year or two of starting development, which is a big deal for. What we saw with web three, where they just had a lot of quality games that couldn't get out in time.

So this is one of those ones that was, I think, a lot easier to have fully playable games in 2021, 2022 and going on forward that are polished enough to be very playable. But there's always room for improvement in the space right now, because they haven't been around long enough to really fully understand the differences in the market yet.

Niko: I'm not a huge TCG player, but I have dabbled in Magic the Gathering and a couple of others. And one thing I know about players of TCGs is that they are extremely passionate about balancing. And I'm curious, you may be able to get a game to market relatively quickly. Core mechanics are pretty well established.

Pretty well understood in TCGs, and we're going to talk about some innovations later on in this episode, but balancing, even with the core gameplay, the balancing is so critical because if you have to nerf a card or you introduce a new card, that's like way overpowered, the players go nuts, right? And so I'm curious to hear, is that true in Web 3 as well?

And how are developers Let Even if they're getting to market quickly, how are they ensuring that their balancing is on point?

Devin: Yeah, it's a tricky thing with Web 3. 0 wins, especially if there's always been an issue with digital TCGs and physical TCGs. When it came to how you make changes, for example, after a card is out.

In the physical world they tend to use errata. Sometimes that just means banning a card or limiting the amount of times you can play it because it's difficult to reprint and ship that out to everyone. Sometimes, some people are just using the fact that cards expire after a short amount of time in terms of being, In like normal play.

And so they just rotate those out and maybe introduce a new version in the digital realm. It's a little harder because you either just can change it on everyone and there's no really recourse for the players, or it can be a situation where you've got a certain policy around how you either negotiate that publicly or you have a certain window of time.

And Web3 exacerbates that because if you have the idea of these sort of cards existing in players wallets in theory, outside of the game, yet the game is still the one that can change those, what they do, because their functionality isn't actually coded on the blockchain, just a reference to the card, which means they're still able to be fully changed wherever, because it's the implementation that matters.

And certainly the card art and text, technically a nice thing about trading cards versus some other collectibles is a lot of the rules and interesting aspects are part of the collectible itself. But this has been a situation where some of these ones have policies where they'll say, okay, the, within the first 90 days, we're free to make changes after that.

We'll lock it in things like that. And some of them will try and do tests, whether it be public tests or private tests, try and balance things out, but you can never get it a hundred percent right. And the longer a game is out, the more difficult that becomes if you don't rotate cards out, because they're just the number of.

Possible combinations like just explode so fast where you can't reasonably test everything. And looking at games like Marvel snap, one of the reasons I think they were successful is they balanced and tweaked for at least two, three years internally, and then ran it through the beta and ran that through the ringer.

And so by the time that game came out extremely well polished on the balance side, but you also have Far less cards you're playing with at a given time. So I think they had a good position there and I've seen since then they've started to struggle a bit more and finding the place for things as the card complexity increases as players find more loopholes and web three is in a tricky spot with that because you're going to get people treating it more as an investment and less as a card that they're playing with and you start messing with that.

You could really potentially upset a lot of people and you can't just be like, Oh, we'll issue a new version of it. Let you keep your old version. It is complicated. And so I think. If we get people heavily spending for very exclusive, even versions of cards, being able to change that whenever you want as the game developer is still getting problematic because that kind of goes against what Vitalik was saying.

He got started Ethereum for was that sort of World of Warcraft experience where Blizzard could change something on him and he couldn't do anything about it. We're still in that situation with TCGs. Outside of the fact that you could make another game that says, Hey, I recognize that you have that card.

And that'll be like this in my game instead. And technically you could do a spinoff. Of an existing game with a twist on the rules. Just good luck with copyright law, unfortunately.

Niko: Yeah, it's interesting. You could do a whole episode on what does it mean in Web 3 to own an NFT card or asset when developers still can change the metadata, live somewhere else on a private server and sure, you own this Digital representation of something that can actually be changed for game purposes at any time, just like it can in web two.

So it is interesting how much has changed and how little has changed at the same time as we migrate to web three slight change of pace here. I'm very curious to hear who's building these games. Do we have big veterans of the physical world or the web two world coming in? Or are these more web three native?

Developers, designers who are putting a fresh twist on what are traditional and air quotes, traditional TCGs.

Devin: Yeah, a lot of this has mostly been developed by, I think, people that were more web three native looking to explore. I think since then, I think there's probably been a number of more veteran people stuck into these companies, whether they were announced or not, like just trying to get more experienced people on board to help.

Shape these up over time. But I think initially most of them were just killed as we want to make this in the web three space. This is what we're making. And we've played enough of these games to know, obviously, like TCGs are like many board games are an open book, right? You see all the rules, you see all the pieces on the video game where you'd have to reverse engineer a lot of stuff.

So it's easy to be like, Hey, I know how to design a TCG because I've seen the guts of all of them that I've played. Luckily, there is some veterans in here. I think that the most interesting one, going back to why I was saying it's interesting to be talking about this on here is the very first Crypto Corner I was on many moons ago was with Chris Clay, who is on Gods Unchained and comes from actually doing Magic the Gathering Arena, the digital version of the original TCG.

And I actually moved over to Web3 wanting to free the cards and free the data for players. So he was one of the more interesting vets, I think, both from having a lot of experience in the digital TCG realm, but also just switching over to try and actually do the Web3 ethos part with what he thought was good about TCGs.

Niko: Yeah, it's not, it's nice to have a mix. I think you want people who are going to put a fresh twist on things and come at this from a web three first perspective, like what is possible when you have digital ownership and however imperfect it might be, as we just said, and then having some old schoolers coming in and bringing some of that the.

Many decades of philosophy that goes into TCGs and the rule sets. So this brings me on to something, which is everything on the blockchain is public. And so we should be able to have some sense of how big the audiences for these games are. And I think you have, you track some of these, not all of them, perhaps in your piece for Novick back in December, what kinds of user numbers are we talking about here and how have they evolved over time from cryptable 2021 in particular to where we are today.

And you can maybe just use some couple of examples or. A meta view, if that's what you'd like to do.

Devin: It's funny because it's like, we think of the blockchain as being transparent as now we have the insight that we needed. Like we can see whatever games are doing. Realistically, unfortunately you got two big problems.

One is, which is a lot of level data in the sense of, you don't know if a unique wall, it's a unique wallet. You don't know if that's an individual player, a bot or someone playing a whole bunch of different accounts. So like tracking player numbers, for example, is pretty accurate. And then also you've got.

Compounded by the fact that most of these games don't check into the blockchain when you go to play. So you're only going to get numbers for things that are actually then being produced onto the blockchain. If there is match results, cool. You can at least see all the matches that have completed. You don't see the ones that are necessarily maybe abandoned or started, but there's enough data to start to make some estimates, but not enough to really draw conclusions.

I think the way we can currently with mobile data to some extent, but even looking at that, like Splinterlands is a good example of a game that basically did everything on the blockchain. For the most part, I migrated some stuff off, but as far as the important aspects of this, they're primarily doing it as a transaction on the blockchain, which is why they're a bit different than most of the other traditional TCGs here, which has given us at least some user numbers.

And unfortunately, they're not great for the game. It's we're going from a peak of around 400, 000 unique active wallets. Down to a 10th of that now at about 40, 000. And keep in mind, a lot of these are bots. We don't really know what percentage, a lot of bots did seem to leave during a period when it's changed the rewards around, so they were less favorable to bots and they've done some other stuff since that may have just made it not so valuable to be running bots in there, but there's a core dedicated player base and even in the most dead TCG people are sunk costs into that they bought that they know they can't maybe flip it and they're just going to keep playing it.

Skyweaver, on the other hand, had a third party data site showing, I don't know how accurate it is because I don't know how they're getting the data, but every time I checked during the process of writing the article was around 4, 700 people. And it's one of those things where, again, this is inaccurate because they're looking at people that are online.

In the game, meaning like most likely that just to have the website open because it's web based. It's also mobile, but most people are playing on the web. And so you got maybe people that are just leaving the website open. So again, just lots and lots of it actually, and gods on chain being on immutable.

It's not the kind of blockchain that's providing. All that kind of data, it's all API driven. And so having to look at third party sites and the nice thing is at least there was match results. So I tried to get some back of the napkin math to try and determine maybe how many people are online based off match length and number of matches and things like that.

And it was looking at probably less than 5, 000 concurrence, maybe less than three. It was really difficult to estimate over multiple days, but. I don't think they have a huge amount of players. Now, of course, if these migrate over something like Steam, we might be able to get something more through something like Steam charts and get better player data that, because that's much more likely to be unique players.

Which would be nice. Like I think as this market matures, oddly enough, the less it's on the blockchain, the more we might actually get more accurate data. And as ironic as hat is.

Niko: Oh, it's the irony of it all. What is, what was old is once new again, right? Or however that expression goes. Bottom line is not a huge audience for any of these games.

Even the most successful air quotes ones that we're talking about here is at. Maybe a few thousand to maybe tens of thousands, low tens of thousands. And even then some of those, or many of those might be bots. So that's their ceiling. And when you say actives, are you talking daily actives or monthly actives?

What's your definition of that?

Devin: Yeah. And so I was saying just active concurrent, but as far as the unique active wallets for split delays, that was more like on a daily basis. But again that's. Unique active wallets, not necessarily unique players. And so that's a data for context from Dapp Radar, which is looking at contact contract interactions.

So how many people are interacting with the contracts in the game that may also be including mixing in people that aren't playing, but are just trading in the market, things like that. So can you take all of those numbers again with huge grain of salt, because there's a lot of caveats to how they gather that data and what that data really means.

We also look at secondary market volume to get an idea of like at least general activity, right? So You know, we may not have numbers on player bases for gods unchanged, for example, but we can look at how active the market is for it because it's pretty much just locked onto a mutable. And just looking at the trade volume alone, you can see it go up and down and get an idea of at least if the player base is active and growing in a sense in any given period, especially with these more often, not like sometimes there's these big expensive cards, but there's also lots and lots of small cards in that add up.

To a big part of that volume and the more small cards are trading, the more that's indicating players and not necessarily like traders or people flipping for money.

Niko: Got it. Got it. Okay. So that's really helpful. And I do think it is actually surprisingly difficult to get data on play, not just for TCGs, but for almost any game.

And we are thankful. I am thankful. And our listeners, I'm sure who are interested in the space are thankful for you for. Doing some of the hard work of trying to figure out how big these player bases are. Okay. So that's the player side of things. Let's talk about the revenue side of things. Talk a bit more about the revenue models for how these TCGs monetize.

What stands out to you? Is anyone doing something particularly innovative and interesting in this space? And how do they differ from. Web two and analog games.

Devin: Yeah. The funny part is there is definitely a lack of innovation in a lot of these in terms of a business model, but that's because they already have the one advantage that they just really had before, which is how the secondary market is handled.

Just for those who aren't terribly familiar, the general way that TCGs work in terms of the business model for the physical world is just, they come out and sets every three, four months and release those as a big set through blind booster packs. So people buy the booster packs, open them up, they get random cards.

We've gotten to the point with physical TCGs where most. Hardcore players are buying boxes of boosters or like doing huge amounts of trading on eBay and things like that. But the primary way that those companies are making that money is through that sale to retailers. Now, of course, in the digital world, you're selling direct to players.

And so it's similar kind of bottle and normal web too, where you're just buying either booster packs or buying some ways to get cards outside. As I mentioned, a Marvel snap, which has got its own kind of obfuscation of buying cards and semi gotchas and things like that. In the digital world, you still have the same thing where you can sell those sets.

So like Splinterlands will come out with sets or Gods Unchained will come out with sets. And they're selling those sets at a fixed price. Directly to consumers. So that's varied over time in terms of using other currencies and that kind of screwing with those prices and ability to take profit from that.

But the secondary market has definitely always been there. And that's a situation where generally most of these games have been somewhat in control of getting the revenue from that in terms of like royalties, for example, God's Unchained, one of the things that's exciting about seeing the secondary volume numbers is immutable.

Fully enforces royalties. So, that X percentage of that is going to immutable for developing the game from those secondary market transactions. You can at least estimate revenue from that. First, we don't have numbers on actual sales of things like the initial packs, which they have a variety of tiers of, but the one who's actually doing like a lot more, I would say innovating in terms of doing Different things for revenue besides just cards was splinterlands because it started doing other sort of things around it, where, for example, they would have these consumable potions you could buy that you would apply whenever opening a booster pack to each card in it, potentially that would increase the chance of getting a legendary or a gold version.

So as soon as you were paying to increase your loot drops, essentially, or the rarity of them. Which was an interesting way to further monetize cards prior to them being open and prior to them being on the secondary market, which funny enough, if it increases the value of a card and then that card hits the secondary market, that increases the value of the royalties as well, which is an interesting way for them to double dip on that profit potentially, assuming that they don't flood the market with.

But they also did other interesting things around like having a PFP based card called the Rooney, which was like, are you and I, and it was like this kind of unique card. And they had some different things you can do with it. I wouldn't say it was a huge success, but it was an interesting experiment. And they also have a land system that they're partway through releasing.

I think they're version 1. 5 at this point, I think 2. 0 is really like a full version. So definitely people trying to build web theory. Like web three things around it, at least in that game, whereas a lot of the other ones like gods and chain and stuff are really just more leaning into, Hey, this is a trading card game with the ability to trade on the blockchain and Skyweavers the same way.

It's just like, Hey, we're using the blockchain primarily for trading, but otherwise this is a normal game.

Niko: Yeah, that nicely brings me on to my next question, which I was planning anyway, which is pretty much all of these games, are minting their cards as NFTs, right? That's the one thing that these games all have in common and based on your previous answer, some of them are just doing that.

That's it. That's no innovation there whatsoever. They're just on the blockchain and then others are doing something a bit more interesting and maybe a few more bells and whistles and tweaks and things like that. Now, yeah. Again, we go back to the hey, everything on the blockchain is theoretically public, and we know that certainly Magic the Gathering, we mentioned the Black Lotus 540, 000.

It's legendary in that game, and it's traded for hundreds of thousands of dollars in prior years, too. This is just the latest iteration of somebody prepared to pay that much money. So I want to see if that exists. In web three, how robust of a trading ecosystem do we have for web three TCGs and what do the record sales for various titles look like, if you've been able to track that?

Devin: Yeah, the it's a little difficult to get like the exact numbers for a lot of the stuff, mostly because, like we're talking about often trading in different currencies that aren't necessarily pegged. To the dollar and things like that. Whereas Skyweaver uses USDC, but they're not also selling like very expensive cards.

Most of it's a lot of times cards are a dollar or two, which is a bit more actually than physical, like common cards go for in the real world, which are usually pennies. So it's interesting there that like even like the kind of minimum. Is a little bit higher at God's sunshine. I think also gets pretty low into the sub dollar just because of the way things work on that blockchain, but it's not necessarily a situation where we're seeing lots of special cards that go for huge amounts outside of occasionally like really powerful ones.

The, to follow up on the black Lotus example, you have, there was also the recent Lord of the Rings set that Magic the Gathering did where they had one card that was the one ring and that went for over a million to. Famous musician Post Malone and gaining like a lot of publicity. And the interesting thing about that, of course, is if that were on the blockchain, you could 100 percent verify that was the one unique card that existed and no others existed.

So that's an interesting advantage that they've had for selling for high rarity cards. On the blockchains, you can verify the rarity. You could verify how many owners there are, how many people. Have it, if people are potentially even like using it, depending on the game. So it's interesting in that there's the potential for much higher value in that sense, and I would say there has been probably a lot more higher numbers for say, legendary level cards than a game like magic, the gathering, where those tend to be a little more common.

And most people are just really having to buy a lot of them for a deck, which kind of adds up that cost just to give a personal experience that I can, verify to the numbers, there was a card in splinter lands that I got early on Out of maybe, I'd spent probably 40 on booster packs. And it was a legendary card, Yoden, I think Zaku or something like that.

But at the time it was actually pretty, pretty valuable. And it was, I think it was worth like 40, 50 bucks when I got it. I just held onto it to the point where my friend who also got around the same time sold it for about a thousand bucks. And I was like, I'll sell it if it gets done to that number again, because it dropped back down and ended up getting it for, I think about 800 bucks after a transaction fees and stuff like that for a card that I just had picked up from a blind booster pack.

And I don't think that's anywhere near the high end. Of what cards can sell for and one three but making 800 bucks off of a card. I was just sure Why not i'll sell that because i'm not playing with it at the time That's probably kind of middle numbers for what we're saying, just to give you a sense of perspective.

So I think potential is much higher, but at the same time that was during the market when everyone was a lot more excited about that sort of thing. So I think if we swing back around to that again and have like really successful web three, whether that be like a traditional game moving over to web three or a web three born one.

I think the numbers can go much higher than what we see for in the physical world, which is ironic because it's just a digital thing.

Niko: So the profit there is actually much higher margins for the developer, but so far, obviously, volumes are lower. Potential is higher. So let's see. Let's see how that evolves.

Okay, so we're about halfway through, and this is the perfect time to dive into some of these titles individually. I know we've mentioned it, Some of these factoids and bits and pieces throughout this first half of the show. But let's dive a little bit deeper into what some of these titles are doing.

There's a few I want to talk about and then Devin, feel free to chat about whichever ones are doing something interesting in your mind. We've talked quite a bit about Splinterlands already and some of their user numbers, but it's an important one because it was an early success story during the 2021 bull.

How's it doing? And what is Splinterlands doing? Actually, let's talk about that first. What is Splinterlands doing? What is each title doing? And then how has it evolved over time?

Devin: Yeah, it's interesting for being more of a Web3 native TCG in the sense that it wasn't just using the blockchain for trading cards.

It was actually trying to design with the blockchain in mind back when a lot of the initial games were wanting to do everything on the blockchain. So in this case, it actually does everything in the blockchain. As far as what matters because it's a transactional based and not really interactive gameplay where you are, basically you get matched up with someone, you make a deck really quick based off of a set of procedurally generated rules that sort of affect what you should build.

And it's like more than seven, eight person deck of cards or team of cards, and they're not shuffled or anything like that. So there's a lot of things that are not. Typical TCG and then it auto plays those cards in the order that you put them in against the opponent. And so you're submitting everything basically as one single transaction as far as that deck and what that's going to do.

Which is interesting of itself because it's all just happening automatically at that point. So really like you're spending a minute or two building a deck and then the deck is essentially played for you and then you get the result. And so that made for an interesting sort of play to earn system where like you could grind through pretty quickly because obviously you're not spending a lot of time per match and the matches were just all like automatically happening for you.

You can watch the results or you can skip them. And so that also lent itself to bots pretty heavily because you didn't even have to interact with the game client. You could just submit those transactions themselves straight onto the blockchain. So bots were very, I wouldn't say easy to write. Cause it's still a pain because you're dealing with a blockchain.

That's not heavily used pretty much. Splinterlands is the thing on high blockchain coming originally from steam blockchain with two E's, which was a, tried to do its own. Like social network and things like that, which still got ported over to this new branch network, which was like its own weird history.

We won't get into, but that's, that was the interesting thing about that game. It's just being very transactional and it's never truly gotten away from that. They've tried to add little aspects here and there, but overall it's still the same. And that's part of the problem is it's not aged super well.

In the early days of blockchain stuff, that was enough. That was great. That was innovative, brand new, cool things happening. Very exciting. But as we saw with pretty much every platform, mobile and things like that, and even web games, it needs to get better, more interesting, more interactive, or people just leave outside of like a core player base.

I'd say like the same kind of players who still play something like alien worlds, which is like also very transactional. To be fair, like those kinds of like web based games that are very simplistic, still always retain an audience. I see people still playing text based web strategy games online that are just still into that hardcore thing.

But ultimately, Splinterlands has focused on doing a lot more weird stuff with its economy or trying to build out this land system. Rather than being able to innovate on the gameplay. And I think that's left it behind some of these other ones that are focusing more on having the gameplay off the blockchain and using the blockchain for card trading, which I'd love to say innovation went out, but I think there's a case where it was interesting and I think people can learn a lot, but I don't think, I don't think we need a ton of innovation in that sense right now, just to get people on board.

Niko: Yeah. Tried and true sometimes is tried and true for a reason. Okay. Next up is Gods Unchained. That one I know took a lot of design cues from Hearthstone, which we already mentioned in the web two context is one of the bigger ones out there on mobile. And Gods Unchained was, and probably still is the largest air quotes success story.

On immutable X. And so why don't you tell us a little bit about his history, how it came to be and how is it doing?

Devin: Yeah, it's been around for quite some time going back to starting development in 2018 and running the same problem that Axie ran into where the Ethereum network just couldn't handle it.

And so they just built their own blockchain to be able to handle it, which is where immutable came from. So it really doesn't change is what created the immutable blockchain is still developed by that same company. And that's been interesting where there's been a little bit of a split focus occasionally with Ronan and Sky Mavis, where they're really wanting to also get other people onto this blockchain, which I think split their attention for a while.

There was definitely a period where Gazlan chain seemed like it was just being left to the side. There was development on it. People still wanted to make it, but. It wasn't the priority for immutable. It seemed obviously I can't validate that talking to people inside, it seemed like there was a bit of chaos around all the time when they were fundraising, trying to build out the network, trying to get people onto it, the competition with Polygon happening at the time.

And then I think they realized that was. Probably not the best idea to just let a great opportunity languish. And so they refocused, I think, put Chris Clay even in a better position to be able to drive things there at the company. And in doing so, the game seemed to get a lot more love. They started revamping a lot more things, listening to the players a lot more, talking to them.

Building up the polish around the game, looking at revamping the UI, starting to take the idea of actually putting out the mobile version someday as a more serious thing. And I think it's really worked out. It showed that when they refocused and adjusted leadership around, tried to make things a little more professional at the company, a little less kind of crazy web three startup mentality.

It's really shaped into more of an actual polish product. And that's pushed it pretty far. I think in terms of success around making sure that people are happy playing the game and growing that out. And. Adding more things like incentives, adding more types of rewards, more types of modes, more things for creators to promote the game on.

It's still primarily a more of a web three niche and not necessarily something where every person out there playing Magic or Hearthstone is going to be like, Oh yeah, check out this God's Unchained game. It's definitely a little bit more obscure than that. As time goes forward, it could get a bit more out there.

I think off the trade ability, if it's able to be successful on, for example, mobile, which may be tricky given some recent. Things that have happened with the game that I could get into.

Niko: Yeah, I was going to say, so yeah, I know that the guys and Jane had a bit of a scare recently and they got an adults only rating from the ESRB and that resulted in them getting pulled from the epic game store.

Can you tell us a little bit about what happened and are there any lessons learned for other web three developers?

Devin: Yeah, absolutely. There was basically the, these games try and set up different sort of reward mechanisms in the gameplay. You want to give out NFTs or you want to give out tokens to reward players for different types of engagement and tournaments and things like that, which is just the normal thing that you would do with card games in general.

And wanting to do exactly what they do in the physical world, Guzzling Chain wanted to do what's called a sealed mode. And a sealed mode generally means you get a deck that you don't get to know what's going to be in it ahead of time. And the exciting part is playing that against other people who are in the same situation.

Sometimes it means everyone has the same deck. More often than not, it's who knows what the deck is going to be like. Let me jump in this tournament. I'll play it, see how far I can get. Unfortunately, the ESRB, the ratings organization saw that as a little too close to gambling because you didn't really know what you were getting going into it.

And there was something that was the equivalent of a monetary outcome, which is the case of tokens or NFTs. If they technically have a real world value attached because they are tradable for that, then now they're suddenly making money off of it, even though it's just a loose interpretation, but it's the same one that sort of underpins, I think, Google's rule on NFTs and loot boxes for the same reason, where it's paying money for an unknown Thing that has monetary value.

And so in this case, they slapped that adults only rating on the game, which kind of triggered an automatic policy thing on the Epic Games Store, which is adults only games are not allowed. It was removed from the store. And then this sort of became like a big, Oh my gosh, is this going to happen to all web three games that have some kind of rewarding mechanism that also have may have some uncertainty going into a match, which again, that's the norm in like physical trading card games and miners do it all the time.

It's not something where it was some weird scandalous. Gambling issue is the way we saw it. It was just a tournament, a different kind of tournament that was testing player skill and not necessarily like card access, but. ESRB viewed it differently. However, Epic being the good guys, at least, I don't know, they're doing a pretty good job PR wise of looking like the good guys a lot lately.

Managed to turn it around pretty quickly. We were just talking about it on the round table and then almost like within a week of some of the things we suggested, I'm going to say they took our suggestion, but they did the right thing of just saying, that's fine. We can't control the ESRB. What we can control is our policy.

And they just carved out a, an exception for web three games. Hey, if you're rated adults only because of this reason, then you're fine. You can be on the store. Which is a great way to leverage the fact that you control the platform. That being said, there are other platforms like Apple's iOS platform that don't allow adults only, and I don't think they're going to carve out an exception unless they're like, Hey, we'll cover an exception if we can get a cut of those royalties or something, right?

That can be a situation where they do that. But this may be like something that slows down. God's Unchained kind of getting out there. However, I'm pretty sure Google doesn't necessarily have that same policy. They're a bit more open. And so this, I keep seeing this over and over where Epic and Google both start to look like the more open, better platforms to go to for web three.

And I think that's just continuing. And if web three takes off at some point where it's like everything should be web three, then either Valve and Apple need to re approach that or Google and Epic suddenly start winning. Which is it would be very interesting outcome, but I don't think that other companies would be like, maybe I'll sit on the sidelines and this one, let them win.

So we could see some policy shifts from everyone in the future to accommodate this stuff better if it's starting to make significant money that they want a piece of.

Niko: Yeah. And I think that's the big if so number one, it needs to be big enough of a business that any one of these guys cares. Epic seems to be the one right now that's at least listening, even though that business probably isn't very big for them either, but they're just.

Putting themselves out there as innovators and the most open for developers. And I think that's a good thing. That's a great thing. But then number two, it is an other example of how many different policies and agencies are involved here and different players big companies. And you've got the SRB and the other ratings agencies.

You might have legislators in various states and at the federal level, different countries you've got the internal policies of all these big companies, That's very hard to navigate. It's hard to navigate as it is, you must be in a ton of slacks where other game developers are like, Oh, our app wasn't approved by Apple.

We don't know what the reason was like that's it's that in web two is already a huge problem slap on web three and it's even harder. So it is going to be interesting to see. I think that is going to slow innovation until there's more guidance and more clarity on some of these policies at the. The ratings agencies and the policy maker level, but also at the individual company level.

So, yeah, what's the lesson there for web 3 developers? I don't know. Be careful.

Devin: I would definitely, I will, I would offer one, which is that I think in general, we're headed towards, A bit more of a sort of battle over what gambling really is, what we consider gambling. Like the loot box thing has been building up for a while.

And there's some countries who have tried to legislate against it or apply certain rules. We have things like transparency around like odds for some things, but we're seeing this get in a situation where if we're talking about wanting to give people Players real value as we can see that starts to creep into that gaming real world gaming territory and then law, of course, doesn't always catch up very quickly.

And so we're starting to be in a tricky position where web three has to really navigate a lot of legal issues already, as you mentioned, and If anything's worth value, then that all of a sudden everyone wants a piece of that, whether that be legislators or people trying to protect kids or whatever it is.

So I think this is not going away. This is not a isolated incident. I think the lesson for Web3 developers is to really think about the value flows in your game, not just from an economy standpoint, but from how that starts to look from a legal standpoint. We already have all the considerations around, hey are, is it, are these tokens shares of the company now and the SEC, and all of a sudden you got, are there.

Not only are they shares and securities, but they're also somehow like gambling. And so not only are you like gambling, but you're gambling for securities in a company. And just what a complicated mess could be based off of how you represent what these things mean and how you allow them to be traded or not.

I just think this is, if we go into it, like very cautious, knowing that you may have to tweak things to deal with legal issues, because this is not going to resolve itself quickly. It's the next couple of years.

Niko: Yeah. Crypto bull was all about move fast and break things and not worry too much about what the legal was.

I think now this new phase we're in, it's the opposite. You be careful because SEC is taking enforcement actions. Our ESRB is taking actions and slapping our ratings. It's definitely a different environment for sure. And I've been around the web three space. From that early bull and in crypto since about 2016, 17, and went through the ICO craze of that era.

And it's always like this roller coaster. It goes up and it goes down, it pulls back and then it accelerates. There's a lot of risk taking and then there's a lot of being very risk averse. So it's very cyclical. And are we seeing another. Beginning of another crypto bull, feels that way to me a little bit.

There's a little bit of that same scent in the air as there was in 2020, 2021, and then 2016, 17 before that. Let's see. I'm not always right. In fact, I'm frequently wrong, but yeah, I'm somewhat excited to see what this next phase brings. Okay. The last title I wanted to talk about specifically is Skyweaver.

Another one of the big ones. This one goes back to 2019 which is practically ancient in the web three world. What have Skyweaver, Skyweaver been up to?

Devin: Yeah they're one of the ones that I find interesting because they were so polished so early. Like I was, I had the beta of the mobile on my phone for like years.

It seemed like they just, they've had it looking and feeling and being really nice game, which was usually that's the part that's hard for a lot of these game developers. They had that very early on. But they just couldn't seem to get the other part, which was retaining players, finding an economy model that both managed to bring in continuous profit, but also keep players around it.

It seems to have been very tricky for them to figure out what they wanted to do very early on. I would say the game was almost too generous with the way that you could play with cards you didn't own and things like that, and didn't really have a great incentive around. Spending money and sticking around in the game.

They didn't really have like great progress systems necessarily. And so they're looking to, it seems like shore that up as much as possible. They've been really looking at different ways of building what they want to build around the game, but I would say it's been. Slow to the point where I kind of wonder how much of the focus it is for Horizon, the company that makes it because much like I said with Immutable, they're also a technology company in the sense that they developed some technology for this game that in this case is Sequence Wallet, which they seem to have focused a lot on doing other things with that and partnering with games and blockchains and things like that to Just blow that technology up because it was a very nice thing that they built in terms of being a wallet that was at social logins, like Google or Facebook kind of thing to log into, but wasn't custodial, had good recovery options, was very easy using web based.

So you didn't even have to have a browser extension or a separate app. So like it was great tech, don't get me wrong. And that's one of the nice things about most of these early games is they built new tech really for themselves. Immutable is that case as well. And. A lot of these people, as they say in the software industry, dogfooding it, building stuff for themselves has made for some cool stuff, but it also means that's not always their focus.

And in this case, Skyweaver has added things like a battle pass over time. They've tried to put in lots more cosmetics that are purchasable, some that aren't even necessarily tradable. It seems or don't exist on the marketplace as a peer to peer trading item. And so they're trying different things out, but I just, I don't know, like personally, I couldn't even, I didn't feel super compelled to keep playing the game despite enjoying it.

And it's in some of that, I think maybe the game design didn't quite find a hook the way some other game designs do. And a lot of people don't play games in the TCG space necessarily for a mechanic. Per se, but there usually is a hook that gets people like into that game for some reason. And this one didn't seem quite seem to land it.

And so I feel like they've been idling and not really pushing for scale for a while. There was when they launched on mobile, it seemed like they went up for a minute and then just. Right back down almost immediately. And of course, I don't know if that was something that was just them spending on UA, trying to get people in and then just not seeing the traction and just letting that go, or it's just the case where a lot of people were excited about that during a particular time and then just that excitement died down.

I would love to see that they find some way to turn this game around. Realistically the way it's going. I doubt it's making enough money to be like, yeah, we got to go crazy with this game. It's probably more, this is cool. This proves that our tech, we can keep iterating on this and learning things, but it's also not like heavily on the blockchain.

It's interesting that it's what has the NFTs or in this case, actually semi fungible tokens, which they've pushed a lot through their nifty swap market. They also built another piece of technology. They've been trying to push, but it just uses the blockchain for trading those and doesn't even have its own token.

It just uses USDC. So it's very blockchain light. And so maybe that also stopped it from getting a lot of traction with web three community, because it wasn't like heavily web three where it's, I'm going to flip the stuff or I'm going to get heavy into it because it's a web three game or I'm playing to earn.

And I think that also might have been, unfortunately, like as much as I would hate to say we get bribed players, I think during that particular period of time that did seem to gain a lot of traction for these games.

Niko: Yeah. It's funny how many game. Developers, game companies have built their own wallets and their own block chains or their own side chains or their own.

And it just, it seems I appreciate them giving to the community. And obviously there's a lot we can learn, but it does feel as a game developer, you would want to focus on building a great game and not have to worry about building all these ancillary technology. So yeah. Next. Exactly. They're doing it for the future for the Children.

Yeah, let's see what the next generation looks like. In fact, I've got a question coming up on that pretty soon about looking to the future. But those few were the ones that I wanted to actually talk about because those are the ones that we probably most listeners, if they're even remotely aware of Web three TCGs, they have probably heard those names.

But are there any others that you want to call out? You talk about a lot more in the report and obviously see. Listeners. If you're interested, you should absolutely go read it. It'll be in the show notes. Oh, what else do you want to call out other than those guys?

Devin: Yeah. I mentioned a little bit earlier too, but a parallel I think is definitely interesting one to watch just because it's been a bit on the upswing and I'm obviously at a tough market and managed to build up quite a bit of fan base without even having had much of a game for a while.

Obviously some of that was just like the crypto curious and stuff like that, but I'll really be interested to see how it launches when it actually comes out of Closed beta, but I looked at some way to track how well it's doing by looking at, they've had season passes monthly. They're on season five now.

So their fifth month of season or battle pass in closed beta. And so you start to look at the premium cards that come out of that season pass as a proxy to get an idea of how many people are buying that battle pass, for example. And it does seem to be trending up, right? So they're doing something that is at least the people that are heavily into the game.

Are enjoying enough to continue to purchase that pass or just getting enough new blood in that are purchasing that it's still continuing to grow just off of the number of owners of that growing each season. Obviously we'll see if that continues all the way into the full launch. I do feel like the game still has a lot of work.

That being said, if you're into like a very sci fi aesthetic, it's very cool like that because there's not necessarily always a lot of very sci fi heavy TCGs that have stuck around. So hopefully this could be one of those being a technology product itself. And like cool designers as well with Koji, who I've spoken with quite a bit and the panels with and stuff, a very smart guy that hopefully can steer that ship into a very successful game when it comes out.

So I would say that you can't hurt to give that a try. If you can get into the close bit. I think it was fairly open if they haven't already opened it completely. And I just missed the announcement on that, but. It's not terribly hard to get into. And I think it's very easy to get into. I got into it.

Niko: Yeah. I got into it recently. Actually. I actually wanted to have them on the show because I think they just did a huge fundraise if memory serves, not that long ago, maybe a planet

Devin: fall set as well.

Niko: Yeah. So anyway, yes, if you are interested listeners, it is, it was very easy to get into, I just, Signed up and that's it.

I'm there. So I haven't played it yet, to be honest with you. I'm there. I'm in the beta.

Devin: Cool. Anything else you want to highlight Devon? I'd love to say, I do want to give a shout out to one that's unfortunately I think already dead, which is emergence, which was related to a TCG I had worked on ages ago that was around superhero stuff.

So it was interesting to see them try and come back and make another go of it, but unfortunately it didn't work out. And I think. It's there's a lot of ones that could have had potential that just didn't hit for whatever reason Unfortunately, just not a lot of like ones that really made it to the point where it's oh cool You could go play this and it's exciting other than the ones that have managed to do well Which is unfortunate really at the end of the day.

I do think it's interesting for those who are like curious to try Something different out from the Splinterlands team. They have, they were trying to branch out into sports related ones. And so they have this, the Genesis league sports that they were doing and they released their soccer one, Genesis league goals, where it's actually like playable now, and you can go do a demo game on the website.

So if you look up Genesis league goals, it's worth checking out because they added a bit more interactivity to the game. Now it's not so passive. Like you can. Play against the other person in real time where you're making some decisions for your players in a sports themed environment as opposed to creatures just battling each other.

So it's worth a look just to see another take from a company that at least innovates in interesting ways, even if everything doesn't land. I don't know if that game's going to land yet because it's too new. It just, It's very recently launched, but I don't have high hopes to be honest. If that, and that doing well, curiosities for free.

All right, cool. Go play it. Why not?

Niko: Yeah. Yeah. And the hard reality for all of these developers, not just in web three, but web two as well in analog, there are only so many TCG players in the world. It is a genre that is very passionate. Player base, but it's it, I don't think it's grown much if at all.

Really over the years it's pretty established the games that people are playing.

Devin: So mostly during Covid, I think the sort of Pokemon craze and everything. Yeah, I think drove new people and the, so I would say there is one actually big boost for expanding the TCG audience that, I dunno if it'll stick, but it's happened recently, which is in the physical world.

The Disney Lorana game came out and anything Disney touches explodes. It seems that game is people practically killing each other to get it. In the early stages and still like very difficult people scalping like crazy for it. Despite the fact that the Ravensburg and the publisher has tried to make supply available because Disney collectors can be crazy.

That just shows that there, there is ways to grow the audience, especially in they're obviously trying to attract more kids, but also Disney fans that might've never taken a look at trading card games. And. Anime fans, I think in general have already had some affinity to it, but even there's still more animes continuing to try and push people into TCGs that might not have before as they start to roll out a lot more of those in the US as well.

There's some ways to expand that audience that I think people are starting to leverage, which I think probably gets into one of your Future questions here as well.

Niko: It gets exactly to my question, which is the importance of IP. You call this out actually in your piece in December IP is really important in the TCG space Marvel snap.

We talked about that. How important do you think IP is in the web three space? Is that what's needed? Is that it needs to be a Disney? There needs to be a Disney tag on it or something like that in order for it to actually succeed. Or do you think there's room for original IP 2024 and beyond?

Devin: Just going off of both the physical TCG evolution over the last few decades and the digital space as well. I think in general, if you want to have a very high chance of succeeding or at least getting over the initial hump, like you're going to need IP attached in some way that has some built in audience or.

Just get really lucky it's few and far between like sometimes it's off of innovation. There are times when you've innovated hard enough or find a particular audience that feels underserved. Like something like flesh and blood is an example of a game that had no IP in the physical space and has slowly managed to crawl itself to being a very popular game because of some of the approaches it took and a particular sort of niche audience it was trying to serve.

But outside of that. Pretty much there was always the rule that you had to have like cartoon attached, or you had to have some other major IP attached to it, but that has never guaranteed success in space, but it makes sense when you really think about it. Like when we're talking about trading card games, if you take the game part out at the end and just look at the trading card, who's going to trade trading cards for an IP that they don't know anything about?

In general, unless they're really into the art, no one, like you have to sell them on the IP and build it up over time. So in general, if you're thinking about people being excited about having a card and trading it, even outside of just playing it, it makes sense to be attached to something they already like.

And so that's just kind of history of TCGs. But there's also been many failed ones off of established IP. So it is far from a guarantee that your game will work. And even in the world of Star Wars and Marvel, there's also been many failed ones. Been either like Marvel alone, TCGs have probably had, I feel like four or five at least come and gone in the physical world and or something like snap managed to find its own unique angle.

So I think it's one of those things where as with anything you need to have something people are excited about in some way and some sort of slight twist or innovation that makes this time different than a previous time. And I think that's, Along with a lot of polish and testing and having a good idea, more so the recipe for success, trying to establish your own thing, risky, but I, if you can get away with it occasionally, if you happen to be very lucky, I think.

Niko: Yeah. And I think with web three, the angle there, I think, or the hope there was that being early to web three with original IP would be the opportunity to succeed. Just like it was with mobile free to play when the app stores opened, you could succeed with a completely non IP title as long as you made a good game, because the IP holders weren't there yet.

Some of the early games, Angry Birds, Slotomania in the casino genre, all games that. Clash of clans, all games that had zero IP built a really good compelling game and were able to succeed and lock in a pretty big audience early on. So I think that's been the bet. I think a lot with a lot of these TCG developers in web three is a web three is a new platform essentially, or a new distribution mode or a new mentality.

Devin: And. Let's see if that plays out because like magic, the gathering wasn't an existing IP, but it was the big innovator that created that space. And I think a lot of these early web three TCGs were trying to get the same thing where, like you said, they're doing something original or getting to the space early and like that.

Counts enough sometimes as establishing an IP, whether or not they could care that for it. I don't know. Like when you're doing something like this, just like Olympus gods kind of things, like fighting each other. That's not, I don't know if that's original enough where we're going to start seeing like Netflix movies of gods on chain.

I don't know if we're to that kind of stage where these IPs are strong enough. To carry themselves outside of the TCG and that's where I worry, I don't think you could slap a cartoon on Saturday morning for kids with these and suddenly be like, Oh, cool. This is the next big thing. I would love to say that these will stick around for a while, but the more I wrote the article and did the research, the more pessimistic I get just long term for most TCGs in general rarely live past a few years of success.

Niko: I typically like to end on a high note, Devin, and you've just put a downer on it for once. I think this is a great place to stop, though. If you haven't read Devin's piece, it's fantastic. Go and read it. It's in the show notes. If you care about Web three and TCGs or are interested in Web three and TCGs, that's your resource.

I, in my opinion, it is the best resource out there. Most comprehensive analysis of the space. Go check it out. And Devin, As always, thank you so much for coming on the pod today. It's always a pleasure.

Devin: Yeah. Likewise, man. It's a, it's great to get a chance to talk to you since we, this is the form where we do it more, but definitely a lot of cool stuff to explore.

And I keep doing what you're doing, man, in 2024.

Niko: All right. And you too, right back at you and a big thank you as always to all of our listeners, we'll be back next week with more interviews, more insights and more analysis from the weird and wonderful world of web three and the metaverse. Until next time, friends stay crypto curious and feel free to send questions, guest recommendations, and comments to me.

My email is [email protected].

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