There’s a lot of money going into Web3 gaming. In the last year, hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised with the intent to deploy them into what the crypto industry views as the future of gaming. But despite the abundance of capital ready to be deployed there’s just one problem: Gamers aren’t interested.
Data from a new survey commissioned by Coda Labs shows that gamers (whom they define as those who play video games at least twice a month) are well aware of crypto and gaming – with 89% aware of bitcoin and 51% aware of NFTs – but have largely negative feelings about the asset class. Gamers ranked their feelings toward crypto at 4.5/10, and NFTs at 4.3/10.
As for intent to actually play a Web3 game, the numbers are bleak. The survey’s data shows that only 52% of gamers are familiar with any sort of Web3 gaming term, while only 12% of gamers have tried playing a crypto game.
Gamers cited practical challenges such as lack of familiarity with how Web3 games might work as a reason for not getting involved with them, the survey reported. Of those gamers that are familiar with Web3, they cited concerns over scams and start-up costs as a reason for not playing these games.
But the data also shows that there is a conversion funnel for gamers. Those gamers that eventually try a Web3 game tend to like it, with favorability ratings hitting 7.1/10.
“When regular gamers do give Web3 games a go, they tend to feel more positively,” said Şekip Can Gökalp, CEO of Coda Labs, which commissioned the survey.
The survey also noted that in emerging markets the perception of crypto is generally higher, with South Africans and Brazilians having a much more positive impression of the asset class than Americans, Brits or Japanese.
Will AAA-Studios give NFTs a chance?
While this survey shows that there is a path – albeit a small one – for crypto and NFTs to become part of the gaming industry, are studios interested in taking a risk on this new gaming paradigm when the first foray into it resulted in a high-profile failure?
Last year Ubisoft launched its first foray into NFTs alongside the game Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, but on-chain data shows that only a few hundred dollars worth of these tokens were sold and less than 100 transfers took place.
At the time of the launch Ubisoft called Quartz, its NFT platform, “the first building block in our ambitious vision for developing a true metaverse.”
But since then the studio’s enthusiasm for NFTs has been dialed back with its CEO Yves Guillemot saying in a recent interview that its still in “research mode” on the technology.
“We tested a few things recently that are giving us more information on how it can be used and what we should do in the universe of video games. So we are testing ground with some games, and we'll see if they really answer the players' needs,” Guillemot said. “As a company, we went into VR early, into the Wii early – we always try new things. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't work, but it's always to make sure we can bring a new experience to players that will be innovative and interesting.”
Of the two mediums Guillemot listed, VR and the Nintendo Wii, one turned out to be a niche market and the other a major commercial success.
VR started off as “clunky” when it first launched in 2016 and has shown continued growth every year since launch, but despite having an install base now in the millions, only 2% of PC gamers have one connected to their computers.
The Wii, on the other hand, was a risky proposition for Nintendo but its motion controller proved to be a crowd pleaser and drove it to be one of the best selling game consoles of all-time.
So the question is will Web3 gaming be a ‘VR’, a ‘Wii’ or something in between? As of now the data suggests that its going to struggle to be anything but a niche segment of the gaming market.
Coda Labs' survey was conducted by data provider WALR and had a sample size of 6,921.