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Anyone who has been on the Internet for the past year has likely come across the term Web3. For those not in the know, Web3 is basically the next generation of the Internet. It is a major aspect of the metaverse that has been much touted along with other emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Web3 proponents argue that the technology will usher in an era of decentralization in which the hallmark will be user-owned content and unauthorized transactions.
Of course, there is still a fair way to go before Web3 becomes fully functional and available to the general public. But the effects of technology are already starting to show in a few sectors.
Web3’s impact is already being felt in the gaming industry
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One area where Web3 is expected to affect the most profoundly is the gaming industry. Video games and digital play spaces with Web3 features already exist, the best examples being Axie Infinity and Decentraland.
Decentraland is a 3D world where players can explore museums and art houses and buy and develop virtual real estate.
Another example of Web3 games is the increasingly popular fantasy football game Sorare. In this game, players can use cryptocurrencies to buy cards for professional soccer players from major leagues around the world. Cards in the game come in varying degrees of rarity, the more rare the card, the higher its value.
The game also has a market where players can buy and sell cards. A rare card featuring Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo recently sold for more than $400,000 on Sorari.
Web3 will change monetization in games
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Previously, video game publishers made their money mostly from sales of physical or digital copies of their games, as well as any related merchandise they could conjure up.
As for the players, the only benefit they got from the games was pretty much the fun they got from playing it. Players spend a lot of money on game titles, in-game items, and even DLC.
However, these games and any in-game items that players purchase often lose any value they have once the player is done or tired of the game since they never owned anything they bought in the game.
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With the advent of Web3 and its associated technologies, such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the traditional gaming monetization model has been set on its head.
Blockchains are immutable ledgers that securely record every transaction on the network and allow the creation of NFTs.
NFTs represent unique, verifiable data associated with just about anything, including in-game assets such as weapons, outfits, avatars, and virtual land. With Web3, NFT-based game items can be moved across different platforms and sold to other players in secondary markets.
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Some Web3 games can also provide opportunities for players to earn passive income through in-game cryptocurrency bets and returns.
That players get tangible monetary rewards for the time and effort put into gaming is a deep premise that will offset the inequality that has been around for a long time in the gaming space. It would also represent a relatively risk-free way to introduce cryptocurrency to millions of people.
For developers, Web3 revenue streams will become more diverse. Developers will be able to offer a combination of in-game purchases, operation of in-game markets, and peer-to-peer trading. Activities in these markets will provide game developers with an endless stream of revenue. Web3 game developers can boost their gaming income by continually releasing new NFT assets into games as they develop.
Web3 gaming communities are the future
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As we approach the metaverse era, the next stage in the evolution of games will be expanded and bespoke game publishing platforms that will bring together game developers and gaming communities.
While the concept is still in development, some projects are emerging to get a head start on what promises to be a lucrative space for gamers, developers, and investors.
One such project laying the foundation for such embedded gaming communities is Iskra. The South Korean-based project is building a Web3 gaming ecosystem that will support game developers and game enthusiasts on their Web3 journeys, and through emerging platforms, such as Iskra, there is hope that Web3 will become a home to gaming communities rather than a gaming monopoly.
New principles to guide the Web3 gaming space
The burden is now on game developers to create fun and exciting titles because regardless of the chance to earn money, players will not flock to a monotonous and boring game. As we move forward, game developers in the Web3 space must consider the design principles that underpin the ethos of Web3, which are based on the belief that all stakeholders should be valued and rewarded fairly.
A fair division of the spoils between players and developers can only be achieved if games are designed to be free, fair, transparent and decentralized in nature. Web3 games should separate gameplay from spending as a condition of earning.
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The Web3 era should see more games moving away from the old pay-to-win model, where players spend real money to get in-game benefits. This model made games less fun and differentiating because players without access to capital had to work harder and for longer to advance in the games. At the same time, their paying counterparts were streaming through them.
The advent of Web3 should bring with it an unprecedented level of transparency in games. All major financial data about the gaming platform must be openly shared. Information about how the system generates funds and how income is distributed should also be clarified.
The fair distribution of rewards between players and developers that we hope Web3 will achieve should build trust, increase participation, and create new revenue opportunities for the gaming communities.
Decentralization is the foundation of Web3, and as such, technology-centric games are expected to take advantage of block chains to record and verify game outcomes and in-game transactions. Web3-based games can build themselves as decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) to meaningfully engage their communities in ownership and governance.