It was International Women’s Day yesterday. We took the opportunity to pen love letters to the talented and hardworking women that work at Magic Eden. And in this edition of ME Weekly, we speak to two amazing women who are part of Solana’s gaming NFT ecosystem.
Whatever you want to call it, gaming has an important place on the Solana NFT ecosystem. Our generation and the generations after us are digitally-native. We watched the internet evolve into the beast that it is and we grew up on it. With our devices akin to another limb and as our lives grow increasingly digitised, NFTs make so much more sense since they can encapsulate what’s going on. Games set the wheels of utility into motion, allowing us to instinctively grasp how NFTs can be used in our everyday lives. Solana is the train with fast speeds and low transaction fees that can get us to gaming utopia. The next generation of gamers will be crypto-native.
Does this mean the end of traditional gaming? It’s unlikely. According to Statista, there are over 3.4 billion gamers worldwide. Trad gaming is behind that. But, there are prevalent issues that the industry faces:
- High barrier to entry: Some smaller players and newer entrants may succeed but it’s hard to compete against large gaming studios with huge financial backing, manpower and resources.
- Heavily concentrated: From 2015 to 2017, the top ten gaming franchises (i.e Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, FIFA and Red Dead Redemption) account for about half of the gaming industry’s total revenue.
- Hidden costs: Fees for distribution vary but major platforms take significant cuts of game revenues. Microsoft, Playstation and Apple’s App Store take a 30% cut. And in the 2021 ruling of Epic (you know, Fortnite) v Apple, there was no legal requirement for Apple to lower their commission.
NFTs aren’t a one-fix-all solution but it does provide alternatives. NFTs bring players to the object level of gaming. For example, a player can buy, sell and play a Miniverse hero. Faraway, the gaming studio behind Mini Royale: Nations is at the frontier of bringing open economies to life. In the words of Grawaii, Faraway’s community and growth lead, their focus is on placing control of the market into the hands of active players, “having game economies run by gamers not live ops managers at gaming studios”. The “play-to-earn” model, that we’ve associated with web3 gaming, isn’t sustainable for all games as games can lose what they’re about when earning money comes before having fun. Melty, co-founder of Jambo Mambo shared that they chose to go with a “play-and-earn” model for this reason. “There are a lot of gamers now because traditional games are made with fun in mind. In a few years, there’s going to be so many games where you can earn and everyone will go to the game that’s fun,” she said.
What would bring on web3 gaming mass adoption is if traditional gaming studios picked it up. But, “the current narrative around web3 gaming has proven to be ineffective or even unattractive to the traditional gaming community, and it's our job as game creators, marketers or publishers to translate the true vision and appeal of crypto gaming,” Grawaii shared. However, traditional AAA (high budget/high profile) studios and publishers have been cautiously observing and exploring the space. “We can expect to see them carefully introduce on-chain currencies or NFTs for games with a heavy emphasis on collection and trading, or games with deep midcore economies very soon,” Grawaii said.
When Faraway launched their series of 10,000 in-game NFTs, it brought in $1.3 million. These playable in-game assets were activated a week later. This is one example of demand. To Melty, the NFT space is the best place to launch games because “your player population, audience and investors are the same people”. They have a vested interest in a game’s success. Jambo Mambo’s alpha launch will take place in Q3 2022. Considering that Jambo Mambo released their NFTs at the end of November, this is fast, when you consider that AAA games (which are huge) take 2 to 5 years to develop. Troubleshooting, debugging and aggressive tweaking are all part of what contributes to long development time. Instead of doing this in-house, Jambo Mambo extends it to the community who had a hand in crafting the voice of the distinctly adorable-and-menacing Jambo.
If you look at the amount of gaming NFTs on Magic Eden, there are a lot of them but many remain in development. During this stage, gaming NFT projects have to keep their audience’s attention and retain sustained interest. On the holder side, between Discord, Twitter and websites, it can be hard to keep up with a game’s progress. There isn’t a central place of information for web3 games to communicate these crucial information. (Our solution to these issues is Eden Games — stay tuned). With web3 games, the community has an essential role in how the game develops so it’s vital to loop them in. Melty shared that building a web3 game ecosystem must account for different types of people: from casual players to those who want to earn, to those that dip their toes into the game before investing and to the holders who aren’t necessarily players but want to benefit. It could potentially be a win-win-win-win across the board.
We are VERY early but gaming on Solana is ripe with potential. Solana was an obvious choice for Mini Royale: Nations as it can support millions of daily active users in an online multiplayer environment. “It’s where we’ll find more serious game devs, especially those building massive multiplayer midcore games where high transaction speed and low transaction cost are critical to making the game economy and player experience work,” shared Grawaii.
So, what’s next for gaming on Solana? Grawaii thinks there’ll be:
- Developments in the NFT in-game item lending space. New economic roles will emerge between members of the community who will become primary lenders of in-game assets.
- A growing separation in mental models between PFP projects and NFT games, with the emphasis on gaming NFTs shifting away from promoting purely holding and speculating (and maybe staking) to an emphasis on actual in-game utility.
- PFP projects turning to gaming projects (vs making their own) to give additional utility to their NFTs. Some examples: giving holders access to a private game clan, special quests, limited skins, secret maps?!
🪄 Introducing: Eden Games
Based on data from 750+ gaming collections, we found that most gaming NFTs are traded on Magic Eden.
Games have different needs compared to your regular ol’ Solana NFTs, which is why we’re building Eden Games to create a destination for game creators & players on Solana. We will launch Eden Games soon with our gaming partners:
- Mini Royale: Nations is an open-economy shooter game and the first live multiplayer game on Solana. Playable on Eden Games.
- Panzerdogs is an online PvP tank brawler with play-to-earn mechanics. Playable on Eden Games.
- The Remnants is set in a post-apocalyptic time where players go on loot trips and play 1v1 battles. Loot trips are live on their site.
- Guild Saga is a play-to-earn, 2D fantasy RPG with strategy, turn-based and tactics-style combat heavily inspired by classics like Final Fantasy.
- CatchKing is a collect-a-thon game. Timed expeditions are live.
More details to come.
🪄 New Twitter handle, who dis?
🪄 MagicDAO event
On March 16th, we’re throwing the first IRL MagicDAO event. We’ll be hosting a panel talk and a free-flow happy hour with hors d’oeuvres! We also have something special for Magic Ticket holders. If you don’t have a Magic Ticket, get one here.
All Magic Ticket holders will receive complimentary swag! If you have a Magic Ticket, please click the DAO RSVP. We will check that you have a Magic Ticket via Phantom so make sure you have it downloaded and ready! More details here.
🪄 Congrats, this week's top performing collections on ME! (3/2-8)
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