Thirteen years later, blockchain still remains a difficult and intimidating topic. It’s not just about the technology behind it but also the underlying philosophy of Web3 and what it means for our society. It can seem like a puzzle with so many terms and concepts.
Web3 is still in its initial stages and it is difficult to understand the technology and Web3’s working principles without investing considerable time and effort. This is a negative reality that can be detrimental when it comes to mass adoption. Additionally, many decentralized protocols and applications lack user interfaces that are intuitive and engaging. They aren’t built with user experience in mind, compounding the problem.
There are many blockchain-powered services and products available, such as Decentralized Finance (DeFi), Chains, Bridges, Oracles, Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs), or other decentralized financial instruments. This makes it more complicated for the average user. From a user’s perspective, the learning curve needed to manage digital wallets, swap tokens, switch chains, and navigate the ever-growing ecosystem of decentralized products and services, is unnecessarily complicated and overwhelming. Many prospective users remain in the dark about their options due to these high entry barriers.
Accordingly, the general perception about blockchain is that it is a “new technology that promises disruptive wonders.” While an applicable statement to an extent, the general public is yet to experience the technology first-hand in their daily lives.
Games Are Enabling Users To “Level Up” Blockchain Knowledge
How can users enjoy the full potential of blockchain without having to deal with all the technicalities and complexities? Gaming is one way to find the answer.
“With the gaming market valued at close to $200 billion in 2021, there is significant potential to onboard a critical mass of users onto Web3 via blockchain games,” explains David Shin, the Head of Klaytn Global Group. “Blockchain-based gaming applications could serve as good starting points to drive global mass adoption of crypto and web3 at large, but it is important to design games – blockchain-based or not – that put users first as opposed to designing games as another platform for commerce. The next factor to consider is strong infrastructure tools and middleware services, which are required to ensure that gaming projects and companies are able to deliver top-class, high-quality games on-chain.”
A growing number of blockchain advocates and thought leaders believe that blockchain gaming could be the solution to this engagement and awareness problem. Play-to-earn games have not only helped users adopt the technology but also served as a catalyst for education about blockchain-powered concepts such as GameFi (gaming + Decentralized Finance), NFTs and the Metaverse.
“It is very probable that blockchain mass adoption will come first from games, especially with the metaverse gaining relevance,” according to DappRadar’s Senior Blockchain Analyst Pedro Herrera. “The ability of blockchain to enable new economies should disrupt the traditional model of games, where creators and gamers are not empowered.”
The past decade has seen video games grow as both a hobby or an industry. There are already over 3.24 billion gamers worldwide – representing almost half the world’s population and a prime market that has always embraced cutting-edge technology with open arms.
Aside from that, gamers are familiar with fundamental concepts of blockchain. Gamers know the basics of how in-game characters function, how to upgrade and enhance their abilities, and how to add characters. It’s the same with blockchain-based P2E games.
These elements are most often represented in NFTs in these games. As they continue to engage with the game mechanics, players learn more about NFTs as well as other in-game assets. How to use them, as well other functions. All of this adds to their practical knowledge of Blockchain technology.
LongHash Ventures’ Chief Operations Officer and General Partner Shi Khai Wei explains, “Gaming assets have, all along, been digital in nature, from CS: GO skins to Second Life real estate to party hats and Halloween masks in RuneScape. NFTs are the new form of digital assets and digital property, and hence it’s the logical next step in the evolution of gaming assets.”
The crucial part of blockchain games is that they don’t force the technology onto users. Players don’t generally need to harbor extensive experience or knowledge of the underlying technology, even when executing on-chain transactions (like trading an in-game NFT on a secondary marketplace or swapping their in-game currency for another crypto or fiat currency).
P2E games tend to be more DIY-oriented. The user gets a firsthand experience, and can use the launchpad to interact and learn about the features and underlying technology. For instance, a first-time blockchain gamer probably isn’t interested in learning about “non-fungibility” concerning tokens as long as the “non-fungible token” they own is truly theirs and exhibits intrinsic value. Users will soon appreciate the value and want to learn more. This is a great way to share knowledge about this constantly-evolving technology.
“The “metaverse generation” (Gen Alpha & Gen Z) is being raised on video games and short-form video – think Roblox and TikTok,” notes Zach Hungate, the Head of Gaming at Everyrealm. “They will naturally become adults and seek out video game environments for entertainment. They’re consuming gaming content, learning, watching, and hanging out with their friends on these platforms.”
Hungate adds, “Crypto games are centered around user-generated content and community input. Crypto is the native cryptocurrency that powers blockchain games. It fuels everything from skins to weapon upgrades. As this practice becomes normalized, it’s inevitable that we’ll see more gamers utilizing crypto as part of their everyday playing experience.”
The learning curve for new users is expected to shrink as blockchain technology and P2E infrastructure continue to advance toward the high standards set by AAA gaming. Gaming, which combines game mechanics with gamification and tokenomics into one easy package, can serve as a constant catalyst for blockchain adoption over the coming years.
The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Nasdaq, Inc.