Published on: 19/09/2022
Sega, Bandai Namco among giants with ‘long-term vision’ in blockchain gaming
During the 2022 Tokyo Games Show, Oasys representative director Ryo Matsubara said that several big Japanese gaming names such as Bandai Namco, Sega and Square Enix have a long-term vision for blockchain-based gaming.
He asserted that these companies weren’t jumping onto a bandwagon when it came to the blockchain and its adoption. Instead, they were trying to build what they viewed as the future of gaming.
“We have a shared vision about blockchain at the executive level. They don’t [want to] change that policy. They really understand the future adoption of blockchain. They’re not thinking about, you know, just the revenue, they want to create the next future [of gaming],” said Matsubara, as per Cointelegraph.
Matsubara noted that the companies were more likely to create new titles and intellectual properties rather than integrate blockchain technology into large, existing franchises such as Sega’s Sonic series or Square Enix’s Final Fantasy games. The companies approached blockchain games as a “new model” of gaming rather than a genre or monetization model. However, the technology is too new and still needs time to mature.
“When the model is fixed, becomes sustainable and successful, then strong [popular] IP will be added,” said the director.
Blockchain gaming’s current challenges
Matsubara went on to explain the current problems that companies face when developing blockchain games. Many projects rely on the price of in-game tokens, leading developers to incentivize “speculation” and hype-building rather than completing the game and releasing it. However, he expected that studios would make adjustments over time to try and build hype for their games through alternative methods to improve the gaming experience for players.
This sentiment was echoed by the lead community manager at Blowfish Studios, Luke Sillay, who places emphasis on making games that are fun. He said that many blockchain games focused too much on the play-to-earn mechanics to the detriment of the overall gaming experience.
“You can see from a lot of other blockchain games that they’re not actually fun to play. Like, yes, you have potential to earn quite a significant amount of token and you get a good return on investment most of the time. But generally speaking, they’re not that fun, right?” said Sillay in an interview.
Sillay noted that most of the current play-to-earn games available have relatively simple mechanics in comparison to other modern games. In his opinion, this caused the games to feel built merely to generate financial value rather than being fun and rewarding in their own right.
The fact that blockchain gaming is mostly contained in its own separate ecosystem is also among the barriers to attracting new users. And this is to say nothing of blockchain gaming’s poor reputation.
This is not to imply that blockchain games don’t have the potential to compete with traditional games. A recent report by Dappradar, for instance, found that the three most popular blockchain games — Gameta, Alien Worlds and Solitaire Blitz — had around 2.4 million users active monthly. However, while this data showed significant interest in the technology and its games, the numbers are still nowhere near that of most popular mainstream games.
“It’s a very daunting thing trying to learn about this whole new technology, creating a wallet etc., and there are so many words in blockchains that mean completely different things,” he said.