NFT games have also not been spared the “crypto winter” that has stagnated the prices of major cryptocurrencies in the market. The number and value of users playing money-making games declined in May, but even so, this is the industry category that is most resistant to bear market impacts.
While players waited for a better time to return, developers worked hard to create the most engaging games that justified players’ time, effort, and most importantly, money.
On the other hand, studios outside are trying to find their way into that space before it’s too late.
Joyride, a company founded by American entrepreneur Omar Siddiqui, seeks to solve this problem by providing developers with the necessary framework to create blockchain games.
Before founding Joyride in 2017, Siddiqui was Vice President and General Manager of The Walt Disney Company and CEO of Android gaming company Kiwi. He is also currently teaching a product design class at Stanford.
Siddiqui and Bitcoin Portal On the current state of the NFT gaming industry and how it looks to the future of this promising market. Read the interview below:
You created Joyride to help companies build blockchain-based games, but do you also make your own projects?
We found that to develop a strong platform, we also needed to use it, so we have internal studios and partner studios that are using the platform and its capabilities around developing, publishing, and scaling web3 games.
Additionally, our experience in creating mainstream mobile games and growing these businesses makes us better equipped to develop our own games and serve other developers.
NFT games still have a long way to go before they become mainstream. How long do you think people will be open to this technology? What’s holding back adoption today?
I believe NFT based games will be ready for mass adoption in the next 1-2years.
There is still a large gap in user education to understand cryptocurrencies and NFTs. There needs to be simpler tools to integrate casual gamers into this space without requiring them to understand what blockchain is.
Finally, there is a need to provide a high-quality consumer experience to attract players as a successor to the first original experiment. But you can see in some markets like the Philippines and Vietnam that there are more than 8 million monthly players participating in the first NFT games, and the potential of these projects is hard to come by right now.
Do you think the big game companies see Web3 and the idea of decentralization as a threat because it will erode their control and profits over the game?
Big game companies certainly see Web3 and the idea of decentralization as a major disruption to their business. It’s hard for a traditional company to imagine and accept losing control of its community. It requires rethinking how games are built, how communities are managed, and how long-term sustainable revenue and player economies are generated.
Companies that successfully develop successful games in this new paradigm have the real potential to create substantial intellectual property, backed by passionate community members who are active contributors and owners of the business.
Web3 will allow games – already the largest vertical medium – to transcend interactive media and connect with audiences in ways that have been reserved for movies or books in the past.
One of the main challenges in building NFT-based games is the inefficiency of current networks. What are the alternatives today? Is there a way to give users speed and cheap deals without sacrificing security??
There are many emerging technologies that are looking to solve this problem, from new layer 1 networks like Flow and Solana that address these inefficiencies, to layer 2 solutions like Polygon. In the end, our focus is on building great apps for everyday consumers.
As long as the data is secure and accessible, this average consumer doesn’t care where their data is stored immutably. For this average consumer, we’re focusing on making them blockchain-agnostic by developing Joyride wallets that integrate with our partners’ games. Using the Joyride Wallet, consumers can choose to withdraw their assets to Ethereum, Flow, and soon to other networks like Solana without any issues.
The idea is that if consumers want to move assets outside of our gaming partners, we don’t want consumers to have to choose where they want to move assets. Meanwhile, in their own games, developers can choose which networks to use to manage transactions. This allows us to remain at the forefront of blockchain technology without restricting consumers in any way.
NFT gaming is still in its early stages, and there are still very few games that have burst the crypto bubble like Axie Infinity. What is missing from NFT games to be more attractive to users outside of the crypto environment? Could more high-quality AAA games help?
The outlook is very positive. As you know, casual mobile games generate more than $60 billion in revenue annually, with 2.7 billion players worldwide. The games that these players participate in are often free, with a community around them, and average more than 20 minutes of mobile game time per day.
Currently, all of this participation and investment in games takes place in closed economies, and these digital assets are not portable or tradable, and are subject to the restrictions and whims of developers. We’ve seen a grey market in the form of virtual assets in big games like World of Warcraft.
In the future, the ability to own a digital asset — an NFT — and be able to use it in a game, improve it, invest in it, and at some point sell it to other players will just be an expectation for all players, players.
The portability of these digital assets means game developers need to rethink their game designs and how their economies are built around these assets. It’s as important as the shift from $60 retail games to a free-to-play model over the past decade.
Which NFT gaming projects are you currently following?
Well, I’m mostly focusing on our own projects right now. Our mobile game Tennis Champs built a great community and launched a great NFT Genesis that sold out in 30 seconds. We’re building an ecosystem around it with a range of action RPG and sports games based on these Champs characters.
We also recently launched Solitaire Blitz on mainnet after six months of testing. This game is our first release in our mobile esports series, and we’re excited to see how players react as the game evolves and new games in the genre are created on the platforms we offer to our partner developers how.
The current NFT gaming landscape is very different from June 2021. Do you think we are in the “winter” of NFT gaming? Is this a normal move to follow a bear market, or is the hype slowing down?
We believe that all new technologies and business models will experience wave after wave of adoption. At the end of the day, the idea that gamers want to own digital assets in the games they play for a long time is not shocking. This long-term trend will happen.
We have a long-term vision and will continue to grow as the market develops at all stages.
In developing countries like Brazil, NFT games are starting to become a source of income for some, but this style of games has proven to be short-lived. In the long run, do you think the “gaming for money” model is sustainable? as?
We prefer to think of the market as “play and own” rather than “play and win”. Playing to win means the only reason to play is to win – but how many people “play” when they “win”? This quickly turned into a job, and as game creators, we wanted to preserve and increase the fun!
Each player can be incentivized to actually own assets, coins and games. Some skilled players may do well enough that they can actually “win” — but this may be the exception rather than the rule, as in professional sports.
It’s important that the most loyal players become enthusiastic members of the community in the games they love to play. To that end, we’re still in the early stages, and whether it’s winter or spring, we’re going to see great games come out to the community and drive them to success.
Do you think this economic incentive for NFT games is a problem? Besides financial rewards for players, what are the benefits of including NFTs in games?
No game should be just about your financial return, if it were, it wouldn’t be a game anymore. That is, there is always a class of “min max“Who plays the game to ‘beat’ it to show that they can play it economically and ‘win’.
These players will care about financial returns and be motivated by it, but if any game is played solely for its financial potential relatively Its entertainment and community value, will be a short-lived success.
How do you imagine the NFT gaming market in the future, say five years from now? Will NFTs be common in mainstream games?
Games need to offer NFTs to community members as a way for players to truly own the assets they put in their hearts, souls, and money.
Whether the in-game economy itself will be NFT-oriented, or whether it will be an in-game tradable asset class, may depend on the title and platform of the game. Either way, this pattern will become the absolute standard.