Gaming industry to have a ‘blockchain-connected’ future, studio execs say

With blockchain slowly finding its way into the video gaming industry, sector veterans and executives of nonfungible token (NFT) blockchain WAX believe that there will be more connections between games and blockchain networks in the future.

In a Cointelegraph interview, WAX head of publishing David Kim and WAX Studios head of game studios Michael Rubinelli shared their insights on NFTs, the metaverse and blockchain gaming.

According to Kim, despite having less search interest on Google, engagement with games, the metaverse and NFTs is not dead. “On the WAX blockchain, we saw a doubling of the number of sales transactions at the start of Q4 2021, and it has remained elevated ever since,” he said.

“I’m not sure if the ‘hype’ will go back up, but we believe that long term, interest in and engagement with metaverses and NFTs will grow ad infinitum as utility increases and security concerns are allayed.”

On the other hand, when asked about the future of play-to-earn (P2E) gaming models, Rubinelli compared P2E implementation to the adoption of free-to-play and microtransactions within gaming. Having more than 20 years in the gaming industry, the gaming executive thinks that a similar pattern is playing out.

“We believe strongly that there will be some element of play-to-earn or play-and-earn in most games within the next few years. Most of these will be blockchain-connected but not fully running on blockchain.”

In a 2021 report published by the blockchain gaming alliance, a survey showed that many respondents share the same sentiment as the WAX executives when asked how much the blockchain industry is likely to leverage blockchain in the next two years.

Source: Blockchain Gaming Alliance 2021 Survey Report

Talking about the challenges that blockchain games face, Rubinelli mentioned that scalability is still a major concern. “Right now, the biggest challenge is the lack of ability for most blockchains to scale,” he said.

Related: Report: Axie Infinity accounted for nearly two-thirds of blockchain-game NFT transactions in 2021

The gaming veteran noted that Layer2 solutions could not scale unless they are “100% dedicated to a single game such as Ronin for Axie Infinity.” He also mentioned the incident that when the game Sunflower Farmers’ userbase grew, “it ground Polygon to a halt.”

Regarding esports, David Kim mentioned that most games playable on WAX are “too simple to be adapted to esports.” However, the WAX executive noted that there are games in development that could be adapted into esports.

“There are multiple blockchain-connected games currently in development with an eye towards esports. These include Hearthstone-like card battlers such as Skyweaver, battle royales such as Hodlgod, and team-based first-person shooters such as The Forge Arena.” 

Kim noted that esports games need more time to be developed. According to Kim, only 9 months passed since Alien Worlds, Splinterlands and Axie Infinity showed that blockchain gaming can attract a lot of players. “You can’t develop the kind of sophisticated game mechanics necessary for esports in that amount of time,” he added.

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