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Where do we stand as a gaming industry?
What we believe is where we currently stand as a gaming industry.
Long before social media became part of our lives, gamers were already identified by their nicknames and in-game avatars. Players have been spending their nights and early mornings fighting, competing, and exploring games for treasures and unique gear, and customizing and improving their virtual avatars for glory and fame amongst their friends and teammates. Fast forward to today, and this practice is exploding with the global online microtransaction market expected to grow to $51.09 billion by 2025. But the current market is centralized, owned, and controlled by the publishers. Players are left with a one-sided market interaction: buying. For example, players can spend years to reach special achievements and acquire ingame items but are not able to monetize their assets or their invested time. In addition, the functionality of these assets can be altered by game developers without the consent of players or rendered completely worthless if the underlying game is taken offline.
We are about to step into the next era of gaming, where immersive experiences will close the gap between reality and virtual worlds, where online is a persistent state, and digital property becomes part of your real-world wealth.
Despite the crucial importance of an active and engaged gaming community, the current games industry fails to value the essential role of gamers in building these communities and co-creating the gaming experience. Blockchain-based games promise an alternative but have failed to gain widespread adoption due to their rudimentary gameplay and slow performance. All the focus is on monetization rather than gameplay, while limitations caused by the speed of smart contracts on decentralized networks result in slow, simplistic, and outdated looking games that are a pale imitation of their rivals. As a result, many of the blockchain games listed on sites like DappRadar can only muster a relatively small number of active players. A good idea badly executed is still a bad experience for gamers.
If games aren’t fun, players won’t play.
Games like Cyberpunk 2077 have made it clear that not involving the community in game development can cause significant reputational damage. A lack of community feedback can often lead to a product that doesn’t match user expectations. Just like a social network without any members, if an online game doesn’t have an active player base, it is worthless. Furthermore, games like Minecraft and Fortnite demonstrate that gamers are no longer merely passive consumers, but co-creators of the gaming experience.
Developers seeking to enter the decentralized gaming market are faced with two central challenges. Unity and Unreal, the leading global game engines, are not integrated with blockchain out of the box. As a result, developers seeking to create blockchain games are often faced with a steep learning curve and hundreds of hours of additional development time. The technical limitations of smart contracts on decentralized networks can result in poor performance and significant latency issues.
As a result of these factors, many blockchain games are hampered by graphics and gameplay that is slow, unsophisticated, and outdated compared to conventional games.
To change the status quo, we need the creative minds behind games to embrace, experiment, and ultimately utilize all that blockchain technology can offer. To achieve this, game developers need a simpler way to integrate blockchain-based assets into their games - without needing to learn new languages or change their development tools. The same holds true for the gaming community at large. Gamers can play a new role in both game development and the in game experience. Ajuna was created to understand and solve these problems.
- Technological barriers are still a big issue for game studios entering into the blockchain space. Among others: lack of blockchain competence, the challenge of choosing the right platform, limited access to blockchain developers, smart-contract knowledge. Solidity, Ink, Rust, Consensus, Signing, Hashing, Encrypting... that's a lot to know.
- Community building is becoming increasingly difficult without incentivizing your core audience. Breaking through the noise is both expensive and time-consuming.
- Fundraising has always been a big issue for small to mid-sized game studios, which are often dependent on a big publisher that controls their creative output and takes a big share of the revenue.