How blockchain gaming slowly becomes the New Status Quo
Satir’s Model of Change Mapped to Blockchain Gaming
Like all disruptive technology, blockchain gaming has faced resistance. However, this exciting new industry has great benefits for gamers and developers alike. In this article, we explore ‘Satir’s Model of Change’ as a guideline for the future integration of blockchain gaming as a new status quo.
Satir’s Model of Change
Developed by author and therapist Virginia Satir, it is a popular change management model to understand how people deal with change. The theory describes the 5 stages of change a new, disruptive idea goes through:
- LATE STATUS QUO — a new idea arises
- RESISTANCE — people hang onto the status quo
- CHAOS — a period of uncertainty and choices
- INTEGRATION — the new idea starts to take root
- NEW STATUS QUO — a new status quo is established
Let’s map it to Satir’s model to see what insights we can glean about the path of Blockchain gaming.
1. Late Status Quo Stage — A New Concept in Gaming
The first blockchain game was ‘CryptoKitties’ in 2017, launched by Axiom Zen. The Sandbox, originally a successful Web 2.0 game published in 2012, was converted to a blockchain game in 2018. It is extremely popular, and players can to create their own games.
Mid-2018 saw the creation of the Blockchain Game Alliance, of which Ubisoft was a founding member. One of the biggest success stories is Axie Infinity. It was released in 2018 by Sky Mavis. Axie reached a staggering $4 billion in all-time sales in February 2022. However, a major hack in 2022 saw it lose a phenomenal amount of money.
2. Resistance Stage: Big Companies, Developers, and Players
Why is there Resistance from Big Companies?
Large video game publishers have to protect their brands, and talk of ponzis and scams is bad press. Furthermore, large brands don’t want to entertain unnecessary levels of risk. Even Ubisoft unlisted their NFT ‘Digits’ video after 31k dislikes on YouTube and strong opposition from gamers and staff. Also, large publishers may not be as able to respond as fast as smaller companies due to the necessities of the corporate decision-making process.
NFTs and Stalker 2: The Heart of Chornobyl
GSE Game World’s idea to introduce NFTs to Stalker 2 met massive resistance from gamers. This sequel to the cult classic faced players threatening to boycott the game. In the end, GSC backed down and cancelled the NFT launch.
Steam Ban on NFT and Crypto Games
Valve’s Steam announced in autumn 2021 that it would not allow NFTs or crypto games on its platform. It was a clear sign of resistance by an industry giant with 134 million active users in 2021 and 50,000 games.
Why is there Resistance from Gamers and Developers?
Evil Ape Scam
Recent scams such as Evil Ape may have adversely influenced Steam, gamers, and developers. An NFT developer named Evil Ape sold a collection of 10,000 unique, playable NFTs, and a week after the game went live, the Project Head disappeared with 798 Ethereum tokens ($2.7 million dollars)!
Terra Stable Coin Crash
More recently, the crash of the alleged ‘stable coin’ TerraUSD led to losses of tens of billions of dollars. Across the globe, cryptocurrencies fell in value and created more fear of ‘ponzi’ schemes.
Child & Teenage Gamers
An estimated 30% of gamers worldwide are under 18, and many of them may not be able to afford crypto wallets and NFTs. Also, parents may not allow their children to do crypto gaming if they associate it with gambling and scams.
Cost of Entry to NFT Gaming
The cost of NFTs in gated games could be a barrier. However, some Web 3.0 games offer free-to-play gaming and NFT lending. Nevertheless, the cost and necessity of NFTs are unpopular with many traditional gamers.
Poor Design & Lack of Fun in Blockchain Games
Some games are poorly designed and more focused on earning than playing, which is a turn-off for many gamers. Plus, experienced game developers may lack the blockchain knowledge to enter the industry successfully.
More NFT Backlash from Gamers and Developers
Indie developer AggroCrab flatly refused to work with Team 17 after they announced their MetaWorms NFT project. Likewise, EA faced similar adversity from the gaming community. Despite this, EA is still advancing with NFTs.
3. Chaos Stage: The Big Companies Moving Forward
Ubisoft Leading the Way?
Ubisoft was the first large game publisher to explore blockchain gaming with prototype games and support for start-ups in recent years. Then in 2021, it announced NFTs would feature in Ghost Recon Breakpoint. It is also involved with the soccer game ‘One Shot League’ with Sorare.
Ubisoft faced a negative backlash from its employees and gamers for its NFT innovation. Undeterred, Ubisoft is still going ahead with games that contain NFTs, including its Rabbids characters for The Sandbox. Interestingly, Ubisoft has shown empathy towards the negative reactions to NFTs but seems to believe attitudes will change.
Easing in the New: The ‘Pouard Approach’ to Integration
Ubisoft’s Head of Strategic Innovations Lab, Nicolas Pouard, is playing the long game with blockchain gaming integration. He has said in an interview that he is used to a negative backlash to gaming innovations, but he believes that gamers don’t fully understand ‘what a digital secondary market can bring to them’.
Pouard believes that many gamers see NFT and crypto as damaging the planet and are negatively linked to speculating. However, ultimately he sees blockchain gaming as an opportunity for gamers ‘to resell their items once they’re finished with them’.
Deliberate Barriers to Entry
Ubisoft has made it hard for people to join NFT games by requiring that the players buy the game and play for a minimum of two hours. This is to deter NFT speculators from entering the market instead of real gamers. Also, Pouard said that not all Ubisoft games will have NFTs.
Pouard’s View of Play and Earn
Pouard’s take on Play to Earn is to allow ‘players to make their own money by adding value to the whole ecosystem’. But Pouard doesn’t believe players should be forced to use NFTs. Instead, inform them there is a new system where they can earn more. Certainly, the Pouard approach is an astute one, allowing players time to overcome their initial resistance and adopt a new way of gaming.
Billion Dollar Brands Joining the Party?
While Steam rejected blockchain gaming, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said in autumn 2021 that the company had no plans of ‘touching’ NFTs but was open to ‘innovation in the areas of technology and finance’ from game developers. Since then, Epic Games have joined up with EA, Activision, Warners, and Zynga to collaborate on the NFT blockchain game ‘Pirates’.
With billion-dollar gaming brands on board, blockchain gaming looks set to navigate the chaos stage towards integration. As big names are joining the game, they adapt to changes when there’s a guaranteed success.
4. Integration Stage
Towards Integration: Philippines and Asia
In the Philippines and other parts of Asia, some Axie players have been earning a living playing since lockdown, which is a significant step towards integration. However, a major hack in 2022 saw $600 million stolen from Axie Infinity’s publisher. As a result, the game lost a high number of players, and the token value fell.
Nevertheless, Asia is one of the key areas of the world where blockchain and NFT gaming are witnessing the most significant adoption rates. India is leading the pack at 33.79% and the Philippines at 25.01% in 4th place, and a number of other Asian countries in the top 7.
The BoomLand Approach to Integration
With the resistance factors already covered, BoomLand has a robust approach to blockchain game development that should counter the opposition and instill confidence in the market. Long-term sustainability is at the core of the project. (Read our Medium article entitled ’12 Things a Sustainable P2E Gaming Project Needs for Success!’ to explore this in greater detail).
BoomLand: Building on the Success of Web 2.0
The BoomLand platform and the first game ‘Hunters On-Chain’ are built on the success of the existing Web 2.0 game ‘Hunt Royale’, bringing with it an existing community of gamers.
The diversity and depth of the BoomLand team brings together specialists from game development, tokenomics, marketing, etc. Also, it has veteran game developers who have worked on Web 2.0 games for Boombit, BoomLand’s first developer partner. Boombit has had over 1.2 Billion downloads, so the team knows how to make hit games.
The Hunters On-Chain universe is a 100% player-owned economy that is self-sustainable and run by players and developers. With deflationary and inflationary token crypto tokens ($BOOM and $BGEM), players and developers can earn passive $BGEM income by taking part in games modes and events, joining clans and lending and selling their NFTs.
We made sure that the in-game economy maintains token liquidity, which means the economy stays healthy. Therefore, the path of integration for BoomLand is based on solid experience and measured steps towards long-term sustainability.
5. A New Status Quo: What steps are needed for Web 3.0 gaming to be integrated into the industry as a new standard?
Blockchain companies would be well advised to embrace change management principles to affect a change in culture. Here is a list of suggestions:
- Cultivate a sense of urgency about getting on board with this exciting and prosperous new sector. Use case studies to show how it can be successful and ponzi-free.
- Get existing brand evangelists from Web 2.0 gamers, clans and developers on board to build enthusiasm and share their testimonies. Also, create affiliate marketing opportunities.
- Set a vision for your blockchain gaming platform and how you will grow the community and ecosystem.
- Be transparent and share all the important financial and structural data to build trust and allay fears about ponzis, NFT scams, etc.
- Look to the example of big brands who have made it in Web 2.0 game development and are now developing Web 3.0 games. Emulate their steps and structures.
- Workout ways to remove barriers to entry for developers and gamers, especially financial ones.
- Showcase and celebrate short-term progress to the community at large to build faith in the longevity of your project.
- Implement new structures to promote the longevity of projects.
- Maintain long-term sustainability by making games fun to play, and so the value of tokens and NFTs grow because gamers love your games and there is a healthy trade in the marketplace.
Money, the Catalyst for Change
Money will be the eventual catalyst for mass-scale change in the gaming sector, as in the example of Fortnite. Epic Games and CEO Tim Sweeney were always a company committed to single-player games, but with the success of Fortnite, they became a pro-Multiplayer, GaaS game developer.
The point is that as billion-dollar gaming brands make big bucks in blockchain gaming, the new status quo will be established because monetary success is the catalyst for change.
In the interim period, Satir’s Model of Change is a useful roadmap for the blockchain sector to adopt.
What do the Figures Predict for the Future of Blockchain Gaming?
In 2021, blockchain gaming had about $4 billion in investments and was predicted to reach $10 billion in investments in 2022. (Source: Crypto Potato.com, Apr 20, 2022).
However, ‘The size of the overall gaming market is expected to touch a massive $222 billion this year (Source: Live Mint.com, May 2022), with the revenue from blockchain gaming expected to reach $36.81 billion in 2022. That is even with the market optimization that the press like to call ‘the next crypto winter’.
“According to a new market research report published by Global Market Estimates, the Global Metaverse in Gaming Market is projected to grow from USD 36.81 billion in 2022 to USD 710.21 billion at a CAGR value of 38.2% from 2022 to 2027.” Source: Global Newswire.com, April 28, 2022.
Whatever your opinion of blockchain gaming, there is no doubting the financial clout it currently has. Only time will tell how long it takes to become the new status quo worldwide.
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