Game First GameFi

Game First GameFi

For as long as I have been an avid gamer and game dev it has never ceased to amaze me how both vets and noobs alike keep repeating the same mistakes.

The Web3 and blockchain (or DLT if that’s how you roll) discussion when it comes to core games has more to do with tech adoption than it does game design.

One is an idea that means different things depending on who you ask, and the other is a tech subsystem.

Harvard Business Review tried to break it all down, but it does more to confuse than it does to educate mere mortals.

There are specific reasons why there’s a dearth of core Web3 or blockchain based games. No, social gatherings and blatant Ponzi schemes don’t count. It doesn’t matter what buzzword or tech the game uses, if the core game sucks or fails to engage, it will fail. Game over.

Who remembers back when us engineers were fighting to get audio and video drivers to work on low memory computers with the likes of Adlib, Soundblaster, Matrox, 3Dfx and their ilk?Even then the subpar (for high end games at least) standard was VESA.

Those tech advancements went mainstream because of gamers. And for a start, only the top tier games could support them because those were the games made by the very few tier 1 game engineers of their time. And the middleware companies creating the tech had entire divisions run by engineers whose job it was to support game devs who were implementing their tech into games. And we got loot too! Lots and lots of loot in the form of ref boards, prototypes, buggy first-look drivers & API libs etc. To the extent that we were adding new audio & video tech into games that barely had a handful of audio tracks – because we could. Fun times.

This time it’s different. And nobody is coming to save you.

There are no Web3 standards – yet because, you know, that’s the thing with buzzwords – they tend to lack substance when it comes to real world applications.

There are several [published] blockchain standards, with many more on the way; but mostly it’s every man for himself. And there are no lifelines.

As I write this, you could strike up a dialogue with engineers from Polygon and Solana to Avalanche and any other outfit with their own chain, and you would come away with one simple thought: WTAF!?

Contrast that with talking to middleware audio or video engineers – or even storage and memory engineers, and the output is way more coherent because there’s a common shared knowledge on how to do certain things that have common – even if advanced – standards and practices.

Making engaging core games that use a blockchain backend should be more about the game than the chain. And making core games is already very costly and time consuming. So, the GameFi Gold rush – and burn – leading to failure will continue unless a “Game First” approach becomes the norm.

Guess why visually stunning games with exceptional audio can still fail at retail.