Casual gamers a ‘critical’ audience for blockchain games: GameFi execs

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According to three co-founders of blockchain gaming companies, the casual gaming market will continue to be a critical audience for blockchain games and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) in gaming.

Casual gamers, people who play games somewhat regularly but rarely invest much time, make up the largest segment of players in the industry.

Kieran Warwick, co-founder of the blockchain role-playing game Illuvium, called casual gamers “critical” because of the sheer number.

There are over 3 billion gamers worldwide as of 2023, and according to Exploding Topics there are estimated to be at least 1.95 billion casual gamers.

Illuvium co-founder Keiran Warwick. Source: LinkedIn

Warwick said gamers interested in earning in-game revenue, who are mostly from developing countries and are particularly attracted to mobile gaming, are also growing in importance.

However, Warwick admits there is a “major challenge” in luring casual gamers to the market due to the perception that blockchain games are of inferior quality.

Despite this, he was optimistic that NFTs, blockchain and Web3 will have a bright future in mainstream gaming.

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“NFTs, blockchain and Web3 have a long-term place in mainstream games as mainstream game developers are already in the process of incorporating these technologies into their games despite some backlash from their communities,” said Warwick.

“As more fun and engaging NFT-based games are developed, it is likely that players will experience the benefits of ownership and not want to go back to traditional games,” he added.

Yat Siu, the co-founder and chairman of Animoca Brands, shares a similar view, calling the mainstream casual audience “definitely critical” of blockchain and NFT games, arguing:

“Games are still games, whether casual or mid-core. One of the things that actually made mainstream gaming bigger was casual games.

According to Siu, the mainstream gaming industry hit a rough patch around 2010 and 2011 and “stopped growing”. The introduction of mobile games helped revitalize and attract a whole new generation of gamers, a feat that blockchain games are set to replicate.

Yat Siu speaks at a World Economic Forum press conference. Source: Animoca Brands

Siu believes it only takes one good game to kick off a blockchain gaming boom – and he predicts it could begin in the next 18 to 24 months with hundreds of millions of gamers taking to the space.

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“I think we’re charting a pretty good map, but you know, you’re not going to convert everyone overnight, are you? But it has started and people are having fun and the games are getting better too,” he said.

“All you need is one game that’s going to be really quite successful and you’re going to get big news, in fact, and because it’s Web3, once it’s really popular, it’s going to bleed into the other games. “

NFTs in games have faced backlash from the mainstream gaming audience, forcing several high-profile companies to abandon plans to include them, but Siu believes this is only temporary until gamers learn more about how the technology works .

“I think they try to be sensitive to their audience. I mean, so that’s the right thing to do as a company. You can’t just say, whatever your opinion is, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

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“Most gamers I speak to say they are all about having digital ownership in games, but are still against NFTs, but in time education will fix that,” added Siu.

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Bozena Rezab, co-founder and CEO of GAMEE, a blockchain mobile gaming platform, believes that mobile games will play a role in attracting casual gamers.

“Casual mobile games are the easiest step in gaming, with the potential to attract a large audience. Here’s what these can offer to a quest of onboarding gamers for NFT/blockchain games,” she said.

However, the gaming exec thinks several aspects should be changed first, such as dropping paywalls, shorter sessions and easier settings for casual players.

“We are still moving towards exploring the use of blockchain technology in games, the asset ownership concept is very powerful and will continue to be. The exact game genres, game economy models and mechanisms that will shape the future are yet to be explored,” she said.