By Dan Wiggins, Head of Gaming, Kadena Eco
Ever since I was a little boy, I have always loved games. I spent my 5th-grade summer mapping the Dungeons of Skara Brae in Bard’s Tale on an Apple IIGS. Later I graduated to World of Warcraft on PC.
Although my love for gaming never waned, I ended up working in finance. When I had the opportunity to change career paths, a dream came true. I joined Turbine, the video game developer behind Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, and others.
In 2008 Turbine made a risky pivot and transitioned the business model from paid subscription (prevalent business model for MMOs) to free-2-play. Turbine was one of the first western developers to make this transformative change, which has become the industry standard.
Shortly after making the transition, the number of players on Turbine games increased, and customer acquisition cost decreased. Although revenue per user was less, absolute revenue went way up thanks to the audience growth. Most importantly, the games’ communities were all extremely healthy thanks to an influx of players. As the community grew, engagement and retention increased, and the studio could rationalize investing in live content, which took the company to the next level.
Turbine was acquired in 2010 by Warner Bros for $160 million. I searched for the next innovation in gaming and found my way to Zynga, an early leader in social games — games you could play on social networks like Facebook. I had the gratifying job of finding the world’s best video game developers and convincing them to join the company and build on this new platform. I spoke with the creatives behind Age of Empires, Civilization, Thief, Ultima, Wolfenstein, and many more. It was surreal chatting with the creatives behind the favorite games of my childhood, and then watching them succeed on a new platform.
Web3: an exhilarating new design space
I started investigating crypto in 2017. Virtual currency? Made sense. I had spent more money on IGE than my World of Warcraft subscription. But it was not possible to build consumer applications. Fast forward to 2022: we’re transitioning from protocols to polygons, and developers can build consumer experiences. Web3 feels similar to social games in 2009 or mobile games back in 2010.
If you squint and imagine, you can start to see the types of experiences enabled by blockchain. It is definitely not all figured out. There are very few other products from which to glean “inspiration.” Depending on your temperament, the new ambiguity of this fast-evolving design space is intimidating or exciting. At the very least, I can promise it will be more interesting than working on the fifth iteration of a large console franchise or grinding on KPIs to support performance mobile user acquisition investments.
Even cynics might agree that embracing a new gaming frontier can pay off. I remember the skeptical questions from traditional game developers when I proposed they make a social or mobile game, ribbing from guildmates when I told them what I did, with Reddit thread and journalists eviscerating F2P games. But there were 10 million daily active users happily playing Farmville on Facebook. And on mobile, I watched in a few short years the definition of a successful title go from $5k in revenue per day, to $50k to $500K.
Start building now. You will learn, and that knowledge will compound. Find the right partner to help you get ramped up quickly. Being early in Web 3.0 will garner mindshare from your platform partner and the community. And just like in early social and mobile, small innovative teams will build category-defining titles.
Rally cry for game builders: Kadena Eco is here for you
It’s been just two weeks since I’ve joined Kadena. But already, my background in gaming and partnerships has inspired great conversations with game developers who’ve decided to start up on Kadena given the insights I’ve been able to share about why Kadena Eco is the right community for builders.
In weeks and months to come, I look forward to helping Kadena, and its gaming partners, think through how to design for on-chain environments while fielding community feedback along the way, so we can build mass market entertainment experiences. The innovation the Kadena community provides will fuel mainstream adoption of Web3, Defi, and NFTs, which will benefit everyday people all over the world. Together, the Kadena Eco community, along with the greater Web3 community, will build the next generation of blockchain-based games. I hope you’re right there with us.
Ready to get started with Kadena Eco? Here’s how: https://kadena.io/eco/.