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Do We Really Need Blockchain for Web3 Games?

Do We Really Need Blockchain for Web3 Games?

Play to win: Should today’s serious game studios build with Web3 technology? The future of Web3 games lies in Web2 technology, according to Corey Wilton, CEO of Mirai Laboratories.

This might seem like an odd question, especially coming from someone who has put so much effort into building in the Play-to-Earn (P2E) space. But if we Web3 builders want to create the best P2E Games, we need to use the best possible resources we have. And frankly, a lot of those resources reside in Web2 gaming technology.

Therefore, to create the best gaming experiences for users, Web3 game builders should create everything possible with Web2 technology and integrate blockchain only when necessary. Here’s how.

Play-to-Earn: when do we really need blockchain?

Ultimately, the technology used to create blockchain-based games is at least ten years behind traditional gaming technology. Those of us who build and play in the P2E ecosystem have decided to make this compromise in the name of decentralized ownership.

But is it really worth it for Web3 games to have such outdated mechanics in exchange for blockchain-based solutions?

This is not the case. In fact, many practical things – payments, onboarding, and other in-game elements – run much smoother without blockchain. Still, there are some situations where blockchain is the right tool for the job. So where is blockchain technology really the best solution?

Which came first: the problem or the solution?

Many builders and analysts have pointed out that blockchain could potentially add a layer of interoperability to in-game items and currencies. This could allow them to be ported from one game to another. However, the infrastructure to support this kind of interoperability between games will not exist for some time. This is even when it comes to games made by the same studio. So while interoperability is possible, it’s not practical – at least not any time soon.

The one thing blockchain can be effective for today, however, is ownership. Since blockchains are both decentralized and immutable, they can be used to create secure ownership records for any item, currency, or other type of in-game asset, including user data.

But it is important to note that in-game ownership is also possible without blockchain, and in many cases end users may not know or care about the difference between on- and off-chain ownership. In these cases, in-game ownership is not an issue that needs to be resolved. Therefore, the application of blockchain for certain types of property cannot really be called a solution – in fact, it may even be a hindrance.

Despite this, more and more of these “solutions” are being created all the time, for ownership and beyond. And when the market is bubbly, thousands of companies start building more and more of them, making “problems” that their products can solve.

Ultimately, this leads to an overabundance of services that will become obsolete in the long run. And because they are only temporary solutions to ongoing problems, building with them today is not a good idea.

Play-to-Earn: Should today's serious game studios build with Web3 technology?

Play-to-Earn: Optimizing the blockchain

The problem with the P2E blockchain is therefore twofold: the blockchain is often overused, and when it should be used, the solutions that are easier to apply in the short term will not last in the future.

That is why P2E game builders should use Web2 technology as much as they can today – to create advanced games that are complemented by robust blockchain applications only when and where needed.

When blockchain really is the best solution, Web3 builders should focus on systems that are built to last for the long haul. They are layer 1 (L1) blockchains and layer 2 (L2) solutions that have strong ecosystems and core development teams.

The thing is, while these L1s and L2s aren’t currently capable of supporting the same kinds of complex game ecosystems as today’s Web2 games, it’s likely that they will be one day.

Many L1 and L2 builders are working towards a world in which blockchains will work the way Amazon Web Services does today – a strong, flexible underlying fabric that can support an unlimited number of applications. And when that day comes, Web2 technology that supports powerful P2E games will easily be ported to Web3.

Link off-chain assets with on-chain marketplaces

When we look at the P2E ecosystem, 99% of the companies that build things in today’s market will no longer exist in two years. Who will last? These will be the studios that focus their resources on making games with proven design mechanics. These games encourage in-app spending and generate sustainable long-term revenue.

For now, it may well be that these games could exist entirely off-chain with only tangential relationships to blockchains. For example, assets from an off-chain game could be “exportable” to on-chain status, where they could be traded on external markets. Once users are done with the on-chain services, they can then “import” their assets into the game.

The future of Web3 gaming is, at least for now, in Web2. While many Web3 games have come and gone like lightning, many other Web2 game ecosystems and communities have thrived for years. After all, many Web2 games are far more technically advanced, user-friendly, and fun than their Web3 counterparts.

So if we want to create P2E gaming ecosystems that attract more users and builders, and continue to thrive in the future, we will need to take inspiration from the Web2 playbook. Game on.

About the Author

play to win

Corey Wilton is the CEO of Mirai Labs, the game studio behind the P2E game Pegaxy.io.

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