The gaming industry has grown phenomenally in India. With the pandemic boosting the gaming market, it grew to a $2.8 billion industry in 2022 and is expected to reach $5 billion by 2025. However, Web 3.0 gaming is still to grow in India. In 2021, Web 3.0 emerged as a popular technology for fantasy sports. There is a lot of hype surrounding it but experts feel it is yet to grow in India.
At a panel discussion on Gaming 2.0 and shifting to web3 and blockchain gaming at Web3 summit, Rohit Jagasia, Founder & CEO, Reventant Esports said, “Web from an Esports point of view is still to grow in India and throughout the world because I think the audiences that actually play competitive gaming still have to be educated about Metamask and most of the wallets, how to link them and how to use them. But for now, I think for Esports teams and content creators who are a part of the whole Esports ecosystem they are more like an enabler for Web 3.0 and I think that shift will come soon.”
Traditional gaming companies making a move
The good news is that traditional gaming companies such as EA, Ubisoft, Spec games have already started to make move in the sector. Commenting on this, says Jai Shah, Co-founder, Orangutan, “I think the lucrative part for Web 3.0 and the link between Gaming 2.0 and Web 3.0 would be the community. Also, what’s great about Web 3.0 and what’s going to be lucrative is the Play-to-Earn model as and when you know the gamers can stick to a particular game or become loyal to a particular game you know the trading of the skins and different things that Web 3.0 can enable which currently we call them in-game assets but we don’t treat them like one. So I think Web 3.0 is going to be an enabler, something that will help boost the whole ecosystem all together.”
Sharing his views, another panelist Kameshwaran Elangovan, Co-founder and COO, Guardian Link said, “So the beauty of blockchain gaming is, because of the entire US$ 200 billion dollars of in-game assets, every asset can be an NFT now, so that people can buy, retrade if they don’t like or, rent it. With a lot of trades happening, it will become a trillion dollar economy easily. I feel Blockchain gaming is going to be everywhere. Even Playstore and Appstore are open to support NFTs now which is going to create a new market.”
Dynamics at play
While a lot of things need to be in place in order to fully realise the actual potential of Web 3.0, it will be interesting to know what is driving this shift and the other dynamics at play.
Explaining the shift, Parth Chadha, Co-founder, Stan, says, “The shift of value from publishers or guys building the games to gamers is the key aspect which is driving to Web 3.0 and Blockchain. It has to shift from the point where only a few stakeholders in the ecosystem are capturing the value to the actual audience consuming the gaming content. This is something which Web 3.0 is sort of promising and that is why everybody is so excited about Blockchain in gaming.”
Asserts Kapil Dhiman, CEO, MetaStudios-Metaverse and Gaming, “It is the ask from the gamers to own their own time and get value for the time that they are inputting in the game.” Sharing a different perspective, however Shivam Rao, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Trinity Gaming, says, “There should be a specific focus towards community-building as well because ultimately that’s what is going to build a long-term relation with the whole gaming ecosystem. Also, that is where the scalability factor will come in.”
Piyush Kumar, Founder & CEO, Rooter, says, “The key aspect of a game becoming successful has to be in community-building and this happens on the game and most importantly on streaming platforms which is where Rooter comes in. So, for us it is extremely important that web-gaming in India grows much faster than what we have seen and I think it has a lot to do with how the Web 3.0 market in general has performed over the last few months. But overall, the future of gaming is in Web 3.0. For us it is extremely important that we see close to 10-20 web games pick up over the next 12-18 months. But I think we are in the right direction and it will really change a lot as far as gaming is concerned.”
Despite traditional gaming companies moving towards Web 3.0 gaming, the latter is not without its challenges. “User acquisition for Blockchain gaming is a huge challenge,” says Elangovan. “Actually there is another challenge for web-free games and it’s AI technology,” says Juliet Su, Fund Partner and Ecosystem Lead, New Tribe Capital.
Comments, Dhiman, “So at the end of the day, it’s a job, not fun and not engaging and that is why currently the engagement or the user base is so less. Triple A games are not going to enter this ecosystem unless the user base increases and that won’t increase unless the games become fun to play and hence the whole shift that we are talking about from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 has to be gradual. It has to be in a way that games are built, not with a mindset of making money or integrating it with Blockchain. Integration with Blockchain and NFTs has to be a subset. The core of building a game should be that you build a fun and an engaging game like a storyline.”
Fundraising and investments
Commenting on their investment stance, Su said that we are in the kind of transition period. “We can’t make web regain out of nothing. So right now it’s better to start from the Web 2.0 game, then maybe add on some NFTs because usually people are trading collectibles within the game and for that specific per person we need NFTs. Then add on the tokens because people can trade and monetise what they have been doing before and then finally we are in the Web 3.0 space. So, I believe that might be the best recipe for that.”
Adds Laura K. Inamedinova, Founder & CEO, LKI Consulting, “For successful fundraising, I would encourage everyone first build an MVP, have a community and a strategy in place to build 10x returns for your investors.”
Inamedinova believes that gaming has enormous potential if it is done right. “Don’t build a game just because you want to be a gamer. Build a game where you actually see the value and the community you will have. Second, you don’t always need Blockchain or Web 3.0 to build a game. Lastly, until we find a way to exchange those in-game assets across all the different games this is going to be just a nice idea just a nice marketing pitch.”
Says Bharat Patel, Chairman and Director, Yudiz Solutions, “I think the games would be more centric to gamers and technology is going to take a newer leap into it especially with the cloud gaming. That’s going to be much more important because the devices that we currently have may not be that good at the moment to have a very engaging experience. But with the cloud and 6G coming, I think it’s going to be a newer experience.”
“Also, over a period of time you will see many more studios coming up specifically for the Indian mythological and character making. I think the storyline is there. The bridge between the characters and the newer generation is what we need to bridge through and I think that’s going to happen very soon,” Patel adds.