UpOnly | Research #49: Huge companies from France, China, and the US announce big moves in Web3 Gaming
“Gamers are the savviest tech group — so they’ll be the earliest adopters. You’ve just got to give them a reason to go play a game.”
- Polygon Labs president Ryan Wyatt, speaking on Web3 and blockchain technology
Wyatt’s quote says so much about Web3 gaming in so few words. GameFi is the engine driving the adoption of blockchain technology, providing a gateway into everything from DeFi to cryptocurrency to the Metaverse.
He implies that to attract Web2 gamers, gamer awareness, gameplay, and overall user experience must improve. Many projects on the market have grown tremendously and addressed the problems in GameFi. However, a great way to drive adoption and improve the gaming experience is by attracting traditional gaming companies into the world of Web3.
We have seen high-profile Japanese gaming companies enter GameFi. Companies like SEGA, Square Enix, and Bandai Namco have become validators on the Japanese gaming blockchain Oasys.
However, recently, gaming companies all around the world have leaped into Web3 gaming — a great sign for the global growth of the industry. In this edition of UpOnly | Research, we document how traditional gaming giants have mobilized resources to step up GameFi development.
US-based Unity launch 13 Web3 developer tools
The first of the companies, from San Francisco, California, is Unity Technologies, a global superpower in the gaming industry. The team responsible for mobile blockbusters such as Pokemon Go and Among Us has pumped over one billion dollars into research and development in the last few years. One product of this is a new category called decentralization, added to the Unity Asset Store.
The Unity Asset Store is an online marketplace where developers can purchase and download creative assets for game development projects. The significance of the Unity Asset Store lies in the convenience it provides game developers.
The new category contains 13 blockchain solutions or software development kits (SDKs) to aid Web3 developers. There are SDKs from various blockchains and products, including industry leaders such as Algorand, Aptos, Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain, MetaMask, and Solana.
Many major game publishers have blockchain development teams but need help integrating the technology with their traditional approach. Unity aims to encourage mainstream game developers to enter the Web3 space. The new SDKs will cut speed to market and make it easier for projects to implement blockchain tech into games.
Despite industry skeptics, the 13 solutions listed have been thoroughly reviewed and vetted to meet Unity’s verified solution requirements, according to its decentralization webpage. The move is a significant step for GameFi and could help blockchain-based gaming find footing following a shaky 2022.
Unity has taken a page out of the playbook of pioneering GameFi projects such as Nakamoto Games. Nakamoto Games launched its SDK for third-party developers last year. The SDK allows developers to easily incorporate crypto rewards into their games and host them on the Nakamoto Games website. So far, Nakamoto Games has launched over 160 blockchain games, the largest of any project in the GameFi industry.
China-based Tencent joins Web3 gaming
Tencent is the creator of PubG and the second-largest gaming company in the world. The company has announced that it will begin exploring Web3 as part of its development strategy. The social gaming giant hosted its first global Web3 summit in Singapore.
Tencent had previously limited its Web3 involvement to government-approved projects in China and financial investments outside the country. However, at the summit, Tencent Cloud signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Web3 infrastructure provider, Ankr. The memorandum stated plans to jointly develop blockchain API services, joining the likes of AWS in attracting Web3 developers.
The summit comes just a week after Tencent partnered with MultiversX, formerly known as Elrond, to expand Web3 and blockchain-based products. These will include staking services and Metaverses.
Tencent Cloud also partners with other popular Web3 infrastructure builders, such as Avalanche, Scroll, and Sui. The move was welcomed by China’s blockchain community and Chinese Web3 developers who want to be closer to home.
Perhaps most important is Tencent’s influence as the second-largest social media company in the world. They currently own two of the largest social networking sites in the world: QQ and WeChat, both primarily servicing the Asian market. Their move into Web3 could spread awareness and bring Web3 into the mainstream in this region.
Singapore has become a haven for China’s blockchain developers after Beijing’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies in 2021. However, it may not have to be for long. Tencent’s move into Web3, coupled with Hong Kong’s legalization of retail crypto trading, are signs that China might become more open to digital assets again.
France-based Ubisoft launches gaming NFT avatars
Ubisoft, the publisher behind the wildly popular video game franchises like Assassin’s Creed and Just Dance, has launched Rabbids NFT avatars. The avatars will feature in The Sandbox, an Ethereum-based Metaverse game.
The release comes one year after Ubisoft announced plans to bring the Rabbids characters to the game. Unlike the other platforms mentioned, Ubisoft is a pioneer in Web3 gaming.
It was the first major video game publisher to release in-game NFT items with Ghost Recon Breakpoint in December 2021. The company also experimented with a Minecraft-inspired NFT game prototype called HashCraft in 2018.
Ubisoft also collaborated on One Shot League, a Sorare spinoff that utilized its existing Ethereum NFT soccer player cards. The Rabbids NFTs is the latest step in Ubisoft’s continued Web3 expansion and will likely not be the last.
Developers are giving gamers reasons to play
Coming full circle, Ryan Watt’s words feel more like a spoiler than a prediction. Both grassroots Web3 platforms and gaming giants are driving adoption by improving player experience through higher-quality games.
Mainstream gaming companies have decades of experience creating high-quality, immersive games with intuitive interfaces. These will no doubt improve the overall user experience for blockchain gamers.
They also have a large and established user base, many of which will adopt blockchain gaming if their favorite developer enters. Big companies help legitimize and bring large followings to growing industries.
We are about to enter the second generation of Web3 games. The sound projects from the first generation join with the new generation of games to better the industry by every possible metric.
UpOnly is looking to partner with some of these new projects hitting the market. They will add several games from big developers into their sophisticated data directory. Next-generation games will allow users to leverage AI tools to get in early and make great crypto investments.
We already partner with industry-leading projects such as Nakamoto Games and Bloktopia. These projects survived the crypto winter due to their great teams, fantastic games, and sustainable tokenomics model. Head over to the UpOnly data directory and invest in the most promising projects on the market.
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