The Esports industry which has become a prominent part of modern culture has created many opportunities in the technological sector and also a large business market for influencers, gamers and competitive training. However, the GameFi landscape, which is still in relative infancy, has little to no intersect with the esports scene.
Gaming with NFTs is still a new concept which will require diligent effort in development and marketing before it can be adopted by the gaming community at large. As it stands the barrier to entry to the two industries are vastly different and mostly cater to different types of people. Furthermore, major gaming IP owners and game studios are yet to implement NFT technology in their more popular titles.
In order to address this problem, GameFi needs to bring more features to the table that players in the Esports industry, not just gamers but also industry players, will find to be attractive. The approach needs to not be purely fiscal but also functional and needs to encourage larger participation without the risk of being exploited for fast, unfair profits.
Addressing the fear and misconception that Esports industry players may have towards cryptocurrency, NFTs and blockchain technology will be a crucial part of building this bridge to join the two communities. As esports is far more established than GameFi, the latter will have to be the one to take the bigger initiative to connect and integrate with the other.
With a substantial market hitting $174.9 billion in 2020, the global video game market has graduated into becoming a competitive industry spanning multiple sectors from software to hardware to events and marketing. Fuelled by the innovations in these sectors, the gaming market is also expanding at an exponential rate of 19.6% year-over-year in 2020 alone which explains how it was able to conquer the largest share of the entertainment market, amassing a size that is almost double that of the music and film industry combined.
Gaming on the blockchain has also been an expanding sector - but its expansion pales in comparison to that of the video game market. To understand why blockchain gaming has not been able to enjoy the same growth, we can look at the quality of the games available in the blockchain space.
Many blockchain games are largely hyper casual apps, sometimes dubbed “toilet games” as they are suited for the attention span of a bathroom break. This is a stark contrast to AAA titles in the video game industry with compelling graphics, gameplay and multiplayer experience. Other factors include replay value, competitiveness, constant updates and interesting storylines that are an integral part of the video game experience.
The gap between blockchain games and mainstream video games may be challenging to overcome but it is not impossible with the technology available to us today.
One troubling factor contributing to the gap is the emergence of whitelabel turnkey products that anyone can purchase and launch, creating their own version of an existing blockchain game. The result of this is a market where games are mostly similar to the point that many of those who are not familiar with the format of blockchain gaming mistaking these low-effort games as the defining genre of blockchain gaming. There is also a severe lack of innovation in the sector partly due to the lack of incentives offered to foster and incubate high quality projects that involve and implement blockchain gaming.
The fragmented state of blockchain-based browser and mobile games today has created an illusion of a low barrier for entry to the market. However, the reality is while the technology is available to everyone, the competition to become a successful mobile game with high audience attraction and retention with a good value proposition to players is very stiff.
A big problem faced by developers and studios in the industry is that creating yet another blockchain-based game on its own will only add to the ongoing fragmentation in the industry. While this is inline with the ideals and nature of decentralisation, it decreases the interconnectivity between projects and reduces the survival rate in the space as small projects die out due to competition with both centralised services and other decentralised games.