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GamesBeat Summit Next 2022’s ‘How a Punk Bassist’s Legacy Moves the NFT Conversation to an Earned Value’ panel is well worth a watch. Freeverse’s Alun Evans certainly makes it sound like former bassist and tech writer Chris Anderson foresaw the Web3 problems, problems like speculation, from the beginning.
Now, the developers working on Web3 games must make a decision about the future, and it looks like they need to do it fast. Currently, most Web3 content is perceived to be at least built around speculation. That is, that value is perceived and generated by the rarity of a thing.
“The problem with Web3 is that games based purely on speculation tend to boom and bust,” Evans said, speaking at the GamesBeat Summit Next 2022 event. “We’ve seen the evidence for that, but you don’t even need to see the evidence. evidence to think it makes sense. There is never going to be an influx of more and more new users to drive the economy.”
I have never been on board with this. I remember when cryptocurrencies started to grow. The value skyrocketed due to the perceived rarity. If someone has a bitcoin, that’s one less bitcoin in the world. Bitcoins, although not physical, are not infinite. The technology that produces bitcoins will eventually end and there will be no more bitcoins to freely obtain.
That kind of speculation makes sense to me, a little bit.
Where are the Web3 games.
But why exactly is that part of Web3 gaming? Any specific item in any given Web3 game is rare only because the game’s creators arbitrarily decided to make it rare. The items are not tied to a technology, like Bitcoin is.
It can be argued that virtual land has some scarcity, but even that falls flat if you really think about it. That is still speculation. Everything is digital. People can fly. Portals exist. The instances exist. Owning a piece of land isn’t as valuable as developers make it out to be.
To me, it seems like the developers are looking at Bitcoin, seeing the well eventually run dry, and collectively deciding that’s the point. There are only 500 of this specific item, ever, in this game, therefore the item is valuable.
But we all know that there could be an unlimited number of items. Players, in general, will eventually figure things out. Web3 needs to distance itself before that happens, or it may be too late. Artificial scarcity with no real reason for it is a sure way to drive players out, let alone attract new players.
“We can reward players for their time by allowing NFTs to level up,” Evans said. “That creates retention.”
So where should Web3 go?
Well, it’s complicated. One argument is that those items, rather than being artificially limited, should be unique. They must be upgraded and evolved through the actions a player takes. Evolving based on player actions, each item becomes completely unique and therefore valuable.
But that falls into a different problem. Why would I want to buy that? I want to play the game. I don’t want to buy a solved game.
But I think the idea is on the right track. Instead of trying to make things evolve so that they have value, why not make games that change depending on how things evolve? Make the value be in opening multiple experiences.
Freeverse focuses on making NFTs that can change over time. That gives NFTs more utility than we’ve seen so far.
The idea that I can play a game one way, complete it, and then share a completely different experience by buying or trading with another player? That, to me, has some value.
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