Casual gamers a ‘critical’ audience for blockchain games: GameFi executives

Casual gamers a ‘critical’ audience for blockchain games: GameFi executives

The casual gaming market will remain a crucial audience for blockchain gaming and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in gaming, according to three co-founders of the blockchain gaming company.

Casual players, people who play somewhat regularly but rarely invest significant time, make up the largest segment of players in the industry.

Kieran Warwick, co-founder of blockchain role-playing game Illuvium, called casual gamers “critical” because of their sheer numbers.

There are more than 3 billion gamers worldwide as of 2023, and it is estimated that at least 1.95 billion are casual gamers, according to Exploding Topics.

Illuvium co-founder Keiran Warwick. Source: LinkedIn

Warwick said players interested in monetizing the game, who primarily come from developing countries and are particularly drawn to mobile gaming, are also increasingly important.

However, Warwick admits that there is a “big challenge” looming in luring casual players into the market due to the perception that blockchain games are of poor quality.

Despite this, he was optimistic that NFTs, blockchain and Web3 will have a bright future in mainstream gaming.

“NFTs, blockchain and Web3 have a place in mainstream gaming for the long term, as mainstream game developers are already working to incorporate these technologies into their games, despite some backlash from their communities,” said Warwick.

“As more fun and engaging NFT-based games are developed, it is likely that players will experience the benefits of ownership and not want to go back to traditional games,” he added.

Yat Siu, co-founder and chairman of Animoca Brands shares a similar view, calling the mainstream casual audience “absolutely critical” of blockchain and NFT games, arguing:

“Games are still games regardless of whether they are casual or at the core. One of the things that actually made mainstream games bigger was casual games.”

According to Siu, the mainstream gaming industry hit a rough patch around 2010 and 2011 and “stopped growing.” The introduction of mobile gaming helped revitalize and attract a whole new generation of players, a feat that blockchain gaming must replicate.

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Yat Siu speaks at a press conference from the World Economic Forum. Source: Animoca Brands

Siu believes that all it takes is one good game to start a blockchain gaming boom – and he predicts it could start in the next 18 to 24 months with hundreds of millions of players entering the space.

“I think we’re charting pretty well, but you know, you’re not going to convert everybody overnight, right? But it’s starting and people are having fun, and also the games are getting better,” he said.

“All you need is one game that’s actually going to be reasonably successful, and you’ll basically get big news, and because it’s Web3, once it’s really popular, it’ll bleed into the other games .”

NFTs in games have faced backlash from the mainstream gaming public, forcing several high-profile companies to abandon plans to incorporate them, but Siu believes this is only temporary until players learn more about how the technology works.

“I think they’re trying to be sensitive to the audience. I mean, so it’s the right thing to do as a company. You can’t just say, well, whatever your opinions don’t matter,” he said.

“Most players I talk to say they’re all about having digital ownership in games, but they’re still against NFTs, but over time education will fix that,” Siu added.

Related: Opinion: 2023 is a “build year” for cryptogaming

Bozena Rezab, co-founder and CEO of GAMEE, a blockchain mobile gaming platform, believes mobile gaming will have a role to play in attracting casual gamers.

“Casual mobile games are the easiest step into gaming, with the ability to engage a mass audience. This is what these can offer to a quest for onboarding players for NFT / blockchain games,” she said.

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However, the game boss believes several aspects need to be changed first, such as dropping paywalls, shorter sessions and simpler setups for casual players.

“We are still on the way to explore the use of blockchain technology in games, the concept of ownership of assets is very powerful and will remain. The exact game genres, game economic models and mechanics that will define the future are yet to be explored,” she said.