- Animoca Brands CEO Robby Yung suggested interoperable Web3 games could conduct “vampire attacks,” drawing users between titles via cross-game NFT utility.
- Yung gave an example of a racing game using NFT cars. He said a new game could create utility for an established game’s NFTs, funneling users from the old game.
- While achieving true interoperability is hard, abstracting away Web3 complexities with custodial wallets can draw in mainstream gamers initially. Sophisticated, easy-to-use Web3 games are starting to emerge.
Animoca Brands CEO Outlines How Cross-Game NFT Utility Could Draw Users Between Titles
Racing Game Example Highlights Opportunity
Speaking at an NFTUK event in London, Yung gave the example of a racing game using NFTs to represent cars. He said: “Let’s say we both make racing games and I have one with tons of players. There’s a huge opportunity for an indie to make another racing game and essentially—the DeFi people call it a vampiric attack—create utility for all those players.”
Interoperability Creates User Acquisition Funnel
Yung explained that interoperability between two games’ NFTs would enable the newer title to create a user acquisition funnel, drawing over users from the more established game. “That brings a lot of people in to at least try what you have on offer from my community, because you’re providing that interoperability,” he said. “Some may stay, and some may leave, but you can at least use that as part of your funnel.”
How “Vampire Attacks” Work in DeFi
In the world of decentralized finance (DeFi), vampire attacks occur when new projects offer better incentives than established projects to draw liquidity away into the new protocol.
Virtuous Cycle if Royalties Infrastructure in Place
Yung suggested it could be more of a virtuous cycle in gaming. “If your players come to my game, and they enjoy using their cars in my game, then I create additional utility for your cars,” he said. But he added that this does depend on there being a royalty infrastructure in place. “When those cars transact in the future, you receive your commensurate benefit, because you’re due the creator royalty.”
Achieving True Interoperability is “Incredibly Hard”
Yung conceded that achieving full interoperability between games is “incredibly hard.” He argued that developers need to collaborate to create a “community-led snowball effect” through projects such as the Open Metaverse Alliance, of which Animoca Brands is a founding member.
Drawing in Mainstream Gamers via Custodial Wallets
In the short term, Animoca Brands is looking to draw mainstream gamers into the Web3 ecosystem by “abstracting the web3 bits to the back,” Yung said. For its flagship title The Sandbox, Animoca Brands “made the conscious choice of putting all the game logic in centralized fashion,” he explained.
Keeping Ownership on Chain, Not Game Logic
“Our feeling was that the important bit to be on chain is the registration of ownership, either of fungible in game currency, or of the playable NFTs,” Yung said. He explained that ownership of digital assets needs to be demonstrated on a public ledger, while the game logic itself has performance criteria. “You want it to be a low cost so that you can pass on the low-cost infrastructure to your customers,” he added.
Mature Web3 Middleware Enabling Integration
Yung noted that Web3 middleware has now reached a state of maturity that enables Web2 game developers to “easily integrate backends,” such as custodial wallet solutions and minting solutions. This means Web2 developers without blockchain expertise can now “actually start to use Web3 rails inside their products,” he said.
Sophisticated Web3 Games Emerging
“You see a lot of gaming products coming out into the market now, which are kind of the very sophisticated, easy to use products that you would expect from gaming experiences outside of Web3—but it took a while to get to that point,” Yung said. He noted that games “take a while to make, so we’re just starting to see some of those come out now.”
Abstracting Web3 to Draw in Mainstream Gamers
Yung added that the majority of gamers have “already been habituated into Web2, where they don’t deal with anything, all of their investments in the game, or credits that they insert into the game, are sitting in the hands of the custody of the game platform or the game developer.” When Web3 titles offer custodial wallet solutions, with the Web3 component abstracted away in the backend, he said, “they’re more than happy to embrace that.”