web3 gaming F2P
web3 gaming F2P

Web3 Gaming in 2023: Video Games That Are Moving Away From Generic Play To Earn

TL; DR: Web3 games are switching gears and bringing fun back. Why? Because blockchain-based games have historically gotten a bad rap from the gaming community due to their play-to-earn model, scams, and general lack of fun. This article goes over the ins and outs of web3 gaming, how it’s evolving, and some games you should check out that are free-to-play.

Web3 games have gotten a bad rap from the gaming community, and it’s not surprising. The collective pushback always brings forth the same issues: the lack of fun and quality gameplay; an overemphasis on financial investments; complex accessibility issues and, of course, tons of scams. Axie Infinity, the poster child for blockchain gaming with its play-to-earn (P2E) model, has proven to be unsustainable in the long run. While it saw a meteoric rise in 2021, it got hit with a hacking scandal in 2022 which led to over $600 million lost in SLP tokens. Combined with its grind-heavy mechanics and over-reliance on new players, Axie Infinity dropped in popularity, highlighting the need to rethink and reimagine web3 gaming. The growing pains are similar to the ones felt with the advent of AAA free-to-play games (F2P) and loot boxes: they were criticized as predatory, likened to gambling, and transformed games into pay-to-play (P2P). The gaming giants quickly switched gears. They kept the F2P model but monetized on in-game items that have no gameplay value as well as optional extra content.

Like with any new tech, we’re still in the V1 phase; we’re still testing out different things and looking at the ways we can integrate blockchain tech into games. But the good news is that we’re actually now heading towards a next-gen of web3 games. There’s a current transition away from the P2E models, adopting various innovative strategies to enhance user experience and ensure fairness in gameplay. The blockchain now is being used to enable NFTs to represent unique and shareable in-game items and employ smart contracts to facilitate transactions and run in-game marketplaces. Using the tech in this way is critical to integrating web3 tech in video games. What gamers want is a good game. Fun and engaging gameplay, good mechanics, and (sometimes) an immersive story and universe. Allowing players to earn from the games should be optional, and only after establishing a solid foundation of good, entertaining gameplay. That, and breaking other barriers to web3 such as dealing with the complexity of wallets and transactions (read more about that here).

That being said, there are still some really fun and innovative web3 games out there that can be free-to-play, and use the blockchain in interesting and user-friendly ways while allowing you (if you want) to engage in its Play-To-Earn mechanics. Let’s check them out.

Alien Worlds — Strategy Game

Alien Worlds is an immersive blockchain-based strategy game that intricately weaves DeFi and NFT elements to craft a unique metaverse adventure. Players delve into a universe of different planets, mining for resources, and vying for the in-game currency, Trilium (TLM). They can own, lease land, and utilize a variety of tools and missions to enrich their gameplay. Operating on Ethereum, WAX, and BNB Smart Chain, the game ensures a broad and interoperable gaming landscape. Players also partake in governance through Planetary DAOs, steering the game’s development and Trilium distribution. With a diverse NFT ecosystem and a substantial player base, Alien Worlds stands out in the blockchain gaming and metaverse domain.

Cool Blockchain Feature:
Alien Worlds has integrated with Minecraft, one of the most popular games in the world, enabling players to earn blockchain-based rewards while playing a “traditional” video game. This innovative approach bridges the gap between conventional and blockchain gaming, bringing the world of crypto and NFTs to a wider audience in a familiar setting.

Life Beyond — MMORPG

Life Beyond developed by Life Beyond Studios, is a blockchain MMORPG sci-fi game set in a metaverse, blending virtual gaming with real-world elements. This AAA production, backed by industry veterans from Ubisoft and Lionhead Studios, utilizes Unreal Engine 5, allowing players to interact with the game across various platforms. In this vibrant ecopunk society, players become influential citizens, engaging in creative content creation, social interactions, and challenging missions. The game features a dynamic MMORPG experience and a player-owned economy, empowering players to shape their experience, own land, and earn from in-game activities. As the game progresses through different eras, it offers unique gameplay and societal development opportunities, encouraging players to actively participate and influence the game’s direction.

Cool Blockchain Feature:
The game introduces a dynamic MMORPG experience, encouraging players to actively participate and influence the game’s direction. Players can own land, build various structures like cinemas or hospitals, and even take on roles such as Mayor. The game also includes challenging missions, skill development, and the opportunity to craft unique NFTs. This play-and-earn mechanism ensures that players are not just passive participants but are empowered to create, contribute, and earn from their in-game activities.

Cosmik Battle — Trading Card Game

Cosmik Battle is an upcoming trading card game set in a space-themed universe, slated for release towards the end of 2024 across various platforms, including the Epic Games Store and mobile app stores, with full crossplay support. The game transforms the traditional card game genre with fast-paced, strategic 1v1 space battles, offering players a vast array of cards for endless tactical possibilities. Players can gather resources, craft cards, and build powerful decks to dominate their opponents in intense intergalactic warfare. Cosmik Battle is part of a unique interoperable universe, allowing for cross-game asset utilization, and enhancing the gaming experience. Developed by a team hailing from AAA studios, the game focuses on delivering an exceptional gaming experience first, utilizing blockchain technology to strengthen the player-game connection, all while ensuring a seamless user experience.

Cool Blockchain Feature:
Cosmik Battle will launch with Cometh Connect — the first biometric smart wallet. Built with Safe, the most trusted standard in the industry, it allows you to create and deploy smart wallets using your biometrics. This will allow non-web3 players to enjoy the game without having to do all the steps to getting a wallet.

Illuvium — Role-Playing Game

Illuvium is an immersive open-world RPG adventure game, utilizes Ethereum and ImmutableX blockchains to create a decentralized, player-centric ecosystem. Players navigate a dying planet, capturing and battling Illuvials — mysterious creatures represented as NFTs — ensuring true asset ownership. The game boasts stunning graphics, complex mechanics, and various rewards, with players aiming to enhance their collection through strategic battles. Additionally, players can earn ILV, Illuvium’s native cryptocurrency, by participating in various in-game activities, ensuring a secure and autonomous experience.

Illuvium offers a free-to-play introduction, allowing players to dive into the game and learn its mechanics without restrictions. Starting in Tier 0 regions, players can familiarize themselves with the game, with the option to progress to the paid experience, collect higher-tier NFTs, and explore deeper adventures for more valuable rewards.

Cool Blockchain Feature
Decentralized and Player-Driven. The game operates on a decentralized platform, ensuring security, transparency, and player ownership of in-game assets. Illuvium’s governance system allows token holders to participate in decision-making processes, influencing the development and direction of the game.

Immortal Game — Strategy Game

Immortal Games revolutionizes online chess with blockchain technology and NFTs, creating a distinct web3 experience. Players engage in matches, and tournaments with Ether rewards, collect unique chess pieces, and complete in-game missions, all under an ELO-like ranking system. Players earn CMT, the platform’s cryptocurrency, to purchase special chess pieces from the marketplace, promoting active trading. “Ageless” chess pieces, part of collections like Ebony and Marble, are NFTs that add excitement and offer more CMT through in-game missions.

While the game is F2P, it also adopts a play-to-earn model, allowing players to earn crypto in tournaments without spending money. It is accessible to those new to web3 and blockchain, providing a seamless experience while also offering deeper engagement with cryptocurrency and NFT trading for interested players. This approach facilitates the creation of online communities and clubs based on NFT ownership.

The integration of grandmasters, with the support of 50 Grand Masters, enhances the platform’s credibility and influence in the chess world, offering players the chance to engage with top-tier chess talent, enriching the gaming experience.

Cool Blockchain Feature
Accessible to Non-Web3 Users. Despite its integration of web3 and blockchain technology, Immortal Games is designed to be accessible to players without a deep understanding of these technologies. The platform operates like any other online game for those who prefer a traditional gaming experience, while still offering the benefits and features of web3 for those interested in exploring them. This approach helps in bridging the gap between traditional gaming and the new possibilities offered by blockchain and web3 technologies.

Meta World — Digital Strategy Board Game

For Monopoly lovers out there, Meta World: My City is a novel metaverse board game combining real estate simulation with engaging board game mechanics. Launched earlier this year, it enables players to trade virtual real estate, develop properties, and strategize in board games with global players. The game boasts impressive graphics, a user-friendly interface, and multi-platform accessibility. Players earn Meta Cash by playing, completing tasks, and joining challenges, which they can invest in virtual properties, enhance characters, or convert to cryptocurrency. Additionally, the game allows trading virtual properties for real money, introducing economic interaction and profit opportunities. The game offers a unique experience with its colorful visuals, integrated game mechanics, and potential for real money earnings, catering to a variety of player interests — and it’s free to play!

Cool Blockchain Feature
Cryptocurrency Integration and Conversion. The game incorporates its own in-game currency, Meta Cash, which players can earn by participating in various activities and challenges within the game. This currency can be used for in-game transactions, such as purchasing virtual properties or upgrading characters for the board game. Additionally, players have the option to convert their Meta Cash into cryptocurrency, providing a seamless bridge between the virtual economy of the game and real-world financial assets.

Into The Future

The web3 gaming world is growing, shifting away from previous P2E models and focusing more on player enjoyment and engagement. Games like Alien Worlds, Life Beyond, Cosmik Battle, and Immortal Games each offer unique gameplay experiences, integrating blockchain technology in ways that enhance the gaming experience while remaining accessible and fun for players. They stand at the forefront of innovation in web3 gaming, showing how it IS possible to create fun, engaging, and rewarding games within this space. As an industry, we’ll continue to learn from our mistakes and past challenges to adapt to player needs while proving that web3 gaming can provide enjoyable and innovative gaming experiences for all.