Bragging Rights Are Key to Retaining Web3 Gamers

Gaming is a social endeavor, so winning means cooperating with your friends in quests or beating the player on the other screen, and telling the world about your achievements.

AccessTimeIconJul 10, 2024 at 7:10 p.m. UTC
Updated Jul 10, 2024 at 7:13 p.m. UTC

Gamers are competitive beasts. Sure, they play for passion and love for the game, but, deep down, it is victory and glory that they're really after. Through the creation of online digital identities, modern gamers can play for a completely new type of prize: extensive social clout in their online communities.

This post is part of CoinDesk's GameFi theme week. Allen Ng is the Co-Founder of OpenSocial Protocol and EVG, one of Asia’s largest Web3 operating groups in consumer products.

Web3 gaming has struggled for various well-documented reasons, most notably in the form of great backlash from the gaming community due to Web3 games being “boring” and “depthless.” With evolving Web3 systems enabling a new wave of gaming achievements that are verifiable and interoperable across gaming ecosystems, we will be able to witness new Web3 social systems and communities that can change not just Web3 gaming but the entirety of online gaming forever.

The social layer of gaming

In 2016, Pokémon Go, an augmented reality mobile game, became so popular that players could be seen trawling cities and socializing to catch Pokémons, making the company earn over $6 billion in that year alone. Today, 40% of Gen Z and millennials socialize more in online games than in the physical world. This is primarily due to technological advancements and the rise in smartphone availability, which have made mobile gaming more prominent over the years, making the average amount of time and money spent on mobile gaming much higher than on gaming consoles.

The hidden truth is that the success of Pokémon and others, like Clash of Clans, stems from their strong social layer, which enhances user retention, gaming experience, and revenue.

Socializing is built into human nature and is a vital aspect of gaming. These immersive gameplays rely heavily on well-constructed social elements that create both competition and community where players are able to go online to interact and play together with their friends or even battle them through PvP (player versus player). After all, we are all social beings and tend to spend more time and money when we are not alone.

Eliminating Web3 gaming obstacles

Currently, most Web3 games use airdrops and token rewards to attract players, but more often than not, the retention rate of players in these games is low. Projects often focus on sustainable tokenomics and rewards but forget about the social layer and shared fun in games, which is key to user retention and network bootstrapping.

Gaming and social are distinct but intertwined layers. Gaming creates enjoyment and fun, while the social layer creates an emotional attachment and app stickiness, eventually creating a longer-lasting bond when you enjoy it with someone else.

Ultimately, Web3 social systems are necessary for games to allow players to perform transactions with one another and not just with the game itself. By integrating the social layer, you're enabling emotions and bonding between players and teams.

It will not be just you and "The Matrix" anymore. It will be you and your friends, your competition, and your community.

Bragging rights are gaming’s crude oil

In the fine lines of the social layer, there is one aspect that keeps gamers hooked, and that is the bragging rights that they have achieved in their gaming journey. Think of Xbox Live, online games, and eSports, where players are able to compete with one another, grow in their rank/levels, gain recognition medals, and unlock achievements.

With all the time invested into a game, players will grow more attached when they have something to brag about in their time spent gaming, and a place to brag about it. Those bragging rights are the crude oil that is constantly fuelling the $200 billion-a-year gaming economy after the right refining, but they are also missing in Web3 gaming, relegated behind grind-and-earn mechanics.

The next generation of Web3 gaming dApps needs to understand the importance of the social layer by including community self-sovereignty, creating composable UI layers and giving gamers something to brag about, in addition to offering financial incentives. Only then will the adoption of Web3 games increase.

Note: The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CoinDesk, Inc. or its owners and affiliates.

Edited by Benjamin Schiller.


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Allen Ng

Allen Ng is the founder of Everest Ventures Group and an architect at OpenSocial Protocol.

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