Web3 Adventure Game Big Time Poised to Kickoff Its ‘Player-Owned Economy’

During the last year of beta testing, the crypto and NFT-focused game’s community has grown to over 350,000 people on Discord and over a quarter million on X (formerly Twitter).

AccessTimeIconSep 22, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 22, 2023 at 3:28 p.m. UTC

Web3 role-playing adventure game Big Time is emerging from a year-long testing phase and expects to go live in early October.

Big Time aims to bring to its large community a free-to-play experience, without the sort of poorly aligned pay-to-win mechanics that have dogged other crypto-centric games.

Big Time’s creators, which include the former CEO of Ethereum-based virtual world Decentraland and several former AAA game developers, refer to its “player-owned economy,” where gamers can craft, trade or loot digital wearables and collectables in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), driven by a native Big Time cryptocurrency, as they explore ancient civilizations and futuristic worlds.

Once-hyped cryptocurrency-based games such as Decentraland, or the competitive digital pet player Axie Infinity, have encountered problems over time; Decentraland’s metaverse world is commonly criticized because of a lack of participation, while Axie is prone to the insidious effects of its play-to-earn model.

Former Decentraland CEO and Big Time founder Ari Meilich pointed to a strong community behind his new game, and a creative team at Big time Studios who are collectively responsible for games that have attracted tens of millions of users and made hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

“The Big Time community has already grown to over 350,000 people on Discord and over a quarter million on X (formerly Twitter),” Meilich said in an interview with CoinDesk. “We also have a signup list with over a million people, and have made direct sales in excess of $80 million, plus whatever the users have traded among themselves.”

An important differentiator, Meilich added, is Big Time’s status as the most streamed PC web3 game on Twitch with over 3000 streamers having played its pre-alpha, and a large footprint in critical markets like Japan.

As well as building a sturdy community, Big Time’s economic incentives were carefully created to avoid the play-to-earn trap Axie encountered, which has led to the game being branded a form of “digital serfdom,” heavily reliant on an army of low-wage workers in places like the Philippines.

The game’s native $BIGTIME tokens are not generated purely as a matter of time spent playing, but rather hinge on skill and strategic use of resources, leading to a meritocratic in-game economy, explained Michael Migliero Chief Marketing Officer at Big Time Studios.

“The first iteration of web3 games had an unsustainable model,” Migliero said via an email. “They required assets that widely fluctuated in price to access the core game. Their economies generated over inflated token supplies, and the tokens didn’t have enough utility sinks. This resulted in a user base seeking largely to profit instead of having fun. They also delivered simple, shallow gaming experiences.”

Big Time’s full in-game economy, known as “Preseason,” begins in early October, Migliero said.

UPDATE (Sept. 22, 15:05 UTC): Corrects sales and streaming user numbers.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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Ian Allison

Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.