Our trip to Gamescom 2023 and what we learned about the state of Web3 in Gaming

Aug 23, 2023

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5 min

With already three portfolio companies in the Gaming space, Ben (Uncontested gamer-in-chief) and I (Wolfgang, gaming apprentice) took a trip to Cologne to attend Gamescom 2023.

Gamescom is the world's largest gaming trade show, with over 300,000 visitors and more than 1,000 exhibitors from 100 countries. A must-go event for every gamer.

Our key objective was to understand the state of Web3 in gaming and meet the founders of our current and potentially future portfolio companies.

We started out at the stand of Gibraltar-based Ready Games Network, which builds Web3 game development tools, and asked the co-founder and COO Christina Macedo and Head of Business Development Alfredo Bárcena why Gamers should be keen on Web3 adoption.

"Gamers start to see the advantage of being the owners of their creations and data" said Christina. "User-generated content is gaining popularity now that Web3 allows ownership across platforms for the lifetime of their assets: this and the platform independent ownership of a gamer's data kept in their personal wallets is only beginning to be explored."

Christina pointed out that the early Web3 games were all about money and were "built by bankers, not gamers".

Play-to-earn was promoted as the key feature of blockchain when, in fact, other Web3 features are so much more compelling. "This over-financialisation gave Web3 gaming a bad rap, which now needs to be rectified."

Ready Games Network's optimism about the future of Web3 gaming was definitely contagious, and their traction following a recent funding round nicely supports their vision.

The interoperability of digital assets was also the key theme with Jan Roessner, founder of One Earth Rising.

Jan pointed out that game studios can cut development time by 90% by using the OER platform to make game assets useable across platforms and without the need to learn new tools.

Tim Dierckxsen, founder and CEO of Venly, echoed the massive potential of game asset portability and expects significant network effects in the coming years.

Ariel Manzur, co-founder of the open-source Godot game development engine at the core of our portfolio company The Mirror believes that it is the new games that will drive Web3 adoption not necessarily the conversion of existing Web2 games.

He went on to say that generative AI will boost the market for user-generated content.

However, with the resulting intellectual property rights, a blockchain solution is needed to track ownership across platforms.

We moved on to the stand of the Blockchain Game Alliance (BGA), an organization committed to promoting blockchain within the game industry.

BGA's goal is to spread awareness about blockchain technologies and encourage adoption.

Supported by an impressive roster of members that include the who-is-who in the gaming industry, they are on a mission to educate how blockchain can transform games.

Jonathan Jungers, BGA ambassador for Asia Pacific, said that for Web3 gaming to become really big, regulatory homework still had to be done around the definition of what constitutes a security and what not.

Sebastien Borget, founder and CEO of The Sandbox and President of BGA, confirmed that there was still a lot of information that needs to get out, but that in ten years from now, people will look back and wonder how gaming ever worked without blockchain registrars and interoperability of assets.

Our round-trip was concluded by a demo of "Oathbound," the latest release by ELEET Games.

Co-founder and CEO Carsten van Husen walked us through the current beta. Carsten is a gaming veteran, having been CEO of Gameforge for ten years.

He sees one of the key advantages of the Web3 architecture in the reduced customer acquisition costs as the community can be financially incentivized through tokens.

Gaming used to be a hobby that was not monetizable.

In the Web3 universe, the trading of NFTs and the revenue-sharing creates an opportunity to not just enjoy the game but also make some money with it.

Our takeaway from Gamescom was that the value proposition of Web3 and blockchain for the gaming industry and players is a strong one.

Digital ownership of assets and personal information, the opportunity to co-own the value of a community, the portability of assets across platforms and games - all these are paradigm changes that may stir up a lot of controversy now but will eventually prevail and provide undeniable benefits.

We also found our core thesis echoed at the trade show: The less people talk about blockchain and just use it, the faster adoption will be.

May the force of the blockchain be with the gamers.

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