TapNation on web3 adoption in mobile games and why innovation is key

Many industry experts predict mobile gaming to be pivotal to the mass adoption of web3 games. Joining that camp is French mobile game publisher TapNation, which boasts an impressive 1 billion downloads across its mobile games catalogue including hit games such as Ice Cream Inc and Thief Puzzle.

As one of the early major web2 publishers venturing into blockchain territory in 2022, TapNation’s leading star is innovation, and the company’s recent partnerships with web3 gaming developers show it’s not holding back on new tech.

As part of the recent deals, TapNation is collaborating with Sequence and Arbitrum to integrate web3 features in Monster Squad Rush and Cornhole League, while its partnership with Immutable will see Giant Rush and Parking Jam join the Immutable network.

We thought it’s a good time to check in with TapNation Head of web3 Philippe Lenormand, to learn more about the mobile game publisher’s web3 plans and larger view on the gaming industry.

There is considerable work to be done in educating the market to overcome existing misconceptions. At TapNation, we aim to be pioneers in this transformation and be among the first to benefit from this paradigm shift.

Philippe Lenormand, TapNation

BlockchainGamer: TapNation is already well known for mobile games – when and why did you decide to adopt blockchain technology?

Lenormand: We decided to launch our web3 division at the end of 2022. The aim was to explore new business opportunities and diversify our offerings. Operating in the highly dynamic and innovative mobile gaming sector, we wanted to investigate the impact of web3 mechanics on user experience, while exploring new monetization avenues.

At the end of last year, we resolved to deepen our involvement in the ecosystem by forming partnerships with major players in the web3 industry.

To what extent will you implement blockchain into your games, ie. will it be noticeable to the end-user?

The extent to which we implement blockchain in our games vary by project. We are currently working on several projects, ranging from total abstraction for some of them, to more web2-to-web3 user adoption-oriented projects with TapNation as the bridge between these two worlds.

How can hypercasual and hybridcasual mobile games like yours be enhanced by web3?

  • Web3 mechanics can enhance our hypercasual and hybridcasual mobile games by increasing player retention and engagement.
  • We plan to emphasize the community aspect more strongly in our strategy.
  • Web3 opens up new revenue streams, allowing us to diversify our value creation.

How do you plan to bridge the gap between hypercasual/hybridcasual players and committed web3 gamers?

Bridging the gap between hybrid casual players and committed web3 gamers is indeed one of our key objectives. We aim to make web3 mechanics more mainstream by promoting adoption through ultra-seamless integrations.

What’s your idea of building sustainable tokenomics that encourages player retention over short-term resource extraction?

We all support the idea of building sustainable tokenomics that prioritizes player retention over short-term resource extraction. However, the challenge remains that, in my view, the industry has not yet pinpointed the ideal tokenomics model that will engage players in the very long term. Although we are getting close to a solution, there is still considerable fine-tuning required to achieve it.

Are you looking to only implement blockchain into already existing titles or do you have wider plans to develop web3 games from scratch?

Currently, we are engaged in various types of projects. On one hand, we are incorporating blockchain technology into our existing games, which have already achieved millions of downloads, to improve player retention and transition web2 users to web3. 

On the other hand, we are developing a game from scratch with web3 mechanics integrated into the core gameplay. However, we have no immediate plans to develop purely on-chain games, as we are not yet convinced about this vertical.

The gaming industry has been struggling for growth recently. What’s your outlook on the mobile gaming sector?

Indeed the industry has slowed down, yet it remains an ultra-dynamic sector with significant growth potential. We’re a long way from the top. 

Regarding the mobile gaming sector specifically, all studies indicate that it has the highest potential for growth among all gaming verticals. In summary, we remain optimistic about the future, provided that we continue to innovate, as innovation is crucial for sustaining our presence in this industry.

Finally, what role do you think blockchain could play in turning the current tide?

I don’t believe blockchain will play a significant role in the broader gaming industry within the next 2-3 years. We need more time to refine our use cases and ensure they’re ready for mainstream adoption.

Additionally, there is considerable work to be done in educating the market to overcome existing misconceptions. Nevertheless, at TapNation, we aim to be pioneers in this transformation and be among the first to benefit from this paradigm shift.

Mobile GamesPhilippe LenormandTapNation