First Light Games’ Anil Das-Gupta on why app stores must be more receptive to web3

Launched in 2023, one of the latest games to move from Polygon to Immutable zkEVM, Blast Royale, recently released its new characters on the Sphere Marketplace. On the back of the migration and NFT launch, the mobile-based fast-paced battle royale shooter has seen a major uptick in player numbers. Its latest stats record:

  • Over 5 million in-game matches played,
  • 500,000 total mobile installs, and
  • Day 1 retention rate of 43%

BlockchainGamer checked in with developer First Light Games co-founder and co-CEO Anil Das-Gupta to find out what lessons he’s learned from launching a web3 game via app stores, building in the bear, and the team’s forthcoming NOOB token.

Blast Royale has been live on app stores for about 12 months so what have you learned during that time?

Das-Gupta: That killer gameplay absolutely matters. There is so much competition for player attention across so many games, your gameplay has to be amazing. “Good” isn’t good enough. It has to be great!

It’s also important to truly understand your playerbase. There might be a mechanic you are especially tied to that the players don’t like. You’re making a game for them not for you. We worked hand in hand using subjective and objective feedback to find the goldilocks porridge moment of it feeling just right. 

Have changes in Google and Apple’s web3 policy impacted the blockchain integration in Blast Royale?

Yes, but not in a positive way. Frankly the archaic practices add more confusion and setbacks for trying to bring new technology into players hands. Neither platform will outright say it, but the reality is that changes have only been put in place so that they both get a cut of the revenue that games make. This is sad because web3 in our opinion is one of the most pro-consumer tech trends in years. Being able to cash out your collection after years of play is in stark contrast to recent stories of games no longer being playable despite players spending money on them. 

We’d encourage both platform holders to be much more receptive to new types of games and to work with new companies looking into this space. Sadly as it is, both are seemingly unable to answer questions or give firm guidelines on what is and isn’t permitted.

Initially deployed on Polygon, why did you move to the Immutable ecosystem?

Polygon themselves suggested going with Immutable zkEVM, as it’s powered by Polygon. We are looking for a solution that is cheap for players and that is scalable to a large audience. Players don’t care about what chain they are on, they care about the game you make. 

We think Immutable is building a strong overall ecosystem to take care of all of the tricky parts of web3 like seamless wallet making and on/off ramps. They have a lot of experienced and talented people in the company and some of the things they are working on we think are going to be game changes for the space.

Gaming companies have enough to focus on when it comes to making their games good, so having a technical partner that can provide the infrastructure is a real blessing!

Have you seen any noticeable change since the migration?

We’ve experienced a sharp increase in the number of players and games played since the migration, which really speaks to the power of Immutable’s community and gaming-centric ecosystem. 

What are First Light Games’ plans for the rest of 2024?

We plan on launching our NOOB token that accompanies the game this quarter. Why NOOB? Well all gamers want to own NOOBs and we think that right now we are all new to this web3 technology, but that we will all become pros together! The token we think is amazing for games as it will empower holders to be able to improve the game through governance.

One of your missions is to make web3 games mainstream. How far do you think we have got to go and what will it take to get there?

We’ve observed this year that the gap is not nearly as large as we thought it might be. We’ve been pleasantly surprised to see the adoption of new technology and organic growth of our title from running quests that reward players with NFTs. In many ways this technology is a throwback to the dawn of mobile gaming or the popularity of free-to-play. This is a brand new playbook and there will be things the technology can be used for to net impressive results.

In a world where we are competing in an attention economy, web3 seems like a very real way to disrupt the market. 

Stay up-to-date with Blast Royale via its website.

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