Mavens: How bullish are blockchain game devs on app stores as key distribution channel?

Welcome to the second edition of’s regular Mavens group. If you’d also like to join the discussion, please contact [email protected]

With the launch of the first blockchain games such as STEPN and Skyweaver via the Apple App Store and using Apple Pay to buy NFTs with IAPs, our ensemble of blockchain games experts discuss how bullish they are on mobile app stores as a key distribution platform for web3 adoption in 2023.

Tony Pearce – co-founder, Reality+

The landscape is changing rapidly especially around the latest trends in the blockchain and gaming sectors with more and more publishers announcing their Web3 and blockchain game strategies.

Mobile app stores have been instrumental in driving the adoption of traditional mobile applications, and they continue to play a significant role in the distribution of mobile games.

The integration of blockchain games using Apple Pay can simplify the process and indicates an increasing adoption of Web3 technologies and the incorporation of cryptocurrencies into mainstream platforms.

But Apple will always want their tax, and true ownership of in-game items allowing trading in NFT marketplaces and interoperability with other games will always be an issue for walled gardened app stores. But as a fan of Web3 and NFTs I hope projects like STEPN and Skyweaver is a good step forward.

Robby Yung – CEO, Animoca Brands

I think that, in the long term, mass consumer adoption of blockchain games, just like games generally, will only be possible with mobile distribution platforms. Mobile is the biggest platform for gaming, and will be a huge vector of adoption.

I think the question remains how the two dominant platforms will support the blockchain game industry and nurture all of the amazing potential that it has, much of which relies on the inherently open and interoperable nature of web3 games. The more resistant they are to embracing this openness and interoperability, the less blockchain games can offer to consumers, and the slower adoption will be. 

David Amor – CEO, Playmint

It’s encouraging to see some web3 games make their way to the App Store, but it’s way too early to be cracking open the champagne. There’s a fundamental disconnect between web3 concepts and the app store guidelines, not to mention the 30% platform fee.

I don’t want to try and create a company strategy that navigates app store guidelines; there’s too much that’s outside of our control. I hope it’s a situation that changes because mobile is the biggest games market in the world.

Susan Cummings – CEO and co-founder, Petaverse

What I’m bullish on is mass market adoption via a soft approach which includes the app store. We need to stop talking about NFTs and blockchain and start showing use case and a user journey that allows the user to decide for themselves if they are ready to mint something – once we give them a good reason to!

We’ve been live with Petaverse Meme-o-Tron on the AppStore and Google Play for 3 months now and had no issues with approvals from the stores.

Jean-Paul Faraj – Head of Community and Partnerships, Unstoppable Games

The integration of blockchain games with widely accepted payment methods such as Apple Pay and their distribution through major app stores can indeed increase visibility and accessibility, potentially boosting the adoption of web3 technology. Such collaborations could bridge the gap between traditional mobile gaming audiences and the world of blockchain gaming.

Nevertheless, there are some challenges to overcome. Blockchain games have faced skepticism and criticism from traditional gaming communities and media. This could be mitigated over time if these games prove their value and if education about blockchain technology improves.

Moreover, it’s important to recognize that the ethos of web3 and blockchain is often about decentralization and avoiding centralized control. Using platforms like Apple’s App Store for distribution might seem contrary to this spirit as they operate within ‘walled gardens’ which enforce specific rules and take a significant share of revenues.

To move forward, it may be necessary for blockchain games to strike a balance. They could use these established distribution channels to reach wider audiences while still striving to uphold the principles of decentralization and user control. In parallel, continued efforts to onboard traditional gaming audiences and media through other channels.

Ultimately, the extent to which mobile app stores become a key platform for web3 adoption in 2023 and beyond will depend on a variety of factors. These include technological advancements, user acceptance, regulatory developments, and the success of pioneering games like STEPN and Skyweaver.

Gabriel Meredith – CEO, Merfolk Games

Mobile app stores are going to be a massive driver in the adoption of blockchain games. There are several factors that make me think this is the case. Firstly, mobile gaming has continued to be the biggest driver in growth in the video game industry, even with the post-covid dip. Its long-term prospects continue to be solid, even without the blockchain aspect. In other words, mobile gaming is a massive untapped market for games that have blockchain elements.

Another reason I’m bullish is the fact that Google and Apple have had increasingly clear guidelines with what they do and do not accept in terms of blockchain and crypto content. Usage of NFTs and cryptocurrencies in games to power various aspects of gameplay is significantly easier when companies know what to expect. For example, my studio’s game CryptoCrusades was able to smoothly enter both Google Play and the iOS App Store earlier this year precisely because of its clear guidelines.

Finally, I think that the mobile platform simply makes sense when it comes to the decentralization and democratization of gaming. Mobile phones are ubiquitous, and it’s a huge convenience to be able to access blockchain products on the go. Until there is a reason for me to believe the mobile blockchain gaming market is saturated, I am very bullish on its continued growth.

Nicolas Gilot – founder and CEO, Ultra

The integration of Apple Pay into blockchain games indicates that blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies have the potential to gain traction within and through mainstream platforms and applications – something the industry has been trying to crack for years now. It’s a positive sign for web3 adoption by the games industry and gamers alike.

Mobile app stores have long been the dominant platforms for distributing applications to the 6.8 billion smartphone owners worldwide. If more blockchain-based games and decentralised applications (DApps) can seamlessly integrate with mobile app stores, this will offer access to major audiences via trusted (albeit walled garden) platforms and represent a giant step toward wider web3 adoption in 2023 and beyond.

Nevertheless, the success and widespread adoption of web3 technologies are influenced by various factors such as regulatory considerations, user demand, scalability solutions, and the overall evolution of blockchain technology. Monitoring industry developments and advancements will be crucial to assess the role of mobile app stores as key distribution platforms for web3 adoption in the future.

Mike Levine, Mystic Moose

At Mystic Moose, we’re incredibly bullish on mobile as the gateway platform to mass adoption for web3 games. Our first title, Mojo Melee, is a cross platform strategy pvp auto battler built for desktop browser play, and mobile.

But the not so dirty little secret is we’ve been thinking about and designing the game for mobile from the beginning. The major app stores have officially sanctioned using NFTs, as long as you follow their guidelines. By contrast the PC downloadable market’s major player Steam, seems hard set against them.

As veteran game developers it was a foregone conclusion we would put the game and the fun first, and keep the web3 stuff there for those who wish to try it out and who see the inherent value to owning your digital assets. It is not something we force on players, and has no competitive advantage in-game to owning them. Getting these assets into the hands of the players is the key and the mobile app stores are allowing us to do that on a soon to be unprecedented volume for the web3 space.

Jerry Seo – Head of Business, Delabs

I have a strong belief that mobile app stores will experience a bullish trend. The initial adoption of Apple Pay in STEPN and Skyweaver indicates a significant demand for convenient and swift payment solutions among gamers.

While it’s challenging to predict whether mobile app stores will become a primary distribution platform for web3, we are currently observing a growing trend of numerous convenient payment services being introduced for both PC and mobile platforms.

Due to the continued presence of a substantial number of gamers in the web2 realm, Apple Pay and mobile app stores are being utilized as bridges to enable Web2 users to seamlessly access traditional mobile payment solutions. This facilitates their effortless embrace of Web3 payment services.

Therefore, if mobile payment solutions successfully meet customer needs, their growth is expected to remain robust throughout 2023.

Alexander Goldybin – Founder and Chairman, iLogos 

I don’t think that we will see a lot of successful examples of web3 adoption through mobile app stores in 2023. This can change completely in the following years, but for the rest of 2023, I’d be cautious with expectations in this regard.

There are still many unsolved issues with web3 games on app stores, and the experience on mobile usually represents only a part of the full web3 game functionality. However, looking forward beyond 2023 I totally see a big part of the web3 adoption coming through mobile app stores.

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