Blockchain Gamer Connects – Lessons for marketing your blockchain game
We speak to some of the attendees to find out what developers ought to be doing for their projects to succeed.
Raising funds remains one of the fundamental challenges that besets blockchain game developers since the beginning. We’ve seen a number of ambitious projects struggle and eventually come to an end through ICOs.
Examples that we’ve seen include the likes of Parsec Frontiers, which began its ICO over 2018. It was during this time that it became one of our most anticipated games of that year. It wasn’t until later that we, along with a number of its investors, were surprised by the announcement of its eventual closure.
Being unsuccessful at obtaining its soft-cap meant that a once highly ambitious project was shelved for the future.
Speaking during the Event, CEO of Terra Virtua, Gary Bracey shed some light on why some projects failed to gain traction. Especially during the bullish days of 2016/17, which presented a number of problems for future projects in 2018.
“The bigger challenge is this: as more people latch on to a project, the market gets saturated with gaming ICOs,” Bracey argues.
“And how are you supposed to make your voice heard? It’s very similar to the mobile gaming world during the early Days of mobile app stores.”
Now with the Crypto Winter serving to shrink appetites for investment, it’s a good time to look at where blockchain projects often stumble in the attempt to gain funding. And how they can work toward successfully raising funds for their project.
A question of investment – what developers get wrong
Not building genuine value and utility post-ICO
One of the issues that developers face through being able to readily obtain funds through an ICO, is that it resulted in unsustainable projects that inevitably collapse if the project doesn’t live up to expectation.
“Up to now, with all the ICO hype that was going on, everybody was trying to get money up front, and then see what they can do with it.” Joony Koo of BlockCrafters Capital argues that this resulted in the quick rise and fall of projects.
But while quick access to investment capital was the advantage to these offerings, developers would often prove unable to back up their product or token with long-term value. Meaning, according to Koo
“So after this investment pool crashed, they had no real proof that their tokens were worth anything. It’s because they got the money, but they didn’t really do anything with it.”
The matter of using blockchain
Being in such an early stage application, specifically when it comes to leveraging blockchain for games, we’re seeing far more maturity in how developers are utilizing it within their games.
While this is the case for the market as a whole, we still see projects that either shoehorn the use of blockchain into many facets of gameplay.
The end result is a game that is difficult for users to play, and even more challenging to sell to prospective investors.
“Everybody is cognizant of just how early we are in this particular sector,” Tama Churchouse, Vice President of EOS VC explains.
“The underlying blockchain protocols themselves still have their own kinks and idiosyncrasies that game developers have to navigate around.”
It’s this matter of leveraging blockchain that presents one of the ways developers can work to put blockchain to more extensive use, and that’s simply by using less of it.
So how can users improve their chances of receiving funding?
“Blockchain,” explains Koo, “is a database, and the end-goal of that database is to be hacker-proof.”
It’s one thing to leverage blockchain wholesale for use within a game, but practicality has to be the primary answer given to why it was used.
So what separates a bad concept from a great one? To Koo, it’s a matter of asking what blockchain can really influence in-game, and championing it.
Always ask: what is blockchain good for in gaming?
“[Within the current market] what is valuable at this point is if there are any teams that have not done an ICO, and they are utilizing the blockchain element that already exists, they’re building their projects around it, they’ve done so, and are generating some real use cases around it. To us, that is the top tier.”
Whether you’re targetting a population of blockchain users through an ICO, an item sale. Or you’ve decided to work towards a cohesive strategy to put in front of venture or angel funding, it’s also about showing real value through an ecosystem that can grow over time.
An example of this includes blockchain games that orient themselves around user-generated content.
“what is so valuable within that database that you’d want to store? In my opinion, one of these is user-generated content. Because if I make something as UCC for a game, I want everyone to know that I created this, and if it has any value on the platform, then I want to get something out of it.”
Be true to your own vision, and don’t emulate others [too closely]
“Despite a correction in the past six months, valuation expectations from developers remain rather elevated,” Churchouse adds.
The VP of EOS VC goes on to talk about the habit of imitation that has proven prevalent in this space.
While it makes sense to emulate a formula that has proven successful. The end result is a heavily diluted vision.
“In particular for blockchain games that tightly mirror the CryptoKitties model and assume they’ll naturally find the same level of success simply because they’re ‘on blockchain’.”
The real answer, according to Churchouse and Koo, is a blend of considering what blockchain can add. But, more importantly, how it can contribute to your broader vision of your product.
“We all know that blockchain can offer i.e. verifiable scarcity, trust, transparency and player-owned game economies to a mainstream audience, dramatically enriching the gaming experience, and eventually bring new gaming models we haven’t even thought of yet.”
Last but not least – NETWORK!
For anyone that has read ‘digital tulips,’ it has some relevance here. In the study, there was a direct correlation between interactivity and just general activity on social media with the success of that company pre and post fundraising.
While this is the case with ICOs, it remains true for fundraising, regardless of the type. Gary Bracey argues that the best way to market your game is to be THERE for players. Whether that’s attending conferences or simply replying on social media.
“Whether it’s an STO or an ICO – It’s expensive. You’ve got to go to conferences, you need to network.” Bracey goes on to state that it goes a long way to answer questions from the community, and prove that the project has staying power.
“And most importantly, you need to prove that your project is viable… It’s a really really expensive thing to do, and you need a lot of funding behind you if you want to successfully market your game.”