- Invest time and effort into the development before launch
- Put your players before the profit; user-first approach
- Regularly evaluate players’ needs & wants and analyze in-game behavior
- Continuously implement new features and gameplay, stick to your roadmap
- Aim for high transparency and communicate with your community
- Focus on all aspects of the game – gameplay, storytelling, design, character development, player rewards, etc.
Although the concept of GameFi has been around since 2017, with the maturity of DeFi infrastructure and more and more users joining the crypto ecosystem, GameFi is like a hidden gem that was finally discovered and revealed its outstanding value.
At the end of last year, GameFi showed tremendous growth. According to Footprint Analytics, GameFi began a period of explosive growth in March and ended the year 2,934% up. Even though this sector is still in its infancy, it has attracted many gaming studios to build blockchain games. According to BscProject.org, there are over 260 games on the BNB Chain now, making the ecosystem one of the most prominent blockchains for GameFi. In terms of DAU, six out of ten top dApps on BNB Chain are GameFi.
Four of the top five NFT, GameFi & Metaverse projects on the BNB Chain for the week of February 25 to March 3, 2022, were blockchain games.
In this lucrative industry, the competition is fierce. There are hundreds of games in the market and more to launch. The game must have remarkable attractiveness and player experience to gain and retain players to succeed. Game developers spend a lot of time developing their games and designing characters, tokenomic models, marketing strategies, and more to achieve sustainable growth. That's why when observing blockchain games that dominate the GameFi sector, it's obvious that the ones who put in the effort succeed.
Blockchain gaming is an innovative, fast-changing, and highly competitive industry, which nurtures a unique life cycle for GameFi.
For this article, we were privileged to talk to MOBOX, StarSharks, and Bomb Crypto, three of the most popular games on BNB Chain, to share their insights on maintaining sustainable growth.
GameFi Life Cycle Model
There are six stages in the GameFi life cycle model:
- Game development
Gaming design will usually be carried out in this stage. Like traditional games, blockchain games with good concepts and ideas can ensure continuous player engagement.
Blockchain games also need to build a sustainable tokenomic model that aligns with their core value. A good tokenomic model can motivate developers to earn profit and players to keep playing.
In addition, developers usually construct a partial but clear road map in this stage to ensure high transparency about the plans and direction of the project.
Presale is similar to crowdfunding, bringing the project to the public to raise funds required for the development, marketing, operations, and other parts of the business. Unlike in mainstream gaming industries, everyone can contribute and become a "shareholder," not just professional investors or financial institutions.
In the presale, the project might sell early tokens at a discount. A successful presale can positively affect the game – bringing in the necessary funds, providing the game with more attention, and making players more engaged in the game in an attempt to raise the value of their stake.
However, presale is not always required for a game, as long as there are sufficient funds or relevant marketing strategies. Some projects never launched presale and still managed to succeed, like MOBOX, which allowed players to purchase their tokens and NFTs on the first day of the game launch.
When the game is officially launched, it needs to head out with proper marketing planning, community building, and other operations to attract players' eyeballs and ensure the game can gain sustained growth. Developers should stick to the road map and complete different goals on time, such as launching a new game mode, integrating NFT marketplaces, and more to satisfy the community's expectations.
Many gaming projects recorded explosive growth in the early stage of the launch but inevitably busted as fast as they boomed. While they recorded record transaction volume and user activity, they often failed to sustain this growth and retain their player base. We can debate about the reasons behind these boom-and-bust games, but it's usually a mix of factors that resulted in this outcome.
There are many ways to ensure that players stick to the game, to name a few – engaging storytelling, appealing characters, reasonable token allocation, high ROI from playing the game, NFT Airdrops, attractive APY by farming tokens, and more.
If a game wants to sustain its growth, it must keep adding value to the players. Developers must continuously evaluate the games and implement effective strategies to keep a high level of attractiveness.
Whether the game project is in a growth or decline stage, game developers must review the situation or players' opinions. So building a community is very important. Many projects build their communities around social media, like Twitter, Discord, and Telegram. If a game leverages social media, it's essential that they keep the engagement high and regularly engage with their audience.
Building a community helps developers communicate with their players and understand their needs and wants. Developers should also analyze players' in-game behavior to understand which parts of the game are performing well and which parts need improvements. In addition, special events, tournaments, and leaderboards are also a great way to boost player engagement.
Once developers collect the feedback and better understand their players, they must make relevant updates to the game and implement marketing strategies to boost the growth. It's essential to communicate any game changes and possible downtimes to the community to avoid misunderstandings.
Challenges in creating a sustainable game
Driving sustainable growth is the key for blockchain games to have a longer life cycle. However, when observing the GameFi sector, though some games could record considerable growth in the early launch stage, they couldn't extend and sustain their growth. These are some of the reasons we could identify as possible causes behind their decline.
Focus on earnings rather than players' experience
If you're creating a game just to make a profit, you might be in the wrong industry. Game development requires dedication and interest in the industry in addition to experience and a deep understanding of players' behavior and expectations.
If a game focuses primarily on making money and places player experience below, it will eventually fail. The game may only have simple graphic design without good game lore, functional gameplay, or long-term strategy to keep players engaged. Over-focusing on earnings will make the game rely on the constant inflow of new players to maintain the tokenomic. Lacking excitement and agreement will lower players' interest in the game and make the game hard to retain existing players and gain new ones.
Imbalanced token allocation
Fair token allocation is vital for building a vibrant game community. However, the token allocation of some blockchain games is poorly structured, with greedy teams keeping the majority of the tokens for themselves. Most tokens are distributed to the team and private sales instead of players' rewards pool, leaving players with fewer rewards to receive via gameplay.
Lack of community engagement
The team must talk with the community, not just at it. In GameFi, the community plays an important role. Good communication allows developers to upgrade the game experience and meet players' expectations by gathering feedback from players regarding the game's shortcomings.
Here comes to play a good customer service available to troubleshoot players' issues and answer their questions. For instance, many developers do not immediately respond to players' questions when players encounter problems. In the case of lack of communication, it is easy for players to feel that the game developers are not sincere enough or just don't care, affecting the game's reputation and resulting in the loss of players.
Tips from the pros on how to create a sustainable blockchain game
Driving for sustainable growth is the key to extending the blockchain game's life cycle, which is vital for achieving a dominant position in the market. In this part, MOBOX, StarSharks, and Bomb Crypto teams shared their priceless experience and philosophy on achieving sustainable growth.
MOBOX: Be sensitive to the community
MOBOX, the gaming platform with three blockchain games, is one of the hottest GameFi projects on the BNB Chain. From February 25 to March 3, 2022, the WAU of MOBOX reached 169K active players, which ranked them the first among all GameFi projects on the BNB Chain.
MOBOX Chief Operation Officer SOON shared how they managed to do this. He believes it starts with the community.
MOBOX's project team has over ten years of experience in gaming development. It launched its first blockchain game in 2018. With fruitful experience in gaming, SOON pointed out that customer service is essential for building a good relationship with players.
"Some players are not familiar with blockchain, how transactions and gas fees work. If the team doesn't help them and provide a quick response to their questions, there's a significant risk of losing players."
SOON believes that in the GameFi industry, one day is like a year.
"Hundreds of new games launch every year, making the industry very competitive. Therefore, the project must have high transparency and dedication to its player base. They must ensure players know what the project is doing right now and where it's heading. MOBOX has regular updates to fix old bugs and constantly shares the progress with its community. We also try to reward our community. We send out mystery boxes to players every Thursday. The number of users always increases on Thursday."
SOON also pointed out that the entry-level for playing blockchain games is too high. It is necessary to lower the barrier in the long term. "People may be familiar with how to use Steam or play games on Facebook, but they don't have experience with using crypto wallets. We want to develop systems and tools that users are familiar with. In the long term, we want to build a platform with different games of different genres to attract various players."
StarSharks: Crafting a sustainable economic model
StarkSharks, one of the hottest blockchain games on the BNB Chain, has recorded considerable growth since the first day of launch. From February 24 to March 3, StarShark's WAU increased 52% to 106K, and its weekly transactions surged 63% to 937k. StarSharks team believes that focusing on players' gaming experience and community is crucial. However, carefully crafted economic models also help a lot in maintaining growth.
StarkSharks Chief Marketing Officer Vanessa pointed out the dual tokenomic model gives the team more flexibility on the design of their ecosystem. "The SSS token, as a governance token with limited supply, is mainly for value investors to invest in us and at the same time receive a share of the profit from our platform, while the SEA token is used for game and experience-related activities. These two tokens work together and help each other maintain and grow the value of the game."
Vanessa feels that this economic model could keep its token price steady. "Until now, over 13,600,000 SEA tokens have been burnt, which keeps the price steady compared to the huge correction of the whole market recently. The steady performance of $SEA also helps with stabilizing the value of the SSS token."
When mentioning strategies for driving sustainable growth, Vanessa said enhancing the utilities of their tokens would be one of them. "More utilities will be added to the SSS token in the future to increase its value gradually. For instance, players will be able to participate in DAO decision-making in the future. Nevertheless, the utility of the SEA token would also be enhanced when more games come to our platform. In the future, we would like to develop a StarSharks metaverse, a high-quality NFT & GameFi platform with state-of-the-art game series created and governed by the community."
Bomb Crypto: Adding steady value to the game and increasing brand awareness
As the winner of the "Best Blockchain Game Awards" in 2021, Bomb Crypto "bombed" BNB Chain outstandingly. From February 11 to 17, 2022, Bomb Crypto recorded 1.1M transactions and 210k WAU.
With more than ten years of experience in the mobile game market, Lam Ho, the CEO & Founder of Senspark/Bomb Crypto Project, pointed out that a game may face obstacles when user acquisition and the profit model of the game have reached a point of saturation.
"You must remove obstacles and survive. At the point of saturation, the game must change strategically to protect the game economy and prepare for adding as well as converting other values into the game."
To enhance the value of the game, the development team of Bomb Crypto mentioned their top priority now is to complete Bomb Crypto's features and enable full functionality.
"To do that, we have pushed the design phase further to develop a Metaverse ecosystem and a new GameFi product."
For building a decentralized metaverse, the development team aims to create a more extensive and safer space for all users to communicate better, engage, and interact with each other.
"In this metaverse, it is much easier for our team to support users and introduce new products and services, not only ours but also our partners. Players don't have to worry about any intermediaries or conversions for trading and managing their in-game assets in our metaverse."
Increasing brand awareness is also one of the strategies to maintain growth. "We've been organizing events like AMA exchanges between Product, Dev, and Marketing teams to answer questions from the communities as well as introduce, update, and explain new game features and increase brand awareness. We're also planning to expand to the US and many European countries such as the UK, Germany, Canada, etc." The Bomb Crypto marketing team revealed.
Even with hundreds of existing games, GameFi is still an emerging sector. Thanks to the relentless efforts of developers, excellent blockchain games continue to come out, allowing players to enjoy a good gaming experience.
Creating a new game is never easy. In the face of enormous competition, the game must progress from stages of its life cycle to achieve sustainable growth and become successful. Based on the observations of the market and experiences shared by the above teams, to achieve sustainable growth, blockchain games should focus on growing the community, improving the game experience, establishing and enriching the economic model, but mainly, keeping the players always on top of their priorities.
Once again, the user-first approach plays the key role here, and game developers must realize that their goal should be to create a game that players enjoy and love.
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