The Blueprint for Building Better Web3 Games

This article is part two of a trilogy on Web3 gaming.

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Many people have given their opinion on what makes a game great. Great games are fun and engaging; they offer players a path of progression and a sense of accomplishment. Great games have a core loop and allow the player to immerse themselves within it, leading to a balanced flow between anxiety and boredom.

Some of the best and most beautiful games of all time (like chess, Go, or soccer) and going back to old arcade games and PubG have been following the working formula of “Easy to learn, yet hard to master.” Players perfect their skills over time and match them to other players, encouraging competitiveness and offering social status. Other great games, like Uncharted and The Last of Us, offer high production values and compete with other forms of entertainment, like blockbuster movies and prime-time TV.

Games must be great to have the sort of sustainability and attraction that players are willing to pay for over years and years.

What Makes a Great Web3 Game?

Maybe it is  because the term “currency” is molded into the word “cryptocurrency,” or it is simply the way how people do things. However, in Web3, we think primarily through a financial lens. We see tools like Play-To-Earn, staking, and dual token economies and try to shoehorn them into a game.

However, these financial tools are a means to an end or the meta around the end goal. The end goal should always be an entertaining game based on great core loops and a sustainable economy. A developer needs to choose the tools most appropriate for the job based on “what will make my game great” rather than “what is trendy or successful elsewhere.” This thinking requires many tools in a developer’s toolbox; they could be potential new Web3 tools or tested and proven Web1 and Web2 tools. In our pursuit to make new great games on this bleeding edge of tech, we must also strive to make new tools. So far, Web3 has provided us with financial tools. Now we need to begin developing social tools and creating collective incentives to make all of Web3 gaming, and Web3 as a whole, more robust.

Separating the Game from the Metagame

First, my contrarian belief is that there is no such thing as a Web3 game. A game is a game. Web1, Web2, and Web3 are all distribution methods and economic systems that are best if kept disconnected from the gaming experience.

Metagame is an approach to gaming that transcends or operates outside the prescribed rules of the game itself, uses external factors to affect it, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game.

Brooks Brown’s observation deeply inspired me: He believes there is no money in sports; instead, the money is in the business around the sport. For example, there is no money in soccer. People play soccer for free and do not expect a reward other than the pure joy of playing the game.

However, there is a massive industry around soccer consisting of professional players, coaches, teams, advertising, merchandise, stadiums, tickets, broadcasting rights, etc. Can you think of anyone that started playing soccer because they appreciate the merchandise around it or admire the FIFA organization? The love of the game has allowed for a business to grow around it, not the other way around.

To take this a level deeper, FIFA, the MLS, the World Cup, ESPN, coaches, scouts, club owners, sports betting, merchandise, and more only exist because there is a rich meta being produced on the field and by the players. Ronaldo, for example, is great because of all the actions he has performed throughout his career. He has based his career on the metadata he, as a player, has produced via games won, goals made, assists, and more. Manchester United is a great club because of the players and other professionals making it up and the metadata they produce as a team.

We believe that the right approach for Web3 games is separating the game from the metagame, and the metagame is where a Web3 business can flourish. The next evolution of games should be amplified by the economic systems built around them, creating a clear evolution from Web2 to Web3 games without sacrificing the core entertainment value.

In MonkeyLeague, we are building a game everyone can play for free without asset prerequisites or even the need to connect a wallet. When players wish to interact with the vast Web3 economy around the game, whether to become professional players or to own digital property, they will connect to the Web3 economy.

It is more than just a Free-To-Play version that can be shifted to a Play-To-Earn model when people connect a wallet. It is the implementation of a hyper-structure around the game that allows the economy to flourish around it. It is a new way of thinking when building Web3 games.

In the next and final installment of this trilogy on Web3 gaming, I will outline a practical implementation of the concepts described above, using MonkeyLeague as an example.

About MonkeyLeague:

The first in a franchise, MonkeyLeague is a turn-based, Web3 soccer game that’s easy to learn, yet hard to master.

Build your dream team, win matches & tournaments, and climb the ranks in your league!

MonkeyLeague combines high-production-value, multiplayer gaming with the Solana blockchain, NFTs, and decentralized finance to deliver an exciting, Web3 game that’s easy to learn, yet hard to master.

About UnCaged Studios:

UnCaged Studios is pioneering high-quality, fun-first Web3 gaming. Co-founded by seasoned Web3 and gaming experts, the studio has over a hundred years’ combined experience designing and developing high-production-value, immersive gaming experiences with sustainable economies. Through its own platform, Game OS, the studio’s first release is an eSports franchise called MonkeyLeague. Moreover, UnCaged leverages Game OS to co-develop with leading studios by providing core technical functionality, infrastructure, and live operation Web3 services.


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