why this blizzard vet thinks the next killer web3 game will come from china

This year, around 3.2 billion people — or about 40% of the world’s population — will play games, with total spending nearing $200 billion, estimates industry researcher Newzoo. The purveyors of web3 want a slice of this gargantuan market. Criticisms of the first generation of crypto games, dominated by the play-to-earn model, have already been well documented, so the question for developers now is what decentralized games should look like.

Back in July, I wrote that veterans from the gaming industry overwhelmingly agree blockchain games should be fun to play and offer a sustainable financial model, both of which are missing in play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity. When it comes to genres, many of them believe massively multiplayer online (MMO) games have the chance to onboard the masses into web3. The genre, which has given rise to epic titles with flourishing virtual economies like World of Warcraft and EVE Online, could benefit from having in-game assets as blockchain-based tokens to enable true user ownership, they say.

And one country, in particular, has the potential to drive this transition.

“China has the best MMO teams in the world,” argues Jerome Wu, who worked on World of Warcraft’s China localization during his seven years with Blizzard, followed by stints at nWay, 360 Games, and Baidu Games.

Like many of his industry peers, Wu jumped on the web3 bandwagon. Over the past year, he’s been working on a space-themed MMO title called Space Nation, which is aiming to be a AAA blockchain game with co-founders including veteran game director Tony Tang and film director Roland Emmerich, who’s known for high-budget catastrophe movies. The game has a total budget of $4 million.

The team is spread across multiple countries with core development taking place in China because “the country’s MMO developers are the most efficient and cost-effective in the world,” according to Wu.

While China might not produce the most original and impressive gameplay — which is perhaps why Tencent and NetEase recently sought out creative directors in the U.S. — the country’s game developers have overtaken their Western counterparts on other fronts.

But if China doesn’t have the most creative minds, would its web3 plays live up to user expectations? Blockchain games are still in their infant stage and have more urgent problems to solve, Wu contends. “What they need right now is a better economic system and a more solid technical infrastructure, which are exactly where China’s edge lies.”

“If NetEase decided to go into web3 gaming, it could be a threat to the rest of the industry,” Wu says, referring to the Chinese gaming titan behind the MMO Fantastic Westward Journey, one of the highest-grossing video games of all time.

But neither Tencent nor its rival NetEase has made visible forays into decentralized gaming. As a former Electronics Arts executive pointed out, big corporations tend to be more cautious about pursuing a new industry, especially one whose reputation has been tarnished by Ponzi-like play-to-earn games.

China’s strength in MMO is a latecomer’s advantage, Wu suggests. Homegrown developers began to emerge only around 2000; at the time, they had no chance of beating top games imported from foreign companies, such as MMO works Stone Age, Cross Gate, Legend of Mir, MU, and World of Warcraft. But foreign games needed help with localization and publishing, which gave Chinese firms an opportunity to carve out expertise and learn from these big titles.

The success of MMO, Wu says, hinges largely on a well-designed economic system and hands-on, meticulous community management. “Through working on product operation and publishing for foreign games, Chinese studios gained deep insight into economic and social design, user behavior, and monetization. They quickly turned around and used that knowledge in their own game development, which is why most of their early-day hits were MMO.”

“You will see that Chinese people are always at the forefront of devising new business models and then improving them,” he adds. It’s perhaps no surprise that China also pioneered the free-to-play monetization model.

Having a solid infrastructure is also key to a genre of games that could see hundreds of thousands of players online at once. China’s game operators were trained to prevent crashes from day one. “The internet in China in the early days was so complicated and wonky that we had no choice but to keep buttressing our IT and network stability,” recalled Wu. “That wasn’t something that Western studios had to worry about, so they were more focused on the grand plans than trying to prepare for a network crash.”

TECH NEWS RELATED

Smartisan founder Luo Yonghao offering TikTok e-commerce training on Douyin: report

Making Friends, a company co-founded by Chinese tech celebrity Luo Yonghao, is using Douyin to launch training courses on how to make money via TikTok’s overseas e-commerce services, in the entrepreneur’s latest venture, Chinese tech media outlet 36Kr reported on Tuesday. The training courses mainly focus on market analysis, ...

View more: Smartisan founder Luo Yonghao offering TikTok e-commerce training on Douyin: report

Indian agri-foodtech startups clock $4.6 billion in funding in FY22, overtake China in funding inflow: Report

Indian agrifood startups have attracted $4.6 billion in FY22, up 119 percent year-on-year from $2.1 billion in FY21, according to a report, even as the rest of the startup ecosystem struggles through a funding winter. In a statement shared on November 30, food and agritech-focused venture capital firms – ...

View more: Indian agri-foodtech startups clock $4.6 billion in funding in FY22, overtake China in funding inflow: Report

Zetwerk acquires US-based Unimacts for $39 million, to clock a revenue of $1 billion in FY23

Amrit Acharya, cofounder and chief executive officer of Zetwerk. Image Credits: VCCircle Business-to-Business (B2B) manufacturing service unicorn Zetwerk has acquired US-based industrial manufacturing firm Unimacts for a total deal size of $39 million and is planning to clock more than $1 billion of revenue for the financial year ending ...

View more: Zetwerk acquires US-based Unimacts for $39 million, to clock a revenue of $1 billion in FY23

How to turn off World Cup notifications from Twitter

The football World Cup — yes, the “soccer” one — is one of the biggest sporting events on the globe. And it’s really fun to follow it on Twitter with all the memes, commentary, and live tweets. But under Elon Musk-led Twitter it’s something different. After the World Cup ...

View more: How to turn off World Cup notifications from Twitter

China's two meteorological satellites put into operation

Images of the sun (L) and the Earth (R) captured by FY-3E satellite. /National Satellite Meteorological Center Two meteorological satellites, along with their ground application systems, have officially started operation, said the China Meteorological Administration on Thursday. The trial operation of the two satellites, Fengyun-3E (FY-3E) and Fengyun-4B (FY-4B), ...

View more: China's two meteorological satellites put into operation

China creates three-atom ultracold gas for quantum chemistry research

/CFP A group of Chinese scientists have created, for the first time in the world, a dense, ultracold gas of triple-atomic molecules, making an experimental milestone that offers multiple research opportunities for quantum chemistry. The researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China led by Pan Jianwei, ...

View more: China creates three-atom ultracold gas for quantum chemistry research

Elon Musk vicariously publishes internal emails from Twitter’s Hunter Biden laptop drama

Elon Musk reminded his followers on Friday that owning Twitter now means he controls every aspect of the company — including what its employees said behind closed doors before he took over. Earlier this week, Musk teased the release of what he called “The Twitter Files,” declaring that the public ...

View more: Elon Musk vicariously publishes internal emails from Twitter’s Hunter Biden laptop drama

Spotify Wrapped 2022 arrives with new features like your ‘Listening Personality,’ 40K+ Artist Messages

Spotify Wrapped 2022 has officially arrived. Though other music services, including Apple Music and YouTube Music, now put together their own year-end retrospectives, Spotify’s personalized and interactive Wrapped experience for its users, creators and podcasters remains the one to beat. The secret to its ongoing success is how it goes ...

View more: Spotify Wrapped 2022 arrives with new features like your ‘Listening Personality,’ 40K+ Artist Messages

New Gorilla Glass just dropped

Binance poised for Japan expansion after buying local exchange Sakura

Airbnb is helping find renters an apartment so they can Airbnb it

Natives Rising wins backing to help Native Americans into tech and startups

China Space Station: First-ever in-orbit crew rotation completed

Transforming old cardboard boxes into insulation nets CleanFiber $10 million round

Honda to launch fuel cell vehicle in 2024

Amazon Kindle Scribe review

FuturePlus and Outernet Unite to Create First Sustainability Impact Awards for High-Growth Companies

DoorDash lays off 1,250 employees to rein in operating expenses

We are uncomfortable when founders want to do secondaries prematurely: Sanjeev Bikhchandani reacts to an epilogue from Ashneer Grover's book

NASA's Orion spacecraft begins journey back to Earth

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News