CRYPTO

‘Tens of millions’ to enter Web3 through gaming in 2024 — GameFi execs

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Crypto market hype and the “commercial release” of several highly anticipated blockchain games will likely onboard “tens of millions” gamers to Web3 in 2024, according to Web3 gaming execs.

“2024 is a growth year in terms of bringing people on to Web3,” said Yat Siu, co-founder of gaming and venture firm Animoca Brands, in an interview with Cointelegraph.

In the last three months, around 1 million — or more — unique active wallets have played Web3 games daily, according to DappRadar data. However, Siu believes there could be up to 100 million more next year.

“Many of the gaming titles that are about to be released were in alpha or beta stages in 2022 and 2023 and are now all coming out to commercial launch in 2024.”

The casual Web3 gaming space — including mobile games — is where Siu expects to see the most activity. He speculated that “tens of millions, maybe even 100 million gamers” will come through these kinds of less-intensive games.

He also expects Asia to “lead the charge” due to its greater acceptance of GameFi technology and related nonfungible tokens (NFTs) than the United States. Asia’s crypto regulations are also “much more welcoming and open,” Siu added.

Johnson Yeh, founder and CEO of gaming firm Ambrus Studio, hopes Web3 gaming “can really take off and have massive adoption with the help of the bull market,” which is expected to begin in 2024.

“The biggest potential is in the free-to-play space, selling skins,” he said, pointing to the free-to-play Counter-Strike series as a model, where skins sometimes sell for mid-six figures.

“The skins are on a smart contract, they’re verifiably unique, and then it allows the streamers, it allows the e-sport players, it allows celebrities to co-create and bring the skin revenue together with the fandom,” Yeh said.

Meanwhile, The Sandbox co-founder Sebastien Borget told Cointelegraph that he expects user-generated content (UGC) to be a significant theme in Web3 gaming next year.

Borget said UGC has already grown on traditional gaming platforms such as Roblox and the Unreal Editor for Fortnite, the latter allowing anyone to create assets and games within Epic Games’ flagship title.

“Decentralized platforms are especially well placed to empower creators and reward them for their contributions through Web3 technology.”

Expect celebs in Web3, again

Despite many celebrities and brands getting burned for endorsing crypto-affiliated projects during the last bull market, Siu says the trend will continue, just not in the U.S. for now.

“If Americans think crypto is a scam, then the English-speaking Earth, so to speak, thinks it’s a scam. But when you go to the Middle East or even in places like France — Paris lately feels NFT mad.”

He said once there’s legal clarity in the U.S., then celebrities will return in droves.

Ambrus Studio’s Yeh agreed but said celebrities will be far more cautious with their endorsements, and the more high-profile stars won’t want to take the risk.

“A lot of celebrities stood behind these NFTs to earn a quick buck,” he added. “I think the power of celebrity will decrease in this next bull market but will still play a very, very prominent role.”

Borget added that many brands and celebrities are looking for novel ways to engage with their audience through UGC-driven entertainment.

“They see that value regardless of Web3 market conditions,” he said.

Apple’s VR headset is a potential “game changer”

While speaking on the metaverse, Yeh said the Apple Vision Pro — the tech giant’s upcoming virtual reality headset — is “potentially a game changer” for virtual worlds, saying it could see significant sales volumes that may help to bring down the cost of hardware.

“The more people adopt, the more the cost will come down, which overcomes one of the largest hurdles for consumers to get into the space,” he said.

While Meta is also making waves in the VR space, releasing its new Quest 3 headset this year, Yeh thinks the company “doesn’t have the same iconic brand image as Apple for people to pay a huge premium.”

“Apple is probably one of the only players in the entire world that can move the needle with enough scale to really make hardware cost come down.”

Apple says the headset will ship sometime in early 2024 and has features typical among its competitors, including eye and hand tracking. Early demos have seen it touted more as a mixed-reality device than a pure virtual-reality headset.

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