Gamers in Asia are predicted to make up the vast majority of the Web3 gaming market, according to a DappRadar study conducted in conjunction with Japanese crypto firm Pacific Meta.
The study found that Asia already has 55% of the global gaming population with 1.7 billion players—and will likely make up 80% of all Web3 gamers. That’s a staggering figure, especially considering the restrictions some nations in the region have already placed on gaming. In China, gamers under 18 are only allowed to play for one hour a day. And in South Korea, blockchain games have been heavily scrutinized and virtually banned entirely.
Despite the legal restrictions, however, DappRadar’s report argues that Asia-based video game publisher Nexon’s Web3 play with MapleStory Universe and Square Enix’s upcoming Web3 game Symbiogenesis are two examples that suggest crypto games gaining traction in the East. Both will also use Polygon, which the study claims is currently the most-preferred network for Web3 gaming from a game studio standpoint.
DappRadar and Pacific Meta’s study also concluded that the Asian market prefers the roleplay game genre the most—think games like Final Fantasy, Phantasy Star Online, or Genshin Impact.
The Asian market’s interest in Web3 gaming is substantial. At the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) in San Francisco last month, Korean game publisher WeMade had one of the largest booths. An onsite rep told Decrypt that WeMade plans to release its games within Korea without Web3 elements, and will then release them globally at a later date with NFTs and Web3 integrations through its WeMix platform.
Sky Mavis Cofounder Trung Nguyen previously told Decrypt at GDC that he believes Web3 gaming is a “natural” fit for the Asian market because of the types of games the market is accustomed to.
“They find it very natural to get into Web3 gaming because in the early days of Web3 gaming, it’s all about rolling, gatcha, having the best characters that you can find, and then [trading] it on the market,” Nguyen said.
But as Web3 games become more focused on gameplay over financials, Nguyen believes that western and eastern audiences will come to expect similar experiences.
As a part of its Web3 gaming study, Pacific Meta surveyed over 1,000 adults in Japan and found that 40% knew about blockchain games. Among those who knew about such games, nearly 57% said Web3 games “seem interesting,” while roughly 10% said they did not seem interesting.
Notably, about 33% said “neither,” suggesting they were perhaps unsure about Web3 games and hadn’t yet formed an opinion on them.
When asked about the types of blockchain games they’d be interested in, 773 out of the 1,030 surveyed said that they’d like a game to be free-to-play—and that initial cost was an important feature to them. 538 said that they’d like the game to be playable on a mobile phone. Player earnings, game quality, consoles, and famous IP scored lower on the list.
What did the respondents care about the least? Whether the game “has unique use of blockchain.”
This finding appears to support the prevailing sentiment that also exists among many Web3 game developers: That Web3 games can’t focus on their crypto elements first and foremost. Instead—at least in Japan—the platform and initial cost may be the most important factors for gamers.
Regardless, this nascent industry still has a ways to go before it sees mainstream adoption—even as big brands like Razer and FIFA double down on Web3 gaming projects.
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