‘$10K JPGs’ scare away gamers, Animoca’s crypto game streaming plans: Web3 Gamer


Animoca Brands buys streaming platform for blockchain games

Hong Kong Web3 gaming giant Animoca Brands (The Sandbox, Revv, Phantom Galaxies), has acquired blockchain-powered streaming platform Azarus for an undisclosed sum.

Built around the slogan “streams are not TV,” Azarus allows users to livestream their gameplay while using tokens for incentives and rewards. Animoca Brands says it wants to change gaming culture with Azarus’ tech, by enabling streamers to generate new sources of income, engage their audience and reward their followers while allowing viewers to support their preferred creators. 

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This is actually how Twitch won out over the competition originally. By focusing on the interaction between streamers and their audience and designing layered incentives for users to be a part of the community, Azarus also has the potential to grow to a point where blockchain games can meet a much bigger audience.

Collaborating with known brands and streamers, Azarus has already disbursed rewards exceeding $2 million to a diverse audience of over 20 million unique players.

Animoca Brands Executive Chairman Yat Siu likens Azarus to the early days of The Sandbox, which Animoca also invested in, while Azarus CEO Alexander Casassovici says the deal “amplifies our vision.”

We’re not just enhancing streaming; we’re pioneering a movement where every viewer becomes an active participant, and every stream becomes an immersive experience.”

Animoca has a promising library of Web3 games under its umbrella, which means it already has the content necessary to develop the game streaming experience. Now, combined with Azarus’ tech, Web3 gamers can build a much more vivid community by banding together around their favorite games. The acquisition can also pave the way for Web3 gaming to become a popular profession — onboarding the next wave of gaming talent to take part in the future of blockchain gaming.

GAM3 Awards returns with a familiar jury

Web3 gaming’s new night of nights, the GAM3 Awards, is returning for its second year with three new categories: Best Fighting Game, Best Sports Game and Best On-Chain Game.

Thanks to a bunch of big-name sponsors including Amazon, Google, Magic Eden and the Blockchain Game Alliance, there’s $2 million worth of prizes up for grabs.

The first installment last year saw over 100 nominees across 16 categories, more than 250,000 votes, and a livestream of the event reaching over 30,000 users.

Big Time, a free-to-play multiplayer action RPG game set to launch its preseason, won Game of the Year, while Shrapnel, a competitive extraction shooter currently preparing for its public playtest, was the winner of the Most Anticipated Game award.

The event’s jury comprises prominent figures from the gaming world, including Web3 gaming VCs, chains, infrastructure partners, content creators – and yours truly. The jury’s decision will affect 90% of the final outcome, with community votes accounting for the remaining 10%.

The grand finale is planned to happen on Dec. 14 and will be streamed live.

Teaching financial literacy through Web3 games

The crypto and blockchain world gathered in Istanbul this week for Binance’s flagship event, Binance Blockchain Week. And, of course, blockchain gaming was a huge part of the two-day summit. Between the networking and servings of delicious Turkish food, I found a space to attend a panel where CryptoPotato editor-in-chief George Georgiev was asking some on-point questions about Web3 gaming to industry experts: Animoca’s Siu, Gomble co-founder Chris Chang, Xterio chief operating officer Jeremy Horn.

Who cares about this $10,000 jpeg!”

Those were the words of Xterio’s Horn to underline the point that when developers focus on financial gain, they scare away actual gamers. He also compared the attitude of gamers in the East to the ones in the West regarding Web3 games, stating that Eastern gamers have a higher tolerance for pay-to-win elements, as they are more familiar with free-to-play games.

“In gaming, we teach people all the time about new systems,” added Siu. “When you think about every new game you played, you come out of it you’ve learned a new skill.”

He said his children could talk all day about Pokemon characters, Call of Duty skills and Apex Legends characters off the top of their heads. Gamers learn stuff all the time in the games they play.

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And it’s true. You learn attacking patterns in Elden Ring after rage quitting ten times and getting killed five times as often. Gamers know the players’ names in your favorite football club from playing FIFA. Some people even have military knowledge from games like Battlefield and Call of Duty.

So, when he said we could teach financial literacy through tokenized Web3 games and educate these games’ players, I believe he has a valid point. What Web3 needs is mainstream adoption, and to achieve that, people need to know that it isn’t a scam or a get-rich scheme. That can only happen through education. Siu noted:

We’re finally getting to the moment in time where the work from all of the developers working in Web3 is finally paying off.”

I really would like to see those promises fulfilled. People are starving for good games, especially in Web3. Good, quality games are the only way to gain popularity for Web3 gaming. When they come out – and only if they’re really good – people will turn their heads and say, “Oh look, there is that game in Web3 that I wanna play!”

Hot Take: Project Xeno

Artwork for PROJECT XENO
PROJECT XENO promotional art. (PROJECT XENO)

Developed by Japan-based CROOZ Blockchain Lab, Project Xeno is a tactical turn-based player versus player (PvP) game where players can battle each other using their NFT characters. It has a play-to-earn model, which rewards players for their in-game achievements with crypto assets.

Xenos are NFT characters used in battles that can be upgraded with leveling, weapons (that are NFTs) and charms (also NFTs). Each Xeno has two passive skills and a special skill. Special skills can be used by spending a special meter and leveling up using the in-game currency.

The players can put their three Xenos wherever they like in a 3×3 space. Characters are divided into six classes, which can equip four skill cards each. There are glimpses of a team-building aspect and some effort to put strategy elements in, but it needs some improvements.

The English translation is done poorly, with many examples, such as the “Skill strengthen” tab in the shop. Progression feels very slow and requires quite a bit of grinding if you are not willing to spend money. It’s a no from me, but if you’d like to check the game out, Project Xeno is free-to-play and downloadable on Android and iOS.

The gameplay is fairly simple. It made me wonder if it’d be more fun if Project Xeno were an auto-battler or an idle game, as it felt like it didn’t even need me around to play the game at times. The graphics are fun, but don’t expect too much on that front.

More from Web3 gaming space:

– Layer 1 blockchain and smart contract platform Sui teams up with Space and Time to provide Web3 game developers with zero-knowledge-proof-based tools.

– Immutable announces four upcoming Web3 games for its zero-knowledge scaling solution, zkEVM: GensoKishi Online, Cursed Stone, Sailwars and Rave.

–Illuvium is set to launch on the Epic Store Nov. 28.

– Decentralized cloud provider Aethir gets backing from Nvidia.

– Grammy-nominated DJ and world-famous music producer Steve Aoki collaborates with STEPN for a digital sneaker collection.

– Ronin-based mobile RTS game Wild Forest begins open beta on Nov. 9.

– Solana Labs launches the beta version of GameShift, a Web3 service for game developers.

Erhan Kahraman

Erhan Kahraman

Based in Istanbul, Erhan started his career as a gaming journalist. He now works as a freelance writer and content creator with a focus on cutting-edge technology and video games. He enjoys playing Elden Ring, Street Fighter 6 and Persona 5.