Sidequest #1: Evaluating Blockchain Game Investments -- Immersion
It is not enough to look at the trailers, the metrics, and even the total sales
It’s becoming clearer to me that the standard by which to evaluate the eventual success of blockchain games
is not determined…
by their graphics and trailers —
nor their whitepapers —
… not even their Twitter following.
It’s the community around the game, their tokenomics and game economy design, and the commitment to realizing their vision, even piecemeal.
This will help shepherd them through choices like: ETH L1 or L2? What about Solana? AVAX? How's IMX & Starknet looking?
What do we do with the 45% of tokens we set aside for “P2E” in our whitepaper?
So it has come full cycle — we find that, at this nascent stage, we are no longer investing in “data-driven products” as F2P games have become, but “movies” — grand visions of video games, that make sense when realized.
What holds this vision together?
For 99% of blockchain games, it’s the trust that players have put into the developers to deliver and hold to those promises. Note: The token is merely an intermediary and an additional safeguard for that trust.
As for measuring this trust?
It is an intangible indicator that you can’t yet get from a quick metric like ‘total twitter following’, or ‘total discord members’.
As anyone who has been in a DAO knows, who’s in the room, matters far more than how many people are in the room.
Knowing the composition of community through player profiles — this is an intangible you get only from sinking into the waters of the community, a complete immersion.
Witness: is there a genuine joy, thankfulness from the community that the project is happening? Does that shine through even when prices dip?
Do players contribute to the ecosystem willingly — through giveaways, streaming, developing extensions — or is it all just price talk, and conversations of distant moons, with no action to realize that?
How does the community react when things go wrong — features are delayed, et al?
An outsider peering in shall not develop the deep understanding and conviction that will enable them to buy in and hold till fruition.
It is so easy to revert to accusations of “ponzinomics, wash trading, the game is lame” — which is why those with eyes closed will miss what’s happening in Discords.
This is why I always ask researchers and investors to peer behind the curtain, and ask actual players in the Discord why they play & engage in the community.
As for games being underdeveloped, because “real game designers aren’t in the picture”…
...that doesn't mean that they're inferior; the acorn is not inferior to the oak tree. It's a potential oak but as an acorn, it's just as beautiful and lovely a thing as a full-grown oak is. A baby is as lovely as an adult — sometimes a great deal more lovely. -- Alan Watts
Few understand that Layer 0 is People — as in Level 5, web3’s social contract (won’t be evil) can be just as important as the actual smart contracts that devs build (can’t be evil).
This trust — this is what keeps the ship afloat, long enough for the prophecy to fulfil itself, be it in a bull or bear market.
P.S. I started a role with Delphi Digital’s gaming team, which is a raid group I definitely very much enjoy being a part of.
I now spend lots of time advising play-to-earn / play-and-earn games. I also have said many words online about blockchain games since Level 6 — mostly on Twitter.
In lieu of long form articles, I’ve been tweeting a lot more, so if you’d like to keep up with similar thoughts, then do feel free to follow me there.
Please also keep up on Spotify with these two resources — Nico Veerecke’s Metacast [Sustainable Play-To-Earn Economies, Wolf Game, Scaling Blockchain Games], and Deconstructor of Fun’s new blockchain gaming focused podcast, Tokenomics, featuring Anton Backman who invests with the Play Future Fund.
I’m also contemplating moving Metaversus to Mirror. My only hesitation is the lack of footnotes, which I gratuitously use. I’m currently compiling a list of resources for virtual economists / game economy designers, and would love any recommendations for readings.
This will be published in the New Year under another sidequest.
As always, my DMs are open for readers of Metaversus who engage with the material and have more questions.
Hi, Ryan, I am really happy I found your substack as I am just learning about this space. I feel like going through the levels gave me some fundamentals to build further knowledge upon and you shared many great resources too. Very grateful and happy to start here.