7 Pillars of Every Banger Crypto Game
We’ve been on our soapbox about crypto gaming since Q3 of last year. Since then, there have been a lot of gaming projects to hit the market. With the influx of projects, it can be very hard to gauge which teams are making the right moves. When it comes to launching a game there are many variables that need to be taken into serious consideration. Join us as we give you all a brief rundown on the 7 key factors that need to be taken into consideration before, during, and after the launch of a crypto game so you can build or judge projects with confidence.
1. The Team
This is where it all starts. If the community is the lifeblood of a project, the team is the heart that is responsible for pumping the blood and keeping the project alive. It is imperative for investors to understand that when they invest in projects, they are investing in the team rather than the product.
Outside of experience and expertise, a team must also display passion and excitement. The teams that receive the most support are the ones that are constantly building, providing updates, asking for customer feedback, engaging with the community, and sincerely taking suggestions into consideration.
For prospective players and investors researching any team, the most important questions to consider are:
Does the team get sh#$ done?
Do they do it well?
Are they unwavering in their conviction to bring their vision to life?
After those questions are addressed some positive – and possibly negative – traits need to be identified.
Overly Audacious Goals
Conflating Experience (Saying they have Riot team members that had no impact on game design)
2. Clear & Easily Understandable Vision
It is extremely important for investors and players to easily understand the concept that is being presented.
No matter how much potential a game may have/has, it will be very hard to gain the support and build the hype needed to gain the right traction for rollout if no one understands the vision.
This is where the KIS (Keep It Simple) method is a team’s best friend. When a game promises too much, it can be perceived as delusions of grandeur. I know what you all are thinking – what is “too much”?
“Too much” can be defined as an excessive combination of game features that either don’t flow well together, make the game feel overwhelming, don’t add to the narrative/storyline, and/or don’t serve a purpose in a character’s progression.
When read or explained, the vision should be comprehensible enough for a prospective investor or player to get a fairly good understanding of what the game is about on the first attempt.
3. A Rock Solid Gameplay Loop
Now that we have a great team and a clear vision, the next thing to focus on is the gameplay loop. For those that need a reminder, the gameplay loop is the primary set of mechanics or actions that someone will perform repeatedly while playing (also referred to as the Core Gameplay Loop or CGL within the industry).
Once people get past the initial glitz and glam, the only thing that will keep players engaged is an addictive gameplay loop. This is why no matter how dated they are, people will always revisit games like Super Mario Bros., Zelda, Pokémon, and other classics. The gameplay loops are simple and repetitive – yet intriguing enough to keep players coming back for more.
It’s also to be noted that it isn’t necessarily about reinventing the wheel as opposed to making slight adjustments that makes the game unique enough to stand out. Even when you look at popular modern day franchise hits like Call Of Duty, Halo, Fortnite, PUBG, etc, the Core Gameplay Loops are still very simple.
We group loops into 3 categories:
Fully proven loop (CoC, Mavia, Etc)
Adapted loop (proven loop with additional unique elements)
Unproven loop (completely new, never used loop)
4. A Thriving Community
This is probably the most important aspect of any project in crypto across all sectors. Remember what was stated earlier – the team is the heart and the community is the lifeblood.
The heart cannot function if there is no blood flowing through it, and it will die if the blood is toxic.
If the community is unhappy, unenthusiastic, or unengaged the chances of the project being successful is slim to none. A concerted effort has to be made to keep the community happy.
A vibrant community is critical to the value creation and a sustainable economy.
5. Compelling, Consistent Marketing
The great thing about marketing is that a team can be creative and experimental in their approach.
However, as creative as marketing campaigns can get, it can be all for naught if some basic principles aren’t followed.
A few basic principles are:
Identifying the target audience: Who is the ideal customer?
Identifying the hook or “sizzle”: What makes the game unique?
Leveraging Social Media: What type of following has the project built? What platforms are they targeting?
Coming up with an initial plan: The marketing plan should not be an afterthought or placed on the backburner.
Understanding the competition: There is no shame in observing the competition and taking note of what’s working for them.
SEO: All great projects must give proper attention to their SEO strategy.
Right now, the sector is still growing. So projects have been able to get away with lackluster marketing strategies – as we are in a bit of a mania where investors are turning over every stone in an attempt to find the next big thing.
However, as the growth continues, the mania will start to die down, and it will be tougher to grab the attention of players and investors. So, any project that is putting real effort into their marketing strategy is one to pay attention to.
6. Visuals That Bang!
Every team should repeat these words daily, “Gamers Want To See Gameplay!” Cinematic trailers are cool, but that isn’t enough to get the job done.
Ideally, a project shouldn’t have more than two cinematic trailers at max (speaking from opinion). The rest should be either actual gameplay footage, or a merge of cinematic and gameplay footage.
Gamers have been deceived by cinematic trailers far too many times. Since then, the community has wisened up. Too many cinematic trailers before sharing any gameplay footage is a good recipe for creating suspicion.
Keep in mind, trailers are bonuses, not necessarily 100% required. They instill confidence in the ability of the team to deliver.
Art & Visuals are like icing - done well they bind the project together so it clicks giving it the “it” factor.
7. A Rewarding & Sustainable Economy
The economy in crypto gaming is essential, even more important than in normal games because the value is tied to real money and real investment.
Nothing can sink a thriving project quite like a bad economy. We’ve seen this exact thing occur with Axie Infinity:
Tascha actually predicted this back in July of 2021.
Her predictions were soon realized around October.
Can Axie recover? Hopefully they can. There are some suggestions on exactly how this can be accomplished.
Enough about Axie though. The intention of this section is not to put a spotlight on problems with the Axie economy. It’s just the most relevant and popular model that we are able to reference and use as a teachable moment.
What makes a great crypto gaming economy?
NFTs that complement gameplay
Balanced & Fair Rewarding System
In-game currency that inflates at the perfect rate (if using in-game currency)
Tokenomics that make sense (governance token & in-game currency)
As imperative as this is to get correct, we should also keep in mind that this sector is still very new. Therefore, teams are still learning how to build the perfect economy.
With that being said, it is not the community’s role to bear the pain of suffering through bad economic models. A team needs to be agile and flexible enough to improve any flawed models before they cause significant impacts to players and investors.
Obviously, there are more aspects to a successful crypto gaming launch. However, we wanted to cover a few of the most important today. Crypto gaming will have a monumental year in 2022. However, the only way this sector will continue to progress is by constantly reviewing, refining, and demonstrating some best practices.
The last point that needs to be expressed is the importance of teams giving realistic timelines. Building a great game takes time (anywhere from a year to a few years depending on the complexity). There’s a bit of a trend where teams are promising to have a fully developed AAA game within 6 months. These super fast timelines are always a bust.
The goal should always be to underpromise and overdeliver. It is ok to quell expectations of a quick turnaround in exchange for quality. Actually, it’s preferred.