The infrastructure for Web3 game development is experiencing rapid expansion, according to Delphi Digital’s recently published report titled “The Year Ahead for Gaming 2024.”
The collective market capitalization of 183 gaming projects has demonstrated relative stability, fluctuating between $4 billion and $7 billion throughout the year. This range is notably 86% lower than the peak observed in 2022. Despite this, there exists substantial potential for expansion.
Blockchain Gaming Ecosystem
At present, around 1.2 million daily distinct active wallets are participating in gaming protocols, leading to a daily range of 15 to 25 million gaming transactions.
Optimism and the OP Stack framework have emerged as perhaps the most favored options among developers engaged in fully on-chain crypto gaming (FOCG). Starknet stands out as another widely embraced infrastructure choice for FOCG.
Insights from the report shared by Web3 marketer Stacy Muur also revealed that the primary markets for blockchain gaming, ranked in order, include – the Philippines, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, and the United Arab Emirates.
Delphi Digital found that mobile gaming has become an increasingly appealing platform for Web3 developers, thanks to enhanced onboarding processes and more lenient regulations.
Meanwhile, the total count of gaming-centric networks has been steadily increasing, with 76 new networks emerging in 2023 alone, encompassing general-use L1s, L2s, and appchains. The report also suggests that a significant theme anticipated in 2024 revolves around the impending competition for player liquidity.
The blockchain gaming space was also found to be rapidly outpacing DeFi protocols in terms of on-chain transactions, with an average of 23 times more activity in 2023. This underscores the crucial focus on player liquidity for various gaming-specific networks, subnets, and blockchains.
Challenges: User Acquisition, Rising Costs
Market analysts anticipate a substantial surge in the global blockchain gaming sector, with the potential to soar to approximately $614 billion in the coming seven years. These projections suggest a growth rate of nearly 300%, signaling a significant expansion from the current market valuation of $154 billion.
However, the road to profitability and scale is not without obstacles. Delphi Digital found that user acquisition for blockchain games can be very expensive, with certain case studies indicating a 77% higher customer acquisition cost for mobile hypercasual games in the blockchain space compared to non-Web3 alternatives.
The financialized player incentives and the escalating costs associated with launching and maintaining live operations for Web3 games pose significant challenges. Striking a balance between profitability and user experience remains a delicate task that developers must navigate.