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For much of its short lifespan, the Web3 gaming space has been dominated by play-to-earn and casual gaming titles—but that’s set to change in the next year, according to Animoca Brands CEO Robby Yung.
“We're likely to see more triple-A console-style games launching next year, although games like Life Beyond, Devourers, and Phantom Galaxies are currently the only ones in this category,” Yung told Decrypt at the Proof of Talk conference in Paris.
Life Beyond, one of the most advanced games supported by Animoca, is “particularly exciting to watch” as it emerges from early alpha testing to full launch, Yung told Decrypt. He explained that the development team's history of producing high-quality traditional games—the founder, Benjamin Charbit, worked on Assassin’s Creed for Ubisoft—means the content style and storytelling will “appeal to more traditional gamers.”
The Revv ecosystem is another gaming project Yung is enthusiastic about. “We make games with Moto GP and Formula E, along with Revv Racing, and some other branded games, all unified by the Rev token ecosystem,” said Yung. “You'll see many developments in this ecosystem within the next six months.”
Those games could contribute to onboarding traditional gamers, who’ve hitherto been hesitant or even hostile towards Web3 games, Yung said. “There are many stories of pushback, such as with Ubisoft, where players expressed fear about blockchain games,” he said.
He likened the situation to the rise of mobile gaming. “A vocal minority of the gaming community is resistant to change, which we also witnessed when mobile gaming emerged in 2009,” Yung said. “Many gamers, especially those on consoles, felt at the time that gaming on a small mobile screen wasn't real gaming.”
Yung believes that the gaming industry is moving towards a hybrid model, recognizing the importance of the mobile and casual gaming sectors, which collectively account for half of the market. "When we consider the gaming business, it is incredibly diverse, differentiated by gameplay style and platform," Yung told Decrypt.
He explained that technological advancements are leading to a new model that combines traditional and blockchain gaming before fully embracing blockchain and NFTs.
Envisioning the metaverse
With a global network of 13 studios, Animoca Brands’ portfolio spans Web3 titles and metaverse platforms including The Sandbox, Phantom Galaxies, Life Beyond, and Crazy Defense Heroes.
While Animoca Brands has made a name for itself in the gaming realm, Yung revealed a much broader vision for the company. Among its pioneering initiatives is the transition of Tiny Tap, a subsidiary of Animoca Brands, from Web2 to Web3. This educational platform allows teachers to create online lessons and be paid in tokens.
The company will also continue to push forward its vision of an open, decentralized metaverse—in contrast to the centralized platforms pushed by legacy players such as Meta. “It's important to clarify what we mean by the metaverse,” Yung said. “The vision put forth by Meta is primarily focused on VR, so it would be more appropriate to refer to it simply as VR.”
The Animoca Brands CEO remains “highly optimistic” about the metaverse—but with the caveat that “the centralized and closed definition of the metaverse is no longer relevant.”
Yung explained that the “true essence of the metaverse” requires the integration of blockchain technology. ”Blockchain enables content interoperability, which is a fundamental aspect of the metaverse,” he said. “Without interoperability, it would merely be an application rather than a true metaverse.”
Navigating regulatory challenges
The crypto industry—and by extension, the Web3 industry—has faced regulatory headwinds in recent months. Yung stressed the impact of regulatory ambiguity, which has led to risk aversion and hesitation among investors. “It affects our business growth strategy, with the United States becoming less of a focus at present,” he said. “Although the U.S. market has always been part of our global strategy, the prevailing uncertainty complicates investment decisions in that region.”
Yung praised France for becoming a prominent Web3 hub. “This has less to do with the government's actions and more with the presence of talented entrepreneurs who have been actively building in the space for a considerable time, even predating the NFT boom in 2017,” he said. “The concentration of skilled individuals and entrepreneurial spirit has been the driving force behind the critical mass achieved in the French ecosystem.”