Every June major game publishers showcase their upcoming titles at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 in short, in Los Angeles. Major companies like Microsoft, Nintendo, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft show their upcoming games and hardware. There are no blockchain gaming companies on the show floor, but there’s the Blockchain Stage. Which isn’t the best way to bring blockchain gaming to the attention of influencers, journalists or investors.
This first ever blockchain stage is hosted by DGA Summit and Coinstate. It’s an endeavor to have blockchain companies team-up under one banner. On the stage companies and speakers talk about their games, the blockchain technology and crypto. It looks like a perfect match…
Many believe that gaming will be one of the major growth pillars for blockchain adoption. No wonder the stage is sponsored by Cryptokitties, one of the leading examples on how non-fungible tokens (NFTs) can work inside games, and how game companies can build on the concept of player ownership. Another sponsor of the Blockchain Stage at E3 is Matic Network. This newly launched project is currently one of the most traded assets on crypto exchange Binance. Matic is creating a second-layer protocol on the Ethereum blockchain that solves scalability issues. They consider games to be one of the major use-cases. Matic has already partnered with Decentraland, an Ethereum-based VR platform.
Over the course of a couple of days, the stage will be filled with speakers. Mickey Maher will talk about Dapper Labs and their Cryptokitties, while Randy Shaaf from Lucid Sight will talk about MLB Champions. James Ferguson from collectible card game Gods Unchained is also presenting on stage, among others. There’s also space to talk about esports and blockchain, while Atari founder Nolan Bushnell is sharing his ideas as well.
However, there’s something that I need to say about this Blockchain Stage. Even though I applaud the presence of blockchain games at this major convention, the booth itself is rather… dull. It’s definitely not an eye-catcher, and even though the talks could be interesting, I’m in serious doubt any of the journalists or influencers on location are going to sit down and listen, while they could be playing the new Animal Crossing, Rainbow Six or FIFA 20. Therefore I wonder for who this stage actually is… Once again, I applaud the effort and agree with the need to be there, but I’m not convinced that this is the right way to go. This convention is product oriented, and therefore so should be the booth. Show games in development, do demo’s for journalists, have people playing early versions of your games, hand out small NFTs, make people experience blockchain gaming.
As an example, in The Netherlands there are several initiatives to promote the works of Dutch game developers. One of them is the Holland Pavilion at Gamescom, a major video game convention in Cologne, Germany, which attracts 250 thousand gamers over the course of six days. A central organization sets up a booth where smaller developers can sign-up and pay a reduced fee to have a small space to present their game. It’s a perfect way to showcase games on a tight budget. The same could be done by the blockchain community, to setup a booth showcasing games that are in development.
But hey, those are just my two cents.
Even though it’s the first time that there’s an actual stage dedicated to blockchain at E3, it’s not the first time that blockchain companies have a booth. In 2018 companies like Enjin, GNation (by GameCredits), TokenPlay and Dmarket were present on the show floor. This year we don’t see any blockchain gaming companies taking a presence at the show floor. Perhaps next year, when Animoca Brands is really launching the playable versions of its blockchain games, we can see blockchain gaming companies taking over the show floor once more. If that happens, let’s make it product oriented shall we?
Also published on Medium.