The Next Evolution Of The Internet Is Upon Us Thanks To Video Games And Web3
As an early cryptocurrency adopter, the greater web3 space naturally attracted my attention. After buying my Bored Apes, I grew immensely fascinated by the communities forming around digital assets and knew this was not a fluke. I noticed similarities between my video game marketing days at BDE Ventures and web3, but most businesses didn’t understand the connection. While continuing to ponder the web3 space, the realization hit and my business life was forever changed after understanding what business I was really in.
Web3 and video games are synonymous with each other; in fact, web3 literally was born from a video game (more on that later). Essentially, if you believe that the multiplayer/online video game industry will continue and grow, you are also betting on web3 (or should be). But what’s equally important is understanding the business impact this will have for generations to come.
The Roots of Video Games And Internet Culture
One of the very first use cases for the personal computer (PC) was playing text-based computer games like Adventure or Zork. The introduction of web browsers in the ’90s enabled creators to build simple browser-based video games. But it wasn’t until the turn of the century that massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like World of Warcraft gained popularity. These weren’t just software companies, they were immersive early metaverse-like experiences.
The popularity of MMORPGs and online multiplayer video games like Call of Duty and Counterstrike helped cultures form on the internet. They allowed players from all around the world to interact with each other in a virtual world, creating communities that share common interests, values and even languages or in-world lore. Friendships were made, bonds were created, entire esports organizations such as FaZe Clan were born and the now decades-long internet culture began through video games.
The video game makers who understood this desire for social connection flourished and realized they were in the business of bringing people together, creating shared experiences and a form of escapism, not just games.
Web3 Communities Are Like Video Game Communities On Steroids
In web3, you can own digital assets from your favorite IP. These assets might be from a video game, film, comic, show or other smash hits like web3 cultural zeitgeists YUGA Labs’ Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks.
Raging communities are forming around these digital assets, and the engagement extends way beyond what we saw in web2. Case in point, there are thousands upon thousands of social media users swapping their profile pictures from their IRL photo to these digital assets. In essence, swapping their actual identity for their digital identity. Businesses need to understand that in the web3 world, you need to make the end user want to represent your brand on their digital identities, marking a change from the old world of wearing clothing logos on physical identities.
Web3 Video Game Communities Will Bring People Together Like We’ve Never Seen Before
Web2 networking and connecting mainly happened at physical events and gatherings. In web3, metaverse and digital asset-based communities can create a deeper connection and bond without ever meeting IRL. When I formed my own web3 community, Affinity Collective, I started to notice that a lot of the builders of web3 were either gamers themselves or building video games. I pondered this phenomenon and came to a conclusion.
Web3 And Online Multiplayer Video Games Are Cut From The Same Cloth
Ethereum’s invention of blockchain-based smart contracts allowed action that was previously not possible. Decentralized exchanges (DEXs) and protocols arrived able to operate without much or any human or centralized intervention.
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Interestingly, Vitalik, the creator of Ethereum, was previously a World of Warcraft player who got fed up with in-game changes and decided to build Ethereum. The ideas for Ethereum certainly point to video game similarities.
These similarities range from decentralized networks and gaming communities, smart contracts and in-game rules, tokens and in-game gold, to decentralized applications (dapps) which are like gaming mods, voting similarities between protocols and in-game decisions, minting and staking (like rewards for in-game activities). The list goes on and on.
Now that we know web3 and Ethereum are synonymous with one another in obvious ways, we can see why video game success in the future means web3 success. And it also means something even more profound: that businesses that want to understand web3 need to also understand video games and culture.
Enter The Web3 Samurai
Digital assets hold meaning to many from certain cultures. Japanese samurai swords have centuries-old mythology, beautiful craftsmanship and are believed by some to have a soul. The spiritual connection between a Samurai and their sword is significant. Some say they feel the power and presence of the sword’s soul.
We notice the same “Samurai culture” in web3. People form deep bonds with their NFTs, digital assets, in-world weapons and communities. You see people completely changing their digital identities to reflect these NFTs as their profile pictures. Just like a Samurai forms a bond and holds pride in that sword, so does a web3 community member. Businesses that want to capitalize and get their roots into web3 need to take special note of this point and make sure they are building their digital assets to appeal to specific demographics.
Develop Your Web3 Strategy Before You Become Blockbuster
Not everyone needs to be an early adopter, but missing completely and becoming a Blockbuster who notoriously hung onto the failing DVD store model for far too long is also not ideal.
The web3 business model is about both bringing people together, and giving true ownership. It’s about fans becoming one with the brand, associating their digital identities and forming a real community with skin in the game. Web2 brands have done a terrible job at bringing people together digitally. When was the last time you changed your digital identity to an image from a web2 brand? In web3, it happens all the time.
Simply put, web3 is the opportunity to re-align incentivizes that have been grossly misaligned by web2 profit seekers.
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