Everything changes! That’s as cliche as announcing that having more birthdays gives someone more years. But, that’s a fact. The mighty all-change is touching and irreversibly transforming everything. Just to focus on the more recent history of our everyday. It’s not so distant past where our hands primarily created economies. Next, we let machines do our works. With the pace of the blink of an eye later, we have computers and all other staff connected. As they say, we might be close to the 5th industrial revolution by transferring all to the metaverse. Of course, we assume that everything isn’t a simulation, and we’re not moving from one to another metaverse (although the signed below prefers the term phantomatics).
Jokes aside, as we’re about to touch, one of the most critical subjects creating society and culture – play (games).
Before we scrutinize today’s video games, let’s return for a second to the times between the 3rd and the 4th industrial revolution. We had a significant event back there. Somewhere in the 1980s, the differences between producer and consumer started to shrink. We coined the term “prosumer” to address the changes in our economies, which allowed consumers to become producers. Nowadays, those occurrences are visible in a digital world, where we buy/sell customized items, we’re drivers/passengers of Uber, and host/guest Airbnb.
As we already know, video games are essential aspects of our world, and as such, they also are the subject of the laws of change. Games also create a chunk of our economy. With almost 3 billion players worldwide, they are comparable to the population of China, India, and the USA combined – the three most populated countries on Earth.
It’s also a profitable industry, creating more than $180B annual revenue -close to the GDP of the State of Nevada.
Of course, we cannot forget that video games are a vast subject and have many variations. Speaking about games, in general, is like saying: I like movies.
To be more detailed, let’s focus only on the distribution channels of games. We might say that the platform that games are available determines the genre. We have PC, browser, console, and mobile games – to name a few. The latter are the ones we should look at – as mobile is becoming dominant in gaming. The popularity of mobile games is evident – one can take play with them. People can enjoy games on the go. Play while commuting, waiting in line, and wherever and whenever they want.
We’re witnessing a significant shift towards mobile nowadays, which affects the model of players. Mobile is quick and relatively easy to approach. Simple to start attracts more people towards games. Non-gamers are becoming players, expanding the number of casual gamers against hardcore ones. We might say that we’re witnessing the democratization of gaming – the people are retrieving the market from the few (casual from hardcore gamers). The market was transferring towards mobile for some time, but COVID and lockdowns accelerated this trend. The numbers of mobile games are overwhelming – over 80 billion downloads and an estimated $120B in revenue.
The changes and growth (revenue) in games suggest that we also face shifts in monetization models. Unfortunately, the pace of developments is fossilizing games. As we know, we can play a game by paying for it, or have it for free and watch ads, or pay-in-game. Mostly, that’s all we can do. We must say that monetization models of games don’t keep up the pace of changes. Let’s assume that a person has 5 mins a day to play a game. Is somewhere in between something and would like to play. Instead of having fun, casual gamers are watching ads or paying to use the gameplay. Either by buying in-game currency to buy more virtual items. It ends up that either casual gamers are watching ads or paying to win.
We’ve already noticed that the barrier between producer and consumer blurs, and it looks that games are resisting to accept that. Of course, the goal here isn’t to make all the casual gamers developers. Although, besides the pure joy of playing, they also might benefit instead of ending with empty wallets.
It’s only partially true that games aren’t innovating with monetization models. Recently, the entire world has been flooding once again with Blockchain. I guess most of us are already accustomed to the buzz that this technology is creating, but this time it might be a real gamechanger (literally). NFTs – non-fungible tokens – in games related to the Blockchain’s cryptocurrency allow users to monetize time spent on a game and create and sell in-game objects.
It’s both innovative and noble that Blockchain promotes gratification for players. We might start noticing the revolution (disruption) in games.
Still, some games have more considerable potential in paying users for playing. Of course, skill-based games.
As we know, the gaming market is going mobile, and the casual player’s type is (or will be) dominant. Casual players look for quick gameplay with easy access to the game. Skill-based games, also called casual eSport, as the name suggests, are crafted to fulfill the needs of those players.
We already know that skill-based games gratify players with real cash prizes. Players are challenging themselves, and the winner collects the price.
Therefore, we might introduce a new monetization model in games: CHALLENGE TO EARN!
Challenge to earn are skill-based games (or casual eSport games, or mobile, competitive eSport games) which allow users to monetize their winning. Skill-based are casual or hyper-casual games played in the forms of competitions, or tournaments, where users bet on themselves. Once they win, they collect the cash (or other forms) price.
Skill-based games typically offer quick gameplays – not more than 5 minutes, and match users based on their performance in-game or platform. Challenge to earn competitions are played on a dedicated platform like WinZo, Skillz, GameTaco, etc.
Let’s leave the definition as it is now. Of course, it requires additional explanations, but with every novelty, it also requires familiarization.
CHALLENGE TO EARN IT IS!
About the Author:
Piotr Zwierzyk – co-founder of Reality Unit
He has been working on businesses of all kinds since he knows how to walk. In the old times, it was retail, next transferred to online, where he’s ever since. Now focusing on changing the way people play games.