Governance of and incentives for a Web 3 game

Why on-chain governance? (Read more)

Previous posts

This piece is the fourth post in a series of related articles.

Contemporary method of paying for game development

Previous game funding models

Most online games operate on a subscription model, where players pay for gameplay every month, or on a freemium model where some of the content is available for free while premium content is access via payment. The premium content may be accessed via a subscription (a flag is set in a character’s state).

Runescape is probably the most obvious example of the freemium model (Source)
Kickstarter (Source)

Payment models of blockchain projects

Recently, with blockchain projects, we’ve seen a new way to reward developers:

  • Gift developers with some fraction of the tokens in the genesis block.
  • Provide a fraction of the block reward as a way of paying for development.
Z Cash is one example of having a developer’s fee (Source)

Paying for on-going development of web 3 games in the future

Freemium / Subscription basis

The development team could charge a subscription for premium content. I think that it is technically possible to have premium / members only locations (only accessible to paid members), but this is not a guaranteed win given that open source code can be forked.

Something based upon ERC-1337 may prove fruitful (Image Source)
  • Extra in-game currency (may be separate token from the ICO token).
  • Extra in-game items (maybe just stat buff items).
  • Premium items, which may be limited in supply (aka rares).
  • Access to a members’ only forum with the possibility of developer interaction and help shape the game.

Character creation

Developers could potentially sell new accounts in the genesis block instead of tokens: an initial character offering. Once the network is launched, there needs to be a way for developers to continue to charge for account creation.

Should Web 3 games have an in-game stable coin like dai? (image source)

Offline Swag

What may come as a surprise for potential revenue generation is the sale of official merchandise (t-shirts etc). While I don’t expect this to necessarily be a huge revenue generator, I’d like to think that it would help. Doing limited edition items always tends to appeal to gamers. All merch could be tracked via NFTs too (not necessary but may add ‘cool’ factor).

Item shop

Simply adding a game shop for the developers to sell items is likely tricky to build given the above reasons about open source products. Adding new assets to a blockchain in an ad-hoc manner will break the protocol. In blockchain protocols it isn’t possible to mint coins at will: everything must follow the protocol.

Further token sales

Another token sale could bring in more funds, but there also needs to be a clear and obvious benefit to the purchaser. Potentially, this funding allows access to another game shard, which could even be another parachain.

Further funding ideas

(D) Exchange with fees: potentially the game chain can facilitate cross-chain trading where some fee is extracted per transaction: e.g. exchange bitcoin to buy in-game currency.

Governance (on-chain, natch!)

All the rage these days. However, it is genuinely an important issue for blockchains and doubly-so for something like a computer game. If an issue arises where it is clear that the game is broken: e.g. a vulnerability leads to item duplication and the economy subsequently tanks. When economies tank, games die.

First draft of Polkadot governance (for more info: source)

About me

Currently, I work at the Web3 Foundation, covering numerous responsibilities (such as security and communications). This blog is of a personal nature. It just so happens that my hobby aligns with work.

Questions / Comments?

You can create a reply to me here on Medium, or reach out to me on Twitter: @EAThomson.

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