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The Creator Economy & Web3
The basis of the creator economy is distributed ownership and decentralized monetization. For example, an NFT artist posting to a centralized platform like Meta or Coinbase are subject to the terms, fees, and stipulations of those platforms. For creators, they also have the ability to create and mint their own work, giving them the ability to sell goods on open marketplaces like OpenSea.
The creator economy as a whole is on the very beginnings of its own growth curve. There are many different aspects to this, including that of blockchain gaming & P2E models. Gamers have the ability to receive compensation in the form of digital assets in exchange for time played. In traditional gaming, the users are paying the platform to simply receive the title at all.
In many ways, The Sandbox was designed specifically to include these principles and adhere to the creator economy. For example, The Sandbox features three main components:
- VoxEdit Builder - a non-fungible token (NFT) builder for creating in-game assets
- Marketplace - where assets can be bought & sold between players
- Game Maker Tool - can be leveraged to create unique interactive games & experiences that can be shared with others
Each of these elements adds to the complexity and opportunity of the creator economy.
Consider it like this: User A could utilize VoxEdit to create and mint NFT assets that are sold to User B through the marketplace. User B could then use the Game Maker Tool and deploy the assets purchased from User A in a newly created virtual experience. That experience can then be monetized to attract the attention of User C who is participating in the experience.
This creates a value chain that can be interconnected throughout the process as users engage between each other and leverage different skill sets.
The Metaverse Example
To expand upon the previous example, the construction of virtual LAND within platforms like The Sandbox adds an entirely different element to the creator economy. To ensure that the metaverse is decentralized, many different entities have the ability to purchase digital LAND parcels (i.e., essentially owning a piece of the platform itself). This LAND on its own has limited utility (buy, sell, or rent).
To add a secondary layer to the creator economy, LAND can be repurposed through builders like LandVault to support experiences, events, and other functions. So to come back to the GameFi example, User B could leverage a professional metaverse builder in LandVault to build out the experience on the LAND User B owns.
Now what this has done is created multiple jobs, value opportunities, and revenue creation for a number of different entities. This is how GameFi and the metaverse grow from being a speculative space to a full economy. Allowing the creators & builders to retain ownership over their own assets and skills literally generates new jobs through novel revenue streams. Those jobs generate output (production) which creates value for the economy.
GameFi Protocol Adoption
For GameFi, a crucial initial step in building out the creator economy is the adoption of the games themselves by knowledgeable players. Without usage of the initial applications, there is no incentive to create assets, fill marketplaces, and build out experiences.
There are a number of different blockchain games that have amassed respectable user bases compared to the rest of the GameFi industry. Here are the top ten by daily active user count:
- Alien Worlds - 233,000
- Splinterlands - 147,000
- Gameta - 46,000
- Upland - 41,000
- Axie Infinity - 30,000
- Era7: Game of Truth - 26,000
- PlayMining - 25,000
- X World Games - 21,000
- Solitaire Blitz - 19,000
- MiningNetwork - 14,000
Obviously, these numbers are completely dwarfed by modern gaming titles outside of the GameFi / blockchain gaming space. Minecraft alone hosts millions of players every day. A major setback for blockchain games specifically is found in two areas:
- Actual Playability
- Underwhelming Graphics
- Learning Curve
Playability and graphics processing go hand in hand. It is notoriously difficult to design a game that requires high processing power and demanding graphics while on a blockchain network like Ethereum, Solana, or others. This is because the blockchain was not meant to handle that level of processing power.
Solving this issue is currently in the works through external protocols whose main purpose is to handle the graphics and other processing demands off the mainnet. Some examples of this in the works are:
Improving the graphics and playability of blockchain games is one step. The other step is the potentially steep learning curve that exists when trying to enter the web3 space. To outside individuals, grasping the concepts of blockchain, NFTs, cryptocurrencies, and other high-level web3 terms can be difficult. This is also a space that does not reward ignorance, so there will be a slight barrier to entry for players looking to cross the chasm into blockchain gaming.
It is also entirely plausible that certain players will not be willing to do this at all and instead choose to keep gaming simplified to how it is for millions of players every single day. Making this process easier for players is a major opportunity to facilitate growth.
This is precisely what the blockchain game My Neighbor Alice is attempting to accomplish. My Neighbor Alice is a blockchain-based multiplayer builder game where users can interact, buy & own virtual islands, and build in-game items. Alice is directly inspired by titles like Animal Crossing and aims to provide a gaming platform that can introduce millions of gamers to blockchain.
My Neighbor Alice was intentionally designed to cater to non-blockchain natives, meaning zero prior knowledge of cryptocurrencies, NFTs, or other blockchain concepts is needed. The game itself is actually free to play, allowing anybody to begin participating.