The newest addition to a relatively young industry, blockchain gaming still hasn’t lost its mystery. Many are still unsure what to make of it, and the constantly changing gaming ecosystem does little to help.
However, those deeply involved in blockchain gaming believe that its promise of player-owned assets and circular token economies are the natural evolution of entertainment — that will change how the world sees gaming.
One of those people is Anthony Yoon, the general partner at ROK Capital. In an interview with CryptoSlate, Yoon said that he believes the future of games lies on-chain, which is why his fund has backed several blockchain gaming projects that want to break into the Korean gaming market.
The fund has backed play-to-earn mobile esports organizer Ignite Tournaments, which doubles as a streaming platform with payouts in crypto and NFTs. CyBall, a football-themed P2E blockchain game, and Nine Chronicles, a fully decentralized RPG, also make up ROK’s GameFi portfolio.
And while Yoon’s optimism about the market is hard to top, he’s aware of the challenges that lie ahead.
One of the biggest challenges with GameFi projects is their attempt to compete with established games from large studios. Yoon said that there has been an increase in emerging GameFi projects wanting to take on AAA games from Ubisoft or EA — almost all of which are destined to fail.
“The number of on-chain games that warrant the coveted AAA badge can be counted on two fingers,” he told CryptoSlate.
Yoon and his fund are aware of this and have taken a completely different approach.
Instead of trying to find GameFi projects that can compete with well-funded games, ROK Capital is looking to bring traditional gaming studios into the blockchain space. Yoon says there are many “crypto curious studios” interested in blockchain gaming.
“AAA studios that have launched games to millions of users and generated hundreds of millions to billions of revenue from those titles are now interested in exploring how to integrate crypto.”
With Yoon’s native South Korea being the fourth-largest gaming market in the world, even the smallest increase in GameFi adoption could bring the nascent industry to millions. The country is a Mecca for game developers, most of whom could easily transition to blockchain gaming.
“We’re excited for the world to see strong Korean developers in crypto coming from a space that Korea does best — gaming.”
Crypto is here to stay, and so is GameFi
But, despite the unprecedented growth of the GameFi segment of the market, the majority of projects competing in the space won’t make it until the next bull run. While Yoon is aware of this, he also believes that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology aren’t going anywhere. As an investor, he sees the value of the industry and expects traditional VCs to become increasingly interested in the space.
“From a capital allocation perspective, blockchain and crypto are here to stay,” he told CryptoSlate. “My advice for non-crypto VCs eyeing the space is to treat crypto as an emerging asset class worth allocating some capital into from traditional asset allocators.”
Yoon believes that the Darwinian nature of the crypto industry — in which only the best ideas and strongest companies survive — is what will sustain it for years to come.
“If crypto can survive the market meltdown and lender collapse of 2022, it can surely handle anything else that may come its way, from over-zealous regulators to predatory hackers lurking north of the Korean border.”
The influx of talent into the crypto and blockchain industry will further strengthen that foundation.
“In the 2018-2019 cycle we saw a lot of tourists come and go, but this cycle w’re seeing strong technical talent over-indexing on building. We’ve also seen crypto-native funds who have been around for a while doing extraordinarily well and now have larger balance sheets to deploy into the space,” he explained.
Yoon believes that it will take another year until we see what the blockchain gaming industry is capable of. Only when more GameFi projects deploy their alphas, and we see more AAA studios enter the space will the industry reveal its true potential and show that it’s here to say, he said.