Gamescom Asia 2022 Recap: What Did It Mean For Web3 Gaming?
One of Asia’s leading gaming events has come to a close for 2022. What impact did the event have on the future of blockchain gaming?
Having attended the event in-person, here’s a rundown of the highlights that caught my attention across the 3-day event.
Day 0 (Online)
Gamescom Asia kicked off on a high note, with the live PRIMETIME show staging trailer premieres and announcements for over 25 games, including highly-anticipated titles such as God of War Ragnarök, Warhammer 40K: Darktide and Like a Dragon: Ishin.
Sadly, no blockbuster blockchain titles made this round of announcements – but that’s not to say that blockchain didn’t play a part in the event. Quite the opposite!
Day 1 (In-Person)
In Gamescom tradition, the first day is set aside exclusively for trade attendees. After a warm welcome from Gamescom CEO Gerald Bose, it was time to start finding the answers to an important question – what do the studios, publishers and developers at Gamescom Asia think about blockchain?
First stop: one of the main sponsors of the event; Meta0 – a blockchain infrastructure company offering turnkey Web3 solutions to game developers.
Headed by former Head of Gaming at TikTok, Jason Fung, they’re making an aggressive push into the industry.
In a recent interview with Reuters, Jason made his motivations clear, claiming that a “more interoperable option” needed to be available to developers wishing to integrate blockchain into their games, and that Meta0 would “allow the user the flexibility of transferring their NFTs cross-chain”.
With the same seriousness of purpose, Jason took the stage at Gamescom Asia to discuss Web3 gaming at large, and why chain interoperability will, in his eyes, be critical to the success of this emerging segment of gaming – both in a commercial and critical sense.
Despite his and Meta0’s attempts to appeal to traditional game developers, it seems few have bitten thus far – although they have succeeded in pursuing Ethereum, Binance, Polygon, Solana and Waves as supported blockchains, plus a handful of Web3 game studios.
Meta0 were far from the only blockchain infrastructure firm to be in attendance however. Xsolla, a platform-as-a-service international payments provider, also had a visible presence, courting various developers and decision-makers alike.
Whilst it was clear that many are still sceptical of blockchain, there’s no hiding that it has increasingly caught the attention of the industry at large as growing numbers of investors and publishers alike consider its potential to create new, sustainable revenue models – and that underlying simmer of interest was evident throughout the event.
Headline speakers panels were the name of the game on Day 2, as figures ranging from ex-Angry Birds “Mighty Eagle” Peter Vesterbacka to Ubisoft’s Darryl Long tackled topics such as branding, culture and player experiences.
Duncan Campbell, Content Acquisition Manager at Roblox – which has rowed back-and-forth on the NFT topic for some time now – believes that developers will be the ones to build our digital future. With promises of metaverses making global headlines, Duncan argued that it’s clear the opportunities extend far beyond entertainment, and that Roblox could be an entry point of sorts. What that means for Roblox’s stance on blockchain – only time will tell.
Across Gamescom Asia, quality culture repeatedly came up in discussion. It’s no secret that blockchain is eschewed as an industry that puts culture and community at the forefront – could this focus on those areas be a catalyst for the conversations taking place in the wider gaming industry?
Throughout the day, trade visitors flocked to the Biz Lounge for meetings, chance encounters and networking opportunities. If sentiment within the gaming community would be believed, you’d expect the proponents of Web3 to be met with derision, but that didn’t appear to be the case.
Like Gamescom Europe earlier this year, many of the non-blockchain savvy savoured the opportunity to find out more. Publishers, studios and developers of all sizes are still, for the most part, figuring out what blockchain could mean for them, and these fact-finding chats taking place on the ground are playing an important role in dictating their strategy moving forwards.
That afternoon, I was able to connect with the creators of an upcoming blockchain-based cross-genre game, Dot Arcade. “A mix of Age of Empires, MOBAs and esports” is how it was described to me – I’ll have a full interview with the team coming up soon.
With the bulk of the keynotes and workshops now concluded, it was time to switch attention to the Entertainment Zone and more organic B2B connections.
I was pleasantly surprised by the number of Web3 game studios that I came across, each looking to take advantage of the evident networking opportunities of such an event, and looking to find everything from publishing partners to VC funding.
It was a melting pot of nationalities and specialities, tailor-made for the sharing of knowledge and the building of partnerships. I’ve no doubt that much progress was made this day, as busy delegates hurried from place-to-place, keen to make the most of each remaining hour.
Day 4 (Online)
The hallowed halls of the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre emptied, marking the close of the in-person experience for another year – but the event wasn’t quite finished yet.
Wrapping up proceedings was STUDIO, a recap show broadcast online, hosted in the Entertainment Zone. As delegates and attendees alike sent their follow-up emails and solidified the new partnerships made, games from across Southeast Asia and beyond were showcased to a worldwide audience, from studios such as Ubisoft, Magnus Games, GameChanger and more.
Furthermore, a dedicated fireside chat on the challenges and opportunities of the Japanese gaming scene provided insight into one of the largest markets in the industry – and one that’s set to be pivotal for blockchain gaming across the next few years.
Forget Twitter, forget forums and forget YouTube – both Gamescom Europe and Gamescom Asia have shown that there’s a keen appetite for blockchain, no matter the popular narrative.
Blockchain gaming is in its infancy, and what the publishers, studios and developers in attendance at Gamescom Asia tried to find out is how it could work for them. Rather than a “let’s stick it in and figure it out after” approach, many are tackling the topic of blockchain with careful purpose, keen to find the areas in which this new technology can enhance – rather than just monetize – their upcoming projects.
What did the studios, publishers and developers at Gamescom Asia think about blockchain? The jury at large may still be out, but make no mistake; it’s got all of them thinking.