Skill Tree #4 - January 29
BAYC & MAYC holders were able to mint Sewer Passes for free on January 17 which give access to Dookey Dash, an endless runner inspired by the likes of Subway Surfer, Temple Run, etc. Every Sewer Pass holder who plays the game at least once until February 8 can exchange it for another NFT on February 15. Not many details are know about the new mint - but, a user’s score on the Dookey Dash leaderboard will influence it! Sewer Passes are tradable, while the score is tied to the wallet address, preventing people from purchasing better mints.
Like everything Yuga Labs does, Dookey Dash received a lot of attention on Twitter (they are really good at that).
While the game itself isn’t worthwhile to discuss (basic, NFT-gated endless runner), how it is embedded into the ape ecosystem seems more interesting. It gamifies the minting process, creating stronger engagement. If done via a traditional mint, ape holders could decide to hold or sell the new NFT. The Sewer Pass system provides more options:
Other options exist outside of the official ones shown above, such as paying others to play for you, or hacking the game.
There are also 4 Sewer Pass tiers which adds complexity. Higher Tiers give a bonus on scored points. Players can also buy time-limited (to 10 minutes) 15% boosters for 2 APE tokens.
It essentially adds another layer of speculation to the minting process. Is that something good? People enjoy speculation, so give people what they want? Does it negatively impact non-speculators? Does it help distribute the new NFT to the right holders?
Regarding the last question, the underlying thought should be: What does a high Dookey Dash score signal? Skill? Time commitment?
In my opinion, the signal skews more towards time commitment than skill. Not the worst as you want to identify committed community members! However, the score in an endless runner is only one data point. Therefore, my guess is that the score has less of an effect on the future NFT than many expect. There needs to be some difference between low and high scores to make high-achievers happy, but I think it will be relatively small and/or can be compensated for later on through other actions (e.g. APE burning, which shows capital commitment).
— Fractal, a product suite for web3 games, is coming to Polygon. With it, Fractal announced a new raise of an undisclosed amount from Polygon. Fractal raised a $35m Seed Round in April 2022. They currently employ 18 people.
— Shrapnel announces mint of new NFT ‘Sigma Containment Unit‘. The SGU comes with in-game utility (used to extract Sigma, a valuable item) and other perks like exclusive content for creator tools and rare skins.
The mint will be multichain, taking place on Avalanche, Polygon and Ethereum.
How to get WL?
— WL list by sparkc
— In Web2 news: Netease x Blizzard drama
— Beta launch of Museum Heist, an on-chain social deduction game (think Among us)
— Bitmates officially joins TreasureDAO & Arbitrum
We highlighted Bitmates in newsletter #2.
— Elixir Game Launcher comes to Arbitrum. Due to the increased security risk of web3 games, trusted launchers are essential infrastructure.
— Animera x Immutable
— Axie Infinity releases January Dev Update. Good thread to get up-to-date on the Axie ecosystem.
— M&A: Mythical Games acquires DMarket
— TreasureDAO announces MagicSwap V2
— 2023 Outlook for Web3 Gaming by Delphi Digital and Naavik
— Parallels between the Flash Player Era (RIP) and web3 gaming
Flash games were the golden era for indie games. The Adobe Flash Player allowed many people to get into making games. Aggregator sites such as Miniclip acted as curators. Players were able to directly play in the browser. Games were able to monetize, mostly via ads.
With new (AI) tools and crypto elements, we could see a similar indie game innovation wave as tools help democratize game development and introduce new monetization opportunities, like the Flash Player did in the early 2000s.
This could also drive browser-based gaming. I wrote about my browser thesis in this article (thesis 5).
— ‘Will AI kill UGC?’ by Konvoy Ventures
AI reduces the skill floor required to create content, like character accessories or weapon skins. This come with two major challenges for UGC platforms:
1 More assets flooding the market (mostly with low-quality, undifferentiated items) requires better curation.
2 The following commoditization of content drives down prices, which results in a) lower revenue for platforms (usually take a % fee), b) limited opportunity for quality creators to earn an income, making it more likely they’ll leave the platform, further reducing the quality of UGC (similar to a “market for lemons”).
One web3 game trying to tackle this issue is Shrapnel, as explained by Kiefer Zang.
Konvoy presents 4 paths for platforms:
a Limiting access to UGC to vetted creators (lowest risk, lowest cost, limited upside)
b Limit AI-assisted creation to restrictive in-platform tools (low risk, high cost, high upside)
c Develop advanced curation engines and drop the bottom of assets (medium risk, low cost, high upside)
d Charge a fixed amount per sale instead of a % fee. This forces sellers to stay above a certain floor in order to still profit. Personal opinion: This still drives prices down close to costs, which makes it not worthwhile for quality creators.
— How to design game markets by Deconstructor of Fun
— Insights from Pocket Gamer Connects Conference
— Understanding Web3 Player Behavior by Naavik
Nathan Snell is the co-founder and CEO of Raleon, which we covered as a new project in newsletter #1.
🕵️ New projects
APIs for game economies
Social trivia gaming app + infrastructure allowing anyone to create content and host events.
S7: Sector Seven
Risk-based shooter. Pay to spawn, kill to earn.
On-chain NFT game developed by the Crypto Raiders team. Coming in March.
I published two articles about Power Tokens. While not directly related to gaming, the underlying logic can be applied to game economies.
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