The world of popular video game marketplaces has presented challenges for web3 games and NFT blockchain games, as platforms like Steam and the iOS App Store have enforced bans on their inclusion. These blockchain-powered games struggle to establish a foothold in well-established gaming stores due to various reasons. While opinions on web3 games are polarized, some embrace their potential while others hold reservations. Steam and the iOS App Store are prominent examples that have prohibited NFT and crypto games, while platforms like Google Play Store and Epic Games Store allow them under specific conditions. However, emerging marketplaces like Elixir and Ultra have emerged as supportive spaces for web3 games.
Notably, despite the ban on Steam, developers are finding creative means to launch web3 games on the platform. Steam’s ban on NFT and blockchain games, implemented in 2021 during a cryptocurrency bull market, specifically targets games based on blockchain technology that enable cryptocurrency or NFT exchange. This decision carried significant weight, given Steam’s vast user base of 20-30 million active gamers. Consequently, developers are devising strategies to market their web3 games on Steam, either by eliminating blockchain elements entirely or by utilizing third-party redirects for NFTs.
Several instances demonstrate developers successfully releasing their web3 games on Steam, including titles like Champions Ascension, The Bornless, Superior, and Angelic. These games employ diverse tactics to circumvent Steam’s restrictions. Champions Ascension, for example, directs users to its external website for NFTs and blockchain elements while adhering to Steam’s terms of service (TOS). The Bornless abstracts crypto elements in the Steam version, leaving decisions regarding blockchain integration to players. The game developers’ aim is to both launch their product on Steam and shift prevailing negative perceptions surrounding NFTs.
While accessing Steam’s large user base is a desirable goal, game developers face intense competition in capturing gamers’ attention. Despite the multitude of players on Steam, a significant portion gravitates towards a handful of popular titles. Recent data from GameDiscoverCo reveals that a considerable proportion of users engaged with the top 10 games among the top 1,000 titles on Steam. This scenario presents challenges beyond platform entry, as developers must navigate an oversaturated market where gaining visibility is a formidable task. This situation is particularly concerning for multiplayer games dependent on sufficient player numbers for successful matchmaking.
Developers who are enthusiastic about cryptocurrency integration are employing various tactics to showcase their games on Steam and attract players. Some publishers, like Gala Games, are creating versions of their games that exclude NFTs, such as the upcoming game Superior. Jason Brink, Blockchain President of Gala Games, confirmed plans to release a “non-NFT” version of Superior on Steam, where in-game items cannot be purchased with cryptocurrency. Gala Games also intends to provide NFT-based games through Elixir, a cryptocurrency-compatible game launcher. Angelic, an RPG developed by Metaverse Game Studios, adopts a similar approach with the backing of companies like Animoca Brands and Pantera Capital. Angelic’s developers aspire to introduce its web3 features to the Steam version progressively.
In conclusion, while popular game marketplaces have barred web3 and blockchain games like Steam and the iOS App Store, innovative developers are finding ways to circumvent these bans and introduce their offerings to a broader audience. This endeavor involves strategic adaptations to integrate with platforms while navigating challenges posed by market saturation. As blockchain rules evolve, developers may seize opportunities to reintegrate crypto elements into their games on these platforms.