Nowadays, there are many Steem-based games, mostly in alpha or beta phase. Even though, none of them pushes the boarders of gaming industry. In general, their keen advantage is the promise of sharing profits with the best players (i.e. those who spent more money than others; and who joined early enough to build up an unshakeable leading position). I have tried most of them – Steempunk, SteemNova, Next Colony, Drug Wars, Road to Rich and Holybread – without being really touched, as there is nothing that makes them unique blockchain games of the future. It rather seems that using blockchain is just a matter of PR.
Hence, I would like to suggest the direction. As a non-developer, my thoughts are the only thing I can help with. On the other hand, I might inspire somebody.
What is Steem all about?
- Community. Sharing is caring. There are hives and tribes moderated by its members. The community provided way more tools and gadgets than Steemit Inc. Even though it could work better, the Steemit community is definitely worth joinig.
- Creativity. People are becoming “produsers”. Not only when it comes to create and/or consume content; it works for games either. For instance, the success of Minecraft is based on the need of being creative while playing. Fortunately, Steem is focused on creativity.
Both the keen perks are important for the new kind of community-driven games.
Getting people outside
Sitting at home and playing for hours actually stops being as cool as it was years and decades ago. At least for the majority – for those who just want to have fun and enjoy the game. See the graph:
Global revenues of the video game industry from 1971 to 2018, not adjusted for inflation. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_industry
Way more money is spent for mobile gaming than for PC games or console games. Besides of that, many console games require you to use a motion game controller or VR set. One way or another, people are quitting epic strategy battle games that grant you hundreds of hours of thinking and lean towards less demanding ones. (In general, it may not be true in your case.)
Pokémon Go was the very first global success of augmented reality game. (Well, it is not actually true as I’ll show later on.) It got people outside and provided very different sort of fun compared to the other games. I have never played it myself so I am not about to review it. But the thing is that Pokémon Go blazed the path for the others. It proven that the gaming habits had actually evolved a lot and that the players expect such games. The games that augment both the reality and your life. The games that make you act.
Geocaching as a model
If you asked me which game was the first one that augmented reality, I would mention Geocaching. Well, its treasures (geocaches) are not actually virtual ones but the way you seek for them makes the game high-tech and sort of augmenting the reality.
Anyways, the thing is how geocaching actually works. There is a company running the business and taking profit, but the most important thing is the community. Its members hide geocaches for the others and spend hours with taking care about them, their descriptions and such agenda. Some of the geocaches are a brilliant example of their owners’ craftsmanship, others are on amazing places… All of that people do just for fun and the game itself. Just see the numbers:
I am quite sure that Steem community can match the geocaching one, if not to beat it. When it comes to entertain ourselves and our mates, we shall be elite. We just need a framework for that. There’s Steemit itself, 3Speak, dTube and many other Steem-based applications. A great game-like entertaining framework is still missing.
Pokémon Go had a super-famous brand. Steem is for sure no match for it. Anyways, Steem has a great chance to demonstrate its potential among the crypto community. Unlike other blockhains, Steem is fully capable of being a backbone for a massively played mobile game that requires a lot of blockchain interactions. Also, Steem community is fully capable of adapting the game to the local conditions the very same way as the geocaching folks made it with their hobby.
As a peak of the blockchain technology, Steem shall be at least a step ahead of its competitors. Conquering (or augmenting) the real world suggests itself as the best way to go. Moreover, thanks to Steem Engine tokens (and possibly even SMT), Steem games may be interconnected.
There already are skilled mobile app developers here on Steemit. We already have people who develop browser games among us. We already have graphic designers and content creators. A smart, easy to play augmented reality mobile game would generate profit for all of us. And, besides of that, for all the current Steem apps. For instance, it is quite obvious that people would use Actifit while playing an outdoor game. In fact, Actifit could be integrated with the game. The new game players will also likely try the other Steem games and apps.
Keen attributes of the game
- Open source. Just like Steem, the game must be provably fair and transparent. The community itself should be able to develop tools, add-ons, plugins, alternative apps and such things just like it is here on Steem. To guarantee the stability of the game, there shall be either an in game poll (one player one vote) if certain upgrade shall be accepted and integrated, or a proof-of-stake like voting system based of the game utility tokens (not the in game currency) that players own. True, this may cause forks of the game. However, if the game evolves into several different modifications, it is a win-win situation for both Steem and the players who can choose the one that meets their requirements the best.
- Collective and collaborative. Both principles are important for games and gamification. Collecting rare items, trading them, using them to craft more advanced, rare or specific goods… That is rooted deeply in the human nature. Let people do so while giving them opportunities to actually influence what are they doing and what are the results. Collaboration makes the game more social and catchy. Just like in the real world, resources and conditions differ location to location and people are forced to trade goods. Let them gather, work and trade together.
- No authority. Trading items for real (ehm, fiat) money is usually frowned upon by game admins. In some cases, it may result into banning both the vendor and the buyer, and thus losing the money. Any sort of business shall be welcome, including in-game marketing activities, paid assistance with the progress and anything else. The community shall set up its rules itself. If somebody breaks the rules, he may be ignored by the community, which may ruin his game – a solo game is way more boring.
- Steem account (not that much) needed. Naturally, you need to have a Steem account to be able to interact with blockchain. Even though, you shall be able to play the game without it. In that case, you can’t trade anything and your progress will be lost in few days as it is not saved in blockchain. However, the game shall offer the opportunity to be tried for free. It should be also capable of creating a newbie Steem account with few SP (as a paid option of course). Besides, it can offer delegation for a fee as you may need more RC to be able to play. Those purchases may be used to fund the game. By the way, unlike purchases in other games, those ones could be labeled as investments in crypto rather than mere purchases.
A Crow and FUN-ding
Naturally, a community-driven and developed game requires crowdfunding. The D in the heading is missing on purpose as crow is usually considered to be a symbol of death and bad luck. However, it is also a bird of magic and mysteries. The funding can burry such project in the very beginning as it is for sure difficult and time consuming (and hence costly) one. The Steem account purchases and SP leases won’t cover the costs and will come at the final stage of the development.
As the community shall own the game, a crowdfunding campaign should be held here on Steem. There already is a tool on Steem such campaigns, Fundition. The supporters will get utility tokens as shares (not the in game money) which grant them a chance to influence the game development the similar way as SP makes you able to vote for Steem proposals and witnesses. People may be interested in supporting the project as it empowers the value (and hence price) of the entire ecosystem. Also, Steemians have already supported such projects.
Later on, funds may be generated at NPC trade margins, margins of in game marketplaces or of exchanging in game money to Steem and other tokens. The game shall also offer a possibility to public a record on Steem while taking benefactor’s share.
As I wrote at the beginning, I have no skill needed for helping with the development myself. I don’t even have a clear idea how the game actually shall look like and behave. Please, consider this text as a suggestion to discuss.