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GDC: Metaverse Mixer, will blockchain change the games industry forever?

The Metaverse Mixer, presented by and, saw WAX, Zebedee, and Jam City discuss blockchain’s potential to change the games industry forever
GDC: Metaverse Mixer, will blockchain change the games industry forever?

The Metaverse Mixer, presented by and, saw David Kim, head of publishing at WAX Studios, Ben Cousens, head of business development at Zebedee, and Johnny Casamassina, senior vice president of creative development at Jam City, discuss blockchain’s potential to change the games industry forever. Below are some snapshots from their discussion:

What will the metaverse be

David Kim: Most people have already had a metaverse experience, and it’s not going to be Zuckerberg’s version but rather Tim Sweeney's. If you’re a fan of Firefly, verse is short for universe, with some connectivity through blockchain. That’s it, practically.

Ben Cousens: I think metaverse is a marketing term and we will look back at it like we do the information super highway. As an entity, it is moving from a 2D to 3D environment. It is inspiring and will require tremendous infrastructure. One is a profound natural evolution of the internet and the other is rooted in commercial exploitation – not that it is a bad thing.

How do you envisage various metaverses working together

Johnny Casamassina: It’ll take time. Some people want to keep it as a contained experience, but there will inevitably be new partnerships.

Cousens: The most obvious need for interoperability is a payment structure and maintaining identity in the ecosystem. The way you link payment systems is also how the real world works. It’s not thinking about blockchain but revenue, and revenue is not something people tend to explicitly think about.

Casamassina: interoperability isn’t taking one asset from one space to any other, but rather it’s about identity. What the blockchain allows, with metaverse, is trust in the transaction. And by trust, I mean you won’t need trust: as a trustless system, different metaverses will speak to each other as a decentralised system.

What is the big breakthrough

Casamassina: Accessibility. That’s when people will take onboard something they didn’t before. But I don’t know what will take getting my mom to buy cryptocurrency!

What obstacles do we need to confront?

Cousens: What is lacking in crypto is manifest utility. It’s like ‘90s arcades, using tokens. The point is you enter a tokenised system. What we need is access.

Kim: One is regulation. The problem with crypto is that it is unregulated. Clarity would be hugely valuable, and there is still misinformation of most blockchain transactions. It’s not like there aren’t scams, but blockchain is more than just scams. Ten years from now, people will ask, how did we live without blockchain?

Looking at AR and VR

Cousens: AR is incredibly interesting. The install base of VR is meaningful but there is still the perception that VR is novelty. But a pair of glasses would be a really compelling product. The limitation is hardware.

Casamassina: AR is closer to mass adoption. But I think there are more interesting applications in P2E games. When someone puts financial and time investment into something meaningful, it becomes real to them. To me, what blockchain and Web3 offers is closing the gap to living out our fantasies. That’s when you have skin in the game.

Progressing the narrative

Kim: There is a lot of player resistance – I mean, traditional players are naturally resistant to change anyway but it’s based on misinformation, scams, and misunderstanding of what NFTs are. But the biggest misinformation is the question of what problems can NFTs solve that gaming cant right now. You cannot allow players to sell something in the game without a real momey transition license, which are incredibly difficult to acquire, so players are forced to sell on grey markets.

Blockchain allows taking an item – more a key – that players have complete control over, and they can take that to a sexondary market that is capable of managing transactions.