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Unlocking the potential for Web3 on mobile

Immutable’s Chris Clay shares his experience on the mobile market and what impact it could have on Web3 games development
Unlocking the potential for Web3 on mobile
  • Web3 game development for mobile still has a way to go but could prove to be the key to greater onboarding in the future
  • "I’ve never been more excited about the future of Web3 gaming - we have so many amazing teams building great products, all during the bear market"
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With mobile gaming making up the majority of total gaming revenue, it’s no surprise to see more companies turning their focus to the mobile market, and he accessibility of mobile is a major plus that Web3 developers want to tap into However, mobile's greatest opportunities also present challenges as the market is increasingly saturated and difficult to navigate… And that is before you consider the extra factors that come with creating a Web3 title. So what part does mobile have to play in the future of Web3 games?

We spoke with VP of game design and game director at Immutable Games, Chris Clay to discuss what makes the mobile market so promising, and what are the challenges in a market where everyone is trying to be seen. What do you see as the major advantages of developing for the mobile platform?

“Game developers want to be where the gamers are, and for the majority of the day, gamers are on their phones.”
Chris Clay

Chris Clay: The potential of mobile gaming is massive. There are more mobile phones capable of running quality games than any other platform, be it console or PC. On top of that, mobile phones have more hours of eyeballs on them than any other platform. Game developers want to be where the gamers are, and for the majority of the day, gamers are on their phones.

Conversely, what are some difficulties in navigating the mobile space?

Three main challenges come to mind when navigating mobile. First, there is such an incredible variety of mobile devices with varying performance levels that it becomes challenging to develop great-looking games that will run on all devices - particularly in developing markets.

Discoverability is also a real challenge as there are so many games on the app stores at this point that it’s hard to get noticed. Lastly, we’ve seen that players are more jaded than ever due to influencer shilling and mobile ads producing such bad pretend gameplay that they are “meme-worthy”, thus making it more difficult and costly to bring new players into any game.

Is mobile going to boost Web3 games given its ease of access? Or do you think that because the market there is already saturated, it's a difficult space for Web3 games to take hold?

I think developing Web3 games for mobile is one of the most challenging and complex paths you can go down right now because, ironically, you are competing against today’s mobile games and user experience flows, which are some of the most streamlined of any platform. For example, to make a Web2 purchase, you can just click a button twice, look at your phone to verify the transaction, and you’ve bought it. Comparatively, the complexity of Web3 makes these simple and familiar transactions quite arduous.

I think users are willing to do a few more steps for the power of Web3, but there are limits. We need to find ways to develop cleaner user experience flows in order to bring everyday Web2 gamers into Web3.

It seems PC development for Web3 games will remain the most popular platform for now, but when it comes to mobile, is there a current app store platform that seems like the best fit for Web3?

“The allure will become very real as we see more web3 mobile success stories”
Chris Clay

I think PC is the safer path right now as any app store can just blanket choose to remove Web3 games from its listings. However, the allure will become very real as we see more Web3 mobile success stories. Right now, I don’t think we have a clear winner yet, but so much of it will come down to the rules the app stores establish for Web3 products. I suspect the app store with the most precise guidelines will first see the most games launched via that marketplace.

What can you tell us about the current Web3 gaming landscape? Any predictions for 2024?

I’ve never been more excited about the future of Web3 gaming - we have so many amazing teams building great products, all during the bear market. Frankly, a positive of the bear has been the hyperfocus on creating quality products rather than generating FOMO and hype. I think there is a high probability that 2024 will see the first Web3 game breakthrough and go mainstream.

What are you most excited about in the Web3 space in the future, and is there anything we should be on the lookout for heading into the end of 2023?

As 2023 draws to a close, I’m most excited for all the games launching in 2024. There is so much potential in the space to be explored, iterated, and improved, which I’m confident will allow players to experience the full benefits possible with Web3. I’m so excited to see how we can grow as an industry in the upcoming years.

You can discover more about Web3 development at Pocket Gamer Connects. In this video from Pocket Gamer Connects Toronto 2023 entitled 'Integrate Web3 With ease' our speaker Michael Sanders, Chief Storyteller & Co-Founder at Horizon discusses The tools you need for seamless player experiences.