Money Continues to Pour Into GameFi, but Will Developers Follow?

One of the hottest sectors for investors is seeing mixed reactions from top talent.

Venture capital and retail investors are shoveling money into upstart crypto gaming projects, hoping the “GameFi” movement can spark a similar run to DeFi’s historic rise to over $200 billion in total value locked (TVL).

So far, however, the actual results have been mixed, with top gaming industry talent remaining divided on the prospects of “Web 3 gaming” – a banner term for games with built-in blockchain-based features such as non-fungible tokens (NFT) or in-game currency that can exist outside the walled garden of the game itself.

In the past year, investors have poured over $3.6 billion into crypto gaming startups, according to investment firm Drake Star Partners, and with this funding have come reports of GameFi companies luring top talent away from major gaming industry players.

For instance, Polygon Studios – the NFT and gaming arm of the Polygon blockchain protocol – recently made headlines for hiring Ryan Wyatt, the head of YouTube’s gaming vertical. The project has also poached top executives from Mythical Games, Riot Games and Amazon’s (AMZN) cloud gaming unit.

This hiring and funding spree in GameFi has not been without its critics, however, particularly from gamers who view the emergence of in-game NFTs and “play-to-earn” models as little more than a cash grab. In November 2021, EA CEO Andrew Wilson described NFTs as core to “the future of our industry on a go-forward basis,” but after backlash from fans and employees he changed his tune.

“Right now it’s not something we’re driving hard on,” he said in February, according to a report in gaming publication Kotaku.

That wariness also extends to the developer community, research shows. A January Game Developer Conference survey of over 2,700 game developers found 72% of developers characterized their companies as “not at all interested” in adding NFTs to their games. Additionally, according to the report’s authors, a “vast majority” of developers spoke out against “their potential for scams, overall monetization concerns and the environmental impact.”

Read this article on CoinDesk

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