3XP: Thoughts From The Inaugural Event
2024 is going to be a big year for web3 gaming. Let's take a look at 3XP to learn why this will be the case.
This was a piece I wanted to publish last week but time got away from me. With 3XP still in the minds of many, let's take a step back to analyze the event and where we are as an industry. While the devil is always in the details, the top level take away for me was 2024 is going to be a big year. Here’s the bEw recap.
We'll start with the “bad”. I have to say the lack of a Shrapnel demo was easily the biggest L for me. I had a clear line of sight I had to the Shrapnel sizzle reel at the Avalanche booth from my perch at the Parallel Studios booth. The looped game play footage looked awesome, which made the inability to play it feel even worse. Considering Shrapnel did have a demo at GDC earlier this year I was somewhat nonplussed there wasn't one at 3XP.
Beyond the lack of a Shrapnel demo I was somewhat surprised that Polygon didn't have a booth at all. While they weren't the only major sponsor to not have one I once again return to GDC a few months prior. There Polygon had a pretty big presence and I expected the same at 3XP. Polygon has committed enough money and energy to gaming that their absences from a "web3 gaming conference" was noticeable.
Now let's get to the "good". To start with this event felt very put together despite how quickly it all seemed to happen on the event side. In circumstances such as this things can often go awry. The event organizer 3XP, with support from Game7 and Community Gaming, did an excellent job creating an event that felt full of purpose. Additionally, they managed to ensure many of the games people wanted to see – Parallel TCG, Wildcard, Champions Ascension among others -- were there. To get these teams out to LA as fast as they did this year was a real accomplishment. Kudos to the organizers!
Next, the mere fact that we had more than a dozen playable demos was also a huge win in my view. If this event happened in 2022 it would have been a bunch of people standing around watching game trailers. Yes, some of the demos were a bit rough but that’s part and parcel for demoing an alpha build is. Both quality and variety of games one display impressed me. My stand outs that I did manage to play (beyond Parallel TCG) were Wildcard, My Pet Hooligan, and Shutdown.
Finally, most of the bigger names in web3 gaming content were in attendance. Additionally, we even had some honest-to-god content creators and streamers from the web2 world. While it’s too soon to tell how impactful this will be, getting influencers to any event is generally a positive. Seeing the likes of Brycent playing games like Parallel TCG live on stage while Alliestraza did commentary was special.
At the start of this piece I said that my big takeaway from this event was that 2024 would be a big year. With playable demos in hand, we’re about to exit the realm of the hypothetical and enter the desert of the real. Many of us who either work or invest in web3 gaming clearly have high conviction that our thesis will play out. Yet, even the the biggest cheerleader among us would admit our thesis is still a hypothesis. Until real users stress test these games live we wont truly know how far we've come (or how far we have left to go). Models around asset ownership and token economies are great. However, nothing replaces the real thing.
Blockchain gaming has (so far) happened in three tranches. The first tranche was lead by Axie Infinity and defined more by fungible tokens than NFTs. The second tranche has focused on making the NFTs first class citizens and avoiding the mistakes Axie made on the fungible token side. The third tranche's focus is on digital asset ownership, shying away from fungible tokens. Both the second and third tranche have always placed an emphasis on the game, not the economics.
I would place the games demoed at 3XP in "tranche 2". As they begin to hit the market in late 2023, into 2024 we're going to see just how much we learned from tranche one. Wherever we land will have far reaching ramifications for not only the studios but the entire industry. While we cannot say for certain that any of the games will be a slam dunk, I can say my conviction has never been higher. Web3 gaming becoming the Trojan Horse for crypto feels inexorable. Seeing so many games approaching the same inflection point of “release” was inspiring. I’m unsure if the organizers plan to have this become an annual event. I hope they do because we could be at the beginning of something truly special in gaming.
Any views expressed in the below are the personal views of the author and should not form the basis for making investment decisions, nor be construed as a recommendation or advice to engage in investment transactions. As always, please do your own research. This is not financial advice. Every strategy is not for everyone. Each investor needs to understand what is right for them.