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As the year draws to an end, we’re asking some of the key members of the blockchain gaming sector what they thought about what happened in 2023, and what they expect in 2024. You can check out all our interviews in this series here.
Mike Levine is the founder of Mystic Moose, the developer of Mojo Melee.
What was the most significant news of 2023?
The biggest downshift was the sudden and catastrophic downfall of FTX. This was a massive wake-up call that the web3 space needs better rules and guardrails. In North America, the incident only deepened the public’s negative perception of the space. There was a silver lining in that it forced many web3 games to rethink their approach to how they are merging blockchain elements into their games in a way that clearly demonstrates player value.
There was absolutely an amazing upside in Apple and Google releasing official guidelines for web3 games. It opened the door for more games and apps using blockchain to hit mainstream app stores, and paves the way for more innovation and growth in this space. Acceptance by such global juggernauts represents a big shift towards blockchain technology’s mass acceptance setting the stage for more cool, diverse, and secure digital experiences for everyone.
How did the focus of your business change this year?
Our focus at Mystic Moose took a strategic shift with our premiere game Mojo Melee moving into full release for desktop browsers and our global mobile release imminent. We were able to secure multiple distribution deals with traditional gaming portals, which allowed us to make the game as accessible to the broadest player base and widest audience possible.
Partnering with Amazon Prime Gaming was a massive opportunity, being only the second web3 game they brought on the platform. It really pushed us to streamline our onboarding process. We had to ensure that new players, especially those not deeply versed in blockchain gaming, could jump into Mojo Melee with ease. We minted free NFTs to Prime users through a partnership with Sequence Wallet.
Our goal was to bridge the gap between the complex world of blockchain and the plug-and-play style of traditional gaming. We wanted to create an experience that was welcoming for all players, regardless of their background in gaming, while still retaining the depth and innovation that our blockchain enthusiasts love. This balance has been key to our approach and has yielded great results.
What do you predict will be the most important trends in 2024?
2024 is going to be a pivotal year for web3 games, as so many highly anticipated titles will come out. These games need to ensure a strong reception by focusing on core gameplay and fun.
With the crypto markets on the upswing, it will be tempting for many projects to return to some of the same mistakes that have held web3 games back in the past, such as token and NFT speculation and too much hype over substance.
We will also see more and more traditional large gaming companies experimenting with web3 games, increasing wider adoption from a mainstream audience. We’re already starting to see this with companies like Epic, Ubisoft, Roblox and others.
What was your favourite blockchain game of the year?
Of course I am super proud of what our team has accomplished with Mojo Melee. As we prepare to launch the game globally on mobile platforms, we’ve laid the groundwork to onboard the next generation of gamers into the value of owning their in-game assets and becoming part of a thriving community.
However, one of my favorite blockchain games this year has to be NFL Rivals. It’s been a real game-changer, showing that a web3 game with NFT incorporation can really hit it big in the mainstream. What’s awesome about NFL Rivals is that it’s not just appealing to the hardcore web3 gamers but also to the regular web2 audience.
They’ve managed to make NFTs and blockchain elements blend seamlessly into the gameplay, which is super cool. Plus, getting onto the app stores was a big win. It proved that blockchain games can meet those strict guidelines and still deliver an experience that’s a hit with a broad audience.
The blend of familiar NFL elements with new tech has brought in fans from both worlds. It’s like the best of both gaming and sports, wrapped up in one neat, innovative package. NFL Rivals is definitely leading the pack and showing how blockchain games can go mainstream in style.
What’s your New Year’s resolution and what resolution would you enforce on the industry?
At Mystic Moose, our New Year’s resolution is to continue our vision for building out our ecosystem of interconnected games and experiences around Planet Mojo. This means releasing and continuing to polish and add new content to Mojo Melee on mobile globally; adding value to our digital collectible holders via deeper web3 integration and perks; releasing new, interconnected games for holders; and a few surprises we have up our sleeves to grow the Planet Mojo brand and IP.
On the industry side, we’re at a critical stage where the next generation of web3 games will finally be hitting the market this year and for better or worse, players’ perceptions will follow. It’s very important we make great games and treat players fairly. Any types of major scams or projects not being honest will come back to haunt the entire space.
We need to explain the benefits of owning your digital assets to players in a clear way where the value add is obvious and the onboarding process is seamless.