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BlizzCon returned to an in person format, and provided a much needed excitement last week, with news about Overwatch, WoW, Diablo IV and more. The industry as a whole continued to try to regain its footing, as people’s place in the gaming worlds was deliberated:
- AI executive order is signed as tensions mount
- AI dungeon masters may be the future of storytelling
- Capcom shows its dislike for mods
- Solana Labs unveils GameShift Beta
- Ronin attracts more gaming IP
- Rarible introduces RaribleX in a bid for traditional firms
Let’s dive in!
People Want Security When it Comes to AI
President Biden issued an executive order on AI with the goal of establishing a framework for safe and ethical ways of utilizing the technology. The executive order focuses on broader security goals, but comes with a backdrop of worries around machines replacing humans.
Just recently we saw the actress Scarlett Johansson, pursuing legal action over the unauthorized use of her likeness. In parallel, Embark Studios was criticized for use of AI generated voice-overs in The Finals, and Ubisoft caught heat for AI generated art.
The criticism is usually two fold. The quality of AI generated content is poor, but I believe that will change for the better. People are concerned over AI replacing human professionals as studios attempt to cut costs. This is a more fundamental issue that needs to be addressed.
AI Dungeon Masters Take The Wheel
One aspect of AI use in gaming that has drawn less negativity has been choice driven world construction and narrative design. We have seen a number of companies, like Hidden Door, use AI to help create custom worlds and custom stories for users.
A lot of the products focus on creating something akin to an AI driven dungeon master in dungeons and dragons. However, the implications of the technology are much greater and have the potential to reshape narrative design and NPC design in gaming.
The lack of outrage in this area may be due to the fact that it does not aim to displace professionals, but rather empower gamers to create their own stories. Nevertheless, even this approach does not get around the need for data attribution, which I’ve written about before.
Capcom Shows Dislike For Mods
Some may be surprised to learn that a lot of legendary games started out as mods. CounterStrike, Dota 2 and Team Fortress Classic are just a few titles that took this particular path to success.
However, major studios have a difficult relationship with mods as they undermine the business models for the official offerings. Recently, Capcom likened mods to cheating. This is a clear example that studios want to profit from gamer creativity without giving up control.
Mods allow gamers to explore different settings, variations and rule sets while engaging with their favorite IPs. This is where the autonomous world’s design truly shines, as it empowers permissionless game expansion and true ownership of gamers over created IP.
Solana Labs Is Back in Gaming
It’s been some time since Solana was loudly associated with being a “gaming chain”. The combination of the chain’s slowdowns, FTX drama, and challenges for prime games like Star Atlas, have seemingly taken it out of the option pool for studios.
However, Firedancer is live on testnet, the FTX debacle is nearing its conclusion, and now Solana Labs has unveiled GameShift Beta. The tool suite is aimed at simplifying web3 implementation for gaming studios.
A lot of middleware and tooling companies chose to focus on EVM ecosystems, which made it that more difficult for gaming teams to choose Solana for its web3 needs. Still, the Solana Labs and ecosystem teams continued to build and now the narrative may change.
Ronin Continues to Attract New IP
Sky Mavis recently partnered with ACT Games in order to start bridging over its portfolio of games onto its blockchain. Zoids Wild Arena is expected to be the first title to land on Ronin, as the ecosystem looks to grow its universe of IPs.
While Ronin seemingly remains overshadowed by ImmutableX, Avalanche and Polygon when it comes to the choice of web3 infrastructure for studios, Sky Mavis appears to be pursuing a successful strategy growing its IP pool without ballooning expectations.
Ronin is no longer just a home for Axie Inifnity, but it remains to be seen if Sky Mavis is able to create a composable environment for the Ronin ecosystem. For now, game franchises remain mostly siloed, but crossovers from both technology and narrative perspectives could be next.
Rarible Introduces RaribleX in a Bid For Big Brands
With the NFT market continuing to suffer through the doldrums, marketplaces are finding it hard to survive. Not too long ago Async Art announced that it will be winding down. It appears that Rarible, in its bid to survive, has pivoted towards traditional brands.
The RaribleX offering appears to be geared towards big brands, offering them an easy to use solution for drops, marketplaces, and engagement, with a multitude of functionalities and features for cross-chain, royalties and more.
More and more companies in the web3 space are looking towards traditional revenue streams in order to survive the tough market conditions. For instance, Claynosaurz, are looking to wade into the physical toys segment. It remains to be seen if the approach will be successful.
This wraps it up for this entry. As always, if you are working on something exciting in the web3 gaming space, or are a traditional gaming team looking to explore the possibilities, don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us at Sanctor Capital. Have a great rest of your week!
Ilya Abugov (@AbugovIlya)
Disclaimer: This commentary is not investment advice. It does not purport to include any recommendation as to any particular investment, transaction or investment strategy, or any recommendation to buy or sell any investment. It does not reflect any attempt to effect any transactions or render any investment advice.
This post is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. It is inherently limited and does not purport to be a complete discussion of the issues presented or the risks involved. Readers should seek their own independent legal, tax, accounting, and investment advice from professional advisors. The views reflected in this commentary are subject to change at any time without notice.