Blockchain gaming groups try to lose ‘dodgy’ tag in Japan

In a sign of the rapidly changing times since the Tokyo Game Show last took place physically in 2019, one of the biggest booths at this week’s convention is held by a blockchain game player loan provider. .

Philippines-based Yield Guild Games (YGG) is Asia’s largest provider of start-up loans for people hoping to make a living from the new genre. He chose the program to launch a global marketing campaign to convince industry, governments, and the public that Crypto games are not “dodgy”.

The Tokyo Game Show in Chiba, one of the main meetings of the world video game industry, has been canceled twice due to the pandemic. During its hiatus, blockchain gaming has emerged as a new growth sector.

Video games have long incorporated their own in-game currencies, but newer cryptocurrency-based titles allow players to convert the assets they earn into real money through officially sanctioned channels.

High entry fees for gaming have fueled the rise of companies like YGG, which provides startup capital to people who plan to get into making money from gaming.

Part of the mission of YGG Japan and its local partner ForN is to convince a skeptical industry and public that blockchain gaming is not only lucrative but also fun.

“People think that it is very unreliable to make money playing games and some even suspect that they may be financial scams, but we want to change this image,” said ForN marketing director Sho Miyashita.

“So, instead of a global slogan of ‘play to win’, we are promoting a concept of ‘play to win’: we want people to enjoy games first, and then have an experience of winning,” he added.

In other countries, like the Philippines during the pandemic, gamers have quit their real jobs believing they can earn enough money by fighting digital monsters in games like axie infinitydeveloped by the Vietnamese studio Sky Mavis.

To get started, axie required an entry fee of $1,000 and YGG became one of the first sponsors of axie players in the Philippines and investor in the game tokens. It offers “scholarships” to finance users, taking a part of their profits in return.

Blockchain games have been slower to catch on in Japan, Miyashita said, in part due to strict regulations requiring foreign blockchain game publishers to register their tokens on Japanese exchanges in order to sell games online. the country.

An even bigger factor was his image problem, he acknowledged.

“A lot of players in these games today are speculators. . . The blockchain gaming industry will fade in the next few years unless Japan, which is said to have a population of 40 million gamers, en masse adopts these games and finds them simply interesting as games,” Miyashita said.

Digital Entertainment Asset (DEA), a publisher of blockchain games at another booth at the show, said its products could provide financial support in other ways.

In one example, the Belgian football club KMSK Deinze has bought non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for DEA game items using funds from their sponsors. He has loaned them out to fans, who can earn money by playing and use it to buy items in the club shop, as well as match tickets and even a seat on a bus for an away game.

“This shows that blockchain gaming provides a new option for a professional sports club to earn money, in addition to broadcast rights,” said Kozo Yamada, founder of DEA. “Gaming is no longer about those who develop and play games. A surrounding economic zone can be greatly enlarged.”

Konami, one of Japan’s largest traditional game publishers, is also looking to get involved. Ken Kanetomo, who oversees his blockchain business, said he believed the technology would “exponentially expand” the value games could offer.

The publisher behind mainstream hits like Castlevania Y Silent Hill it has not yet given a date for the launch of its own blockchain game and is also struggling with the balance of making fun games and allowing players to take advantage of the trend.

“If the global understanding of blockchain does not catch up, it will be perceived as a game to make money, which is not our intention,” Kanetomo said.