Culture is often inseparable from entertainment. Your affinity for the kind of books, music, film or art you consume has more to do with the language you speak, the values your family and friends espouse, and the economics of where you live than anything else.
You could argue that those preferences are even stronger when it comes to gaming, since it offers a level of interactivity that engages you more than most other forms of entertainment.
So it makes sense that cultural differences between Asia and the Western world are affecting how the web3 gaming market is developing. According to Robbie Ferguson, president and co-founder of web3 gaming company Immutable, gaming companies in Asia are on the frontlines of web3 gaming development due to the “very strong genre-fit” between web3 gaming and a lot of the existing popular games in Asia that are already highly driven by collectibles.
“[Asian gaming developers] ushered in mobile gaming; they were at the advent of free-to-play and that means they actually say, ‘This is a way to disrupt and sort of stay at the front,’” Ferguson recently said on the TechCrunch Chain Reaction podcast. He added that the popularity of collectibles in existing mainstream titles in the region would align well with NFTs in web3 games.
And that genre-fit is causing the development of this niche of the crypto industry to be skewed toward Asia these days.
“It’s a little bit bifurcated,” Ferguson said. “I think the consumer response is probably different right now between the West and between Asia. There’s a lot of tailwind in Asia, but the Western countries are not as eager to dive in.”
Ferguson and his company have bet extensively on the crypto gaming market. Immutable offers developers a platform for building and scaling Ethereum-based web3 games via its aptly named subsidiary Immutable Platform, and the company develops and publishes web3 games via another arm called Immutable Games. The platform has attracted some traditional gaming studios and IP holders such as GameStop, TikTok, Illuvium and NFT marketplace OpenSea to build games, too.
In March 2022, Immutable raised $200 million at a $2.5 billion valuation, and last June it launched a $500 million developer and venture investment fund.
Those bets may come good. In late July, Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida said at the WebX conference in Tokyo that “web3 is part of the new form of capitalism.” Although he wasn’t talking specifically about web3 gaming, in 2022, Kishida said his government will promote and invest in web3 services like NFTs and the metaverse.