”The new generation of gamers that are coming out now, ages 13—26, don’t see themselves as gamers”
On the future of gaming
March 02, 2022
The Norwegian Grønnevik is the CEO and co-founder of Wasder. Founded in late 2017, he describes the venture as ”a social gaming microverse”.
— It’s a combination of modern social media, but niche for the gaming industry and for gaming consumers and people who love games. We also combine this with what we call ”game spaces”, a mechanic or areas within the ecosystem where you can deep dive in, explore, and find information and different games, metaverses, or gaming interests that you have. On top of that, we’re building what we call “The Game of Wasder”, which is full-on video game mechanics built into the social network. We turn the way you behave on social media into an actual game where you can progress to earn real rewards that you can show off and showcase to your friends. We make it a lot more fun to be on social media by making it more rewarding and also a safe and non-toxic gaming ecosystem, a social gaming microverse, he tells, continuing,
— We originally started because we wanted to create an ecosystem for all things gaming. We saw a gap in the market where there wasn’t a modern social media platform that was built for gaming behaviour. At the time you only had options like Twitch, which is a live platform meaning that everything disappears when the stream is over. With Twitch you would be unable to go back into conversations and we saw a need for a ”Facebook for gaming” where you could find people to play with, where you could talk about games and find people around the globe with similar interests to communicate with.
A big question, but what’s your view on the current state of the gaming industry?
— I actually really love this type of question because the gaming industry has obviously gotten absolutely huge over the last decade and people are noticing. The industry is also extremely segmented, so you have everything from console to PC, tablet, smartphone players and streaming players, AR, VR, blockchain games, and more. The most interesting part is the new generation of gamers that are coming out now — ages 13-26 — that don’t see themselves as gamers. The phrase is fading out and it’s just becoming humans enjoying games as it has become such a huge part of people’s lifestyle and natural behaviour that it does not require a label anymore which is extremely interesting. Playing games becomes such a big natural part of how you tell stories, how you entertain yourself, how you interact with others and behave in social settings that it is essentially transcending labels.
— According to global research firm Mordon Intelligence global online gaming will be a $314 billion market by 2027, clocking a growth rate of 9.7% between 2022 and 2027. It is estimated to cross $200 billion in revenue by 2022, and it is considered one of the fastest-growing industries worldwide. The industry is growing immensely, not just in terms of the number of players, but also of the type of gaming companies that you see coming out. We’re spending more time on our phones than laptops these days and, I think we’re going to see that mobile is where we’ll see the biggest growth and that it’s going to dominate over the next few years, Grønnevik states.
How has it been affected by the pandemic?
— The industry has grown massively over the pandemic and whether or not it was directly a consequence of the pandemic or if it is just correlated is an interesting question. I think it has absolutely grown because of two things. One, people have had an even stronger need to connect with others than they would’ve had previously with all of us being in lockdown and each country implementing restrictions. Gaming has given us the ability to connect globally without being face to face with each other. People have felt very isolated and lonely during this time which has directly affected their mental health, however technology has helped bridge that gap and tech advances have made it easier for people to share experiences, play with each other and connect without having to leave the house. The pandemic has also allowed gaming to be more socially acceptable which we love and our aim is to take the stigma out of gaming and the people who love to engage.
— As a general rule, the ability for us to dream has always been incredibly big for a lot of people. What I mean by that is there’s a reason why we had books such as Harry Potter, Twilight, and Lord of the Rings. Books and movies allowed us to escape from reality throughout the years. No matter what was happening at home, you would be able to escape into an immersive world, even if it was just for a little while. This also pertains to gaming. You can be a hero for an hour or two and feel unique and empowered. With gaming, and with the help of social gaming platforms such as ours, people are able to find like-minded individuals from all over the world to not only share a game and interest but also find a friend that they may not have had access to if it wasn’t for technology. So this study makes perfect sense as to why it helps combat depression. I will also say this transcends age — older adults are also finding their depression symptoms alleviated to some degree thanks to gaming.
Do you see any particular trends, phenomena, and such to share?
— There are tons! says Grønnevik. It also depends on the segments. So, obviously one of the bigger ones right now is the metaverse in terms of investors and hybrids which are building immersive and giant worlds. Streaming is also becoming even bigger than it was. It’s been on the rise for the last couple of years, but now you have a lot of people who don’t even play games just watching gaming streamers as fans. These are being combined now with various augmented technologies that are coming out — everything from AR to VR which is aiming to create a more immersive gameplay as these metaverses are also doing. Storytelling in games is another one. We’re seeing a rise in interest in storytelling games. I think with the rise of blockchain and tech, play and earn games are going to become bigger and bigger. Streamers have been doing it for some time now and while still controversial, I think the ability to earn money is going to force the gaming industry to adapt over time. It wouldn’t surprise me if Apple and Google eventually started opening up their ecosystems.
How does blockchain technology influence the industry? And how will it change it onwards?
— This is an interesting question as there are so many components to it. Obviously looking at the huge amount of investments happening in this space is a good place to start. I think the capabilities that blockchain has on gaming in terms of creating a more distributed, more decentralized, more community-driven approach to gaming that also rewards consumers through play to earn and play and earn models through owning their own assets and owning their own game items is huge. That potential is absolutely unlimited. The collaborative opportunities that the blockchain allows, where the consumers can actually participate in the creation and development of the games in such a profound way is massive. I also think it scares many individuals in the already established gaming industry, as it’s going to force these organizations to adapt to new business models.
How do you work with NFTs? And what’s your view on NFTs for gaming in the future?
— Blockchain allows the community to start monetizing their own efforts and their participation, content, and actions they do. And for us being a social ecosystem, obviously one of the most valuable things for people is the way we can reward users for the value that they bring into the social networks which is one of the ways that we use blockchain, Grønnevik shares. He continues:
— When it comes to NFTs, we work with them in a way where we turn the items and the rewards that we give the consumers in what we call The Game of Wasder. Users will then be able to display their rewards or NFTs on their interactive user profiles, a new way of expressing both themselves and their reward stash in the community. I believe NFTs are the way of the future.
— I think every single digital item eventually is going to become tokenized. I think the world we’re moving into is what I would call a tokenized future. So, I believe we’re moving into a system or in a place where the digital items that you have will in some sort of way live on the blockchain, which means that it’s going to be authentic, be used as proof of authenticity or proof of ownership, proof that it’s yours with easy access so you can control your own digital items in one space and one wallet. I believe this is the future, and not just for gaming, but for a lot of different things. And I think that again, NFTs are the way to do so. They solve a lot of the problems gamers have had with not being able to trade their own things to people and not being able to easily have an overview. One of those problems it’s solving is the ability to trade the items to their friends or between accounts without fear they’re going to lose out if the game disappears.
— NFTs can sound a little scary to some as many are not familiar with the way it works. Before the scepticism goes away, we’re going to have to create these gaming experiences where the games are better, where you can monetize these items, where you can own them, where you can have fun with them so that you as a gamer or as a player experience the benefits without it feeling like yet another money pull from the developers to you. To get gaming consumers to trust NFTs, I think the best place to start is with collaborative partnerships.
For yourself and Wasder, what else do you have coming?
— We recently announced our collaboration with Solana and Chainlink late last year and we’re in the middle of working on a variety of massive partnerships with a few global superstars and AAA developers who have games coming from known franchises. The coming Game of Wasder is the first full gamification of a social platform, with an innovative circular economy inspired by best practices from top video games. In our product, the WAS tokens and the NFTs actually have utility value. This follows our philosophy of letting gamers actually earn, own, and monetize their digital assets, and allows a user-centric economy, Grønnevik concludes.
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