Why web3 game developers should focus on game development and growth

What actions can web3 developers take to keep their focus on core competencies while maximizing the quality and efficiency of their player support?

wooden blocks with web 2.0 3.0 written on them

Why web3 game developers should focus on game development and growth

Words by Elliot Hollander
Reading time 8 min

Web3 gaming is at a pivotal point. After the initial hype in 2021 and 2022, the time has come for Web3 to prove its viability as a stand-alone consumer offering.

2023 is the year for Web3 gaming to live up to expectations brought onto itself by significant investments in the vertical. The hypothesis many developers seek to prove is that investor trust equals market readiness and adoption.

This means that web3 game developers—like any game developer on any platform—with titles in alpha or beta testing should focus on their core competence: game development and growth.

In this article, we’ll explore why services surrounding those core competencies, including CX, should be left to companies with expertise in their domain and what actions developers can take to keep their focus on operation and development and maximize their chances of finding product-market fit.

Why is focus crucial for web3 in 2023?

Over the last few years, there’s been massive investment into web3 and the metaverse, and it needs to start paying off. Following this period of mass investment⁠—especially in uncertain macroeconomic circumstances⁠—investors want to start seeing ROI, which web3 has yet to bring.

In the absence of ROI, investors will look for other signals that show Web3 gaming doesn’t just show future promise but that it can deliver today, such as market adoption, DAU, and growth in numbers.

The investor community won’t be investing in Web3 and the metaverse forever. At a certain point, reality needs to meet the hype.

As we march into Q2 2023, Web3 gaming is still to prove its product-market fit and a viable way of growth.

In these challenging circumstances, developers must succeed in explaining web3, crypto, wallets, and decentralization to gamers with ample choice elsewhere. That’s a lot to tackle for a new gaming vertical.

How early-stage game developers often lose focus

In most cases, early-stage game developers must allocate their resources across all aspects of their operation, such as production to HR or data analysis to Customer Support.

Instead of being laser-focused on the core problem at hand, management tends to keep everything in-house. As a result, it often proves challenging to meet deadlines and quality benchmarks in every discipline.

Recruitment in today’s market is highly competitive and challenging. Hiring experts in domains that don’t directly contribute to game development or growth is expensive, and early-stage game developers don’t have the clout to draw the best talent.

This is one example of a bottleneck that curtails time-to-market and, as a result, negatively impacts available runway. Before you know it, you’re out of money and not out of beta.

How the transfer of knowledge is crucial for Web3 gaming

Investors and Web3 enthusiasts believe that decentralization and mobile gaming are an intuitive fit. Considering the size of the Free-to-Play (F2P) gaming market, should their assessment be correct, this presents a huge opportunity.

F2P gaming is a $100 Billion/year business with billions of players, yet most of these players have no clue what a web3 game is or how it works.

Once this is resolved, the challenge of explaining decentralization arises, which is a highly complex concept that most university professors don’t manage to explain concisely.

Add to that the concepts of ownership (‘What, I own this sword now? What does that mean, I can take it with me to play in Homescapes?’), blockchain, cryptocurrency, and wallets, and you have a learning curve that a 5-minute tutorial can’t overcome.

Who is going to explain all of this? And how do you understandably transfer this knowledge and track player perception?

The question of how to transfer this knowledge is not trivial. The skill of successfully transferring this knowledge to the player will be a decisive factor in a game’s chances of success.

Concretely, companies must invest in building knowledge centers, providing clear and useable answers to customers’ questions and worries. Because for players, it’s not just a question of understanding; it’s also a question of trust and fear of the unknown.

You may also want to consider how to deal with deflection and—considering ownership, wallets, currency, etc.—how you deal with GDPR/privacy, automation, AI and other elements common in web2 gaming.

How Web3 needs to scale without manpower constraints

Aside from finding and proving market adoption, web3 gaming must also master another critical side of game publishing: scaling. How do you market a web3 game? Where do you market these types of games effectively? How much will it cost, and how profitable is it to market a web3 game?

These are all considerations linked to game operation and the game’s core mechanics. Therefore, it requires delicate cooperation between key departments and disciplines within a gaming company.

The main message here is that, as a developer geared towards growth, you don’t want to be dealing with managing a CS workforce, scaling your CS organization, training, escalation, localization, automation, and QA. These are not the main competencies inside game developer organizations, and certainly not within relatively young Web3 gaming organizations.

How neglecting CX negatively impacts time-to-market

Besides the examples stated above, there are many problems related to CX at this stage of the game developer’s journey. These issues have the potential to directly impact the product’s time-to-market. Some examples:

Lack of knowledge and resources for localization and QA

Developers can easily automate these relatively simple and repeating tasks while guaranteeing quality. Unfortunately, many game developers don’t have experience with this automation, whereas good Customer Support BPOs have applied this process many times before.

Being unable to scale up or down quickly

Some say a good game is never out of the testing phase. This statement is even more accurate for web3 games in alpha, beta or even released, as there is no template for success and no track record or proof of concept.

In the early phases of the game lifecycle, game developers need to scale their CX workforce up quickly when they identify traction and be able to scale down just as quickly once reaching a plateau or once DAU starts to decrease. With an in-house CX operation, this is much more challenging.

Over-analyzation of data

In 2023, game operation is a playground for data analysts. Data fuels the game developer machine and impacts every decision made in the organization. It is essential, but it shouldn’t hold back necessary risks that lead to product iterations.

You can’t succeed if you don’t try the unknown. Therefore, over-analysis inflates the ‘measure’ phase in the production lifecycle and constrains creativity and testing.

Lack of usable feedback

Data is an absolute necessity in game development today. But relying solely on data without engaging your players would overlook a critical source of feedback for web3 game developers.

Qualitative feedback from engaged Web3 players can be priceless in understanding how to iterate your product. These are your gatekeepers to a larger pool of players, but you must serve them first. To serve them, you need to understand them, and for that, you need dialogue.

How game developers can focus their efforts on core competence in the critical phase of a game’s lifecycle

The concept of trust comes into play in the suggested solution for keeping the ‘eye on the prize’. Trust in external CX partners is crucial for web3 game developers to maintain focus and maximize their chances of success.

Once a trusted CX partner is found, here are some suggestions for outsourcing the areas of the business that game developers often lack the necessary expertise:

Invest in a customer support partner

Outsourcing player support agents can take the pressure off finding and managing a dedicated support team. Instead, the CX partner can recruit, train, and help retain high-quality agents who provide support in the markets and language relevant to your operation’s strategy. All doing so flexibly, considering peaks and troughs in volume.

Task your CX partner with building a knowledge base

Building a knowledge base is a skill honed across industries and verticals. It requires experience. An effective knowledge base and deflection tree can streamline the support process and minimize human workload while providing engaged users with answers that direct them back into the game.

Outsource operational accountability

In the industry, managing support operations is often dubbed ‘a headache’. However, with the right CX partner, workforce management, reporting, logistics, and other tasks can be outsourced, minimizing the focus and workforce needed within the organization for support-related issues.

An optimized escalation path ensures minimal interference from the game developer’s Support Manager or Vendor Manager. If done correctly, only extreme cases, small in volume, will reach the game developer.

Lastly, as part of operational accountability, you may expect your CX partner to comply with GDPR and take a proactive stance towards privacy and other regulatory issues. A CX partner working proactively and transparently will avoid far more regulatory issues than those holding back information after breaches.

Invest in clear and actionable reporting

Actionable reporting minimizes the need for data collection and interpretation. A single dashboard that shows player support KPIs, KPIs per agent and other breakdowns will benefit your understanding of how your player support is performing. As a result, you’ll gain data-based qualitative player feedback you can implement into the game’s operation and development in the time it takes to enjoy a cup of coffee.

Conclusion

Considering the critical time Web3 gaming developers find themselves in, internal focus on core competence is key in delivering on the vertical’s enormous promise. The time for market adoption and growth is now.

For game developers, investing in comprehensive player support is a must. The allocation of internal time and resources towards player support should be a one-time occurrence — at the start: by considering your ideal CX partner.

From that point onwards, the CX partner should offer a full-service, hassle-free and efficient Customer Support operation that reduces in-house CS management time. All to allow the developer to focus on breaking into the market.

The CX outsourcing company, in turn, must allocate resources to fully understand the Web3 game developer’s unique challenges and support in terms of recruiting top talent anywhere in the world, in any language that has the skills and tools to educate, support and scale together.

Elliot Hollander

Business Development Director

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