When we think titans of gaming, we often look to the Blizzards and the EAs, but they are far from the full picture. Even if you discount the brilliant indie studios getting footholds in the industry, you’re missing one of the largest areas of gaming there is: mobile.
I once saw a meme where the constant war between PC and console gamers has a ceasefire to poke fun at mobile gamers. I snorted at it, but I hate the sentiment. I can only name one or two people I know who haven’t played a mobile game at some juncture; from hardcore PC gamers through to my 90-year-old great aunt playing Words With Friends (that’s her second shout-out this week!)
Gaming has a lot of gatekeepers and I would rather we didn’t welcome them into blockchain gaming. Companies like Voodoo have immense value to the industry in a multitude of ways, whether you play their games or not.
Who Is Voodoo?
Voodoo is a Paris-based mobile game developer and publisher formed in 2013. The target demographic of their games is the casual player and their titles are famously addictive.
Voodoo has over 100 currently launched games, over 300 million monthly active players, and over 5 billion game downloads. They are objectively titans in the gaming industry. They even have financial backing from another, more traditional gaming giant: Tencent, of Fortnite and Honor of Kings fame.
In December 2021, they announced that they are going to invest $200 million in blockchain games over the next 12 months. Voodoo’s aim with this is to bring blockchain games to casual and mobile gamers and have something of an open invite to blockchain game studios and developers.
“There are few occasions in life when we experience a technological breakthrough that transforms industries. Blockchain will especially disrupt gaming, as players are already used to buying digital assets. This technology will give players true ownership of their digital assets, creating deeper interactions between players – collecting, trading, selling in-game digital currencies and game assets – which will increase fun and engagement.
This will also enable players to make a profit from their assets, opening up a new ‘play-and-earn’ model.
Our vision is to bring the blockchain paradigm to more casual and mobile users, and to help any young or promising studio reach success in this segment.” — Alex Yazdi, CEO at Voodoo
While Play to Earn (P2E) and addictive mobile games could be a dangerous blend, it is — I believe — inevitable. As long as society’s most vulnerable are granted safe passage through these waters, it ought not to be a pairing we recoil away from.
What I gravitate towards most in that quote by Yazdi are the first few lines. In 2018, when David and I started Token Gamer, we shared (and still do) a philosophy about blockchain: it felt similar to the rise of the internet. A period so significant that you rue the missed opportunities for decades to come. Well, both David and I were too young to be working within the dot-com boom, but we had missed many smaller paradigm shifts in tech, particularly gaming, and we were not about to miss another.
We wanted to be involved in blockchain gaming from the very beginning — and we were — and to play a role, however minor, in the new industry’s growth. It seems as though Yazdi feels the same, just with markedly deeper pockets and the power to accelerate blockchain’s integration into mainstream gaming.
Voodoo has a major opportunity here, but a difficult one to capitalize on. Integrating blockchain technology into mobile games will put them at the forefront and that has its challenges, particularly with the likes of Apple showing distaste for anything referencing NFTs. Similarly, they must pick the right blockchain — one without gas fees, a high transaction cap, and a network capacity that won’t perish under the gargantuan playerbase they will no doubt build (as we saw in the last week with Polygon!).
Success will be handsomely rewarded.