The crypto winter has claimed a lot of projects, both inside and outside of gaming, and the latest to turn the lights off is CityStates: Medieval.
Games close down regularly, whether they are Web3 or not, but the rate in Web3 is significantly higher due to the tumultuous nature of crypto. This is exacerbated by the sharp rise and fall of Play-to-Earn (P2E).
As games such as Axie Infinity put earning from gaming on people’s radar, we saw an influx of players into Web3 gaming. This caused a number of issues. Firstly, the demand far outweighed the supply for P2E games; there hadn’t been enough time to develop well-fleshed-out games with stable tokenomics and economies. So, indie developers set out to fill the gaps in the market and create their own games.
This was brilliant in many ways: people who had always wanted to make their own game finally had a likely financial reward at the end which is rarely the case. While some of the games created were clearly cash-grabs, some were good games in their own right, and for the record, I put CityStates: Medieval in the latter camp.
However, even the good indie P2E games were on a timer. The influx of players and money was unsustainable and that makes for a difficult landscape to navigate. Developers had to pump this money back into the game and build, but also, the inevitable crash was coming and you’d need deep coffers to survive it; almost nobody was cynical enough to give themselves a long enough runway.
As a result, the many indie games that saw moderate success in the P2E boom have collapsed and shuttered. Even the premier projects that are still running today, such as Splinterlands, had to let go of almost half of their workforce to survive.
CityStates: Medieval was one of the games our resident mobile gaming expert, Murtagh, favored, and less than a year ago, he had it in his top 5 mobile Web3 games to know! This really goes to show how quickly the wind can change in Web3. The game had a lot of promise, but with the mass exodus of P2E players and the necessary death of the sub-genre, it seems it had become a loss-making project.
Today we have decided to shut down the CityStates game server. While we could keep it running at low cost, there is not really a point when we are not able to fix bugs and exploits or add stuff that is needed to generate income.
— CityStates: Medieval Discord
The announcement came in the official Discord, which has been gutted. There was a Reddit thread that also explained the situation when they halted $CSM, but it has been a quiet death for the game — which is to be expected.
Nevertheless, it’s a sad truth of Web3 games that rose to prominence during the P2E boom and we can only hope that the games that truly deserve to be played either find their way back, or survive long enough.