Atari’s founder, Nolan Bushnell, believes the future of Web3 crypto gaming lies beyond play-to-earn, emphasizing immersive virtual worlds.
Atari’s founder, Nolan Bushnell, offers a unique perspective on the gaming industry involving crypto. Known as the “godfather of video games,” Bushnell’s storied career has witnessed monumental shifts, from the inception of Atari to the rise of blockchain-based gaming. Today, he sheds light on why traditional gamers have grown to resent cryptocurrency-driven games and highlights the forward momentum of the Web3 gaming sphere.
Why Traditional Gamers Disapprove of Crypto Games
The tension between traditional gamers and the world of cryptocurrency is palpable. Bushnell attributes this divide primarily to the emergence of play-to-earn games. These games, which laid the foundation for blockchain gaming, often rely on the so-called “greater fool theory.” Such games emphasize grinding—a concept despised by most avid gamers—as a necessary evil to earn rewards. Instead of focusing on fun, play-to-earn games have turned to a business model that many gamers find tedious and profit-driven.
However, this is just one piece of the evolving puzzle of the gaming world. Bushnell, who can boast of accomplishments like founding the iconic gaming system Atari and the renowned American dining chain Chuck E. Cheese, also had the privilege of counting tech mogul Steve Jobs among his employees. This extensive experience gives weight to his opinions on the direction the industry is heading.
According to Bushnell, the future of Web3 gaming isn’t anchored to the play-to-earn model. Instead, he envisions a landscape dominated by immersive virtual worlds, made possible through advancements in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology. Moreover, these platforms would focus on fulfilling the human craving for social interaction and providing users with a genuine sense of location and timing. In a sense, they would recreate the tangible experiences of the real world in a digital environment.
The Future of Gaming in Web3, VR, and AR
For Bushnell, the true magic of Web3 and the metaverse lies in its potential to offer real-time, real-place experiences. Imagine meeting new people, visiting new places, and creating shared memories—all within a vast digital universe.
In his current role as the chief knowledge officer at Moxy, a pioneering blockchain-based esports company, Bushnell identifies three major avenues where blockchain can revitalize modern gaming:
- Seamless & Secure Transfers: With the digital age surging ahead, gamers demand the ability to move assets effortlessly and securely. This ensures fair competition and aligns expectations with results.
- The Power of Smart Contracts: Beyond gaming, smart contracts hold enormous potential. By defining and setting relationship terms, they ensure transparent interactions across digital platforms.
- Storing Digital Asset Value: The value of digital assets, whether they are currencies or tokens, needs a safe storage method.
Interestingly, Bushnell’s initial introduction to cryptocurrency came through Brock Pierce, the co-founder of Tether, back when Bitcoin was valued at roughly $50. At the time, Bushnell didn’t foresee the monumental impact of cryptocurrencies. However, as Bitcoin’s price skyrocketed, he came to appreciate the transformative potential of blockchain technology. Though Bushnell remains wary of the unstable nature of cryptocurrency prices, he firmly believes in the shared human perception of value as an indicator of success.
The evolution of gaming, from traditional platforms to crypto-driven systems, has been tumultuous. While play-to-earn games have garnered their fair share of criticism, visionaries like Nolan Bushnell see beyond the present, anticipating a future where the lines between the real and virtual worlds blur seamlessly.