Uncovering the future and importance of Web3 gaming with industry pioneer Steve Curran, whose worked for the world’s biggest brands
Please tell me about yourself and your Web3 project(s):
I’ve been in game design, interactive entertainment, and marketing since the 90s. I am lucky enough to have the good fortune to work with top entertainment and consumer brands like Red Bull Records, Sony Entertainment, Warner Brothers, Atlantic Records, Puma, The History Channel, A+E Television, Burger King, Mattel, Animal Planet, and many others – working at the intersection of games, entertainment, and innovation, through the evolution of digital media, throughout the past 30 years.
Being in this space for so long, it has been fun to watch it evolve. I consider myself to be part creator, part technologist, and part entrepreneur. My team and I are really excited about the potential that Web3 gaming holds. As we researched the availability of Web3 games today, we found a particular gap in casual games, those fun and addictive games you can play during a quick break from work or school. Most visions for Web3 gaming were ambitious and complex or were about a token launch. And because the very essence of Web3 is about community and ownership, we challenged ourselves to create a casual gaming platform that was simple, fun, competitive, and social. We wanted it to feel instantly familiar and accessible.
As a result, that’s exactly what we have been able to develop with Burn Ghost. It’s a casual, play-to-win gaming platform that allows users to win NFTs and use crypto for small entry fees. The games we feature on the platform are quick, test your skills, and are a lot of fun to challenge your friends. We are starting to focus on Trivia, because we think there are so many exciting places to take that, from rewarding fandom, incentivized learning, and community tournaments. We’ve found that it works across demographics and generations.
We’re also currently getting our hands on some highly sought-after NFTs to offer as prizes, giving top performers access to tribes only the crypto-rich were previously able to access. However, there is a vast world of prizing opportunities to win with Burn Ghost beyond NFTs.
What does Web3 gaming mean to you?
I’ve worked in gaming and digital media evolution since the 8-bit Nintendo System. We went from playing individually at home using specific consoles and PC to mobile and cloud gaming, competing with one another online and VR games for an immersive experience.
Web3 gaming is the next evolution in this long journey, but it’s a big one. It’s transforming the gaming landscape by integrating metaverse and blockchain technology into the gaming industry. It will allow gamers to own assets like skins and ultimately port them between games. They can truly own those assets and, in some cases, sell them.
Moreover, in the case of Burn Ghost, it will allow players to win NFTs and game assets they might not otherwise be able to afford to buy. So it’s ultimately about democratizing gaming in a way we have never previously seen.
How does your project stand out among others?
Burn Ghost stands out for several reasons. Our team has been at this long enough that we know what it takes to build a cohesive, fun experience that keeps players coming back.
Firstly we focus on instantly familiar games which won’t intimidate users wanting to jump in and play. We are wary of introducing games that “whale” players dominate, building ways that players will feel like they have a good shot at winning instead.
The second thing that makes us different is our launch partners. We have gained the support of some yet announced partnerships that will bring with them world-class IP and fans. And third, the social features and outstanding prizes will make this continually dynamic and exciting.
Why do you base your game on trivia — why are some players so captivated?
Trivia is something that has crossed platforms for decades. Psychologists will tell you that playing trivia gives us a rush of dopamine when we answer a question correctly; it feels good to be a know-it-all. What else will you do with all that random information in your head? Trivia is also a great way to keep our memory sharp and our brains performing at their peak. Trivia is also very social; it brings people together.
Overall, it’s fun for us to connect and get to know one another better. Trivia gives us a burst of adrenaline in a positive way. Players retain what they learn in a trivia game more than they would if they just read a fact somewhere.
Our games let you feel like your knowledge gives you some agency over winning a prize instead of sweepstakes, and it is undoubtedly a lot more fun.
Why is casual gaming crucial to Web3?
Casual gaming was one of the most significant developments to entire onboard generations to Web2, and at Burn Ghost, we believe that history is about to repeat itself. Think about how often you have challenged your friends to cards, word games, or pool on your phone. Games like Candy Crush, Trivia Crack, Fruit Ninja, 8 Ball Pool, and Words With Friends are playable by kids and grandparents alike. They’re fun, don’t require you to spend hours honing your skills, and can add excitement to your day’s quick breaks. For example, when Apple launched the App store for the iPhone, they had not imagined that games would be the most popular apps. Likewise, Facebook never saw itself as a gaming platform; the explosion of social gaming onboarded a much wider variety of users to the platform.
On the other hand, Web3 is still relatively new, but it’s growing exponentially. With crypto as the initial use case for Blockchain, early adopters had to be pretty savvy. Even after the launch of the first NFTs, the digital assets were not well understood. It was only when projects recognized the need to build true communities and utility for holders that we saw the next wave. But whenever we see news about Bitcoin dropping or the FTX scandal, it creates barriers for people to join Web3 because they get nervous.
Casual gaming breaks through those barriers by offering a fun way for everyone to have involvement. We’re offering up Burn Ghost as that platform. So for newbies, winning their first NFT can open their eyes to this fantastic new world. And for degens, they get a chance to win blue chips they may have missed out on due to not being early enough on a project or a whitelist.
Do you believe video games are the most significant use case for Web3 — or art, music, etc.?
Blockchain gaming is still in its infancy, but it’s getting much attention. Despite the FTX collapse, VC firms have invested heavily in gaming. Music NFTs are taking off, with a current industry value of $1.2 billion, and are forecasted to grow to $4.24 billion by 2032, according to Market Decipher. The art NFT industry is expected to grow to $211.7 billion by 2030 according to Grand View Research, fueled by the growing use of crypto.
Gaming is enormous, though, the Web3 gaming market is expected to grow from its current $5 billion to an industry size of $37 billion by 2032, according to Fungies. If these projections hold, gaming will grow to more than 8 times the size of the music NFT industry. Art was the first use case, so it is the most mature of the three, and art is the most common access point to online communities and IRL experiences. It tends to cross music and gaming, which can explain its size.
Tell me the reasons why you believe some games go viral, whereas others fizzle out?
The number one reason a game goes viral is that it has to be more fun than anything else that is simply one click away. Marketing and promotion can bring people to a game, but the game keeps them coming back and telling their friends. It needs to be unique, have an excellent user interface, and work smoothly. What’s important to game virality is players invite others, and those other players accept and try the game. It is essential to create a gaming community where players can post and feel proud of their achievements.
Furthermore, one of the great things about gaming is the connection. It can provide people of all different cultures, ages, and other interests. It’s a shared passion that brings people together. Adding the right element of competition helps fuel this passion. When players know they can beat the high score, they earn something more than just bragging rights. This makes the competitive aspect of a game not only more fun but something they want to return to.
Do you have any thoughts about Bored Ape’s new game, Dookey Dash?
I haven’t played Dookey Dash personally, but it looks fun. The first level reminds me of our FTX gameplay, a game we created to satirize the FTX collapse. I think it matches our thesis of focusing on simple, fun, accessible skill-based games that rank your performance for prizes — check it out!
How do you see the future of Play-to-Earn (P2E) gaming?
At Burn Ghost, we believe the future of P2E gaming is Web3. The P2E mechanism has been around since 2017 but has taken off over the past couple of years. Even big studios like Epic Games acknowledge its importance to the gaming industry. We’ve seen Web2 games moving in this direction, and with Web3, the culture of earning is already in place, so it’s a natural progression.
In addition, we’re seeing the launch of P2E games in metaverses such as The Sandbox, strategy games like Star Atlas, role-playing games like Guild of Guardians, and fitness games like STEPN. We believe that Burn Ghost will fill the space in P2E casual gaming.
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