This time last year, Com2us USA president Kyu Lee told us that his firm was all-in on web3 games, with 10 blockchain-powered titles on its 2022 slate.
Twelve months later, blockchain games are in a very different place. The hype has died down, investors have cooled off and a string of crypto controversies have rocked the entire sector.
But Com2us remains as bullish as ever. It released (most of) those 10 proposed blockchain games in the last year, and learned quite a few lessons along the way.
“What we really learned was that people who come in to ‘play to earn’ are really just coming in for the token, they’re not converting to gamers,” Lee tells us. “We check how many have really played the game and it’s none of them.”
“We really just focus on the gamers,” he continues. “Our approach was always a web2 to web3 type of approach and I think we’ve reinstated that. I think the whole market has told us that the users need education, you don’t want to overwhelm them with too much web3. Slowly introducing and evolving is the right way to do it.”
That means, essentially, that the blockchain elements in Com2us games only really emerge when the player is deep into the game, and even then, uptake is small. “I think the sample size is quite low and we haven’t been aggressively pushing them to adopt,” says Lee. “So yeah, the conversions are like, single digits.”
Nonetheless, Com2us is still pumping out the new releases, all with blockchain elements – there’s “a game coming out almost every month” says Lee. It isn’t backing off, then.
“If this was something where we would back off just because of short term issues we would never have gotten into it,” says Lee. “Our conviction remains the same. And actually, it’s worked out quite well for us because these things needed to be exposed.”
We ask whether Lee thinks releasing this many games is sustainable right now, given the current climate. Lee contends that the numbers around its newest flagship release, Summoners War: Chronicles, speak for themselves.
“These are not cheap titles,” he says. “Summoners War: Chronicles was developed over five years. These are legit projects. It hit number one in Germany, France, Thailand…it’s been a global success – we’ve been getting more than a million downloads every day and we’ve generated more than $10 million in revenue already.”
Part of that figure is Steam revenue. It broke into the top ten around launch and is still hovering around the mid-20s bracket in the global top sellers list today.
“When we were developing $5m budget games, for instance, they wouldn’t look good on PCs – there’s no point just distributing for the sake of distributing,” says Lee of the opportunity on Steam. “But now any mobile game that you play is easily comparable to the PC games out there.”
Lee says that Com2us will be releasing every one of its future mobile games on PC too. It’s a vital extra route to market beyond Apple and Google’s stores, especially as mobile platform policy around web3 games still feels pretty vague.
“I’m not sure if [Apple and Google] fully understand all of the needs developers have,” says Lee. “We’re lucky enough to interface with the platforms and there are tons of developers around the world who don’t talk to the platform holders at all…so yeah they probably would want to have much more clarity.”
Microsoft and Epic Games are keen to compete with their own app stores too, of course. So naturally Lee welcomes the additional competition.
“I think the more established stores, they have more to lose,” he says. “They will be much more conservative on their decision making…the upcoming stores would have to take more aggressive decisions to differentiate their product.”
The next big title for Com2us is Zenonia Chronobreak, another polished fantasy RPG with blockchain integration. Lee reiterates that his team will continue to tweak and tinker web3 implementation, no matter what, through Chronobreak and every other incoming title.
“There’s going to be more experimenting,” he adds. “The free to play industry also happened like this, with a lot of iterations. We’re still trying to find the right way to build a sustainable and healthy economy.”