Aug 2022#Cases#GameFi#Fundraising#Packaging

How to build a popular Play-to-Earn game:a case study in strategic consulting

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Authors

Roman Aliev

Roman Aliev

Strategy Marketing Director

Team

Marat Gizatullin

Marat Gizatullin

Market Researcher & Analyst

Ksenia Alikova

Ksenia Alikova

Market Researcher & Analyst

Valeriya Novikova

Valeriya Novikova

Team Lead Marketing

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BDC Consulting often helps idea-stage crypto startups to go from zero to a successful MVP. Our Product Market Fit Validation (PMFV) solution makes it possible to design dApps that the market will love – as in the case of this GameFi project with a strong social mission.

Who is this case study for?

Our insights will be helpful for Web2 companies looking to expand to Web3, as well as for gaming studios that want to get into the business of Play-to-Earn and crypto games in general. 

The challenge: a GameFi crypto project with an environmental focus

Our client in this case study was a real-world business that wanted to create a P2E game centered on the sustainable use of natural resources.

The team already had a rough concept for the game, but wasn’t sure how to design sustainable token economics or which features to implement in the MVP and the final product.

We’d also need to package the game in such a way as to make it attractive to potential investors. 

Final result: we went from zero to a detailed game concept, including tokenomcis and monetization, and made sure it was ready to be shown to investment funds. 

How we did it – in detail

Step 1. GameFi industry analysis

During the analysis stage, we evaluated:

  • The size of the market for GameFi games and its growth potential;
  • Stats for different genres and platforms;
  • Play-to-Earn project stats by blockchain;
  • Number of users and transactions by genre, platform, and chain. 

After comparing various genres of P2E crypto games by audience size, number and size of transactions, and level of competition, we understood that the most relevant genre for our client was a casual farming strategy. 

Next, we created a draft gameplay and identified the key competitors for further analysis. 

Step 2. Competition analysis

We compared the rival P2E projects by the following criteria:

  • raised funds;
  • long-term engagement mechanics;
  • tokenomics and monetization streams;
  • user lifecycle, ROI and interaction frequency;
  • coin deflation mechanism;
  • token price as a function of news and project activity;
  • roadmap and growth boosters;
  • market positioning. 

This analysis allowed us to find the competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as gave us insights regarding tokenomics, business model, and pricing. We understood how to make the game profitable both for the users and for the client, while preserving the key mission: regeneration of natural resources. 

Step 3. In-depth interviews and a poll

The purpose of this stage was to define a list of features for the MVP and come up with the final concept for the game. We conducted 10 in-depth interviews and surveyed over 300 users from 22 countries, all of whom play games to earn money. 

Insights

  • a game needs to be engaging enough to be played for its own sake, even without rewards;
  • this means a constantly updated gameplay (new mini games, locations, quests, etc.);
  • the target audience doesn’t want to spend too much time on daily interactions with GameFi projects;
  • 88% of the respondents welcomed games with a social mission – but wanted to see that the project makes a real impact. 

Step 4. Go-to-market strategy for the new P2E project

Based on the results of the interviews and the survey, we came up with two potential strategies:

  1. Prioritizing long-term engagement: the longer one plays, the more valuable one’s NFTs become. This would exclude speculative buyers and attract users who really want to play and help restore natural resources. 
  2. A new type of game (‘ReFi’) with a focus on natural resource regeneration. This strategy features a free-to-play mode with in-game purchases. Though the monetization model is less efficient, there is an extra revenue stream thanks to the company’s real-world business. 

Together with the client, we chose one of the strategies and refined it to get it ready for validation with potential investors. 

Step 5. Preparation for fundraising

In order for the game to be interesting for both players and investors, we conducted a study of large and medium-sized GameFi investors:

  • gathered information about major investors from public sources and analyzed their statements published in the media and social networks;
  • surveyed over 100 crypto gaming investors;
  • conducted 7 in-depth interviews with GameFi backers;
  • researched the portfolios of the funds that invest in tokens with an environmental focus. 

Once we knew how to package the project for investors, we prepared all the necessary documentation for the client’s team to begin raising funds. 

Insights

  • Key investor categories: funds, passive investors (those who lend in-game equipment to others), active players;
  • Large investors prioritize strong teams rather than high-quality games without a well-known expert team;
  • All things being equal, funds prefer investing in games with a DAO as they consider it important for the growth of the community and product;
  • Once the ROI goes down, a game loses over a third of its active player investors. 

The key criteria used by investors to evaluate games are as follows:

  • a balanced tokenomics that benefits both players and backers;
  • real value for players and an engaging gameplay;
  • in-game interactions, a strong community, and guilds;
  • good UX and high production quality;
  • acceptable ROI period: for large investors it’s 1 to 3 years, for medium and small investors it’s 1 to 6 months.

Conclusions and results

We achieved a lot in a relatively short period of time:

  • identified the most relevant genre, game mechanics, and entry criteria that would make the game attractive to players and investors;
  • prepared a draft tokenomics, financial model, and deflation mechanics;
  • designed a concept for the final game and for the MVP;
  • packaged the project for large investors. 

Are you working on a large-scale GameFi project? Let’s discuss a potential collaboration – fill the form on the website today 

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