Blockchain technology offers novel approaches to game creation, distribution and monetization, with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) offered as a promise to players that they, too, can be a part of the revolution. But overwhelmingly, consumers have indicated that they’re not buying it yet, and adoption has not been as widespread as many investors have hoped.

During the Stardust session at GamesBeat Summit 2023, “From niche to mainstream: the path to mass adoption of blockchain in gaming,” leaders from the Web3 space came together to tackle that question.

While the internet today is extremely efficient for data and interoperability of data, it still poses difficulties in the ownership of data as well as business interoperability, said Canaan Linder, founder & CEO, Stardust. Blockchain is a new build of the internet, and NFTs are the rebuilt game items, in a brand new world.

“Gamers think of them as predatory and honestly we’ve done a pretty bad job on as an industry of telling them how they can be advantageous them in their games, but this is the new age of gaming,” Linder said. “It’s a rebuild of the platform on which all games are built, how games interact, and our players truly own their items. It’s not something to be afraid of — it’s the future, and similar to mobile games it will come whether players like it or not.”

Every time a new technology emerges, the audience emerges too, said Paul Bettner, CEO of Playful and Wildcard Alliance — it happened with the early mobile games, and it happened with VR games, and it will happen again for blockchain games.

“This audience shows up and they’re looking for something new,” Bettner said. “And that word is opportunity. They come to the game not just looking for fun, which obviously they’re looking for, that has to be present in any great game. But they’re also now looking for this new thing. This ability to affiliate with the game and have that creative opportunity, that ability to own the things that they create, and to have that lead to further opportunity for them. That’s the new thing. And it  changes our priorities in terms of how we’re building the game.”

But there’s a divide in the audience, Linder pointed out — grand...