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Autonomous worlds are shaping the new web3 narrative | Opinion

source-logo  crypto.news 21 January 2024 13:53, UTC

Disclosure: The views and opinions expressed here belong solely to the author and do not represent the views and opinions of crypto.news’ editorial.

In the ever-evolving landscape of web3, one thing has remained the same throughout—narratives matter. Narratives have served as the driving force behind the growth of projects. Over the past three years, we have witnessed a lot: from the defi summer of 2020 to the NFT craze of 2021 and the rise of liquid staking in 2022. Leading projects in all these narratives have seen their growth accelerated by a few years just from being a part of the narrative.

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Now, it is time for the ‘autonomous worlds’ narrative to take over. In this article, we delve into the concept of the autonomous worlds, why conventional gaming technologies fall short, and how this new narrative is set to revolutionize the gaming and virtual worlds.

What is ‘autonomous worlds’?

The concept of ‘autonomous worlds’ represents virtual environments built on blockchain networks, leveraging the decentralized nature of the blockchain. These worlds can be in the form of fully-on-chain games (FOCG) or environments where players can use avatars to build the world they want. The autonomous worlds aim to break free from the constraints of traditional gaming platforms, offering a dynamic and sustainable ecosystem where users have unprecedented control and freedom.

Autonomous worlds are shaping the new web3 narrative | Opinion - 1

Gaming and autonomous worlds overview | Source: Messari

Why current gaming technologies are lacking

Gaming and virtual worlds are broken, where they suffer from inherent flaws that hinder their true potential. Firstly, their limited lifespan is a critical issue. The destiny of a game is solely determined by game developers, sidelining the passionate player community that forms the heartbeat of the gaming world. This lack of player agency results in an ecosystem where games can thrive or wither based on decisions made by a select few rather than being shaped by the collective experiences and desires of the gaming community. As games are usually built by corporations focusing solely on profits, games that do not monetize well get cut.

Secondly, the slow iterations within the conventional game development process impede the industry’s progress. The protracted years required to build a complete game, coupled with the uncertainty of success upon release, inhibit the gaming industry’s responsiveness to rapidly changing trends. Many games have been created only to not be released or have been launched with many bugs. This sluggish development pace stifles innovation and limits the industry’s ability to adapt promptly to the dynamic landscape of player preferences.

Lastly, the confinement of users to a single environment restricts the potential for interaction and immersion. In traditional gaming, users can only experience their favorite avatars or characters within the boundaries of the game, curtailing the expansive possibilities and interconnectedness that could be achieved in a more open and decentralized virtual environment like autonomous worlds. For example, you cannot play your favorite Pokemon in other games, such as the Legend of Zelda. Gamers are usually fans of multiple games, and the current environment restricts the creative possibilities of games.

Welcome to the autonomous worlds

In the rapidly evolving landscape of web3, the concept of autonomous worlds emerges as the new narrative, redefining the paradigms of virtual worlds and gaming through the power of blockchain technology. Firstly, autonomous worlds can create infinite worlds where games and virtual environments, once fully integrated into the blockchain, have the potential to exist indefinitely.

The decentralized nature of the blockchain, with validators ensuring network security, contributes to the longevity and sustainability of these autonomous realms. As long as the validators continue to be in operation, the game or world will continue to exist. Furthermore, no one entity can change or take down the game once it has been built on-chain. This characteristic makes it resistant to censorship and ensures its long life span.

Secondly, open source building within autonomous worlds is facilitated by the transparency of smart contracts, fostering an environment where applications can be developed openly. This transparent and collaborative approach leads to a compounding effect.

Developers can build on each other’s code, which speeds up the development process, allowing games to be launched quickly and game developers to receive feedback quickly. This shorter feedback cycle will incentivize more game developers to build games, which increases the likelihood of a hit game being released.

Lastly, composable engineering allows the transferring of characters, NFTs, and tokens across different worlds, creating a vast and open ecosystem. This composable nature facilitates a seamless user experience, transcending the limitations of traditional gaming environments and paving the way for a new era of interconnected and immersive virtual experiences.

Imagine using one game avatar for multiple games, which opens up various possibilities. For example, different games can collaborate together by rewarding players who complete quests on other games. Players who play one game are not limited to rewards from that game. Instead, their performance in one game can lead to them winning rewards from another game if the two games decide to collaborate.

Sooner than later

The realization of autonomous worlds is imminent, propelled by several key factors that are actively shaping the landscape. Firstly, the explosive growth of Layer-2 solutions is expanding network capacity at an unprecedented rate. This surge in scalability is instrumental in laying the groundwork for more sophisticated and expansive autonomous worlds, ensuring a seamless and efficient user experience. Combining the security of the Ethereum network with the low cost and scalability of L2 solutions provides a user-friendly experience.

Additionally, the maturation of critical infrastructure features such as Oracles and account abstraction further bolsters the technical backbone of these virtual realms. On-chain transactions can be automated when an off-chain activity happens, with accurate data feeds. With account abstraction, players unfamiliar with web3 tools do not have to create a wallet, lowering the barrier to entry. As these elements mature, the entire ecosystem supporting autonomous worlds becomes more robust, bringing us closer to their realization.

Furthermore, the play-to-earn model during the previous bull market has offered a preview of the future within these virtual realms. ‘Warming up” players to the autonomous world experience. In the autonomous worlds, players can use tokens to pay for in-game items. Furthermore, the games can reward players with tokens for their excellent performance. By integrating economic incentives, users actively contribute to the ecosystem, setting the stage for collaborative development and accelerating the advent of autonomous worlds sooner rather than later.

Building the autonomous worlds: integrating randomness

In the ambitious endeavor of building autonomous worlds, the integration of an on-chain random number generator (RNG) stands out as a pivotal requirement. The essence of fully on-chain games within this expansive ecosystem lies in their capacity to offer users a dynamic and unpredictable experience.

Randomness serves as the lifeblood of such games, injecting excitement, challenge, and fairness into the virtual realms. For developers crafting web3 games, choosing an RNG is crucial to building user trust and community engagement.

Enabling seamless integration into various dapps through smart contract SDK is a crucial functionality that is essential for applications that need random number generation for diverse activities such as rolling dice, shuffling arrays, generating in-game item attributes, creating random in-game maps or dungeons, and determining lottery outcomes.

Read more: Centralization will kill web3 before it reaches its full potential | Opinion

Felix Xu

Felix Xu is a crypto geek, early adopter, and NFT collector; he graduated from NYU Stern School of Business and founded two crypto projects, ARPA and Bella Protocol. They are among the global top 500 by market cap. Felix previously worked at Fosun Investment, Sackler family office, and Vertical Research in New York and Beijing. Felix loves sailing and kitesurfing, and The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times featured him for his NFT collection.