The world’s biggest game developer conference, GDC 2023, which was held in San Francisco from Mar. 20 through 24, has been concluded. As if the past few years being somewhat diminished due to the pandemic was a lie, this year’s GDC was huge, maybe even bigger than before COVID-19.
The number of sessions was about 700. The queue to gain the vaccination certification was long from 9 AM through 4 PM, and the GDC Expo, which was open from Wednesday, was like another huge individual game show. Also, like last year, WeMade had their huge booth in the center of the GDC Expo.
WeMade has been participating in GDC as a Diamond sponsor since last year. At the event, they confirmed that they are coming back next year as well. Here are the activities WeMade had at GDC 2023.
5 sessions for Wemix Play and Blockchain Games
This year, WeMade held five sessions at GDC 2023. Starting with CEO Henry Chang’s keynote speech on Tuesday, WeMade’s sessions continued for three days up to the panel discussion on Thursday, they are as follows.
1. The Future of Gaming: Inter-game Play and Beyond (Henry Chang)
- The session was a brief introduction to the inter-game economy WeMade is aiming for. They explained how tokenomics actually works based on the example of the Mir series. This session was held without a PPT presentation.
2. Lessons Learned after Launching 25+ Web3 Games (Wonil Suh)
- Suh shared the experience and strategies they gained through servicing 24 games (1 more to be onboarded) onboarded on Wemix Play. His way of dividing the tokenomics era into three from the beginning to today was interesting.
3. Transformation of Games into Blockchain Games (Robin Seo)
- Robin discussed the four key elements that form Wemix Play, the blockchain game platform operated by WeMade. The four key elements were: tokenomics, marketplace, gamefi, and community. He explained how normal games transform into blockchain games based on the key elements, and the characteristics of Wemix Play.
4. Fan Token, a Joint Blockchain Economy Built by Creators and Fans (Myrtle Sarrosa)
- A session of Sarrosa, who is a creator and the first fan token publisher of Wemix Play. She shared her experience of creating a blockchain economy with gamers and fans on Wemix Play.
5. Transformation 101: Launching Your Own Blockchain Game on Wemix Play (Wonil Suh, Robin Seo, Wook Kim)
- WeMade’s last session. It was a panel discussion with three WeMade executives. As panel discussion participants give their own opinions about a topic, and as the audience can quite actively participate, many developers interested in blockchain games attended the session.
WeMade Booth in GDC EXPO
Following last year, WeMade prepared a giant booth again at GDC Expo this year. Unlike normal game shows, GDC Expo’s main audience is game developers and industry officials, so platform developers, publishers, and engine developers mostly open booths. Even so, WeMade had a booth so big that you couldn’t miss it.
This year’s slogan for WeMade was ‘Life is Game’. It seemed like a sentence that connotes the inter-game economics, and the significance of the blockchain games whose value connects directly with actual economics.
This year, WeMade's slogan was 'Life is Game'. It seemed to imply the "intergame economy," the economic connection between games, and the significance of blockchain games being linked to the real economy through value preservation.
It felt like there were much more visitors compared to last year. As the pandemic prevented too many people from visiting the event, it is difficult to compare directly, but WeMade’s booth was quite crowded this year.
Henry Chang Press Conference
Separately, on Wednesday, Mar. 22, at the height of GDC 2023's excitement, Henry Chang held a press conference with Korean journalists who were on-site. The meeting was attended by a wide range of media, including not only gaming publications, but also economic and daily newspapers. Henry answered all questions for about an hour and a half.
The meeting started with a fairly lengthy statement, given that the company had suffered a disastrous trading suspension at the end of last year. To summarize his thoughts on the past year, he said, "It's okay because we've already moved on." Still, Henry Chang showed a steely conviction about the future he sees for the company, and said that he plans to unfold new elements and business directions this year that he has been preparing for, despite the many hardships he faced last year. As for this year's performance, he added that he expects Night Crows, which is scheduled to be released in April, to play a key role in driving the company's performance.
Speaking at the event, Henry said that last year's poor performance was more of a time to sow the seeds for various businesses and new elements that will start this year. From DAU, community, and WemixFi, WeMade plans to launch various derivative businesses this year, which will build a more advanced and stable tokenomics.
This year's GDC was a bit of a double-edged sword for the blockchain and web3 gaming industry. While there were plenty of blockchain game developers on hand, and the event was much more crowded than last year, the focus on the blockchain gaming industry was much less intense than last year. This is probably due to the fact that the current IT industry's hottest topic, ChatGPT, was only a few months ago, and the development of AI to the point where it can be used in real-world industries has temporarily shifted the weight of attention.
What's left is to build on this year's accomplishments, and what to expect at next year's GDC. At every event at GDC 2023, there was one thing that Henry kept mentioning.
"It's a misconception that blockchain games aren't fun, and blockchain will never make them less fun"
It's hard to see a logical flaw in that statement. Still, many people are skeptical of blockchain games because they haven't seen a truly fun game to convince them that this is a misconception. Everyone's definition of fun is different, but we've yet to see a game that's fun enough to resonate with the majority of gamers.
So, as we've been saying for a few years now, building a game that can convince gamers is the most urgent and important challenge for WeMade and the blockchain gaming industry. WeMade has promised growth this year, and has vowed to return to GDC next year. Here's hoping they forge the key to unlock the lock of gamer empathy before then.