Why Gaming Is The Next Frontier For The Creator Economy

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In 2006, Time magazine did something very unusual for its annual “Person of the Year” issue: it put a mirror on the cover for readers to understand that they —the people of the internet— had been awarded with the prize. Why?

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To quote a press release from back then, the award was given to “us,” the people, “for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game.”

Fastforward and the creator economy has become an inextricable part of our daily lives. In 2006, fledgling video site YouTube was showing early promise with 100 million daily views.

Then, in 2021, we consumed over a billion hours of YouTube content every single day. The platform has transformed global media and even the way we learn —it’s also turn people like PewDiePie and Jake Paul absolute stars.

But while the star-making potential is impressive, it’s the long tail of user-generated content (UGC) that’s truly staggering in its sheer scale. It’s become a reflex for many people to read reviews on TripAdvisor or Booking.com before booking a restaurant or hotel.

The internet gave rise to a whole new segment of the literary sphere in the form of fan fiction. Even e-sports, the lucrative spin-off of the gaming sector, is a form of user-generated content that’s gone pro.

UGC has opened up previously unimaginable revenue streams for creators of all kinds while satisfying our seemingly insatiable demand for online content.

Gaming’s Supply-Demand Problem

Even despite the unimaginable growth, there’s more to come. Now, gaming is set to be the next big frontier for UGC —according to a leading investment firm.

A piece published on Andreessen Horowitz’s blog points to the talent gap in the gaming sector, leaving the industry in a position where it’s unable to churn out enough games to meet player demand. The answer? User-generated gaming content.

UGC is basically an approach behind the staggering success of Roblox, which is one of the first centralized games to open itself up entirely to the user-generated economy. It’s seen impressive success, with over 1,200 developers netting at least $10,000 each from the platform in 2020.

However, centralized gaming has its limitations in terms of what developers can earn, simply because the platforms set the rules of the game. And the history of user-generated content in Web2 shows us that the platforms will change the rules at will to ensure that any increase in profits is directed towards shareholders, not creators.

UGC + Decentralized Gaming, A World of Opportunity

As a result of the challenges in the centralized sphere, the creator economy that’s springing up across the decentralized ecosystem could well prove to be more attractive to game developers.

Even Andreessen Horowitz points to the growth of decentralized games like The Sandbox, which raised $93 billion in a Series B round at the end of 2021.

Furthermore, now is the ideal time to enter the play-to-earn sphere, as it’s set to undergo stellar growth this year —existing titles like the Sandbox continue their relentless growth and up-and-coming entrants will establish themselves in the space.

One project in the latter category is Kawaii, which is planning to launch the first anime-centric metaverse this year.

Late last year, Kawaii debuted Kawaii Islands, the inaugural game designed to onboard users to the platform. However, the project has just dropped its 2022 roadmap, which includes several key updates enabling its play-to-earn functionality.

The first quarter will be mainly focused on infrastructural upgrades and the launch of mobile apps on Android and iOS.

In Q2, users can expect to see more metaverse features rolled out, along with mini-games and social features. However, the latter half of the year is when the game will launch its creator features, offering the opportunity to create anime fashion, characters, and content to share with the user community in return for privilege, appreciation, and crypto-based earning.

Brand Partnerships and Enterprise Integrations Pave the Way for More Adoption

By the end of the year, Kawaii is aiming to be enterprise-ready, putting it in a similar position to begin accepting brand partnerships and allowing e-commerce on the platform.

In this regard, it will be competing with titles like Roblox, which has partnered with Nike, and The Sandbox, which partnered with rival Adidas.

Of course, gaming is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Web3 and the creator economy.

The play-to-earn phenomenon is blazing a trail that will soon allow creators of all kinds to directly monetize their content and generate income from it using innovations like fan tokens and NFTs. However, for the next year, gaming will prove to be the next frontier for the creator economy, and “you” could be the next Time magazine person of the year.