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What’s up, player? Ready to level up?

My first job was at a marketing and events agency in Brazil when I was just 16 years old. The agency specialized in the intersection of gaming and brands, which was my first contact with this “Triangle of Value” that I have followed throughout my entire career.

Imagine being a 16-year-old and lucky enough to be working with Fortune 500 companies like Samsung, Microsoft, Warner Bros and Red Bull. Whenever I look back at this part of my life I can’t help but feel extremely thankful.

In 2007, the gaming console was in the basement, not in the living room.

From an outsider’s perspective, gamers were often labeled as nerds and geeks. Moreover, the gaming and e-sports industries were in super early stages in shaping the emerging gaming culture.

Can you imagine having the opportunity to create a positive impact on such a massive industry at its early stages? That’s what we did back then.

And this is exactly what I think we can do in Web3 today.

It’s not just about spotting trends and surfing hype; it’s about understanding them, diving into the culture, and fundamentally strategizing on how brands can create sustainable business models that drive both brand equity and revenue. This early age experience taught me something extremely valuable:

The power of being at the edge of what’s next.

Here’s a breakdown of this “Triangle of Value” that has powered up my whole professional journey:

Understanding Culture before it goes mainstream: 
Getting an early jump on emerging culture can give you an edge, open authentic connections, spark fresh ideas, and gives you a front-row seat to innovation.

It’s not just about the tech; it’s about the people who use it.

Mastering Emerging Technologies:
Diving into new tech early can give you a head start, unlock cool possibilities, and set you up to ride the next big digital wave. It’s like having early access to the newest gadget before everyone else!

What’s in it for Brands:

Combining understanding of upcoming cultural trends with mastery of emerging technologies allows brands to be both innovative and relatable. This dual approach ensures they’re not just using the latest tools, but also connecting authentically with their audience.

It positions brands at the forefront of change, enabling them to anticipate market shifts, create relevant products, and craft resonant messaging. In essence, it’s a strategic blend of tech-savviness and cultural awareness.

From Basements to Blockchain

Gaming has come a long way, from the days of consoles being tucked away in basements to the era of cloud gaming, VR, and mainstream culture. Fast forward to today, and we’re not just talking about leveling up in a game; we’re talking about leveling up an entire industry.

Remember Mario? Sonic? These aren’t just gaming icons; they’re cultural landmarks recognized globally. The gaming industry has grown into a multi-billion-dollar titan, eclipsing even the cinema and music industries combined.

On top of this big number, the gaming industry has always been a trendsetter, pushing the boundaries of technology and culture.

From the early days of arcades to the advent of online multiplayer, gaming has been at the forefront of tech innovation. And now, it’s intersecting with Web3, creating a whole new layer of possibilities. We’re talking about decentralized economies, player-owned assets, and games that are more than just games – they’re communities, marketplaces, and even platforms for social change.

And if you think this is all just hype, think again.

Big names are diving into Web3 gaming, and the potential for innovation is off the charts. Investment in blockchain gaming startups reached $476 million in the first half of 2021 alone. It’s not just a new chapter for gaming; it’s a whole new game – ba-dum-tss!

*Quick heads-up: Some of you mentioned you couldn’t access a couple of LinkedIn posts from the last edition. Sorry for that, click here to get the full scoop.

High Score: The numbers you (probably) didn’t know

You have probably read somewhere how much Sony rakes in from PlayStation sales, or about the huge profits Riot Games pulls from League of Legends skins, or even an article detailing the deal EA Sports and FIFA used to have.

However, there are other numbers in the gaming world that might just blow your mind.

First off, it’s not just the big names like Rockstar, Microsoft, Activision Blizzard or Ubisoft making waves. There are under-the-radar names in the gaming world, and they’re stacking up some serious coin. Here are a couple of examples:

37Games: This Chinese mobile game developer is pulling in $55M+ per month. One game alone has generated over $1 billion in revenue.

Tipalti: Valued at $8.3 billion, this payment processor is the backbone for gaming giants like Twitch and Roblox.

Blockchain Capital: This crypto-focused investment firm has raised $580M in two funding rounds to invest in Web3 Gaming, DeFi and infrastructure companies.

An open-world adventure: The Global Hotspots of Web3 Gaming

Ever wondered where the Web3 gaming action is really heating up?

A Coingecko report points out that countries like the Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam are consistently making their presence felt in the top 15 for Web3 gaming interest. But let’s not overlook other Asian powerhouses: South Korea, Hong Kong, and China are also stepping up their game.

The Underdogs and the New Kids on the Block

Web3 is a game-changer because it democratizes opportunities on a global scale.

Something I keep saying is that in Web3 you don’t have to be in Hollywood to make it big in film, or in Milan to shine in fashion. You can be a game dev in Nairobi or a NFT artist in Buenos Aires.

Web3 breaks down the barriers. Let’s highlight some of the rising stars:

→ Netherlands: Burst onto the scene, doubling its search interest in Web3 gaming.

→ Kenya: A fresh face that’s climbing the ranks – In fact, Africa is a continent to watch.

→ Sri Lanka: Another newcomer making its mark in the Web3 gaming space.

→ Argentina: South America’s emerging player, showing increased interest in decentralized gaming.

These emerging markets are like the indie game devs of the Web3 world – small(er) but bursting with creativity and potential.

They’re the ones pushing boundaries, experimenting with new mechanics, and creating the next big thing.

Why should you care? Because Web3 is still a fresh player on the field, and the growth potential is off the charts. If these lesser-known companies can hit these numbers in traditional gaming, just think about the untapped opportunities in decentralized gaming. It’s not just about the big names; It’s about spotting the next big thing before the crowd does.

We’re not just talking about consoles and games; we’re talking about a global economic powerhouse.

Spotlight: Zynga’s Sugartown

There’s a ton of Web3 gaming titles we could spotlight, but today let’s focus on Zynga‘s Sugartown.

Why? Because it’s not just about the game; it’s a clear signal that big names in traditional gaming are diving into Web3. And that’s a big deal.

For those who might not know, here’s a quick summary on Zynga’s history:

2007 → Zynga was created.
2009 → FarmVille was launched, and gathered ten million active users within 2 months
2011 → Zynga Poker became the largest poker website in the world

Since then, many other successful titles have been launched and the company established itself as a major player in the mobile and social gaming scene.

And it’s important to mention Zynga’s Web3 studio, ZW3. It’s a dedicated studio within Zynga focused on Web3 game development. Their mission? To empower players with unique, fun experiences through on-chain ownership of digital collectibles and gaming items. This shows Zynga is in it for the long haul.

In a recent tweet by Matt Wolf (Zynga’s VP of Web3 gaming), Sugartown is described as a platform that could host a variety of experiences – including games.

The free NFT mint strategy has caught the eye of both Web3 degens and “traditional” gamers curious about this space, potentially setting a new trend for how NFTs are offered in the gaming space.
While I’m writing this, the floor price is sitting around 0.26 ETH (US$440). Now, that doesn’t guarantee the project’s success, but it does give us a snapshot of community sentiment

Zynga is a household name, and their entry adds some serious cred to the Web3 gaming scene. They’re not just in it for kicks; they’re building partnerships with industry leaders to keep the convo going.

I will definitely keep watching their next steps.

Just a quick note: I’m not affiliated with Zynga. Their Sugartown project is turning heads because it shows big players are taking Web3 gaming seriously. It’s still early days, but the project’s holding its value, even in a bear market.


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It’s time to level up Web3 Gaming

Alright, let’s get real. Web3 gaming has a lot of room for improvement. Most options out there are either boring or have a high entry barrier (cost, UX, setting up a wallet, you name it).

I’ve been saying this for a while now: Focus on the game first, then integrate the crypto.

Most Web3 gaming feels like slot machines on chain – boring AF.

It’s all about creating a compelling experience that keeps players coming back for more. And as for the future? The potential is limitless.

According to DappRadar, Blockchain gaming activity in Q1 2023 had an average of 791,474 daily Unique Active Wallets. And within the same period, investments in blockchain gaming and Metaverse projects surged by 12.95% to reach $739 million.

The increase in investments in blockchain gaming and metaverse projects, along with traditional gaming companies recognizing the potential of blockchain technology, suggest a promising future for the Web3 gaming space.

The future? Here’s how I see it:

A few months back, I had this mind-blowing experience with Cupra, and it got me thinking. Immersive gaming is where it’s at.

Here’s a post where I detailed my entire experience:

We’re talking about experiences that are so engaging, you forget you’re in a game. This is the future I envision for Web3 gaming. It’s not just about stacking coins or digital ownership; it’s about creating worlds that are as compelling as they are complex.

So, what’s the game plan?

First off, let’s focus on making games that are actually fun to play.

I mean, who wants to play a game that feels like a chore, right? Secondly, let’s integrate Web3 (crypto, wallets, NFTs, etc.) in a way that adds to the game, not just as a gimmick.

The brands that get this right will set the pace for the industry. And let’s not forget, the global interest in Web3 gaming is skyrocketing, from the U.S. to emerging markets like India and Brazil. The playground is huge, and it’s time to make our mark. And speaking of different markets…

The next level: Uncharted territories

With interest in Web3 gaming growing globally, from the U.S. to emerging (and huge) markets like India and Brazil, the playing field is wide open.

Ready to jump in? The Web3 world is your playground. Whether you’re a developer, a gamer, or just someone looking to invest in the next big thing, now’s the time to build, explore, and make your mark. Let’s roll!

Level 8 completed!

And that’s it for this week, folks!

We’ve only scratched the surface of the vast and rich landscape that is Web3 gaming. Trust me, this is a topic we’ll be diving back into in future editions of the Wild West of Web3.

Whether you’re a dev crafting the next big game, a marketer strategizing the next viral campaign, or just an enthusiast hungry for what’s next, there’s a whole universe to explore.

Stay tuned for Level 9, where we’ll dig even deeper into the Web3 universe. Catch you next week!

Diego Borgo

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