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February 1, 2023

Web3 unlocks a new business model for gaming: Volume

These are the 10 most traded items in the most popular online multiplayer game - Runescape: 

With several million active users billions of items are traded between players daily. Using Gold Pieces (dubbed gp) as an intermediary, anyone can easily buy and sell their loot from raiding dungeons, fishing, chopping trees, etc.

Runescape does not allow the trading of in game items for real world money. Doing so can even land your account a complete ban with no questions asked. Although in-game/real-world trading is against the rules, it still happens on several sites and forums: 1 million gp has a street value of $0.03 USD. In OldSchool Runescape, a nostalgic spinoff of the main game, the price is about $0.34 USD for 1 million gp. That’s real money!

Let’s check those volumes again: For example, chronotes (one of the most traded items), cost 207 gp each and did a monthly volume of 1.7 million last month. Which would mean that using the market value of 1 million gp, chronotes alone are doing about $11,500 in trade volume a month. 

In OldSchool Runescape gold is less inflationary and more time consuming to get. In the past month, 1.9 Billion Zulrah Scales items have been traded. That's the equivalent of $120,000 USD in monthly volume. There are nearly 100,000 different kinds of items between the two games. Total trade volume is most likely equivalent to more than $50 Million USD a year. Put another way, that’s more than 1/2000th the yearly GDP of the US state of West Virginia.

What can we learn from this?

  1. The in-game economies of successful multiplayer games are extremely valuable. 
  2. Game Studios could earn enough revenue to be sustainable by charging a small fee, like 5% or less, on the volume being traded on their in-game exchanges without having to add any type of microtransactions or subscription fees.

A game studio earning on the success of its in-game economy could negate the need for microtransactions or other more extractive forms of monetization that have become more popular in games recently. Allowing the assets in a game to trade against real world currency would let players unlock the actual value behind their gp, runes and Zulrah Scales. An easy way to implement this in practice would be to give players the option to tokenize their items and permissionlessly buy and sell them on a transparent exchange similar to uniswap.

Keyp is inspired to build tools which help game studios non-extractively benefit from their in-game economies and empower players to truly own their valuable digital goods.

Web3 can enable new business models which have never been possible before.

If this sounds interesting to you, Keyp is hiring developers to make this infrastructure a reality and currently bringing on more game studios as partners. Please reach out!

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