AcadArena’s Kevin Hoang believes free-to-play is the future for Web3
He's also says the Manager-Scholar model is "not healthy"
From collegiate esports to web3, that has been the journey of AcadArena’s co-founder Kevin Hoang. Kevin Hoang’s esports resume started with him becoming an analyst for the professional esports team Team Solo Mid (TSM) before founding the Washington Gaming Association and landing a major career opportunity with Twitch as its Scholastic Program manager. Now with AcadArena, Kevin Hoang’s and his current organization’s trajectory isn’t just limited to collegiate esports as they are already knocking at the door of web3. Hoang recently appeared on United Gamers Cryptalk podcast to talk about web3 games and how Free-to-Play is the future:
What is web3? Simply put web3 is the next evolution of the internet which moves it away from corporation controlled dataservers and into decentralized blockchain technology. The term is said to be first coined by Gavin Wood co-founder of Polkadot and since then the idea grew and is perhaps nearing its full completion today. In present time, elements of web3 are starting to become the norm with assets such as cryptocurrency, NFTs and, of course, for gamers, play-to-earn games. Play-to-earn or blockchain gaming has seen a meteoric rise that, according to the BGA Block Game Report, by the end of 2021 it accounted for 49% usage share in the blockchain industry.
What makes a good web3 game? Kevin Hoang, who shared his thoughts on the latest episode of CrypTalk, believes that free to play is the way to go. While the majority of the new web3 or blockchain games do require an initial purchase with amounts that go beyond the usual USD 60 price point for traditional games, Kevin believes that “free-to-play is the most powerful user acquisition tool ever”. Currently players are onboarded to web3 games through a “manager-scholar’ model or what is also known as ‘scholarships’ where ‘managers’ are the ones who put up the money to acquire NFT assets while ‘scholars’ will be the one to utilize or play them. A set share of earnings is then negotiated and agreed upon between ‘scholar’ and ‘manager’, and then the play-to-earn loop begins. Kevin thinks that this model isn’t exactly optimal, stating that the Manager-scholar dynamic is “not a healthy long term because it puts a middle man between the players and the game”. In addition to this. Kevin also adds that players “shouldn’t be able to whale and become the best players in like an hour” but rather a good web3 game should “become that place where you can become whoever you want in that game and then through your skill and through your time and dedication you can make a decent amount of living from”.
Aside from free to play, Kevin also states that the game should have credible people behind it, and ones that are well experienced not just in game development but also in cryptocurrency. Another criteria that Kevin thinks makes a good web3 game is also through its community. During the Cryptalk episode, Kevin shares some of his experience in visiting community channels for web3 game projects like Discord and how it has been full of “whitelist grinders”. These types of members join community channels for projects simply to ‘farm the Discord whitelist’ which is also a common thing for majority of new web3, NFT or play-to-earn game projects and go as far as inviting not just friends but even relatives just to “pump the numbers to make it feel artificial”. Kevin’s idea is that a community channel, like a Discord channel, should have people who are actually into the project and can help promote meaningful conversations and responses, and not spam or in his words “the spammy stuff”.
Aside from blockchain gaming, Kevin also gives a little insight into what AcadArena has been up to, not just for collegiate esports, but for web3 as well.