Why we're betting big on blockchain gaming

Launching a new gaming division and announcing Atif Khan as our new VP of Gaming.

The next evolution of games is web3 — and thirdweb is here for it

Last year, we partnered up with Coinbase to launch thirdweb's GamingKit: the all-in-one toolkit for developers to build best-in-class web3 games.

Now we’re doubling down on gaming — launching a new gaming division within thirdweb to make it easier than ever for game developers to build onchain. Here's how.

Why build games on the blockchain?

Gaming has seen explosive growth over the last decade — and in 2020 alone, gamers spent over $54 billion on in-game items. Games like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox have built massive global communities through in-game economies, unlockable items, and open marketplaces.

But building the infrastructure to support all of this takes years alone dramatically increasing the barriers to entry for new game developers.

As a result, developers are turning to web3 to make games much faster, cheaper, and easier to build — with the blockchain serving as an underlying platform & replacing the backend systems that have taken years to create for traditional games.

With innovation accelerating faster than ever to achieve scalability on Ethereum, Layer 2 networks are making it more accessible to build on the blockchain. And with the highly-anticipated Cancun upgrade coming to Ethereum, which will cut transaction costs by 10x, the blockchain is about to see its largest paradigm shift yet:

Rather than simply adding a layer of complexity for games, the blockchain can now serve as a best-in-class platform that replaces traditional backend infrastructure & supercharges the game development process.

Building on the blockchain reduces game development time from years to weeks, with hundreds of studios now using it to store data & run the games’ logic so that they can focus on what matters most: creating great games while also enabling true digital ownership for players with interoperable, blockchain-based in-game assets.

We’re doubling down on gaming — here’s how

We launched thirdweb’s GamingKit in December 2022 to empower game developers to build best-in-class web3 games. Since then, we’ve:

  • Continued to build the most performant Unity SDK on the market — with new features shipping on it weekly, and plans to bring them to Unreal Engine
  • Powered hundreds of onchain games — working with industry leaders like Pixels, Gala Games, and Fractal
  • Used GamingKit to build our own full-scale web3 game in just 3 weeks

And now, we’re excited to announce that we’re launching a brand new gaming division within thirdweb: bringing on Atif Khan onto the team as our new VP of Gaming — a former Facebook executive with 15+ years of experience in the industry.

Learn more about all of these updates below, and what’s coming for thirdweb Gaming.

Powering best-in-class web3 games with thirdweb GamingKit

thirdweb GamingKit: SDKs, Smart Contracts, & Web3 Tools

We believe web3 is the future of gaming — but for it to reach mass adoption, game developers need the tools to build world-class blockchain-based gaming experiences that rival or improve those of traditional games.

That’s why we built GamingKit: the all-in-one toolkit for developers to build great web3 games.

Launched at the end of 2022, we’ve continued to invest in our Gaming tools over the past 6 months — building the most performant web3 gaming SDK on the market, with powerful features like:

  • Cross-Platform Support: Our Unity SDK supports web, mobile (iOS, Android), desktop (Mac, Windows), console, and AR/VR game development — on any EVM-compatible blockchain.
  • Seamless Wallet Experience: Our Wallet SDK enables games to tailor their “Connect Wallet” experiences to any audience — with support for 170+ of the most popular wallets, web2 social login integration, invisible wallet experiences with gasless & signless features, and the tools to integrate fully-customizable ERC-4337 smart wallets into any game.
  • Web3 UI Components: Our Unity SDK allows you to drag-and-drop powerful web3 features into your game easily — with pre-fabs for Connect Wallet buttons, NFT renderers, and more.
  • Mobile Wallet Creation: We have natively integrated Walletconnect to give users the ability to create a wallet by scanning a QR code on their phones. Further seamless onboarding for non-web3 native users.
  • Storage Support: Easily upload & download files to IPFS and manage all of your storage needs without having to leave our dashboard.
  • Smart Contracts for Any Use Case: Seamlessly implement NFTs, marketplaces, smart wallets, and other onchain components with our pre-built audited smart contracts — built with custom extensions for any use case imaginable.
  • Built-In Monetization: Create multiple revenue streams with easy fiat-to-crypto on-ramp (Coinbase Pay integration), marketplaces with configurable royalty fees, and splits for revenue sharing.

The best part of all: Our tools are completely modular — meaning that developers can use our full stack, or they can opt to use some of our products & fill in the gaps with other providers of their choice.

Game developers are starting to realize that users want modularity, they want choice. You don't need to be stuck or locked into one wallet–whether a smart, local, custodial, or non-custodial. Users have different preferences.

– Atif Khan, VP of Gaming @ thirdweb

We’re excited to continue building the best Gaming SDK for any web3 game — with plans to continue upgrading our Unity offering & bringing the same best-in-class tools to Unreal Engine.

Learn more & get started with thirdweb GamingKit — it’s free:

Cutting game development time with web3, from years to weeks

Blockchain-based games have a reputation for being less immersive & fun than traditional games — but as builders at the forefront of the space, we’ve seen this change dramatically in recent years.

thirdweb’s GamingKit has already been used to launch hundreds of web3 games — accelerating development for industry leaders including Pixels, Gala Games, and Fractal:

Pixels Builds an On-Chain Ecosystem for its Open-World Web3 Game
Pixels is an open-world game built on the blockchain, using web3 to enable digital ownership for its players & build an ecosystem. Learn more.
DreamWorks launches NFT avatars for web3 games with Gala
Gala is reimagining your favorite DreamWorks Trolls characters as NFT avatars in the VOXverse. Learn more about the successful launch.
Fractal, web3 Platform and Marketplace for Blockchain Games, Expands to EVM Chains
thirdweb is proud to power Fractal’s expansion to EVM, allowing game studios to unlock blockchain utility on the Ethereum ecosystem. Learn more.

And to put this outdated stereotype to rest, we took things a step further. Last month, we used GamingKit to build Web3 Warriors — our own full-scale role-playing game — to demonstrate what blockchain gaming should feel like.

Gameplay from Web3 Warriors, an onchain RPG built by thirdweb
Gameplay from Web3 Warriors, an onchain RPG built by thirdweb

We built the game using blockchain tech instead of the traditional backend infrastructure — accelerating development and letting us incorporate powerful web3-enabled features, such as:

  • An in-game currency to buy & sell items, powered by smart contracts
  • Digital items that players truly own onchain, creating an open ecosystem
  • Automatic wallet generation for players when they create a username
  • No transaction fees or signature popups for great gameplay & web3 UX

Building the backend systems needed for a full-scale game would have taken us years. But by replacing them with the blockchain, we were able to cut our development time dramatically: shipping Web3 Warriors in just 3 weeks.

Learn more about how we used the blockchain to build a full-scale game:

How we built a full-scale Web3 survival game in 3 weeks
A technical deep dive into what it takes to build a great onchain game

Introducing Atif Khan — joining as thirdweb’s VP of Gaming

Atif Khan, VP of Gaming at thirdweb

Accelerating the transformational shift towards web3 gaming requires top-tier leadership & industry expertise: That’s why we’re excited to announce that Atif Khan has joined thirdweb as VP of Gaming!

With 15+ years of experience in the gaming industry, Atif is joining us after spending 8 years at Facebook — most recently serving as Head of Mid-Market & In-App Ads for Global Gaming — before entering the web3 gaming space.

We want to build a great, comprehensive one-stop shop so that developers don't have to go to seven or eight different places.

– Atif Khan, VP of Gaming @ thirdweb

We’re excited for Atif to lead the charge in bringing great games to the blockchain — prioritizing immersive gameplay while enabling developers to incorporate powerful web3 features into their games. This is the first step towards our broader goal of building a fully-fledged gaming division within thirdweb.

The future of gaming is web3

As we continue to invest in gaming, we’re excited to power the next evolution of games — using the blockchain to accelerate development for builders and enable digital ownership for players.

I think over the next 18 months, we’ll start to see a lot less talk about the blockchain perspective and more about what the blockchain is actually bringing in terms of value to users and developers on both sides.

– Atif Khan, VP of Gaming @ thirdweb

If you’d like to learn more about how to accelerate the game development process with the blockchain, reach out to the team. And if you’re ready to build, get started with thirdweb’s web3 gaming tools & SDKs — they’re free!