Steem is a bit of the red headed step child in the land of crypto. The token launch has a bad rep, Steemit leadership has been questionable, the witnesses haven't always provided much utility, and promotion of the blockchain seems scammy and spammy. AND YET!!!! We're still here, new apps are coming every day, and the there's a ton of people that have built and continue to build projects here!!!
Why is that?
Steem, despite some flaws, has some pretty awesome things going for it.
Community- The number one thing Steem has is a real community of people. Whether we're gathering hundreds of people for Steemfest, hundreds of people for radio shows, or seeing a hundred thousand or more posts a day what Steem has is people. Essentially all of crypto is a marketplace, and the hardest part of starting a marketplace is getting people to populate it to begin with. Steem has done that better than any other token out there. You can find active Discord's with tens of thousands of people in them and now the apps themselves are getting active communities too. You're going to have to sell your products to people. Steem has people!
Technology- There's still some great complaints about Steem, but it's important to note that there's some great technology behind it. It's a product that has some challenges in front of it to scale, but they seem managable rather than impossible. People will continue to worry about us scaling until we've scaled! That said, 3 second block times, free transactions, easily handled transactions are all major deals. They work at the speed that games and apps need to support their operation.
A note about the free thing... it's a pain in the ass to play a game where you have to spend money every time you want to do something in the game. You want to play a match, buy an item, or do the thing? Each time it costs money to be allowed to do it. That's a bad user experience. With Steem you have to stake Steem, but once you have everything is free.
DEV Needs- C++ devs can cost you more than a NYC attorney these days. What's amazing about the way steem is built is that with langauges that web developers have been using for the past 20 years you can build apps on the blockchain. Development is fast, inexpensive, and the developers are plentiful in the world. It took two months to get the first iteration of Steem Monsters out the door. You still have 10 months of building your own side chain if you put your game on ethereum before you're even ready to start working on your main app. I think C++ devs might look down there nose at JS devs, but it's a little silly to me while JS devs are running laps around them.
An ecosystem of tools- Steemmonsters didn't have to build a way to accept other cryptos. Tools for that already existed. I didn't have to find brand new users from scratch. There was already PALnet with 20k Steemians in it. We did build a token platform and we did build a key service, but now those are two more parts of the ecosystem you don't have to put in there. Now with things like steem ninja there are easy ways to do account creation. Steem has a number of apps and tools that exist already that make it easy to do the thing that you need to do. If you look it's highly possible there's already some code for the thing you want in a github somewhere.
How can you make money?
Ok, here's some simple steps.
- Get a team together. One person is going to manage the community and one person is going to lead the dev work.
- The community person starts a Discord group and starts gather people there through posting and networking.
- The dev gets a project built with the minimum amount of work necessary to launch the game and iterate on V 0.00.01.
Some requirements for your Steem app
You're going to want to integrate with payment and login solutions right away-
Fabian has Steem Connect
Jesta has Vessel
and Yapapmatt/Stoodkev have Steem Keychain
Putting your keys into a website manually to buy an in game item is like giving your bank account and password to your CVS teller when you want to buy deodorant. It's dumb, and people won't trust it. So, make sure you're adding ways to interact with your app that don't involve manually copy/pasting keys into the site. Imagine if you're hacked... even with your best intentions you could be putting your customers at risk.
Get a simple working prototype out the door.
The product or service you're offering has to cost money. If it doesn't cost money somewhere it's not a business. Start by just accepting Steem, but you can integrate with tools like blocktrades.us, coinpayments.net, and paypal to accept other types of currencies for your project. Fortunately, Steem payment integration should be pretty easy to setup for you so you can start monetizing this stuff right away.
This one takes a little care, but I strongly suggest making your in game items or vouchers for services you provide tradable tokens. Like kickstarter you can even presell some of your tokens to get development money to get the project off the ground. If you're game has a fungible resource I recommend getting a token made for it. The caveat to this is you have to make sure it isn't a security token or you'll likely face consequences. So, check with an attorney to make sure you're not offering a security (The Howey Test is a good place to start doing your own research on the topic).
Financial incentive for players
You're going to want to make sure to reward players for playing your game, using your app, and referring people.
I just want to shoot some praise over to the the drugwars.io team. @hightouch and @fabien have a winner over there. They've gotten almost four thousand people playing and their account is sitting at 70k Steem after 7 days. That's a great start. They've got a functioning website, an easy to play and easy to learn game, a community gathered, and they've started raking in some cash.
You can do this!
Honestly, this isn't rocket science. I imagine that the blockchain gaming industry is going to look like the video games industry back in 1980s. We're going to have a fair amount of low visual effects games that are fun to play, but a lighter on amazing graphics than what your xbox offers. That said, these games have the ability to provide direct value to players in ways that modern games fail to do that. I'm waiting for Oregon Trail or something like it to get released here. I'm looking for some simple RPGs. The people that get these games out the door in an alpha early will get rewarded. Then when there's a big more money in some of these companies and games we'll see more high end games come out. It won't take a decade... just one nice price pump and some development work after that.