Change will be led and fought across extended reality . The Giants are trillion-dollar tech behemoths, currently sitting in the center of the gaming world, bending the rules toward their benefit. The Unicorns are upstarts relative to the Giants, yet enormously powerful through the strength of their technology, IP and communities. The Pixies are a combination of games, companies and individuals, whose influence is just beginning to be felt today but whose impact on the ecosystem will be both lasting and enormous.
Like a session in Minecraft, Fortnite or even on Twitch, it’s not necessarily a linear path. The relationship between tech Giants and gaming Unicorns is much like the battle between millennials and Gen Z. Apple’s App Store. The tolls Apple charges developers/programmers for products sold in the Metaverse became too much for Epic. Yet, Epic’s court battle over the Apple tax is not only about sales taxes on skins in Fortnite.
In 2020, Apple generated $72 billion in revenue in the App Store. Of the $40+ billion in gaming app sales in 2020, Apple kept approximately $13 billion in tax.
Apple has opened many eyes in and outside the industry to the rules of the App
Giants like Microsoft, Sony and Amazon are erecting walls around their worlds, solidifying the leverage and advantages they’ve built under the current rules, attempting to stem the tide of decentralization and regulation. PC game maker Krafton, and the NFT visionaries at Dapper are inventing products and creating content designed for a worldwide extended reality, meant to be open and limitless. They work with the Giants out of necessity but are inventing for a decentralized world. Roblox epitomizes this species of Unicorn, especially given their cult following among Gen Z, their currency-based economy, community-based ecosystem and creator-based economy.
They embody the future of gaming and now control a valuable corner in the Metaverse. Roblox also personifies the biggest challenge among gaming Unicorns. Fortnite, Roblox, Minecraft, Animal Crossing and most of today’s Metaverse-based content are not the Metaverse. The biggest threat to Unicorns is not from Giants, it’s becoming Giants.
The fault line between resourceful Unicorns and monolithic Giants is a key driver of gaming’s change. A fully realized reality, built on Ethereum, where land is open for bidding, the creator economy thrives, and the platform is owned by the community itself. While still limited by the standards set by Ready Player One and Snow Crash, Decentraland and other Pixies like Somnium Space and Axie Infinity are staking claim to prime neighborhoods in what they see as the real, coming Metaverse.
There is another powerful group of Pixies changing gaming’s rules: Generation
Generation Z games as differently as they do everything else. Gen Z, the most diverse generation in history, has little memory of a time before smartphones and feels entirely at home in the Metaverse, because it is where they grew up. They are using Fortnite despite Apple. They use Discord like pirate radio.
The Epic case is the tip of the iceberg of the seismic change coming to gaming.
To track that change, follow the battle for control of today’s Metaverse between Giants and Unicorns and look to the emergent models and storyworlds being built by gaming Pixies—paying close attention to the mood and movement of GenZ.
Original article from Evan Shapiro and Doug Scott « Giants, Unicorns and Pixies: Shaping Gaming’s New Rules »