Blockchain gaming company Azra Games is taking a different approach to NFTs in Web3 games, focusing on the gameplay itself rather than the crypto elements. In a recent interview, Azra Games founder and CEO Mark Otero said Web3 games need to be so good that people adopt it for the gameplay not for NFTs or its in-game tokens."Web3 is not at the foreground or forefront of the players' experience," he said during a recent interview with Decrypt. "In fact, we must build a game so good people don't care. And they shouldn't know they are playing a Web3 game."Otero added that the Web3 elements of a game should reveal themselves only after players "fall in love" with it, enhancing the user experience and bringing additional value to the game. He said this unique vision was part of the reason Azra received investment from venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), NFX, Coinbase Ventures, and Play Ventures.Otero, a former general manager at global gaming giant Electronic Arts, founded Azra Games in 2022 with the goal to create games that incorporate Web3 elements like NFTs and in-game tokens. The company has raised a total of $25 million to date. Its latest fundraising round was in February this year when the company raised $10 million at an undisclosed valuation. At the time, the company said it was working on a game called Legions & Legends. “Legions & Legends is an opportunity for us to create something with a potential new business model for a new platform,” Otero said.Otero is working with fellow entrepreneurs Sonny Mayugba and Travis Boudreaux. The company has also hired veterans from Capital Games.Otero Shows Skepticism About Play-to-Earn GamesDuring the recent interview, Otero also expressed skepticism regarding the concept of paly-to-earn, a blockchain gaming mechanic where players earn crypto tokens as rewards for completing tasks, winning battles, and competing against other players. He said there are different player types. In the first place, there are traditional players who are looking for entertainment value and are "intrinsically motivated" to play a game. However, crypto native players have different motivations. According to Otero, these players are often "extrinsically motivated," meaning they seek to earn money in return for playing a game. "Our philosophy has always been gameplay, entertainment value, and fun first. Period. Why? Because that is sustainable."Otero's statement comes as blockchain games have seen a sharp drop in the number of users and trading volume over the past couple of months.
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