Don't Sleep on Social Sims

To tease one of the key genres I highlight in the upcoming gaming report on Web3 mobile, here is a breakdown of the sleeping giant that is social simulation games.

Web3 Mobile Games Table

First, WTF is a social sim? If anyone’s played Club Penguin or Habo Hotel, then you already know what I’m talking about. Social Sims allow users to create a personalized virtual avatar and interact with anons in digital environments. It is this highly social environment that makes them a perfect fit for blockchain integration.

IMVU, for example, first launched more than 20 years ago and got a re-release on mobile in 2014. In 2021, they launched VCOIN, a fixed-price ERC-20 that was the 3rd and final crypto-centric token to receive a “no action letter” from the SEC. It was also the only “no action letter” to allow for withdrawals from the platform.

Now IMVU is in the process of slowly onboarding its reported >7M monthly active users into Web3. With over 20M UGC virtual items being traded every month on the in-app marketplace, once it completes its suite of NFT creator tools and starts bridging assets on-chain IMVU will immediately become one of the largest dapps by volume.

Why should you care? Apart from the adverse effects this will likely have on their host chain (app-chain TBC), IMVU’s management has mentioned the launch of a fixed supply fungible token in the near future. The utility is mostly unknown, but the fact that a platform of this size is introducing a volatile asset to new onboarded digital natives makes it worth keeping an eye on until we know more.

There is another, bigger social sim that’s building a Web3 product worth keeping on your radar, but I’ll leave that one in the full report, which will be released soon.

TBH, I am surprised to see IMVU is still around after all these years. Is there any indication of bot spam in their game - like in bot players or market volume? I am always worried how much of these game metrics are bots vs how much are people playing the game.

bot players 100%

bot volume hard to tell

There is no clear value in bot trading for trading sake afaik but there is certainly a bunch of crap items listed so take that number with a pinch of salt (just image how many white t-shirts they have). That said, this is a problem for all UGC platforms and curation is becoming increasingly important.

On the topic of curation, I haven't seen anyone build it yet (apart from a few systems in games like Shrapnel) but UGC curation is an interesting area that blockchain could add value - increased transparency and effective value distribution