YGG Web3 Games Summit: Building the Growth and Future of Web3 Gaming in PH

There are six sectors that are driving the digital economy in the Philippines, according to Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Jocelle Batapa-Sigue at the recently concluded YGG Web3 Games Summit. “The second sector after transport is gaming, and it means that we really have a very robust and vibrant gaming industry,” she noted.

The first-ever YGG Web3 Games Summit, organized by Yield Guild Games, was held in Bonifacio Global City from November 18 to 25 with the support of Hyperplay, Aura, Globe, and others. The summit brought together over 90 local and international Web3 game developers, content creators, esports athletes, Web3 VCs, and various government officials for a week-long celebration of Web3 gaming and showcased the community committed to securing the Philippines’ role as the home of Web3 gaming adoption.

YGG Web3 Games Summit

YGG Pilipinas Country Lead Mench Dizon described the summit as “the Web3 games event to watch out for,” with the summit being the equivalent of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco but for Web3 games. 

We need to design for the future that we want, starting with Web3

It was perhaps Batapa-Sigue who left the audience with the strongest rallying cry for the future of Web3 gaming in the Philippines: “We need to create the future that we want.”

“I am challenging this generation, this innovative start-up generation. Let’s move from 0 to 1, let’s create and start things, and the government is here to help you experiment. Make sure if you fail, you fail wisely and you pivot immediately because that is what we need. We need to be creative, we need to design for the future that we want, starting with Web3,” she said.

“We take a look at the community and we search for champions, and so I am happy that I am now in the midst of them, you have Atty. Nathan Marasigan, founding trustee of Web3 Association Philippines, and of course Mr. Gabby Dizon here of Yield Guild Games and all of the other Web3 founders. And we are happy that we have this thriving community of champions and founders,” continued Batapa-Sigue, closing “What we do is we empower and equip these champions, we catalyze them, we look for platforms and ways to put the blessings of the government towards you coming together and creating your own ecosystems.”

The Philippines remains the beating heart of Web3 gaming

In a strong assertion of the Philippines’ dominance in the global Web3 gaming ecosystem, Sky Mavis co-founder Jeffrey “Jihoz” Zirlin took the stage to announce the return of Axie Classic and acknowledged the pivotal role Filipinos have played in the success of Axie Infinity and also the Ronin blockchain which has third party games being built on it, such as the current hit Web3 game Pixels. 

“In the last day, 82,000 Filipinos have played Pixels, and I am looking directly at the Google Analytics data. These are real people, these are Filipinos. Ronin is back. The Philippines is back. It is clear, as we enter a new cycle, that the Philippines remains the beating heart of Web3 gaming,” he said.

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Photo: YGG Web3 Games Summit/Facebook

It is not just Sky Mavis looking to the Philippines for Web3 adoption since the local community is far ahead of the adoption curve. “Asian countries are markets that really understand Web3, blockchain, and user-generated content and how they can engage into it and leverage it, not only from the brand perspective but also from the creators’ and player’s perspectives,” stated Sebastien Borget, The Sandbox Co-Founder. 

Other global developers took this opportunity to test and launch a slew of new Web3 games in the Philippines via the YGG Web3 Games Summit. Among them were Ragnarok Landverse, a free-to-play Web3 game that serves as the follow-up to Ragnarok Online, the MMORPG much loved by by Filipino gamers for almost two decades, PROJECT XENO, Parallel, Star Atlas, Nine Chronicles M, MetaCene, Riftstorm, Cryptopia, Mighty Action Heroes and more.

With the global appetite for Web3 and cryptocurrency dulled by regulatory uncertainty in many parts of the world, the national government’s presence, coupled with the impressive list of international Web3 game developers present, signaled an exciting shift in sentiment.

“For the next two years at least, all of these games will first launch in Southeast Asia. When it comes to Southeast Asia, the country that leads in terms of Web3 gaming adoption is the Philippines,” Dizon said.

Bringing global opportunities to Filipino Web3 gamers

Serving as the heart of the country’s vibrant Web3 gaming community are the local guilds who continued to play Web3 games throughout different market conditions. For Dizon, the summit could not have been more timely, with such an impressive roster of hot Web3 games launching at the summit, gaming guilds are back stronger than ever. With these new Web3 games being launched, many on par with the quality of traditional games, he foresees that Filipino gamers more accustomed to mobile and console gaming will explore the benefits of Web3 gaming.

“For all of us here, we want millions of people to come in. We want the games to be fun and be accessible to all types of gamers and we want to introduce them to Web3 elements when they delve deeper,” he said. Dizon also explained that some Web3 games are free to play, with gamers given the chance to own a part of the virtual economy by purchasing in-game non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Adding to that local appeal with free-to-play elements, are games like Anito Legends, a strategic auto-battler inspired by Filipino mythology and developed by Filipinos but with global appeal. Anito Legends co-founder and CMO Jayvee Fernandez emphasized the need to introduce a truly Pinoy game to which Filipinos can relate and connect. 

“We’re making use of Filipino folklore, tikbalang the saranay, the alan, all of these mythical creatures put together,” he said.

To ensure that Filipinos are able to take full advantage of this global opportunity, YGG has a variety of structured programs to build up skills and reward the community through education and achievement initiatives like the Guild Advancement Program (GAP) and Superquests, and as well as events like the YGG Web3 Games Summit and the various community events they host year round. The summit proved a valuable opportunity to reinforce the viability of pursuing a career in Web3, through the live learning sessions by YGG’s Web3 Metaversity program which was open to all attendees during the web3 gaming expo.

For those taking their Web3 gaming more seriously, the summit also included cosplay competitions and esports tournaments. Supporting all those who chose to get competitive in their Web3 gaming, legendary boxer Manny Pacquiao was on hand to award a total of $100,000 cash prizes to the winners of the PROJECT XENO Pro Tour Manila esports tournament held as part of the YGG Web3 Games Summit.

The celebrity support for Web3 gaming didn’t end there. Barangay Ginebra San Miguel players Jared Dillinger and Tony Bishop, meanwhile, delighted the conference delegates earlier in the week with a game showcase of the co-op top-down action shooter Riftstorm live on stage.

“I’ve been lucky enough to build a career doing what I love, playing basketball, but not every Filipino gets to do that. I see Web3, especially Web3 gaming, as a chance for every Filipino to learn about technology and build a better future for themselves doing what they love, playing games.” said Dillinger. “As we saw the YGG Web3 Games Summit, Filipinos dominate Web3 gaming today and the whole world knows it, but if we double down now on education for players and support for the industry, there will be no stopping us in the future.”