Introducing: Dark Tunnels

Matt Dion
4 min readJul 28, 2023

Bringing a pragmatic, business-oriented approach to the under-explored world of fully on-chain games.

Source: Twitter

This is the introduction to a brand new publication, entitled Dark Tunnels. You can learn more about Dark Tunnels and subscribe HERE.

Dark Tunnels will be hosted on beehiiv, but I’ll occasionally cross-post here. Medium will remain the home to all of my research, collaborations, and other non-Dark Tunnels publications.

Thank you for your support!

Fully on-chain games. Crypto-native games. Autonomous worlds. On-chain realities. Eternal games. Infinite games. Web3 games.

Though the lexicon is far from settled, the fascination around the emerging cadre of games designed to be maximally on-chain cannot be ignored.

These experiences represent the truest manifestation of the decentralized principles of web3 as applied to gaming, yet they are also the least understood by the industry at large.

My goal is to change that.

In order to promote an increased understanding of the opportunities presented by on-chain gaming, I will use this newsletter to examine the current state of the space through a pragmatic, business-oriented lens.

Admittedly, this nascent field is currently little more than a niche within a niche. As of Q1 2023, there were fewer than 800k daily unique active wallets making transactions across the entirety of the blockchain gaming sector, which includes both on-chain games and the larger crop of “web2.5” titles currently dominating the discourse. Compare that to the more than 3B gamers worldwide, and it’s easy to wonder why business leaders should care about fully on-chain games at all.

I would venture to guess that there are fewer than 10,000 people worldwide actively working in this tiny corner of the gaming universe. The real number is likely closer to 1,000. A recent FOGDAO podcast estimated that “less than 50” teams were working on these types of games. As a point of comparison, Activision reportedly staffed upwards of 3,000 developers on the most recent Call of Duty title alone.

In addition to being small in scope, explorations of fully on-chain gaming have thus far been largely academic exercises. There is nothing…

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Matt Dion

Always Scheming is the product of Matt Dion, a product manager, writer, and games industry professional.