A Web3 game console is a bad idea at the worst possible time

Despite the ongoing crypto crash, a new crypto project with dubious claims has emerged: Polyumbilling itself as the first “multi-channel console for Web3 games”.

Web3 refers to the universe of self-referential projects aimed at integrating crypto and driving wider adoption of speculative digital tokens. If that doesn’t seem useful, it’s probably because even his biggest boosters difficult to give concrete explanations. Still, the industry has spawned games, many of which are labeled “play-to-earn” and include obvious attempts at monetization, as opposed to the game-changing innovations that Web3 advocates insist their offerings.

GRIT, a Western battle royale featured in Polium promotional materials and the first crypto-centric game on the Epic Store, had a poor launch as players rejected its horse NFTs. Others, like play-to-earn games Axie Infini, saw their in-game economies completely collapse as token inflation and declining user activity rendered every digital asset worthless.

However, that didn’t stop Polium from promising a dedicated console and controller for Web3 games. In recent days, however, backlash and criticisms have already resulted in changes to the project, its design, and the promised features.

A few different things raised red flags for observers. The first is the fact that the product is not expected to launch until 2024 to Polium pass holders – people who purchase an unreleased NFT collection for an unknown price that Polium promises will grant early access to the console and crypto rewards – and 2025 for the general public. That’s a long way off, suggesting the product is essentially vaporware right now, though Polium says it’ll have a prototype soon. The project’s logo at launch is also indistinguishable from the Nintendo Gamecube, and Polium claimed it would incorporate “TouchID”, which is a trademark of Apple, even including Apple’s own logo for the feature.

On Monday, Polium sought to respond to criticism and “clear up some things” about the project. First they “did not copy Ninetendo’s Gamecube logo” and pointed out that there are “several companies that use a similar logo”, but said he would come up with an original one. While Polium was silent its use of Apple’s TouchIDit quietly changed the name of the feature to “Scanner” on its website and changed its fingerprint image.

Another big problem is that there just aren’t many fun or functional Web3 games to play right now. The most striking examples have been resounding failures: Axie Infinity spat due to inflated token supply and inability to attract new users to offer exit liquidity to old users. It’s also barely a game, and the most purchased “players” usually hire other people to play for them. So-called metaverses like Decentraland and The Sandbox are made up of notoriously empty, janky, submarines.second life virtual spaces. Polium has insisted that there will definitely be games to play, however, and is in talks with web3 developers.

Polium also insisted that the team has “hardware and software experience” and were building not just for Web3, but for themselves. What’s been revealed so far doesn’t inspire much confidence, although that hasn’t stopped the project from coming up with some promising features that might not be possible initially.

Polium did not respond to Motherboard’s request for comment.