So you might have heard about the guy who spent a cool $650,000 (in wrapped Ether) to buy a yacht. A digital yacht. A clunky, buggy-rendering 3d model of a boat. More specifically, an NFT of a yacht to be used for an upcoming game (Sandbox, which you might have heard of, is still in closed alpha).
That’s right. Someone spent well over half a million dollars for an NFT for a game that hasn’t even been released. And it doesn’t even look pretty enough to be put on anyone’s display screen.
Bonkers? Maybe. When you consider that you could actually go out and buy an actual luxury yacht to set sail on for half that price. But while the price tags of NFTs (that’s non-fungible tokens in case you needed reminding) may range from being on the verge of unreasonable to criminally exorbitant, the fact that the crypto-wealthy aren’t balking at seemingly unstoppable markups in prices tells us a few things.
For one, the hype surrounding NFTs isn’t dying out. It’s spreading like wildfire. Though perhaps the more important takeaway here is that it’s also hard proof that NFT utility in gaming — specifically, early prototype games built around a metaverse concept — is about to become a very real thing.
While the merits of the metaverse are theorised, the possibilities are most certainly boundless… except by the constraints of existing technology. Sandbox previews already show us the graphical limitations. The newfangled devices that Meta (Facebook) and other big players are keen to show off… unfortunately look out of reach of many gamers’ wallets.
But there are other low-hanging fruit that can already be marked as easy wins for NFT gaming.
Putting players into the revenue equation
As we’ve discussed in past articles, players being able to participate in the huge revenue generation models of the gaming industry is a huge thing in itself.
Before blockchain and NFTs smashed their way into the global gaming scene with so-called Play2Earn titles, games have always lived on centralized systems, with all the revenue going in one direction: from the players to the game developers and producers.
Even advertising revenue was cheap out on players: watching ads would pay them in in-game currency, which you could only spend on the game’s platform. Then when in-game trading became a thing, you still had to buy and sell on centralized marketplaces owned by the game.
The perspective transformed once blockchain and NFTs brought about a form of decentralization — game money and crypto and NFTs could be earned directly by players, freely traded and exchanged with each other on open platforms without the interference of game developers.
At Cradles, we do believe that blockchain gaming and NFTs deserve to be much more than just P2E, but you can’t deny the impact they’ve had in that regard.
Giving players ownership and creative rights
What happens in centralized games stays in centralized games. That’s the unfortunate bondage that players sign up to when playing traditional games.
Every asset, data, game history, and game currency ever created or associated with gamers’ characters inside a game has ultimately belonged to the game developers. And that’s simply the business model of the gaming industry: to maintain complete and utter control of all its property rights.
In our last article, we examined how the blockchain approach to intellectual property (IP) rights could actually develop even more opportunities for developers and players. While P2E incentivizes players directly, gamers and organizations also have creative incentive to produce unique content for games that they will also retain IP rights of, while harnessing smart contract capabilities of blockchain to enforce legal agreements.
This potentially means an objective and fair set of codes containing instructions to arbitrate between parties who might sell, buy, amend, share or even auction their portion of digital assets with other gamers, investors, companies, organisations, or even DAOs. No more arbitrary authority from game developers, no more non-transparent influence.
New technological features to realise the metaverse
So NFT gaming is still an immature industry. Alongside that, fledgling attempts to take the next great step for extended reality in the shape of the metaverse.
Blockchain’s highly flexible, stable, and secure engineering could finally provide the technological means to run a complex set of rules that would govern a metaverse. We certainly believe, for our part as Cradles, that our development and rolling out of the new EIP3664 protocol to enable groundbreaking entropy in a virtual world, is a prime example of this.
For many others, how well they use blockchain technology to present early iterations of the metaverse will make or break them.
But that’s not going to stop a lot of people from trying to achieve their version or their concepts about how the metaverse should look like. And while we can count on seeing the majority of players fail in their attempts, we can almost be certain a few will come out on top. Their successes may still spill over into others, or at least, prop up NFT gaming as a sector to contend with over the coming years.
The year 2021 isn’t even done yet and already, three major NFT gaming titles (Axie Infinity, Alien Worlds, and Splinterlands) released this year already boast almost 2 million monthly users.
Can you really afford to miss out?
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