At any given time, millions of people all over the world are coming online to play games, logging billions of daily hours to play as their favourite characters, against computers and against each other.
At the forefront are blockchain games. In the past year, countless players are testing out the latest in modern gaming, playing games on cutting-edge blockchain technology using the latest smart contracts that give players new ways to entertain themselves, while rewarding them with cryptocurrency and other types of crypto assets known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
NFTs disrupting the gaming industry
These so-called Play to Earn (P2E) games use NFTs for their unique features (hence non-fungible), each representing individual characters and items that vary in terms of their scarcity — the rarer the NFT, the more valuable they become. Players play games every day in a quest to either gain enough resources to breed more NFTs or to discover these NFTs, hoping to own the rarest NFTs that they can sell or trade for greater riches and crypto wealth.
And so NFTs have become the hottest sector in blockchain and cryptocurrency and the numbers prove it. According to Statista, as of October 2021, there are about 2.5 million individual P2E users on the top 5 blockchain games that revolve around the use of NFTs:
- Alien Worlds using WAX: 759,600
- Axie Infinity using Ethereum, Ronin: 602,210
- Splinterlands using Hive: 597,980
- Arc8 by GAMEE using Polygon: 379,630
- MOBOX: NFT Farmer using Binance Smart Chain: 187,490
Clearly, there is a demand, and these games continue to rise in popularity, with more titles emerging and more money being poured into them.
NFT capitalism rears its ugly head
But while we should certainly acknowledge that NFTs have disrupted the gaming industry by introducing players into the revenue generation model (earning income or sharing revenue which generally increases the more you play in itself is a pretty great concept that most traditional games still lack), not everyone in the gaming industry has been enamoured. In fact, gamers themselves have already reacted negatively to established game studios looking to pick up on NFTs and blockchain.
One fine example can be seen in Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon, who, when launching the Quartz NFT platform that would let players buy unique accessories for their characters, faced such a severe backlash from their players that its YouTube trailer was met with over 96% dislikes from their viewers (back before YouTube removed the dislike option).
YouTube channel OperatorDrewski commented: “To me, this is a blatant signal that you’re just milking the Ghost Recon franchise for literally every cent while putting in minimal effort into the actual game itself.” His 1 million subscribers generally agreed.
The NFT bandwagon-hopping hasn’t only affected big game studios adversely. GSC Game World, while big in its own right, wouldn’t exactly qualify as a gargantuan globally but the Ukrainian developer received equally vicious pushback on its own NFT plans that it wanted to introduce into its upcoming sequel to its successful STALKER title. As fans threatened to boycott the sequel, they eventually backed off.
A more useful NFT is needed to truly innovate blockchain gaming
What can we learn from these recent examples of gamers booing down the idea of NFTs? Well, past crypto examples have already shown us that if new tech is used simply as a cash grab, then existing users of any industry won’t react well.
Just as companies in every industry launched ICOs in 2016–2018 and angered their users, gamers everywhere will not take too kindly to games simply adding NFTs as a way to get players to pay even more.
After all, unlike P2E games, NFTs in centralized games don’t really make sense when most popular games already have a means to transfer, trade, and exchange in-game items. Sure, it’s not blockchain, and it’s not verifiably unique as NFTs, but most gamers don’t really need or want those features.
Now what if games started using NFTs to:
-overcome limitations of traditional in-game items, allowing players to securely send and exchange items and currency across games (think of crossover metaverses, for example);
-present new and meaningful ways for players to create and then own content in games, for which they can also monetise; and
-improve on or create new types of gameplay, where in-game items, characters, and environments interact with players and continuously evolve to form a living, breathing world that the metaverse envisions?
The answer to adoption and acceptance of NFTs doesn’t lie in simply copy-pasting what everyone else is doing, and then making more money from your users.
The key is to return to the roots of a service or product: serve the needs and wants of your customers. And in gaming, your customers are gamers.
So at Cradles, we are working tirelessly to perfect the use of a new type of NFT. We mention ERC-3664 a lot and that’s the protocol with technical details for how to achieve the NFT that we have in mind: a modular NFT that contains any and all attributes in a game item, character, or environment.
Thanks to this incredible piece of NFT technology that will be fully compatible on Ethereum Virtual Machines, Cradles will be the first game ever (blockchain or not!) to introduce an “entropy-increasing” metaverse with a realistic experience of time.
Because we believe there’s so much more to NFTs than collectibles of randomly copied animals and Play2Earn breeding games.
Join us on our journey to a better NFT, and a more meaningful impact on blockchain gaming.
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