Getting Rich with Blockchain Gaming
Utilizing NFTs in Video Games
By Valkyrie Holmes
If you’re in any way connected to video game news or crypto news in general, you’re no doubt aware of the increasing debate between blockchain gaming and traditional gaming. Upon researching this video, I read everything from “video games are ruining society” to “blockchain gaming is revolutionizing the industry” and I can see why everyone’s confused.
I’m here to break it down for you in a relatively simple way and outline each argument so you can make your own assumptions. Feel free to debate in the comments.
BLOCKCHAIN GAMING: WHAT IS IT?
Blockchain gaming has definitely become a buzzword in the last year or so but let’s dissect what that actually means. Blockchain gaming is basically any game that utilizes both traditional methods of storytelling and game mechanics with blockchain technology (i.e. NFTs, secondary marketplaces, etc). By combining the two, you unlock new benefits and downsides to each video game on any console.
For those of you new to NFTs, “non-fungible tokens” use blockchain technology to sell digital rights to media online. You can use cryptocurrency to buy unique images, videos, gifs, etc and they are synced to your personal crypto-wallet forever.
Crypto gaming takes this idea of NFTs and implements a “play to earn” model: players can complete objectives and earn tokens as NFTs in the game and sell them on the secondary marketplace for profit. You can also buy in-game items as NFTs or digital assets that you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise or would have to put in serious work to get. Exclusive items would be available to you as NFTs that could be used and sold even outside of the game on the blockchain.
I mentioned the term “secondary market” before. That means any NFT marketplace where in-game tokens are sold outside of the gaming environment. For example, you can buy a sword NFT in one game and sell it on Opensea to make profit. Opensea would be a secondary marketplace in this case and that market determines the worth of NFTs in games (and in general).
You can potentially sell anything in-game on the secondary market: armor, weapons, pets, collectibles, etc. The possibilities are endless and based on popular blockchain gaming companies like Gala Games, it seems like they’re expanding faster than ever.
So NFTs are being implemented and sold in games. What’s the big deal?
Well, as I mentioned in the beginning, people have a lot to say about this. There’s a debate within the gaming community about whether or not NFTs will make gaming less desirable or bring a new community into the space.
In the past, when video games rolled out paid content like paying for characters or maps, companies faced huge backlash. Players without the money would have to spend hours getting the same things when others could just pay for it. Big creators were criticized for the “pay to win” model and it exposed an unfair advantage, so much so that some companies had to revamp their entire platform due to the controversy.
Recently, Ubisoft dropped a platform called Quartz which rolled out their usage of NFTs in their new game “Ghost Recon Breakpoint”. This spiked more debate from players citing issues with environmental impact, those concerned about a “cash grab”, and the installation of the blockchain into the game itself.
While Ubisoft addressed these concerns stating they would be relying on a less energy-intensive currency called Tezos and that NFTs were completely optional, people still weren’t thrilled. They even promised not to take any royalties from secondary market sales but there was still pushback.
EA recently tried to get into the space too with their Stalker 2 release but pulled out after receiving backlash. They mentioned that their business model would have been similar to “buying cartridges for a console and selling them at a second-hand store to afford new ones.” You’d essentially be buying the initial game and NFTs and sell them to other players for better ones or to make a profit.
With more and more companies trying to get into it and being rejected, it begs the question of whether or not more companies will continue to try to implement NFTs into their systems. No one wants games to become exploitative or “for-profit only”. On one hand, blockchain gaming companies give players the opportunity to sell things they’re not using on a secondary market and play cool games with the option of making money on the side. On the other hand, it introduces another aspect of gaming that’s new to the public and often hard to execute properly.
THE FUTURE OF GAMING
At this point, no one can really know where gaming is going to go from here. Big companies like Sega and Epic Games have voiced their support for blockchain gaming, saying they’re like to implement the technology soon. Others like Valve, the parent company of Steam, have banned any games that utilize NFTs for fear of scams on their platform.
There are a lot of concerns as of right now with the price of NFTs creating problems for players to the scarcity of rare NFTs interfering with gameplay. On the other side, companies like Square Enix, creators of Final Fantasy, have expressed their excitement in NFTs and claim that blockchain could attract a new audience with more user-generated content.
In places like Ghana and the Philippines, playing games like Axie Infinity, a Pokemon-like game based around NFTs, can pay better than most full-time jobs! In these areas, people are able to cash out real money and have safer career options.
I recently got the change to attend a crypto-gaming event put on by Gala Games. The energy in the room was explosive and everyone was so excited about the possibilities of crypto but they’re also very aware of the backlash. Lots of companies are looking into less energy-intensive networks and inventing new ways to facilitate change in the blockchain industry.
Jason Brink, the President of Blockchain at Gala Games, states:
“We’re a gaming company first and a blockchain company second. You have to make a good game that people want to play before you integrate any “play to earn” elements. If you don’t start there, people are never going to pick it up.”
There are so many moving parts of crypto that I can’t even begin to grasp but I hope this gives you a little bit of insight into how crypto gaming works and the debate as a whole. There will definitely be many new updates in the coming months so keep your eye out for any new games that feature this technology. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here!
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