New cryptocurrencies and NFTs are being launched and mined almost every day, and it was only a matter of time before these technologies began to impact the gaming industry. But while some of these projects have built upon older features, others bring truly innovative mechanics that may change the video game landscape forever.
1. Virtual Cards
Even before anyone knew what NFTs were, “Counter-Strike” players were already trading game skins for hundreds of dollars, and FIFA players commonly bought virtual card packs for a chance to get a rare find.
Today, the budding NFT industry is beginning to take these same concepts and digitize them. This started largely when platforms like Sorare offered valuable fantasy football virtual cards that are being resold for multiple times their original price. NFTs featuring standout players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar have been sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. But it’s also quickly becoming apparent that this phenomenon is not limited to sports. Gaming is getting in on the action, with a card of the game “Gods Unchained” already having sold for an impressive $60,000.
2. Studio-Sponsored NFT Marketplaces
Video game studios are constantly looking for new ways to monetize their franchises. Ubisoft’s attempt at launching a marketplace where players would be able to mint and trade virtual assets, however, faced considerable backlash. Players were afraid of this becoming just another pay-to-win mechanic, like an invisible skin. But this hasn’t discouraged other companies.
Most notably, a Twitch co-founder launched the gaming NFT platform Fractal last December, and Konami is preparing to mint several pieces of retro art based on its classic titles. Soon we might even see popular online console games like “Grand Theft Auto” launching minted weapon skins or vehicles, allowing players to show off their new acquisition through live streams, and reselling them later on an NFT marketplace.
3. Fan Tokens
4. Virtual Economies
As alluded to previously, the game industry has a long history of launching features that evolve into monetization concepts and turn beloved games into pay-to-win experiences. However, some creative developers may have already cracked the code with regard to combining blockchain tech and gaming.
Instead of studios arbitrarily creating virtual items that give players an unfair advantage, games like Axie Infinity and Illuvium allow players to acquire and level up their characters through gameplay. Later, players can choose to either keep their virtual assets or sell them as NFTs. Meanwhile, some also expect to see a similar concept introduced with regard to cryptocurrency. This is more of a hypothetical, but it’s entirely possible that in-game digital money –– in some games –– may soon hold value as real-world cryptocurrency as well.
Mixing video games and digital assets may not be as smooth as many studios expected. But as long as the technology is used to keep fans and brands both connected and sharing profits, the attitudes of gamers towards cryptocurrency and NFTs might just trend positive.