Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unique tokens used to prove ownership of digital assets such as images, videos, and digital art. They can also be used to represent ownership of real-world assets. However, they are no longer a niche technology. Over the years since their inception, millions of users have accessed and used NFTs through various mediums. Web3 and social media platforms such as Reddit have been at the forefront of this growth. However, the gaming industry’s contribution to driving the growth of NFTs is often overlooked.
Some of the biggest names in gaming are experimenting with NFTs and incorporating them into games. Starting with Cryptokitties, NFT games have taken the gaming world by storm thanks to their play-to-earn model. In this article, we shall examine NFT games, how they work, and some popular NFT game titles.
What Are NFTs?
NFTs are unique digital tokens primarily created and based on the Ethereum blockchain. Each NFT represents a unique asset which could be a digital or tokenized version of real-world assets. Every NFT is unique and has it’s identifying information stored in smart contracts. This information allows NFTs to act as proof of ownership or authenticity in the digital world. NFTs have several characteristics that set them apart from their fungible counterparts. These are,
- Verifiability – All data related to a particular NFT is stored on the blockchain, making it easy to trace the owner of the NFT in question.
- Indestructible – As mentioned above, data related to NFTs is stored on the blockchain. This means that it can neither be replicated nor destroyed. Ownership of the NFT is also immutable, meaning that the owner of an NFT actually owns the asset in question. This is in contrast to purchasing music from a streaming service which allows users to purchase the right to listen to the music.
- Non-interoperable – All NFTs have interoperability enshrined in them. This means one cannot be used in place of another and vice versa because every NFT is unique, containing specific information and characteristics.
What Are Play-To-Earn NFT Games?
Play-to-Earn NFT games allow users to generate and earn a stable income by simply playing the game. In a typical NFT game, the player will be rewarded either with the game’s native token and the occasional NFT. The longer players play the game, the more they stand to earn. Tokens earned are often utilized in the game’s crafting process, allowing players to craft better and rarer in-game assets, armor, weapons, and more. Most players consider the token method of rewards as the more consistent of the two. This is because players can earn tokens steadily while playing the games, while NFT airdrops are far rarer.
The play-to-earn aspect of NFT games has been hugely popular in low-income countries, where it is viewed as a boost to a fixed income, giving better social security.
What Is NFT Game Design?
NFT games use conventional gaming designs in tandem with unconventional game mechanisms to give players far more control over in-game assets such as characters, skins, weapons, virtual land parcels, and more. Such a design is made possible by launching the game on the blockchain and then anchoring them with a digital asset-powered economy.
Because the digital assets in question are NFTs, they are unique, distinguishable, and tamper-proof. The adoption of NFTs also enables developers to preserve the uniqueness and rarity of a particular in-game asset. This is why some blockchain-based assets are more expensive than others. This system allows players to claim complete ownership of in-game assets.
Players can claim ownership of these assets by adopting three strategies.
- Players can create or breed new characters.
- Players can purchase assets or digital items from other players and third-party marketplaces.
- Players can play the game and unlock or earn new assets.
Whichever methods players choose, they will have complete ownership rights of the assets once they have claimed them. These assets can then be traded with other players or sold on third-party marketplaces, allowing players to earn money by conducting such trades.
What Are The Benefits Of NFT Games?
Traditional games, especially popular massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) titles such as World of Warcraft and Runescape, have millions of users. Thus, it’s unsurprising that such games have thriving in-game universes and virtual economies. However, most of these free-to-play games run on a “freemium” model where gamers must exert considerable time, effort, and money to ensure their rise through the ranks or be able to access rare in-game assets. Furthermore, the true ownership of these in-game assets lies not with the players but with the game developers in question.
While gaming companies must be adequately compensated, players, too, are due compensation for actively spending time playing the game, purchasing in-game assets and participating in the in-game economy. This is where the play-to-earn model comes into the picture, helping synergize players and game developers so that each party is rewarded adequately. Such an approach allows game companies to create an even more vibrant in-game economy while allowing players to own their in-game assets and be rewarded for the time spent playing the game.
This is why games such as Axie Infinity have become so popular. In fact, people in the Philippines have been earning a reasonable wage by simply playing the game. However, with the game gaining popularity, the cost to start playing the game has risen exponentially, with players needing at least a few hundred dollars to begin playing the game.
How Do NFT Games Work?
NFT games utilize NFTs as a critical component of the game and are more than just holding collectibles in your wallet. These types of games are often entirely created around the NFT in question and will utilize the NFT in its mechanisms, rules, and player interactions. For example, players could use an NFT to represent their character or avatar in a game. Additionally, in-game items and assets could also be converted into NFTs which could then be traded with other players for a profit. Newer play-to-earn models also allow players to generate a stable income by playing NFT games.
But how is an NFT incorporated within a game? To create an NFT within a particular game, developers utilize smart contracts. These smart contracts contain the rules governing the NFTs being implemented in the game. For example, Cryptokitties is made up of several primary smart contracts that govern the game’s structure. Chief among these contracts is the geneScience contract, which is key in determining the mechanics used to generate new cats or Cryptokitties.
What Are The Top NFT Games?
Today, there are several NFT games that players can choose from. These games have successfully integrated NFTs into their gameplay, allowing players to play their favorite game and earn a steady income.
Axie Infinity is easily one of the most popular NFT games today. Heavily inspired by the Pokemon game series, the game was created by Sky Mavis. Players can breed, trade, or purchase cute digital monsters called Axies. These Axies can then be used to battle other players in the game. To begin playing the game, players must purchase three Axies. These can be bought from the in-game marketplace. Players can also lend their Axies to other players should they choose to do so and earn an income without even playing the game. At the peak of its popularity, Sky Mavis reported 2.7 million daily active users playing the game.
The Sandbox is one of the most active NFT gaming platforms where players can create, build, play, and own assets. Think of The Sandbox as the blockchain avatar of popular game titles such as Roblox and Minecraft. Players can create and animate objects and sell them on marketplaces. They can also create their custom games on the platform. The Sandbox utilizes several types of tokens, creating a circular economy between the different types of users on the platform.
The SAND token is the utility token of the Sandbox metaverse. This token allows players to purchase in-game items and assets through the platform’s NFT marketplace. The other token in the Sandbox metaverse is the LAND token. LAND are NFT tokens and are some of the most valuable assets in the Sandbox metaverse. The third type of token is the ASSETS token, used by players that create user-generated content.
Splinterlands is a free-to-play card game where users can earn as they play. Players can win rewards and new cards each time they win a card matchup. To play the game, players must purchase a starter pack containing the cards, register their account, and then unveil their cards on the game. In exceptional cases, players can discover one of the rarer cards in their first set. Alternatively, players can also find multiple pairs of the same card in their first set. In such a scenario, they can combine their cards and receive a boost or sell one of the pairs in exchange for other cards or crypto.
Decentraland is a decentralized virtual world where users can purchase, sell, and build digital real estate and NFTs. It is controlled by its community, which exercises governance through a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). Decentraland has three primary native tokens. These are the MANA tokens that act as the protocol’s primary currency. The other type of tokens on Decentraland are LAND and Estate. LAND tokens represent parcels of digital land, and Estate tokens represent merged parcels of digital land.
Players can create their own avatar to experience Decentraland’s metaverse, allowing them to be wholly immersed in the experience and explore the protocol’s ever-expanding map. They can also purchase digital art and other assets and trade them with other users in the metaverse. Changes to Decentraland are implemented through smart contracts. Token holders vote on important decisions related to the protocol. These include changes to the policy, updates, and others.
While gaining considerable popularity among users, NFT games still represent a niche in the larger gaming ecosystem. As such, they are yet to realize and unleash their full potential. While we don’t know what the future holds as developers continue to experiment with gameplay and monetization, there remain limitless possibilities for players and developers.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is strictly for information purposes only. All of the opinions expressed in this article are not connected to CoinSmart and are not intended to provide you with investment advice. It is important that you do your personal research and/or consult an investment advisor to determine what is right for you.