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The gaming industry is undergoing a paradigm shift.
And no, we’re not talking about the title of an upcoming sci-fi shooter.
We’re talking about the advent of NFTs and blockchain technology.
We’re about to see an upending of norms that fundamentally alters how players play and developers build the digital worlds they play in. The implementation of NFTs offers a host of benefits for both gamers and game studios, from increased engagement and player retention to improved anti-cheats and new revenue streams.
Unlike traditional in-game assets, NFTs are unique and cannot be replicated, providing a new level of ownership and control over virtual goods. This allows individuals to establish a unique digital presence to create a new sense of value, autonomy, and control.
We’ll delve into this exciting, emerging concept by examining the various ways in which blockchain technology is changing the gaming industry. Whether you're a game studio looking to integrate NFTs into a new or existing game, a gamer excited to level up your playing experience, or simply interested in the future of digital assets, this will impact how you view video games moving forward.
For the first time in our digital history, NFTs allow players to own in-game items with real value. That’s because NFTs are immutably one-of-a-kind, each one distinguishable from all others. This sense of ownership will provide a new level of engagement as players strive to collect and trade valuable items, avatars, vehicles, or properties. Now, they can finally define their individuality with virtual goods that differentiate them from all other players.
An example of NFT ownership and scarcity is the popular game CryptoKitties. In this game, players can buy, breed, and sell unique digital cats, with each cat being a one-of-a-kind NFT. The scarcity and uniqueness of the cats add value to them, making them even more collectible.
NFTs allow game studios and creators to earn royalties on in-game assets traded and sold on secondary markets, creating new potential revenue streams for studios and unique benefits for players. They can be bought, sold, and traded on various marketplaces, allowing players to turn their virtual assets into real money. And with built-in royalties, they ensure the original makers are compensated for infinitude. This opens up a whole new economy for virtual goods and adds value to the gaming experience.
An example of NFT secondary markets in gaming is Axie Infinity. In this game, players can buy, breed, and sell creatures called Axies, which are NFTs. Players can trade their Axies on various marketplaces, adding value to their virtual assets while providing a new revenue stream for the studio via royalties.
NFTs are proven to increase player engagement and retention. The scarcity of certain items can encourage players to spend more time and effort acquiring them, leading to a more immersive and enjoyable gaming experience. This can also increase player retention as they are interested in acquiring and collecting valuable virtual assets.
An example of increased engagement through NFTs is The Sandbox. In this game, players can buy, sell, and trade virtual land and assets, with each plot of land being an NFT. The true ownership of these assets encourages players to spend more time and effort in the game.
Blockchain technology improves anti-cheat and reduces the risk of fraud. NFTs exist on the blockchain and, therefore, resist tampering, ensuring virtual assets remain safe and secure. Should an asset be stolen from a user, the digital goods can be tracked on the blockchain, making their recovery much more likely, and giving gamers more peace of mind.
In addition, transitioning gamer profiles to the blockchain will allow studios to create new KYC (Know Your Customer) verification processes to ensure users are who they say they are, are playing fairly, and can’t create multiple accounts should they get banned for cheating or abusive behavior.
An example of improved security would be if a game requires identity verification in order to create a playable account. If a player violates anti-cheat or community terms, they can be easily banned from playing the game or creating new player accounts.
NFTs in gaming can also benefit from cross-game compatibility, allowing players to take their virtual assets with them and use them in other games. This creates a shared virtual economy and increases the utility of their NFTs, making the gaming experience more enjoyable and rewarding. NFTs can also increase player engagement, as they can have a new sense of value that transcends individual games and consoles.
An example of cross-game compatibility through NFTs? Let’s use Nintendo’s Mario Kart. In this game, players can unlock customizable go-karts and unique characters. With multiple Mario Kart titles offered on mobile and console platforms, it would greatly benefit players to bring their favorite kart from one game into another. This would increase the engagement and longevity of titles.
Let’s look at how a hyped game like Hogwarts Legacy could utilize NFTs.
Hogwarts Legacy is a role-playing game (RPG) that thrusts players into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Players get to design their characters, pick a wand, and explore an immersive open world filled with magic, monsters, and mystery. It’s an ambitious experience and the perfect example to highlight how NFTs could change the player experience for the better.
By incorporating NFTs into the game, players could own unique and collectible virtual items, such as wands, robes, and other magical artifacts, each with distinct attributes and abilities. As these NFTs are used to progress through the game, their increased prestige or rarity could then become a desired purchase for players on a bespoke Hogwarts marketplace.
These unique NFTs would also help to establish a player's digital identity within the Hogwarts Legacy world. Players could earn unique NFTs through in-game achievements, such as completing quests or defeating powerful enemies, which would reflect their progress and accomplishments in the game.
These collectibles could be bought, traded, and sold on secondary marketplaces, giving players control over their assets just like any physical goods. This shared virtual economy, where players can trade and sell unique NFTs earned throughout the game, creates a sense of community and collaboration, as players can work together to achieve common goals and trade their hard-earned NFTs.
But what about potion crafting? Or even spells? Both are ripe for the integration of NFTs. Game studios can create a scarcity of craftable items (releasing them through special events, etc.) to ensure certain spells or potions are difficult to get but still attainable. This encourages player interaction and secondary marketplace transactions.
And finally, remember Harry’s owl, Hedwig? Or Ron’s rat, Scabbers? Players could receive a completely 1-of-1 animal sidekick with various attributes and abilities unique to each NFT, forging a deeper connection between players and their in-game companions. They could even name them and have that be a permanent attribute of their digital collectible.
The possibilities are endless.
The gaming industry stands to benefit immensely from web3 technology at every level. By incorporating NFTs into their games, studios can provide players with a more engaging, secure, and rewarding experience. But these are just a few examples of the benefits of NFTs in gaming. As the adoption of NFTs continues to grow, more games and projects will likely surface to take advantage of this emergent tech, creating new use cases that will further shape the future of the industry.
However, it is important to note that the use of NFTs in gaming is still in its infancy, and many challenges and barriers to implementation exist. The current infrastructure for buying, selling, and trading NFTs needs to be made more accessible, along with more user-friendly platforms and marketplaces, to support widespread adoption.
That’s where RECUR Builder comes in. As a user-friendly platform for creating and launching enterprise-grade NFT experiences, RECUR Builder solves the most pressing challenges facing companies entering the space. With its intuitive interface, ease of use, and seamless integration, RECUR Builder will be a key player in shaping the future of NFTs in gaming and beyond.
To learn more about RECUR Builder and how you can use it to incorporate digital collectibles into your games, get in touch with our skilled team today.