What does NFT mean in gaming?
One of the areas of the Metaverse that has embraced the concept of the non-fungible token (NFT) most readily is gaming. Many of the millions who enjoy online games have switched on quickly to the idea of NFTs.
For the many more who are curious about NFT games and want more detail on the subject, it’s time to answer the question: What does NFT mean in gaming?
First, let’s be clear about what an NFT is. It is a token that represents a unique digital asset. It could be an artwork, or a piece of video, or a sports collectible. It could be any digital property that has value, and where part of that value is its uniqueness, its non-fungibility. Put it this way, any ten-dollar note has a particular value, but is not unique; but an NFT has its own unchangeable piece of code and can never be replicated.
So how does this relate to gaming? What is the role of the NFT in the gaming industry? NFT games are, to put it simply, games in which you can earn money from collectibles – and from how well you play the game.
This has given rise to the concept of Game-Fi, a hybrid of crypto gaming and the financial system of which it is a part.
At ZirconTech, we have extensive expertise in NFTs and blockchain technology. We often share that knowledge with representatives from the gaming industry, who respect our level of experience around popular NFT games.
So let’s get started on our quest to answer the question: What does NFT mean in gaming?
How does NFT gaming work?
NFT gaming has seen a significant level of growth throughout 2022. As a result, the most popular NFT games now have substantial numbers of players and followers. Axie Infinity, which is widely seen as the most successful of all NFT games, now has more than three million players.
Quite apart from the number of people playing it, the statistic that stops you in your tracks about Axie Infinity is that the in-game items have been valued at $2.26billion. NFTs are at the heart of games like this. They are hard-baked into its rules, its game play, and into the interactions between players.
Your character or avatar could be an NFT. So can the digital items and bonuses you find or win during your game play. You can collect these NFTs and swap or trade them with other players. As with other forms of NFT, the tokens used during a game have smart contracts attached to them.
The simplest way of generating income is to charge players a few dollars, or a small amount of cryptocurrency, to enter the game in the first place. Another mechanism is taking a percentage of any trades that take place on NFTs while the game is being played.
That’s the overview of the concept of the NFT in the gaming industry. Now let’s look in greater detail about how NFTs work in this context – and what we can expect from this fascinating area of activity in the years ahead.
NFTs in the gaming industry
It is impossible to overstate just how big the global gaming industry is – and, by extension, just what an opportunity it represents to the world of Web3, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
There are three billion gamers in the world today. By definition, people like this are competitive and the chance to seek out rare items, collect valuable prizes and potentially even make money from playing, is sure to attract a significant proportion of that enormous constituency.
Just as Web3’s defining characteristic is the decentralization that gives individuals more power over their data, so NFT games give their players more control.
Look at games like Fortnite and FIFA, where you can invest in skins – but the developer is still in charge. In NFT games, the players control the sale and resale of items. In some intriguing cases, assets can be used across different games published by the same developer.
How do NFT games work?
The most popular NFT games are different from traditional online gaming experiences. NFTs are used to implement the rules and to interact with other players. You can use NFTs to trade or exchange with other players, and to buy their NFTs. However, when you are transferring your NFTs, make sure that the game rules are clear and that your tokens are in a compatible wallet.
As more game developers recognize the potential of NFT games and enter what is sure to become a competitive market place, the standard of the experiences the games deliver will rise inexorably. The best online games are incredibly immersive, and we can expect this trend to be replicated in the world of NFT games.
That’s how the games work and how NFTs have carved a niche in the gaming industry. But can players and developers make money from NFT games?
How NFT games make money
There are various ways in which players can make money from Play-to-Earn (P2E) NFT games. The opportunities for earning from such games will depend on the metrics of each game, but the most common is to collect tokens and NFTs simply by playing.
In the game Axie Infinity, for instance, in return for completing tasks you can earn Smooth Love Potion (SLP), a token that is tradeable on cryptocurrency exchanges. In countries such as the Philippines, many players are earning hundreds of dollars each month through trading tokens.
Because the value of NFTs can go down as well as up, you should be aware that it is possible to lose money playing NFT games, in the same way that you can be on the wrong end of a trade on shares in a traditional stock exchange.
Popular NFT games
The numbers of gamers enjoying NFT games is growing by the month. So which are the most popular NFT games? Here is a selection of the top titles.
- Alien Worlds: This is by some distance the most played NFT game. In January 2022, more than 1.16million people enjoyed some playing time. Built on the WAX blockchain, it is a P2E game that offers you the chance to explore different planets. In fact, the Alien Worlds universe has six worlds, all with 500 land plots – each of which is represented by an NFT. You can earn Trilium in several ways; by mining on your plot, getting passive income from land ownership, and through a gamified staking system. You can also engage in battles and complete quests to enjoy an entertaining experience.
- Axie Infinity: One of the most popular NFT games, which has a similar feel to playing Pokemon in the real world. You can breed and collect digital pets called Axies, which have a mix of characteristics. There are billions of genetic combinations that go into making an Axie and giving each one its unique strengths and weaknesses. Once created, you use them to explore the world of Lunacia – and to engage in 3v3 battles in adventure mode or arena mode. You collect rewards for winning games in the arena and, as stated above, by earning SLP.
- Gods Unchained: At the heart of this game is a card-trading fantasy mechanism. The idea is that you collect a deck of 30 cards, then engage in a one-on-one battle with another player to determine who wins. The cards can align with your God, or they can be neutral, and they describe various attributes each God has. The aim, as you take turns playing cards from your deck, is to reduce your opponent’s God’s health to zero – and to earn rewards from winning.
- Sorare: Many soccer fans around the world enjoy playing fantasy games, compiling their own team from a list of players in a particular league and scoring points based on their squad’s real-world performances on the soccer field. Sorare is the NFT version of fantasy soccer, using collectible and tradable cards. You select a five-person team and collect points based on their success on the pitch. You can use NFTs to purchase and trade the cards – and those tokens can be traded outside the game on marketplaces like Open Sea and Rarible.
- Splinterlands: This is one of the most popular NFT games, and the mechanic is collectible cards. As with many such games, you need to collect a deck of cards and then face off against other players. There is a unique feature or attribute on each card, which can make your character – known either as a summoner or a monster – more likely to win. The library of cards that you can collect, and use to win and make money, now has more than 500 items in it.
Conclusion: What is the future of NFT gaming – and how can ZirconTech help you?
We hope that we have answered the question, What does NFT mean in gaming? However, it is also valuable to look ahead and try to discern trends that will define the future of NFT gaming.
This is a development that is not going away any time soon. The year 2022 has seen massive growth in the number of people enjoying NFT games, and as cryptocurrency becomes ever more mainstream and the pace of development of NFT games is maintained, that number will grow in 2023 and beyond. Some other future developments will include:
- P2E games will continue to grow in popularity. The possibility of making a living from playing NFT games will attract ever-increasing numbers of players and game developers to the sector. The best ideas from games that are free to play may be imported to P2E games, with a boost in quality and user experience.
- NFT games will play a central role in the widespread adoption of the Metaverse. The Metaverse has a broad swathe of potential applications to daily life, and the popularity of game-playing suggests that this is one way in which people across the world will become more accustomed to the new digital era.
- The boundaries between the virtual and the real will become more blurred. It is feasible that NFT games could offer more and more real-world items, such a sports collectibles and wearables – which will, in turn, encourage a greater understanding of the nature of NFTs and enhanced levels of investment in them.
- Fans’ rewards could become ever more generous and attractive. There are already esports developers offering NFTs that add value to their games, such as entry to exclusive virtual clubs, and the prizes will only get bigger as time passes.
ZirconTech has a long history as a provider of software engineering services to customers keen to optimize their digital transformation – and this includes extensive knowledge of NFTs and their potential.
We have numerous partners in the gaming industry, and can assist organizations keen to explore the potential benefits of developing NFT games.
If you require our advice, or our hands-on assistance in ensuring that you can play an active role in the future of NFT gaming, we will be happy to hear from you so that we can begin our conversation.