Future game gamefi and digital entertainment technology.
Not long ago, the video game and cryptocurrency industry would have seemed like a curious bedfellow to anyone. While the former focused on entertainment, the latter sought to create a form of digital money that could compete with fiat. Where sectors could possibly converge?
Despite its enormous success at the time, cryptokitties, the first popular release to use blockchain technology in late 2017, did not trigger an immediate influx of game developers and creatives. In part, this was a result of the negative press surrounding theoverloading of the congested ethereum network by the game, which at the time did not enjoy the breathing space offered by the now growing number of layer 2 scaling solutions.
The subsequent evolution of blockchain-based gaming, with its esoteric and connected acronyms like P2E and gamefi, owes more to the defi dapps and non-fungible tokens that attracted an abundance of interest and investment during the bull run starting in 2020.
A gaming gold rush
Today, crypto games generate billions of dollars from transactions involving unique digital goods labeled as nfts, a thriving economy that has forced some gamers to quit their jobs and make a living researching metaverses and trading collectibles. As the saying goes, what a time to be alive.
While cryptokitties was the first release to establish common ground between gaming and blockchain, later titles led to play-to-earn, a progressive model that sought to overhaul the tired pay-to-play format. Play-to-earn aims to preserve the features players love, rich graphics, a compelling narrative and strong gameplay, while integrating new business models more associated with defi-staking, trading, rentals and even tournaments that offer payouts to top performers.
Splinterlands is a project that helped lay the foundation for the P2E revolution. Splinterlands, a collectible card game based on the hive blockchain, built a substantial user base, mainly through word of mouth. It has more than 800.000 registered users competing and trading for nfts, and were can also be purchased with the game’s native dark energy crystals (DEC) currency.
„Once players experience asset ownership, they literally say, ‘i’ll never buy free-to-play games again’.‘ why spend $500 on a game when you could buy $500 in assets in a game, earn with it, build a community, and later sell it for more when you’re done playing it? Says jesse ‘aggroed’ rich, CEO and co-founder of splinterlands "crypto will engulf the world and games will lead the way.»
Splinterlands just hit it big with its latest card pack chaos legion, selling more in its first night than 2018, 2019 and 2020 combined. In 2022, the team will focus on its new validator-node software, which will allow users to independently track and verify transactions with SPS, splinterlands’ governance token. Like many P2E projects, the project wants to put more power in the hands of community members, who can submit and vote on proposals that affect the entire ecosystem.
If early P2E pioneers like splinterlands and axie infinity have proven that gaming and crypto are indeed good bedfellows. Subsequent projects have set out to expand the kingdom to include their own digital curiosities and integrated marketplaces. Some have actually been operating in the shadows for years. Game studio everdreamsoft, for example, says it has been pioneering the integration and use of blockchain tools in games and digital collectibles since 2014, when a forward-thinking investor could buy a bitcoin for less than $400 US.
I thought play-to-earn would have earlier but slower growth, and slower but steady growth is healthier than exponential moonshots, in my opinion, says CEO shaban shaame. In 2021, we saw over-speculation in nfts and P2E. People will eventually be disappointed and lose interest, but the market will continue to mature and those who use it wisely will experience great benefits.
The trajectory is very similar to the ICO bubble in 2017. After the crash of 2018, no one in the mainstream media talked about cryptocurrency for a while, but the market continued to build and the value grew over time. The pandemic has accelerated interest in these models, but their adoption is inevitable.
Everdreamsoft’s most famous project is spells of genesis, which made history as the first blockchain-based mobile game when it launched in april 2017, seven months before cryptokitties. Like splinterlands, this multichain collectible card game forces users to collect and combine cards to make the best hand possible. Cards are then used to fight opponents, with an in-game currency (gems) that allows users to acquire rarer nfts and increase stamina.
Spells of genesis USP is blockchainization, a feature that allows users to convert their cards into standalone blockchain assets that can be traded outside the game itself. Of course, most modern games tokenize all assets for free trade from the start.
Sdks are changing the landscape
Developing a blockchain-based game is, as you might expect, a technically challenging endeavor. Software development kits (sdks) promise to simplify the process by providing a package of ready-made tools that enable developers to connect their applications to the web3 ecosystem.
Stratis is perhaps the best known provider of sdks, and through these toolkits the platform is lowering barriers to entry by making it easier for developers to create scalable game apps in programming languages they understand, such as C++ for coding in the case of the unreal game engine. C# for Unity. Both engines can be used completely free of charge, but costs are incurred when projects are successful. Unreal, for example, is free until a game exceeds a gross revenue of 1.000.000 U.S. dollars is reached, after which a 5 percent license fee is charged on all in-game transactions, and unity offers several paid plans when a game reaches 100.000 dollar mark.
Several developers and studios have taken advantage of stratis’ unity and unreal sdks, using artist-friendly tools to realize their creative vision and monetize projects through the tokenization of in-game goods. One upcoming project that emerged from the trifecta stratis/unity/unreal is dawn of ships, a P2E role-playing game where players command their own ship and earn tokens through pirate battles and exploration.
Chris trew, CEO of stratis, is understandably optimistic about the macro picture for blockchain games, stating, "although gamers typically don’t have much experience owning their digital assets, this year will bring some positive case studies from AAA game developers. We believe that many dedicated players will do this from airdropped NFT assets as a reward for their loyalty, and this strategy is likely to drive acceptance and familiarity, positively changing sentiment.»
Stratis recently conducted a survey of 197 game developers in the U.S. and U.K., with 72 percent of respondents saying they could envision adopting nfts or blockchain technologies in the future, and 56 percent planning to do so in the next 12 months.
Unreal and unity are not the only shows in town when it comes to sdks. Xaya, creator of the first-ever blockchain game huntercoin (2014), is using its own open-source SDK, xaya X, to bring developers up to speed. developers who are more familiar with unity and unreal can also use xaya’s technology to improve their experience.
One of the platform’s latest P2E releases is soccer manager elite, a multiplayer mode reminiscent of championship manager. Players can do more than just pick the squad, as they can operate as agents, club owners, stock traders, or speculators, pitting their soccer acumen against people from around the world, and because players and clubs are fractionated as nfts, soccer manager elite opens up a world of earning opportunities.
those who like soccer but don’t want the stress of being in charge may prefer monkeyball, described as a cross between final fantasy and FIFA street. The 4×4 arcade soccer game developed on unity offers a range of earning opportunities, whether you play, buy a stadium and "host" games or even support the winning team.
Leading e-sports organization team vitality recently partnered with the tezos blockchain platform to educate fans about the benefits of blockchain as part of the gaming experience. Expect more connections to e-sports leagues and collectives in the future.
Moonshots and metaverses
Metaverse is the buzzword that has quickly become the talk of the town, not least since facebook rebranded itself as a metaverse company late last year. Crypto, web3 and the metaverse are apparently a big deal at google, which has just announced it will create a blockchain group under the nascent google labs division. Labs hosts VR and augmented reality projects, such as the 3D video booth "project starline" and google’s AR glasses.
Metaverse projects such as decentraland, the sandbox and alien worlds combine social, economic and creative dimensions and expand the boundaries of the game for money by targeting a wide cross-section of players interested in different things such as lending, trading, competition and entertainment , building, renting. Its second life on steroids, especially given the advancement of wearable AR/VR technology.
The success of these virtual worlds has brought their native tokens to the moon. Decentraland’s MANA, for example, rose over 4 during 2021.000 percent. A package of virtual land in the online world was sold in november for a record price of 2.4 million U.S. dollars.
Although the blockchain gaming industry will grow by 765 percent in 2021, the sector is still young. Millions of millennials and generation Z players have yet to try play-to-earn, though the popularization of nfts will push them further in that direction, as will the growing involvement of major game makers like ubisoft. The company behind assassins creed recently announced plans to implement nfts into its titles, starting with tom clancy’s ghost recon breakpoint.
Microsoft has just spent 68.7 billion U.S. dollars to acquire the video game company activision blizzard, bringing with it titles such as call of duty, world of warcraft, and overwatch. Significantly, the company said the purchase would accelerate growth in microsoft’s gaming business on mobile devices, pcs, consoles and in the cloud, and provide building blocks for the metaverse.
With "newbies in the metaverse with deep pockets and big ambitions, the old gaming guard should acknowledge this paradigm shift. Accepting blockchain and understanding the power of decentralized governance and economic business models is a good start. It’s safe to say that exploration is a common theme in gamefi, and it stands to reason that if their goal is to enable massive transaction volumes, they’ll want to create limitless horizons full of nifty collectibles.
Of course, if the gameplay itself isn’t strong, players won’t stick around. the challenge for developers is to design vast worlds that are both engaging and capitalistic. The players must have fun Have at it completing quests and engaging in battles while finding ways to make a profit.