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NFT play to earn games may be wildly successful as artifacts

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NFT play to earn games may be wildly successful as artifacts

It seems impossible not to have heard of them, and if you have, I envy you. According to EA, NFTs are “critical to the future of our business.” According to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, blockchain technology represents a “revolution” in the playing to earn games industry. Non-fungible tokens, a blockchain-based way to hold digital assets such as hideous monkey drawings, are being touted as the next big thing in gaming, but there’s one problem: no one has been able to explain to me what the Hell they’re for.

Despite the excitement that NFTs are creating on social media and in corporate boardrooms, it’s difficult to see them having a bright future in video play to earn games. The majority of what they promise gamers is already attainable using non-blockchain technology, and the one benefit they provide – portable digital ownership – is unthinkable in today’s triple-A play to earn games publishing landscape.

If you want to see how NFTs will be used in play to earn games in the future, look no further than Valve’s terrible collectable card game Artifact. Artifact was created with assistance from Magic: The Gathering. It is based on characters and themes from the enormously successful Dota 2 game. Richard Garfield, inventor of Magic: The Gathering, and his team used a novel economic model: players could purchase and trade cards outside of the game through the Steam Marketplace. Although uncommon and strong cards increased in value, players were free to trade or sell cards as they pleased. Learn more about NFT at http://6rounds.com/unique-features-of-axie-infinity-nfts/

Artifact’s initial monetisation approach was exactly to what NFT evangelists are offering now: in-game objects that are not dependent on the game and may keep and increase in value as ownable assets. Garfield previously said that the Artifact team aimed to avoid “manipulating people” by implementing a straightforward revenue plan that players would not have to guess at.

The primary issue with this concept is that gamers despised it. Many objected to Artifact’s initial pricing of $20. Others discovered that playing without the promise of occasional free prizes was unsatisfying. This was critical to Artifact’s design, since the concept of cards having and retaining value was incompatible with a system that simply distributes them to everyone once they complete certain tasks or spent a particular amount of time playing.

Two possible outcomes exist. Either players contribute to the system in exchange for game assets (or NFTs in a hypothetical future game), or the game gives them away for free through some kind of play to earn games mechanism, as some NFT supporters have proposed. Artifact chose the former path and never attracted a sufficient number of players to support its ecology. Within three months of the game’s introduction, the value of a full deck plummeted from over $300 to less than $100, and there isn’t a single card on the market worth more than three cents, the Steam Marketplace’s absolute lowest price for an item.

Instead of earning cards via play, our hypothetical NFT-based card game may enable players to earn them through gameplay, but as previously stated, the effect is the same in terms of market value. There is no way for the cards to gain in value if new copies are being printed at a steady rate.

Even if some future NFT-based game resolves this issue, it will have failed to provide a convincing rationale for its existence. Despite its failure, Artifact revealed that all of this is already feasible without the need of blockchain technology. Play to earn games can do everything you’re likely to see provided by play to earn games advertising NFT integration using standard database systems such as the Steam Community Marketplace, without incurring the enormous energy costs associated with blockchain technology.

Thus, the best-case scenario for NFTs in play to earn games is that they just reproduce current systems in a far less efficient manner. NFTs, on the other hand, have one more major trick up their sleeve. Their ardent supporters will always remind you that blockchain enables decentralised ownership – by utilizing this technology, you no longer simply use an account on someone else’s servers; instead, you truly own the assets and can do whatever you want with them, including transferring them to another game and using them there.

Perhaps there is a world in which this is a viable concept in the triple-A play to earn games industry, but it is not this one. No major play to earn games publisher will sign on to a program that encourages players to spend time exploring the walled gardens of other publishers’ material, regardless of how often the term’metaverse’ is used in advertising text.

‘Engaged hours’ is a statistic used by large publishers to assess the profitability of their play to earn games: the more time users spend playing them, the more likely they are to spend money on ‘player recurrent investment,’ which accounts for roughly half of Ubisoft’s total digital earnings. 

The notion that players would evolve into true ‘stakeholders’ with the ability to move their assets to other ecosystems is a non-starter. And that’s without even taking into account the technological obstacles that would need to be solved in order to make the assets from one game useable in another, which are now enormous. Where is the motivation for companies to invest all that time and effort only to provide gamers a cause to bring their toys into another game?

Perhaps a game-changing invention in NFTs play to earn games is on the horizon that will alter this perspective. It is possible; the problem about true innovation is that it is difficult to predict. However, as things stand now, and I assume for the foreseeable future, NFTs are a potentially hazardous and expensive craze, and Artifact is their first unsuccessful prototype.

Thus, once again: It seems as if it would be impossible to have escaped hearing about them, and if you have, I envy you. According to EA, NFTs are “critical to the future of our business.” According to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, blockchain technology represents a “revolution” in the game industry. Non-fungible tokens, a blockchain-based way to hold digital assets such as hideous monkey drawings, are being touted as the next big thing in gaming, but there’s one problem: no one has been able to explain to me what the Hell they’re for.

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