The Fate of NFTs in Video Games is Up to Us
We are on the cusp of interesting new developments in gaming technology. Don’t waste your opportunity to have a say!
Current news has been abuzz with news on cryptocurrency, blockchain, and most importantly NFTs. An NFT, or non-fungible token, is a digital asset that uses blockchain technology to identify its authenticity (and in effect, its rarity or scarcity). Even without understanding token standards, the concept is clear to anyone — collectibles are worth something because they are scarce.
How do NFTs fit into the gaming ecosystem? Many people consider the past few years the “wild west” for blockchain technology, gaining legitimacy only recently with big-ticket sales of NFTs on sites like Rarible and other auctions. The key to NFTs and gaming relates to ownership and a paradigm shift of how gamers interact with games.
From inception, games have been created by a studio or developer, published, and sold to us for entertainment. Today, your 100+ hours dumped into your favorite game returns nothing to you — and your digital assets and achievements are nothing greater than a personal footnote. Now imagine that your player’s gear, items, land, and more are owned by you exclusively, and ownership of potentially one-of-a-kind items is authenticated on a decentralized network. Now Activision, Blizzard, and EA no longer have a hand in what your in-game achievements are worth. You can go forward and sell your legendary sword to the highest bidder. Frankly, it’s a mind-blowing concept. Gaming-as-an-investment!
What’s even more mind-blowing is the lack of adoption. The concept of NFTs has been around since the mid-2010s, so why is adoption so slow? One theory is that players just don’t know what they are missing. The first few early adopters and trend-setter game studios will dictate the environment. Once gamers get a taste of ownership, value, and worth, they will expect it from all the games they play. The AAA studios will have to follow suit.
With the growing infamy of NFTs and how celebrities and musicians are jumping on board to sell limited edition digital assets, game studios can no longer enjoy putting decentralized technology for later. Cryptocurrency is here to stay, given the rise of BTC and other currencies to massive valuations. This combined with the recent youth interest in the stock market, we are bound to see NFTs rule the day in gaming in the near future.
However, the popularity of NFTs has historically been tied to how well crypto has done — with the collapse of Bitcoin back in 2018 NFTs were merely a passing thought. Game studios need to adopt and distinguish NFTs from cryptocurrency — they are unique and separate technologies (fungible vs non-fungible) and have different impacts.
What can you do now that you have an understanding of NFTs? There are some great ways to support NFTs in gaming today!
- If you are a developer, check out ways to incorporate NFTs in your game. Even a simple Unity asset can be turned into an NFT via sites like Pinata.cloud and Rarible. Here is an excellent tutorial on how to get started there
- Believe it or not, there are games using NFT technology! Check out studios like Gala Games, The Sandbox, and AnRKey X doing amazing things in the space. Who knows, you may go on to support these games, run a node, or become part of these great communities.
At the end of the day, if gamers do not gravitate to decentralized technologies, studios will not adopt them. That’s why it’s up to us to show our interest, in both games and technology. Before we’re left behind by the adoption curve.
Interested in more game design, trends, and advice for going from zero to 100 with game dev? Check out some additional reading below.