Are NFTs good for games or are they just another form of microtransactions? How can games implement NFTs?
Web3 games vs. web2 games
The way most gaming NFTs work right now is you have to buy an NFT to play a web3 game. You might have to buy several kinds of NFTs to start playing. That is often a big deterrent for people from getting into web3 gaming.
To play a traditional AAA game you pay around $60 and you get around 50 hours or more of gameplay, give or take. To play web3 games you might have to buy one or two NFTs that cost several hundred dollars! And with the reputation that web3 games have – you don’t even know if you’re going to lose that money in a rug pull.
Sure, you own the NFTs and can sell them. But what does that have to do with gaming?
Bringing NFTs to traditional gaming usually means selling and buying cosmetic items in NFT form. I’m saying cosmetic items because if it’s anything more substantial than that, it wouldn’t work. Games that are pay-to-win never work. Games that sell cosmetic items that don’t affect gameplay often make money. So bringing NFT technology might be suitable there because it will allow players to make money reselling their items as well.
However, when people think of video games they don’t think about investments. And vice versa, when people think about games as an investment they generally don’t think about playing them regularly. That’s true especially in web3.
One of the main benefits of gaming NFTs that is often mentioned is true ownership. If you buy Call of Duty items and the game goes down or is completely shut off – you don’t have the items anymore and the items don’t have their value. If those items were NFTs you’d still have them on the blockchain, forever yours. Okay, but what value do they have on the blockchain if the game is no longer there? Who would buy them if there’s no game to use them with?
Are there other use cases for NFTs in games?
If we build new technology to add functionality to NFTs and how they can behave in games – there can be more use cases.
There’s a great article in Decrypt called User-Generated Content Can Stabilize Digital Economies, Says ‘Snow Crash’ Author. In it Neal Stephenson, the author of Snow Crash who coined the term metaverse, suggests that “The way that we get a stable economy in the metaverse is by creating opportunities for people to build unique pieces of [user-generated content].” There is some truth to that. We can let players make their NFT more personalized and therefore more valuable to them personally.
At Moonstream.to we are always talking about collaborative creation in games and how blockchain technology is great for that. Blockchain allows for decentralization. Decentralization allows for content being freely created in a game universe or any project without taxation.
Basically, blockchain can provide a gaming infrastructure for player communities to build upon. And we’re working on bringing new open source technology into that infrastructure.
Great Wyrm and personalization
In Great Wyrm – a player-owned RPG developed by Moonstream, Caldera, and OP Games – you have tokens for your in-game characters. With new technology that we are building together with Game7 and OP Games, you have complete ownership of those characters. Not in a sense that they can be freely sold but in a sense that they can be freely modified and upgraded. And also sold.
With Game7 we made NFT Inventory. With it NFTs can own items. It works like in traditional gaming where you equip armor, weapons, and other additional items onto your character.
We’re creating new upgrade and modification systems for NFTs right on the blockchain. That way NFTs can be fully personalized and gain personal (not necessarily monetary) value for players.
In Great Wyrm, you’re not paying huge money for rare NFTs. In fact, as of now the Great Wyrm characters are free to get. The only things you pay for are the art that you can commission from any artist of your choosing and the characters’ lore if you want to commission that as well.
Actually, we don’t call the Great Wyrm an NFT project. Because when you hear “NFT project”, you think of artificial scarcity and investment opportunities. Or maybe you think of an expensive scam. In Great Wyrm we don’t have rare NFTs, we have Great Wyrm characters and items you can equip. We’re not taxing any creations sold in Great Wyrm’s ecosystem. We only have flat infrastructure fees to keep the game running.
In the future we plan to have experience points and reputation points represented on the blockchain as well. Game Masters can create sessions in Great Wyrm and have adventurers take part in them. The most lucky and skilled heroes will survive until the end where they will get XP or valuable items.
The point is, NFTs don’t have to be an expensive entry barrier or an investment opportunity. We can build technology for more gaming related uses. And Moonstream.to is building it in the open – all our code is open source. Here is our GitHub. To learn more about using that technology, check out our documentation.
If you’d like to play Great Wyrm or would like to create content for it – you are welcome to join our Discord community! Begin by introducing yourself and creating a unique character. Expect to have role-playing adventures instead of flipping NFTs for profit.