What is the point of NFTs in gaming?

Gamers view NFTs as just another microtransaction, especially in the case of games like Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint, which is already fully paid for.

Towards the end of last year, Ubisoft launched an NFT project called Quartz with the game ‘Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint.’ Their plan was simple. Players would have to spend upto 600 hours playing a game to acquire a certain number of “digits” or NFTs. Ubisoft converted limited edition in-game cosmetics or what gamers call ‘skins’ into NFTs so that players can win unique assets. However, Ubisoft’s entry into NFTs was widely criticised by players and their own developers alike. The NFTs had low sales despite Ubisoft’s best attempts to try and convince gamers about their advantages. 

    Source: Ubisoft

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Soon after, GSC Game World introduced NFTs with its game ‘STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl.’ The game integrated NFTs even further within its game by including a metaverse where NFTs were a part of the game itself. The backlash to the new game was swift. GSC was forced first to release a statement justifying their decision and then cancel NFTs altogether. 

Video games are already plagued by microtransactions. Gamers view NFTs as just another microtransaction, especially in the case of games like Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, which is already fully paid for. According to the gamers, NFTs add nothing worthwhile to the game to improve its quality. Ultimately, what is the point of NFTs in gaming? 

Potential benefits

  • Adding value: Despite how gamers perceive it, NFTs are different from microtransactions. Players who own the skin or the NFT become the sole owner of particular features in a game. Since these NFTs have a record of ownership, a player could trade off the skin. Gamers have been able to earn money from gaming for a long time, but NFTs offer a bigger guarantee while being more flexible. This can effectively create a second-hand market for games and digital products. 

           NFTs have also led to an increase in the number of play-to-earn games, some of which have proven to be very profitable, like Axie Infinity which records 3 million daily users. The game is built on a metaverse where players manage their own virtual worlds that are filled with Axie characters. Players buy plots in the game and develop characters, both of which are NFTs. Besides, the game is also built on an NFT marketplace. 

NFTs can also contribute to upping the value of gaming collectibles. Gamers, in general, are interested in owning legacy pieces that hold long-term value, and NFTs are a perfect virtual alternative to that. 

  Source: Ubisoft

  • Ownership: Unlike microtransactions, NFTs have a market value that gives players ownership. Players can sell the NFTs whenever they want and even earn a portion from the resale of the items. The scarcity of NFT purchases is provable through the immutable records present in the underlying blockchain network. This validates the uniqueness of each NFT, a feature highly valued among gamers who tend to incline towards rarity and authenticity.
  • Interoperable nature: An NFT is on the blockchain and is transferable across games that are on the same blockchain. Since the skins bought by the player now belong to the player instead of the gaming studio, they can transfer an asset from one game to another. This could be a bonus, especially if a company decides to discontinue a game altogether, for example, it could become a collectible.
  • Physical advantage: NFTs are also a connecting tissue between virtual and physical worlds. With actual events being held to promote NFTs, owning a rare collectible NFT card or a jersey could also translate into the user owning the actual physical version of the asset. 

With the gaming world still divided over the future of NFTs, we have to wait and see if mainstream gaming companies bite the NFT bullet.      

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Poulomi Chatterjee
Poulomi is a Technology Journalist with Analytics India Magazine. Her fascination with tech and eagerness to dive into new areas led her to the dynamic world of AI and data analytics.

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