- NFT-powered gaming quickly rose to become the fastest growing segment of the cryptocurrency economy.
- The win-win model has stole the limelight from traditional games because of the built-in incentives that shift power from game publishers to gamers.
- With more than 3.2 billion players worldwide, blockchain gaming is set to become one of the primary drivers of mainstream crypto adoption.
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The emergence of NFT-powered blockchain games has transformed the gaming industry by making players the main financial beneficiaries and decision makers in the ecosystem. Play-to-win games seem to be one of the biggest drivers for mainstream crypto adoption over the coming years, which is why Crypto Briefing has compiled a list of the most anticipated titles to help readers stay ahead of the curve.
Top Five Games Coming to Play to Earn
The rise of NFTs and the massive success of Axie Infinity, the most popular blockchain game to date, has propelled the for-profit gaming model into the spotlight in the gaming space this year.
Axie’s native AXS token is up more than 2,000% since the beginning of July and currently boasts a market capitalization of around $7.6 billion. With over 2 million daily active players, the game is currently one of the top revenue-generating protocols in crypto, second only to Ethereum, with over $850 million in revenue generated from in-game transactions over the past 12 months.
The rise of Axie revealed the demand for crypto-based and gamer-owned games as the actual financial beneficiaries and decision makers are not the game developers or publishers. Instead, they are the players. With that, a new breed of gaming was born – where players could freely own and exchange in-game assets and characters to earn rather than spending money on updates.
Several blockchain games have been launched to play for profit over the past year. While some failed, others like Gods Unchained, CryptoBlades, Splinterlands, and Arc8 gained massive momentum. Many of those who started playing these games early on have made huge profits, prompting cryptocurrency speculators and gamers alike to start looking for the next big hit. The following list outlines five of the most promising titles to date.
Shooting enemy players can be one of the coolest ways to stack enemies, and that’s exactly the fun that this game provides. Developed by Satoshi’s Games, Lightnite is a multiplayer online battle royale game similar to Fortnite where every in-game interaction between players results in a monetary reward or penalty. The beta version is already in place, while the full version is scheduled to launch in November 2021.
Lightnite is making an interesting evolution in the play-for-profit model because its financial incentives go in two directions: players who outperform others in PvP combat can win Bitcoin, while those who get shot are punished and lose Bitcoin.
Lightnite leverages the Lightning Network to solve Layer 2 Bitcoin to integrate microtransactions into the game. Each player has an in-game balance that increases in real time when they shoot at other players or pick up valuables and decreases when they are shot or die. Players can withdraw their balance to their own wallets when they exit the game and then save or spend it on whatever they want, including both real-world and in-game items.
Sandbox is developed by Pixowl Inc. It is a virtual world that allows players to create, own and monetize their gaming experiences on the Ethereum blockchain. Sandbox players can buy and own land, develop their own games and virtual in-game worlds, and exchange in-game items such as NFT tickets to in-game concerts and theme parks.
Sandbox’s goal is to disrupt existing games like Minecraft and Roblox by providing players and in-game creators ownership of their creations in the form of NFT and rewarding them for their contributions to the ecosystem. A limited beta version of the game has already been published, while the first open alpha is scheduled for late 2021.
The limited real estate in the Sandbox area within the game is called LAND. It can be purchased with the game currency SAND, which has already been released and has a current market value of about $697 million. Furthermore, players can also trade NFTs that represent all kinds of metaverse items, including token skins or merchandise sold at player-owned in-game stores.
Notably, while the Sandbox is still in development and expected to launch in late 2022, several big names such as the Winklevoss and Atari twins have already purchased large chunks of LAND in the game.
Star Atlas is arguably the most anticipated blockchain game to date. It is a space-themed grand strategy video game set in the year 2620, built on the Solana blockchain using the leading Unreal 5 video game engine to provide cinema-quality real-time environments. Judging by the trailers, Star Atlas can be a visual sight.
Players will lead manned spaceships in deep space through an open world of galaxies to discover different celestial and terrestrial origins. Once these assets are found, they can be mined, refined, and traded on the global market. The game will feature two in-game currencies called ATLAS and POLIS, NFT-based asset ownership, DeFi built via decentralized exchange Serum, and on-chain governance models such as DAOs to power in-game political organizations such as unions and alliances.
Remember Star Atlas Entropia Universe, or EVE Online, with gameplay mechanics for profit thanks to real economies powered by cryptocurrency and next-generation graphics. If it lived up to the hype, it would surely be one of the biggest success stories in the space.
Illuvium is a RPG world inspired by Pokémon in which players will be able to capture so-called alien monsters based on Illuvials or NFTs with different affiliations, classes and abilities and fight them against other players to win Ethereum. The game is based on the StarkWare platform that powers Immutable X and is expected to be released towards the end of 2021.
One of the most unique aspects of Illuvium is that the base currency for in-game purchases will be Etheruem, while the original game token ILV will have nothing to do with the mechanics of the game. Instead, it will serve as a token of governance and revenue. For example, ILV holders can currently share their tokens in the Illuvium Vault, which currently yields up to 63% of the token distribution. Furthermore, the protocol will redistribute 100% of revenue from in-game purchases and fees to Vault once the game is launched.
Hypothetically, if Illuvium produces the equivalent of Axie Infinity in monthly revenue ($300 million), each ILV token stack will earn at least $30 per ILV per month, assuming the fully diluted full supply of 10 million tokens is reserved.
Guild of Guardians is an NFT-based, blockchain-based mobile role-playing game that allows players to build a dream team of “Guardians” to compete in guilds, raid dungeons, and craft unique assets to earn tradable rewards. The game was created by Stepico and published by Immutable, the team behind Ethereum’s highest-grossing trading card game, Gods Unchained. It is scheduled to be launched in early 2022.
The game is among the long-awaited projects in the space, with over 140,000 players queued, 68,000 followers on Twitter, and 66,000 members on Discord. Guild of Guardians is also working with Ubisoft and collaborating with Sandbox to maximize its chances of success.
Like other playable titles to earn, it has its own in-game token called Chain Guardians (CGG). The token will serve as a utility and governance token, rewarding players for active participation in the ecosystem. In June, Guild of Guardians also completed its first “NFT Founder Sale,” which features a set of NFTs that players will use to summon rare, epic or legendary heroes that can be played once the game has started.
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