In late 2021, Ubisoft became the first major video game company to announce the integration of playable NFTs. These so-called “Digits” were beta launched in the PC version of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, in which users can buy unique items like helmets, pants, and guns, and then use them in-game. In collaboration with Aleph.im, Ubisoft has also been working on integrating NFTs into console games.
Gamers: Why Are Some Against NFTs?
The reaction to this news was swift and, in some cases, quite negative. Many gamers are worried that the integration of NFTs will lead to skyrocketing prices for in-game items, as well as create a pay-to-win environment. There are also concerns that the use of NFTs will lead to increased centralization, as large companies will have a monopoly on the NFT market.
These concerns are not unwarranted. In the past, when companies have tried to increasingly integrate microtransactions and other pay-to-play features into games, they have often done so without taking the needs of gamers into account. As a result, many gamers feel that they are being left behind by the rapidly changing landscape of the video game industry.
In some instances, video game studios like Team17 even canceled their plans to integrate NFTs into their games after receiving negative feedback from employees and gamers alike, and there has been pushback against Ubisoft as well.
The benefits of integrating NFTs into video games
However, it is important to remember that the integration of NFTs into video games is still in its early stages, and there is a lot of potential for positive change. For example, the use of NFTs could empower gamers with the ownership and transferability of their in-game assets. This would give them a greater sense of control over their game experience, and could potentially lead to more meaningful and lasting relationships with the games they play.
Consider, for instance, that trading virtual items in video games is a tremendous $50 billion industry. If more of that value could be captured and redistributed to the gamers themselves, it could have a profound impact on the way we think about video games and their value. In-game items could become more than just digital trinkets; they could become actual assets with real value.
Gamers: NFTs could provide solutions
It is also worth noting that NFTs could help address some of the most pressing issues in the video game industry, such as the lack of secondary markets for game items and concerns over microtransactions. For example, if developers were to integrate NFTs into their games, they could create a more direct link between the value of in-game items and the game itself. This would give gamers a greater incentive to play the game and to support the developers, while also providing a more transparent and fair secondary market for game items.
Ultimately, the integration of NFTs into video games has the potential to create a more equitable and sustainable industry for everyone involved. Gamers would have more control over their in-game experiences, and could be more directly compensated for their time and effort. Developers would have a new tool to create more engaging and rewarding games, while also generating more revenue to reinvest into their projects. And the industry as a whole would benefit from a more level playing field, where the value of game items is more closely tied to the game itself.
In addition, the use of NFTs could help to decentralize the video game industry, giving smaller developers a chance to enter the market. This would create more competition and could lead to lower prices for gamers.
The long-term Future of NFTs in video games
In Ready Player One, Ernest Cline tells the story of a world where the only escape from a bleak reality is the virtual world of the OASIS. In this world, people can be anyone they want to be, and do anything they want to do. The OASIS is a place where people own their digital selves, and the virtual world is shaped by the interactions between users.
This may sound like science fiction, but it is not too far from the truth. The integration of NFTs into video games has the potential to create a similar world, where gamers have true ownership over their in-game assets and can shape the game environment to their liking.
We are still in the early days of NFT adoption, but there is already a growing ecosystem of projects and platforms that are exploring this new technology. For example, Decentraland is a virtual world powered by the Ethereum blockchain, where users can buy, sell, or trade virtual land NFTs. Over $500 million of “virtual real estate” has been sold by projects like these.
Other projects are also experimenting with different ways to use NFTs in video games. For example, The Sandbox is a user-generated content platform that allows creators to monetize their 3D voxel creations by tokenizing them as NFTs.
Dynamic NFTs Add Even More Value
Dynamic NFTs are a relatively new and innovative development that increase the utility of NFTs in games. With the ability for attributes (i.e., an NFT’s metadata) to change and evolve based on a players’ in-game activity, dynamic NFTs offer a level of customization and evolution that traditional NFTs simply can’t compete with. Aleph.im was the first to bring dynamic NFTs to mainstream games, while other projects like Chainlink are also doing groundbreaking work in this area with their own vision for dNFTs.
With Aleph.im’s technology, NFT metadata evolves from one player to the next, and players can see information on which players previously owned their NFTs. This allows for a sense of community and connection between players that wouldn’t be possible with traditional NFTs. Additionally, Chainlink enables dynamic NFTs that connect to oracles to pull in data from the real world.
NFTs and gamers: In Conclusion
It is clear that there is a lot of interest in using NFTs to power new types of video games and virtual worlds. As the technology matures and more projects launch, we will likely see even more innovative uses for NFTs in gaming.
So what does the future hold for NFTs in video games? It is hard to say for sure, but there is reason to be optimistic. The benefits of NFTs are clear, and there is already a growing ecosystem of projects exploring different ways to use them. As more people begin to understand and embrace this new technology, we will likely see even more amazing uses for NFTs in gaming and beyond.
About the author
Jonathan “Moshe” Schemoul is the Founder and CEO of Aleph.im, a cross-blockchain decentralized storage and computing network. He was previously a Community Developer for NULS Blockchain, as well as a freelance developer and software architecture engineer, designing software for banks and hardware for startups. Jonathan and his team at Aleph.im aim to revolutionize the web through decentralized cloud computing and Web3 infrastructure.