Video games are extravagant combinations of artistic disciplines, drawing from almost every well of creativity available. They’re meticulously designed works of interactive media, making the combination of video games with Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) a match made in digital heaven.
The Digital Landscape
NFTs have become the latest jewel of the art and crypto world, and their presence in the realm of video games is considered to be the next big leap for either medium. Gaming has evolved to a point of architecture, where combinations of literature, music, art, and interactive design, all meticulously crafted to captivate users.
What do NFTs have to do with any of this? Well, you may have noticed a strong buzz around these awesome digital assets in the art and music communities, or even dominating the mainstream media news stories.. NFTs allow for ‘true’ digital ownership, meaning that you can create a piece of art or content as an NFT and be able to prove its authenticity all the way back to the source, and this is groundbreaking for video games.
In-game content has been monetised for a long time, CS:GO skins for weapons have sold for over $100,000, so what makes NFTs so special? Sure, prior to NFTs, a Runescape or World of Warcraft (WoW) player could obtain a coveted in-game item and offer to trade it for real-world money, but that doesn’t mean that either player ever truly owned the item, and furthermore, that item can be obtained by anyone who wishes to do so, there’s nothing unique about it.
Try to think of it this way, imagine that within a game like WoW the game generated equipment and items as NFTs instead of duplicate items. Hypothetically, at the end of a particular quest in an NFT-based game, every player is guaranteed a sword, but each one is completely different in design, strength and value. That small and simple nuance with the introduction of NFTs could be groundbreaking for game developers of all shapes and sizes, and it’s already in practice.
This project is a quality example of interactive NFT landscapes, and it should be noted that they are also one of CoinBurp’s partners. The Sandbox has its own native Ethereum-based crypto called $SAND, a marketplace, game maker and editing suite, think Minecraft and Roblox, but with NFTs.
Users can purchase LAND which comprises 96x96 meters of virtual space which can then be populated with games and assets. Users can earn tokens by choosing to charge other players $SAND to visit their LAND, earning prizes from playing games, or potentially selling the LAND for a profit after customising it.
An impressive element of The Sandbox is the powerful creation tools available. VoxEdit is the platform’s built-in 3D modelling package that allows users to create and animate 3D objects with zero coding required. Once completed, these are then imported into the game as ASSETS, which can then also be put up for trade on the marketplace.
The Game Maker is another tool that is built to be intuitive with no coding required; in tandem with VoxEdit, The Sandbox is one of the most accessible platforms out right now.
Video game industry titans such as Square Enix and Atari have partnered with The Sandbox amongst dozens of other gaming and blockchain companies. More specifically, the Atari partnership is said to involve building games based on their popular IPs, which includes Rollercoaster Tycoon.
This game is one of the earliest projects to showcase NFTs in a virtual reality built on the Ethereum blockchain where users can buy ‘cubes’ of digital space, and populate these empty spaces with their own NFT creations and collectibles. The game also has its own marketplace and native cryptocurrency called MANA.
Within Decentraland, users buy 16x16 meter parcels of LAND on which they can build environments, marketplaces and applications. Players are free to roam the landscape and visit the digital marvels built in-game, including art galleries, reconstructions of real-world locations, movie theatres, casinos, and much more.
Amazingly, it’s so versatile that users are hiring actual humans to work at the casino that gaming industry legend Atari has built, and it’s no surprise considering the increasing value of the virtual land they’ve built upon.
The value of LAND has exploded significantly, with prices ranging anywhere between 5,000–11,000 $MANA, which at the time of writing is worth around $1.20, making those 16x16 parcels of LAND worth thousands of dollars.
Content creators for Decentraland import their works from whichever 3D modelling software they use, of course, there are limitations, restrictions, and drawbacks to that approach, as not everyone knows how to use software like Maya, though that may lend itself to the intrinsic value of the works created for the game.
Just the Beginning
On a smaller scale, there are games such as Axie Infinity which feature collectible creatures that you can breed, battle, and take on adventures. Or another is God’s Unchained, a trading card game akin to Magic: The Gathering where every card is an NFT.
Now that NFTs have reached mainstream consciousness, their use-cases are being explored and stretched by innovators around the world. Perhaps video games will become the primary use for NFTs outside of art collectibles, and if so, it may only be a matter of time before these platforms and products make it onto home consoles and blockbusters titles for years to come.
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