The market for non-fungible tokens was just $13.7 million in the first half of 2020, and now- it is at $2.5 billion in sales. We have seen an almost 2,100% increase in sales volume from Q4 2020, and the latest report from NonFungible.com mentions there are twice as many NFT buyers as sellers during the first three months of 2021. With more active communities entering the NFT market, we expect that number to be much higher now.
NFTs have taken off as collectibles, with fans buying and trading them for fun and profit. The cultural significance of NFTs has created a market for them. Currently, there’s an active market where speculators have made it easy to assess value, making NFTs attractive to investors. However, we have never expected NFTs to explode in the gaming industry and help players make money by leveraging their skills and time. We are now witnessing a revolution in the gaming industry, where every participant is given an equal opportunity to make money.
NFTs have solved the problems of provenance and duplication, and with play-to-earn games on the rise, we see it help people make a living off playing the games they love. In this article, we will break down everything related to play-to-earn and help you get started in this ever-expanding NFT market.
What is a play-to-earn business model?
We have seen NFTs as collectibles, art, and other special characters, but we have never seen a continuation of a free-to-play game that is being used to earn crypto tokens. Play-to-earn as a business model is simple- allow players to monetize their time and skill by earning crypto tokens, which can be traded for their desired currency. In normal video games, no player is given complete ownership of an asset they brought in-app, so it is pretty much impossible to trade it for a higher value.
In the case of play-to-earn games, players are given unique NFTs as digital assets, which can be sold for tokens. When blockchain-based transactions increase, we will see the price of NFT tokens go up. So this gives players an option to sell the tokens at a much higher value. Unlike traditional video games, play-to-earn games run on smart contracts, so developers cannot take full control of the in-app purchases.
This is a much different gaming economy, and it is not only because of the involvement of cryptocurrencies, but it creates more value for other players. If someone wants to step away from a game, they can sell their tokens to other players, as it is an open marketplace.
It is true that players have to spend money to participate in a game. But the digital assets or collectibles bought in-game will always hold some value. In normal video games like Fortnite or League of Legends, players spend their money to buy worthless skins and collectibles, which are impossible to trade for a profit. This is where Play-to-earn games create a paradigm shift and change the whole landscape of gaming.
Why is marriage between NFTs and Video Games perfect?
We can bring up many reasons to justify- why the marriage of NFTs and video games is perfect. The first one would be- community-driven and player-owned economies. The decentralized nature of these games makes it more compelling for any gamer out there, and when it is coupled with a possibility of making some decent money on the side, no one would turn that down.
It is also proven that people love to collect things for multiple reasons, and they tend to value it to a higher degree when it is unique and authentic. With NFTs, every player or collector owns digitally created tokens that are rare, authentic, and easy to trade. It also helps create online marketplaces to profit off a valuable item, which never existed in ordinary gaming platforms.
NFTs changed the entire in-game purchases for players and gave them true ownership and control. If this was a multiplayer game, the money spent would disappear when you got bored or moved on to another game.
The best part about NFTs integration into video games is that they can sell them for a significantly higher price on secondary markets as players level up and get better items. Another specialty of NFT-based gaming projects is that- players can sell their licenses of any game they possess. This opens us new windows of opportunity, as it allows for digital portability and the right to commercialization of in-game assets.
No other creative IP/art allows that.
We know that the current video games industry is worth roughly 300 billion USD. Still, nowhere we have any sign of interoperability or platform functionality become the center of the player experience. In the case of NFT-based games, that is exactly what happened, and we see communities govern and rebalance the flows of power and money. Even though the NFT gaming market is still very new and early, it will be the gaming industry’s future, as we are witnessing the world opt for more blockchain-based solutions.
Top NFT-Based Gaming Projects- Start Earning NOW!
Even though we are still early in the adoption cycle, we see some NFT-based gaming projects catch fire in the current marketplace. Most of these games are growing at an incredible pace, raising the value of their native tokens. We have listed some of the largest NFT gaming projects that are allowing players to be a huge part of the game economy:
It is amazing how Axie Infinity created a whole new gaming economy by allowing players to collect, breed, and battle pet-like creatures called Axies. This particular NFT game is so unique that communities all over the world are participating and earning a decent side income. Before we get into the price performance and user growth, it is important how Axie Infinity changed the lives of some communities in the rural Philippines (this is where you fall in love with NFTs as a whole).
NFT Gaming in the Philippines
During the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 7.3 million people lost their jobs, and most of them did not have an alternative source of income. While looking for new ways to make money, few youngsters in the rural communities of the Philippines came across Axie Infinity.
They discovered this NFT game on Youtube and didn’t believe whether it was legit or not. Ijon Inton, an Axie player, said to coindesk:
“At first I just want to try its legitimacy, and after a week of playing I was amazed with my first income,” said Inton, who is currently earning around 10,000 PHP ($206) per week from playing the game around the clock.”
After Inton realized playing Axie can earn crypto, he and several other Filipinos started a local gaming community to teach and help others earn a decent income every month.
Axie Players Around the World
As people started to see this as a new way of making money, they took it seriously and put more effort. In a short period, we saw 100s of people playing the game on the street in Cabanatuan city to pay bills and put food on the table. From an investor point of view, an extra 300-400 dollars a month won’t make a difference, but it can buy them medical supplies and fulfill various other daily household requirements for these people.
When the demand skyrocketed for Axie, it was extremely difficult for people in the rural Philippines to participate in the game and buy three initial pets. To make Axie Infinity more affordable, three young entrepreneurs created Axie University to give scholarships and offers for playing the game. They buy and breed Axies to make it cheaper for others to enter the game.
For many players worldwide, the play-to-earn concept is only for fun and social interaction, but it is a money-making opportunity for Filipinos. Some of their success stories playing Axie Infinity will blow your mind away. One player bought two homes with in-game profits. Another worker quit his job after making enough money from NFT gaming. This one guy even bought the land after selling his Axies.
This only shows how strong communities can be in an open marketplace like NFTs. By leveraging the technology and monetary aspect, these marginalized gaming communities showed the world what’s the real potential of NFTs.
Growth & Performance
The price-performance and daily active users are looking real good for Axie Infinity. In the past 30 days, the company reported a total trading volume of $170 million and made a profit of $11 million. The value of the token increased by almost 350% in a single month, and we also saw a new all-time high of its player base.
In the last three years, the company built a strong community in the NFT marketplace, and when they switched to Ronin technology, it accelerated the growth significantly. The new tech made it cheaper and faster to use, so it helped in adding more users. Sky Maxi confirmed on Twitter that they had reached 350,000 daily active users.
The trading volume recorded an increase of 260%, and the market cap went up by 50%. In one week alone, we have seen 137 million worth of transactions, and all of this was happening when bitcoin was falling to the low 30s. Being a market leader in the NFT marketplace space, Axie Infinity is a promising gaming project that can change many lives with its play-to-earn concept.
Alien Worlds is a unique play-to-earn game that allows players to participate in Staking TLM (in-game currency, Trillium) and vote on different planet-based decentralized organizations. The concept of yield farming and play-to-earn earned more interest, making user acquisition simple. In the first quarter of 2021, Alien Worlds had the most active wallets and acquired more than 200,000 active users.
User growth plays a vital role in evaluating any NFT gaming project, and Alien Worlds doesn’t disappoint in that aspect. After it launched on Binance, we have seen the community gain more members, strengthening the core values and fundamentals of the game- Mining and staking TLM.
Community Growth. (Source- Santiment)
The game is still in the development stage, which makes its NFTs considerably cheaper. The trading mechanism is currently heavily dominated by discarding, which creates immense volume and demand for early NFTs.
They have pretty big plans for the future, starting with player-versus-player battles, new mining quests, and a way for landowners to make even more money from their land. Along the way, they will be adding new functionality to Alien Worlds that will significantly improve its service, which makes it a more promising NFT-based gaming project.
In mid-June, X world games saw an increase of 450% in terms of active users, which translated to more than $44,000 in transactions. After launching BSC, the company got some immediate benefits and is helping traditional gamers enter the blockchain world.
The new dream card is going to create events for players to battle and understand the gaming logic. The company also reported that players did not suffer any kind of losses during the testing period. Recently, X World Games also launched an Airdrop by partnering with Coinmarketcap. The network growth is increasing every day and we are seeing more active players, so it will be an exciting project to keep an eye on.
My Neighbour Alice
My Neighbour Alice offers a special experience with its intuitive blockchain-powered features. The storyline hits different, and players have fun tuning in every day. As it is a narrative-driven story, we get to see more social interaction and creativity.
My Neighbour Alice follows an open-world format, so players can develop their lands, fill them with creatures, and show them off to their friends. The game is highly customizable, as players get to change avatars and other in-game characters.
ALICE is the native token of this project, and it runs on the Ethereum blockchain, so it has a more secure network than others launched on BSC. Right now, the platform has two main activities- lending & staking.
After players create their plot, they can lend it to other players on an open marketplace and yield as a return. Staking is another lucrative opportunity for players, and as the platform adds more features, we can expect a decline in yield return.
In terms of growth and price performance, we have seen more than a 100% increase in the price of the ALICE token. While it is still not close to its previous ATH, we see more active participation in the community, and user growth is also positive.
What do these games have in common?
The demand for blockchain games is growing at an unbelievable pace, and with good reason, and most of these popular NFT-based gaming projects have some things in common:
- Onboarding new users is easier
- User experience is enhanced when switched to cheaper blockchain alternatives
- The quality of games is increasing
- Provides a new source of income
We are seeing more Defi projects follow these trends to bring more users from the traditional gaming industry. If a game is easy to play and surprises players with new events, it will drive further interest and increase the token price.
Future of Play-to-Earn Games
One thing is for sure- play-to-earn games are here to stay. NFTs are making their appearance in a gaming world that’s just beginning to embrace the concept of blockchain technology. While NFTs have already claimed a dominant place in the virtual items trading scene, obstacles still need to be overcome. If NFTs are to benefit from mainstream adoption, they need to become more appealing and intuitive.
We do not see the hype, but we see the technology. We know the promise of what Blockchain NFTs can bring to the table and how they can change traditional gaming. We will continue to experience price fluctuations in the short term, but the use-cases and underlying technology will likely stick around.
With games like Axie Infinity hitting record-high revenues that are 4 times higher than the NBA top shot, it is safe to say that blockchain-based games are only trending upwards. Without a doubt, these projects will lead the gaming industry in the near future. What is required is more development and player involvement. As it is community-driven, we are going to see more active participation in the future. With more blockchain companies entering the gaming space, we will see a decrease in transaction fees and increase in speed, reducing entry barriers and making the experience complete. There is so much room for improvement that we cannot define the boundaries of this NFT gaming industry, so keep exploring more virtual environments and try to leverage its economies.
Born and brought up in India, Karthikeya Gutta is a crypto journalist and freelance contributor for ItsBlockchain. He covers various aspects of the industry with in-depth analysis and research. His passion towards blockchain and crypto ecosystem is mainly because he believes it can really change the world and help millions of people.
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