How Blockchain Know-how Is Remodeling Microtransactions and Revitalizing the Gaming Trade
Microtransactions are a staple of many modern games, to the point where many have simply accepted them. However, thanks to blockchain technology, new models are emerging that will break the norm. Play-to-earn games are becoming increasingly popular and new services are reducing entry costs. These innovations become the catalyst for a real vision of the coming metaverse.
A new play-to-earn structure
Modern video games are full of microtransactions. Whether simple things like costumes or accessories or more elaborate offers like characters and weapons, these in-game purchases have largely divided the gaming community. When done right, they can offer new content at a fair price, but when abused it leads to “loot boxes” and a general “pay-to-win” mentality. This creates artificial wage barriers to success for those who cannot simply toss money on a game they have already bought. In addition, any money sunk in a particular title will be completely lost if the player moves on.
However, with the advent of blockchain gaming and NFTs, that is changing. A new gambling model is emerging based on real asset ownership and a new play-to-earn structure. A prime example is Axie Infinity, a play-to-earn NFT-based online game that has piqued user interest around the world and has become the # 1 decentralized app (dapp) in the Ethereum ecosystem.
Building on the existing blockchain systems, this new revolution is called “GameFi”. GameFi embraces the ideals that players should not just throw away money on in-game content, but instead invest their resources in assets that can grow in value and can be resold in secondary markets.
NFT technology makes this possible, and the underlying blockchains also offer players the opportunity to earn currencies with real value. This has resulted in a new, fully digital economy that not only rewards users for their commitment, but also offers financial services that make gaming a potentially lucrative way of generating income.
A new kind of paywall
Of course, it often takes money to make money. Many of these games, while offering real value-added opportunities, also have some sort of “buy-in” price, an initial payment either for an in-game NFT item or for tokens that are critical to the game-to-earn mechanism . Unfortunately, not all newcomers to this field have deep pockets to get involved, resulting in a situation similar to the “pay-to-win” model. One of the most popular products is, for example, Axie Infinity. In this Pokemon-themed game, players fight with their “axes” for the chance to win real rewards. However, to begin with, users will need at least three of these virtual creatures. Unfortunately, they’re not cheap as everyone on the Axie marketplace is currently at least $ 70, making a grand total of $ 210 for newbies to get started. This is inaccessible to many who want to get involved.
Fortunately, innovative approaches are being developed to encourage greater participation. For example, new gaming guilds like Yield Guild Games in the Philippines lend assets like Axies to new players in exchange for a cut in their winnings. This means that those with fewer resources can get involved immediately and those with more resources can earn a passive income. This is a great example of how this new virtual economy can benefit gamers on multiple levels, and inclusivity will be essential to building what will be known as the Metaverse.
Blockchain gaming and the metaverse
If you don’t know it, the Metaverse is basically the name for the collection of digital services and worlds that are increasingly connected and interoperable. Although it is an ambitious vision, many traditional platforms are currently struggling to provide true compatibility, which means that different set-up solutions must be used.
Fortunately, blockchain makes this problem a lot more trivial. NFTs and other decentralized assets can be seamlessly transferred across multiple platforms as long as they are connected to a blockchain. In addition, the digital currencies used are becoming ubiquitous forms of virtual cash that can plausibly be used for virtually any future service. This then stands for building a fully functioning economy, essentially living in cyberspace, revolutionizing the way gamers interact with their favorite titles, with each other, and with the wider economy.
To that end, this new ecosystem offers very real benefits to users around the world. The ability to generate income and explore a vast world of entertainment will all come from one, admittedly huge, access point. This will destroy many existing value creation and transfer paradigms, but the basic infrastructure is being built.
Its a lot to do
As empowering and lucrative as it sounds, there is definitely still much to be done. For one, developers still have to weigh things like the types of items that are available for purchase, how they can enhance the experience for players, and how they interact with other games and markets. If this is not checked, there could still be a pay-to-win problem as the blockchain does not fundamentally affect this.
This could be remedied by only being able to equip certain items after reaching certain levels or other qualifications. For example, metadata burned into an NFT could define an item of clothing or a weapon as usable only if the owner has met certain progression requirements. This means that players are still free to purchase and trade any item, but a newbie with deep pockets couldn’t just buy their way up the ranks. This is just an example, but it underlines that this is not an insurmountable problem.
Another possible stumbling block is the fact that many existing blockchains are simply not ready for the volume of transactions that the proposed system would require. Players won’t want to wait for transfers to complete over several minutes or more. Transfers must be resolved in the chain within seconds.
This could of course be mitigated by choosing the right underlying network to build on. For example, the Polygon Network acts as a second-layer solution for Ethereum and offers incredibly cheap transactions that only take a few seconds. Because of this, Polygon has five times more gaming and NFT dapps than any other chain outside of Ethereum and is already working with a majority of today’s blockchain-based Web 3.0 games and NFT platforms like Decentraland, OpenSea and The Sandbox.
Ultimately, it is clear that gamers not only expect a new model, but also that blockchain and NFT-powered gaming offer such a model. Progress has been a bit slow, but more and more developers are starting to notice, and it won’t be long before the first “killer app” is released. Companies that aren’t acting soon may have to catch up before they even know.