The rise in popularity of NFTs has also caused an increase in the amount of NFT-based games that are being developed. These games use NFTs as a way to create scarcity and value in their digital marketplaces while still managing to be fun and engaging.
2021 has been the year of NFTs. There have been countless artworks and collectors items that have sold for millions of dollars, and other NFTs that represent real-world assets, like tickets to a concert, have also been tokenized to improve efficiency and take advantage of the immutable and trustless nature of the blockchain. Uniquehash, a new NFT marketplace, was also launched in late July.
Arguably, one of the most interesting sectors that NFTs are beginning to revolutionize is the gaming industry. The video game market, which is now worth an estimated $76 billion, is one of the most rapidly growing industries in the world, and is expected to be worth more than $250 billion in 2026. Video games are inherently tied to technology, and advancements in graphics and virtual reality technology will help make them even more mainstream and even become a second life to some people.
The prevalence of non-fungible tokens in the video game space will help people to have true ownership of their digital assets, the ability to trade on open marketplaces, and even use video games as a source of income by playing to earn cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest and most fun NFT games out now and what their future holds.
Axie Infinity is the biggest NFT-based game of all time. It boasts a staggering 1 million daily active players and over $1 billion in all-time trading volume. In the game, players own digital animals known as Axies, and they can use these Axies to go on adventures, fight other players and computer-controlled enemies, breed, and create their own kingdom.
The Axies, which are required to play the game, are all NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain and cost a minimum of $200. Though this is a steep price and prevents a lot of players from entering the market, it is not significantly more expensive than a traditional $70 video game, and it comes with the potential to earn Ethereum by simply playing. Furthermore, there is a scholarship system by which Axie owners can lend their Axies to players who could not afford one, and then the players can play and split the rewards with the owners. The game also lets users earn AXS, the Axie governance token, by playing.
Though the game is not currently complete, the fact that it already has over 1 million daily players proves that it is both lucrative and fun. Whether or not the game retains its popularity in the future remains to be seen, though it is one of the best examples of a blockchain-based game and will set the precedent for other similar games for years to come.
ZED RUN is a unique horse racing game created on the Polygon blockchain. The main focus of the game is on racing digital horses, which can be bought or sold on NFT marketplaces. These horses come with different genotypes, bloodlines, breed types, and gender, and have unique racing attributes that contribute to their success. Much like real horse racing, there are different track sizes and locations, and each has a unique effect on the race. There is also a breeding mechanism, where horse owners can breed with one another and create new horses that inherit the traits of their parents.
The horse races are streamed live for viewers, and are almost just as entertaining as real horse races. This type of game, where users can gamble using an owned asset in the digital world, is bound to become more popular in the coming years as video games and virtual reality become more popular. Imagine paying for an NFT ticket sitting in the front row of a ZED horse race, all in the comfort of your living room thanks to virtual reality. ZED’s high-profile venture capital backers, such as A16Z, certainly think that this will be the future.
Sorare is an NFT game helping to bridge the real world with NFTs through football, also known as soccer, stars. Similar to NBA Top Shot, players can buy and sell different football stars around the world and from over 154 clubs. However, unlike Top Shot, Sorare has fantasy football tournaments, where players can choose some of their stars, put them into a lineup, and enter them in competitions to win Ethereum prizes. This is far better than Top Shot, as it allows the players’ value to be tied to their real-world performance, instead of their popularity. Football fans from around the world can put money on players that they think will succeed in the future in a direct way.
The game, though not incredibly popular at the moment, has raised over $500 million in funding, making it one of the most well-funded blockchain projects in the entire space. This should help guarantee its success over the coming years, especially as sports begin to come back after the pandemic.
These three NFT games, along with many others, are paving the way for “play to earn” video games. If the rate of adoption of NFTs continues on its current trajectory, it is only a matter of time before games like Call of Duty and Fortnite adopt NFTs into their ecosystem in some way. This will benefit the entire blockchain space, as it will drive more users and mass adoption to the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
By Lincoln Murr