Why gamers hate NFTs and what could change their minds

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Working at Web3, I hear a lot of animosity from traditional gaming fans towards NFTs and blockchain-based games. Just to mention that the gaming studio is experimenting with NFTs can fill social media feeds with a 140-character backlash.

Gaming fans are known for their passion and the occasional emotional reactions to change, yet the source of this anger is worth exploring in more depth.

(For the purposes of this article, let’s define NFT as a digital asset that uses its association with cryptocurrency to track origins and is also listed on the marketplace or with a playable virtual ecosystem.)

History

In 2012, Electronic Arts (EA) was voted the most hated company in the world. He continued to win the award repeatedly over the last 10 years, most recently losing to companies such as Comcast and The Trump Organization. The primary reason behind EA’s low public opinion was also the key to EA CEO Andrew Wilson’s Meteor Rise: Loot Box. Loot Boxes are essentially virtual slot machines that randomly offer gameplay benefits and virtual items. To receive the in-game bonus, the player needs to redeem the in-game tokens. (This is known as Gacha Mechanics in Japan.)

Initially, players receive comps and plenty of loot boxes. However, once players are drawn deeper into the game, rewards become incredibly difficult to achieve without serious commitment. That is, unless a player speeds up the process using real money to buy credit (and with them, digitally-induced dopamine hits). Similar companies like King and Zinga built their entire product line around this psychological skinner box.

The consensus of the community is that gaming was used as a system where the gamer had full experience of a particular game at the time of purchase. Now, with downloadable content, loot boxes and microtransactions, the gaming landscape has changed immeasurably. The game may be given away for free, but the developers will have got most of the game content behind the payroll. There have been a number of repetitions of loot boxes and microtransactions over the last 10 years and some gamers have come to terms with the insistent practice, but only when it is deftly executed and does not affect the players experience.

Some obscure gamer community rules have emerged:

  • Most of the materials available with the initial purchase require experience.
  • Essentials should not be placed behind a microtransaction.
  • Herculean grind, or any kind of boring and repetitive game mechanic, should not be necessary to prevent microtransactions.

Makes it about money

Even before the gaming market started creating virtual slot machines, gamers always flexed their wallets in the virtual world as a form of status and identity. In World of Warcraft, gold purchases from third-party vendors were so massive that Blizzard introduced a wow token that allowed players to convert real money into in-game currency. Similarly, Eve Online has had Plex as a currency in the game since 2008. Plex can be redeemed for in-game subscriptions. This allows Eve Online to not only employ a full-time economist for their virtual world, but also get headlines like the news surrounding the $ 150K in-game Hest.

This is not the first time companies have tried to incorporate hard currency into massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). Games like Entropia Universe and the Hubbo Hotel included money in their models, and they became famous for being distracted by neocapitalist scam hellescapes. Roblocks, the most successful inspiration for the current NFT gaming landscape, has multiple scandals related to the massive misuse of third-party game development of its platform.

Hope is not a strategy

How does this backstory relate to NFTs? The message is that NFTs are inevitable in gaming. NFTs are the culmination of the gamification of commerce and digital goods built on an economic foundation built over the past decade.

The real question is not Why NFTs exist in sportsBut How NFTs can add value to gaming (As opposed to grabbing extra cash)? Most NFT gaming companies lack real gaming mechanics and instead, serve the speculators riding on the tokenized market cap wave attached to the crypto price and platform. The main rule of adding value to gaming with NFTs: Base game needs to be a really exciting and collaborative experience where people can freely engage, challenge and build community.

With the exception of the early indie open source games, gaming has never been an economics-free “pure” experience. World of Warcraft, for example, uses a number of psychological tricks to entice players to play their game. When players finally leave, World of Warcraft players will try to sell their accounts for real currency. When the fruit of a gamer’s labor can be associated with real currency, it adds an element to the gaming experience and instead of being distracted by it.

Gameplay – and how NFTs can be used to enhance gamer status

NFTs are a verifiable ownership tool, often meeting the basic need (and pleasure) of collecting and positioning, but like all tools, NFTs can be used for both good and bad purposes. The market needs to develop games that provide authentic experiences for players while providing gamers with exciting opportunities to earn NFTs that strengthen and enhance the gaming experience. Emerging technologies, such as AR + VR, open up a window for players to wear their NFT items in the physical or digital world. The interoperability of NFTs and Metavers avatars is rapidly evolving, giving users the freedom to experience gameplay across platforms.

The art of storytelling in gaming is being transformed into a more interactive and holistic experience.

Currently, Metavers platform The Sandbox is building an NFT ecosystem that will make it easier for people to create games and immersive worlds by converting game components (art, game mechanics and animation) into NFTs. The blockchain-based sandbox game provides a decentralized gaming ecosystem that enriches the wealth and extraordinary creators developing the world through a tokenized economy. (Non-NFT games like Hytale have a similar mission, but no way to monetize their creator marketplace.)

Trying to bridge sports and NFT is entirely possible. I remember playing the first iteration of DOTA on BattleNet, which has now expanded into the multibillion-dollar industry. How long will it take before the first mass-adopted AAA blockbuster NFT game is made? When it comes to such titles and communities, will the company stay in the ecosystem that helped it survive, or, like the riots, close that branch?

The next chapter of NFT-based gaming, like the entire NFT industry, is currently being written, and the possibilities for creative disruption and responsible value creation are limitless.

Bugart Gerber is vice president of sales for Ginny, an augmented reality company that works with Disney, Red Bull and Warner Bros. And recently deployed a project with The Sandbox.

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