NFT games are digital apps that incorporate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into their gameplay or reward systems. NFTs are unique pieces of code that grant access to a larger asset, e.g., music, art, or cards. Each NFT has a unique value, depending on the item, its history, the creators’ bio, etc. Let’s get into details of NFT games and NFT in general.
Before elaborating on NFT games, we decided to make a crash course on NFT and related games to make sure we are on the same foot. Let’s start with the definition of NFT: what is it, how it works, nuances etc.
NFT crash course
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. It is a type of digital asset that represents ownership of a unique item or piece of content, such as game cards, music files, or videos. It is by no means the video itself, due to the technical limitations. Unlike fungible tokens like Bitcoin, which are interchangeable with other tokens of the same value, each NFT is one-of-a-kind. It cannot be easily replaced or exchanged for something else, much like the certificate of Taj-Mahal ownership cannot be swapped for the one of Eiffel Tower, and vice versa.
NFTs are built using blockchain technology, which ensures that each NFT is authentic, verifiable, and impossible to duplicate. They are often bought and sold on online marketplaces, using cryptocurrencies like Ether (ETH) or other digital assets as payment. NFTs have gained popularity in recent years as a new way for artists, musicians, and other creators to monetize their work and for collectors to own unique pieces of digital content. They have also been used in various industries, including gaming, sports, and fashion.
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The issue with NFTs though is that they are not legally enforced, which is why a NFT and the asset it is attached to may live separate lives. For instance, assume you are the owner of the video gallery with the most memorable moments in major sports. You can easily create an NFT with a link to a video you have and sell it online. The lucky buyer will only have access, but not the video itself.
So if your video gallery falls victim to a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, the NFT will become worthless. Moreover, you are free to create as many NFTs — the access points, as you like. True, they will have unique pieces of data, making them non-interchangeable, but… so what?
How NFT games work
NFT games typically work by leveraging blockchain technology to create unique and rare digital assets that players can buy, sell, and trade with each other. In these games, players can collect and trade NFTs that represent different in-game items, such as weapons, armor, skins, or even virtual real estate. Basically, those are Steam’s trading cards, GS GO and Dota 2 skins, and miscellaneous items but blockchain-based.
When players acquire an NFT, they own a digital asset that is unique, verifiable, and can’t be replicated or duplicated. This means that players have true ownership over their in-game items, and can sell or trade them as they wish, even outside the game’s ecosystem. The only problem is that the item has no value outside the game ecosystem (see an example below) in most cases. Plus, in the non-NFT games, players already can’t copy-paste the items like trading cards, because this kind of data is not client-based.
Furthermore, while the asset exchange might be blockchain-based and decentralized, the game ecosystem itself is owned by the developer and publisher. Simply put, a new update can overhaul the whole asset ownership of players. Of course, the question arises why would one do such a thing to their base of players, but the more you know.
NFT games also often have some form of gameplay that allows players to earn or obtain new NFTs. For example, some games might reward players with NFTs for completing quests, achieving high scores, or participating in events. While the idea of empowering the players with item ownership is benevolent, one should always look at the bigger picture and see who has the ultimate control over the NFTs. Because NFT and centralized control are not necessarily mutually exclusive phenomena.
Now, that you understand the foundations, let’s get into the actual games that leverage the NFT technology. NFT games are apps that incorporate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into their gameplay or reward systems for the enjoyment of players. Some popular examples of NFT games include:
- Axie Infinity
- The Sandbox
- Gods Unchained
- F1 Delta Time (Discontinued)
- The Six Dragons
- Alien Worlds
- My Crypto Heroes
- Ember Sword
Axie Infinity is a blockchain-based NFT cards game where players can earn cryptocurrency by battling and breeding cute creatures called Axies. The game uses a token called AXS, which players can earn and use to buy, sell, and trade Axies on decentralized marketplaces. The game has gained popularity due to its play-to-earn model, where players can earn a living by playing the game and earning cryptocurrency, particularly in developing countries where traditional job opportunities are scarce.
The Sandbox is a blockchain-based virtual gaming world where players can create, own, and sell NFT cards representing their gaming experiences. It features voxel-based building tools, a hub of players, and a marketplace where NFTs can be bought and sold using the game’s cryptocurrency, SAND. The game has partnerships with popular franchises, enabling players to create and play branded games.
CryptoKitties is a blockchain-based NFT cards game where players can collect, breed, and trade unique virtual cats using Ethereum. Each cat is one-of-a-kind and has its own unique characteristics and traits, making them highly valuable and sought after by players. Players can buy and sell their CryptoKitties on the game’s marketplace using Ethereum. The game’s popularity caused network congestion on the Ethereum blockchain, leading to increased fees and slower transaction times. Nonetheless, CryptoKitties is considered one of the pioneering games in the NFT space and helped to popularize the concept of NFT cards.
Gods Unchained is an NFT-based collectible card game where players can purchase unique NFT cards with their own attributes, stats, and abilities. These NFTs can be bought, sold, and traded on various marketplaces. Players battle against each other in strategic turn-based matches to reduce their opponent’s health points to zero and earn rewards such as new cards, experience points, and other in-game items. The game has become popular in the NFT space, with rare cards selling for significant amounts between the players.
Decentraland is a blockchain-powered virtual reality platform where players can create, experience, and monetize content in a decentralized virtual world. Users can purchase virtual land using the MANA token and create games, interactive experiences, and even virtual real estate. NFTs are used for digital assets like wearables and collectibles, which can be traded on the marketplace to customize avatars and showcase unique identities.
Sorare is a blockchain-based fantasy soccer game that uses NFTs to represent digital player cards. Players build and manage teams by collecting, trading, and playing with unique player cards. Each NFT represents a specific player with unique characteristics and attributes, bought, sold, and traded on the game’s marketplace. Sorare includes tournaments and partnerships with top soccer clubs and organizations, offering licensed player cards for a more authentic experience.
Aavegotchi is an NFT game that combines blockchain technology and DeFi mechanics. Players can purchase and collect ghost-inspired creatures, called Aavegotchis, and participate in mini-games to level up their Aavegotchis. The game uses Aave’s lending protocol to generate interest for players, and Aavegotchis can be used in battles against other players. The game also has a DAO governance system, allowing players to vote on proposals to improve the game.
F1 Delta Time (Discontinued)
This is a real-case example of why NFTs, alongside their trading cards, are not as secure as their advocates claim them to be. It was a pioneer of the play-to-earn gaming model and NFT games in general.
The Six Dragons
The Six Dragons is an open-world RPG game that uses NFTs for items like weapons, armor, and magical items to customize characters and improve abilities. Blockchain tech lets players own and control their cards. The game has a crafting system for unique item creation and a marketplace to sell items for cryptocurrency. A staking system rewards players who stake their in-game assets.
Alien Worlds is a blockchain-based NFT game where players own and govern virtual land on six different planets, mining Trilium for staking power in governance decisions. Players can also collect and trade NFTs, such as tools and weapons, to assist them in their mining and battling endeavors. The game features a play-to-earn model where players can earn Trilium, NFTs, and other assets by participating in various activities. The game’s popularity has led to high sales of land parcels and NFTs on various marketplaces.
My Crypto Heroes
My Crypto Heroes is a blockchain-based RPG that uses NFTs to represent unique characters and items. Players collect and train historical heroes to compete in battles and quests for rewards. Heroes and items are NFT cards on Ethereum blockchain with unique attributes and skills, traded on various marketplaces. The game has rare heroes and collaborations with crypto and blockchain projects. The fans of Koei Tecmo Games will be pleased with the presence of Liu Bei, Zhuge Liang, Lu Bu, Sima Yi, Nobunaga Oda etc.
Ember Sword is an upcoming blockchain-based MMORPG that utilizes NFTs. Players can explore a vast open world, battle enemies, collect resources and craft items, which can be traded on the game’s marketplace as NFT cards. Players can also own and customize virtual real estate. Ember Sword aims to offer a play-to-earn experience, where players can earn real-world value by selling their in-game assets on NFT marketplaces.
NFTs and NFT games represent a new and exciting frontier in the digital world. They offer a unique way for creators, players, and collectors to engage with digital content and to own and trade unique digital assets. However, it is important to be aware of the potential issues with NFTs and to consider who ultimately controls them. As the world continues to evolve and embrace new technologies, NFTs and NFT games are sure to continue to grow in popularity and importance.