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5 Emerging NFT Games to Keep an Eye on, in 2022

Written by: Coinpedia

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Coinpedia

Crypto Journalist and Editor of guest articles in CoinPedia. I am also handling Outreach & Partnerships Manager. Contact me: [email protected]

    Jan 24, 2022

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    There’s a silver lining in everything and the COVID19 pandemic has certainly filled many coffers with both gold and silver. One of the industries riding on this freak wave is the video game one, whose value is projected to reach no less than US$175,060m in 2022, all at an impressive annual growth rate of 8.17%.

    Considering the size of the cake involved, it is only right to ask if there is a place under this dollar-studded sun for NFT games? We bring you the story of the top 5 NFT games ready to conquer the mainstream in the year ahead.

    What Will the Future of Gaming Look Like?

    While the jury is still out on this one, we are left with what the current trend can forecast and it basically boils down to this:

    • Fee-based online video games will continue to dominate in terms of growth
    • The same goes for mobile smartphone and tablet games
    • Free-to-play online games will follow in their footsteps

    How does NFT gaming fit in with these dominant trends? It fits like a glove, actually, considering that it hits all three checkmarks in terms of both accessibility, format, and the payment model.

    Now, you can argue that the NFT has become a sort of a trendy acronym, but some major gaming publishers such as Konami are carefully studying its potential. This has been greatly helped by the mainstreaming of the blockchain and the gamer population’s familiarity with its potential and functionality.

    This primarily refers to the increasing readiness of players to boost their already rewarding gaming experience into something resembling an investment. Yes, since they already invest time in their games, gamers now expect this investment to be repaid in real, tangible value. Or, at least, provide them with a unique gaming experience with the first foretaste of the coming metaverse.

    This is where the NFT jumps in.

    What Do Players Really Want from NFTs?

    So, what do players actually look for that the NFT technology is supposed to deliver? We have already referred to the players’ desire to enrich their gaming experience, literally. Yet, apart from earning tokens, there is no indication that the gamers are ready to forgo other key elements that make up a “good” game. This primarily refers to the quality gameplay, attractive graphics, and, more recently, being able to play as part of the community.

    So far, the proposed model that has the best chance to gain acceptance in the world of mainstream gaming seems to be the one in which the NFTs represent unique in-game items that the players can hope to sell after they are done playing a particular game.

    In terms of community-driven features, NFTs can also find their place as unique assets, such as skins and weapons that are tradable by the players across the games, even after the game or its servers are shut down. Finally, the players would also like to invest some emotional value in NFTs that would show their unique in-game journey.

    Yet, we have to make an important distinction here, as the proper NFT games must be set apart from the mainstream games with NFT elements. Consider, for example, what happened to the recently announced S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 which met with backlash from the players after they got the drift that the game would be using NFTs as additional gameplay element (such as allowing the purchase of one’s digital identity to be used as an NPC).

    Yet, these are already well-established games operating within the confines of a set of expectations associated with them. Their players are after a particular brand of experience filled with the familiar sense of wonder and playing these games just to be able to “earn” stuff is seen as taking away something from the experience in their eyes. 

    So, to succeed at the current stage of awareness of the potential of the NFT technology and its modest level of adoption, both the NFT gaming community and the developers will have to work together at striking just the right measure of the profit motive and pure gameplay value with their NFT games.

    Now, let’s look at some of the existing more prominent NFT games to see how they aim to manage these two elements in this increasingly crowded market.

    Splinterlands

    Splinterlands has already soared to almost unreachable heights compared with its competitors, but with the P2E space expected to grow exponentially, Splinterlands is well-positioned to grow along with it as a market leader. With roughly 1.5 million unique wallet users, it’s the most played NFT game since September 2021 and for a good reason, as it rides on the parallel popularity of collectible card games (both virtual and physical ones), mobile gaming, and blockchain technology.

    It combines the fun gameplay of a fast card game available across the platforms and the NFT-based model of trading, selling and leasing of card assets among the players.  Bear in mind that these cards are easily converted into cryptos and made compatible with marketplace platforms such as Open Sea, PeakMonsters, and Monster Market in order to support faster transactions. Splinterlands caters to professional gamers just as well, allowing them to win rewards from tournaments and quests and gain collectibles that include items of varying rarity.

    In January 2022, Splinterlands launched the sale of “Chaos Legion” card packs, one of the many in its pipeline. In the space of just a few days, more than 45% of the packs have already been sold. These packs can be acquired by players in exchange for Credit which, in turn, is bought for the native Splinterland tokens called DEC and SPS. So far, almost 7M cards were sold in just a few days. Splinterland seems to be playing its cards (pun intended) just right.

    Kawaii Islands

    Metaverse has become the word of the year in 2021. Whatever it may be built up to be, the NFT gaming and the metaverse are already inextricably linked. The metaverse tokens are all the rage now and they are often associated with gaming, including the likes of Axie Infinity and the Sandbox. While they are still perfecting their business model, games such as Kawaii Islands are now taking the charge and applying the lessons learned from their predecessors.

    Kawaii Islands is a multiplayer anime-inspired metaverse game based on simulating running an on-chain business and having fun in the process. To achieve this, this play-to-earn game has developed an ecosystem in which the players emulate real-life experiences in a fully functioning metaverse. Yes, that includes bringing their own creative skills to the game world and monetizing them in the process.

    You can grow and farm magical resources and create designer furniture and clothing as NFTs, both for yourself and other Kawaii residents. Yes, these residents will be able to give you orders and allow you to “earn fortune and prestige” by meeting their needs. The game is still in its infancy (having been announced in late 2021), so no NFT millionaires have been reported yet, but the future will show how it all plays out.

    Mythical Beings

    Jelurida is a Swiss software company that has developed the Nxt and Ardor blockchains. Ardor is the home to Mythical Beings, a blockchain-based card collection game with NFT assets. The goal of the game is to collect all cards showing legendary beasts from across the globe.

    Each Mythical Being is an asset on the Ardor blockchain, with its supply depending on it being a common, rare, or epic card. So far, the platform has offered native NFT support based on its parent-child chain architecture and advanced customization. To support easy and frequent transactions among the card owners, Ardor relies on a built-in engine that combines flexibility with high-degree functionality. Considering the importance of maintaining the rarity of NFT assets for this type of game, Ardor ensures the scarcity of the creatures by having a dedicated account for burning tokens.

    The game’s virtual outreach is already expanding. In December 2021, Mythical Beings have become a proper multichain game by offering support for using the cards on Polygon/OpenSea and Ignis/Ardor and crossing these bridges whenever a player wants it.

    Gamification for Public Good

    Gamification is yet another concept promoted by Jelurida and it treads the fine line between sheer entertainment and real-life application with concrete social benefits. Back in 2020, its project entitled HotCity involved a game-like simulation of heat recycling from waste energy sources which received support from the Austrian authorities. In HotCity, citizens earned tokens on the Ignis child chain in return for their participation.

    Triffic is the second project on Ardor to bring gamification to the world of communal good. Launched in late 2020, Triffic allows the participants to earn tokens simply by moving around their neighborhoods in search of the beacons. Once acquired, these beacons can bring them genuine rewards via an app-based system.

    In addition to serving the broader social goals, these two cases only serve to illustrate how the spillover of the ideas from the domain of NFT gaming can lead to a functional merger of real and virtual worlds.  

    WonderHero

    As a play-to-earn mobile roleplaying game, WonderHero WonderHero surely brings several groundbreaking features to the NFT gaming table.

    Launching on January 26, Wonderhero is the game in which the victories in turn-based tactical battles allow the players to earn in-game tokens called $WND and $HON as well as NFT-based equipment.   The NFTs earned as the rewards can be either directed at equipping the team to be able to take on more challenging opponents or be sold on the in-game marketplace.

    Unlike the majority of the NFT games at the moment, Wonderhero also supports real-time playing mode, a no small feat for this gaming niche.

    Wonderhero also comes with the support for a rather unique sponsorship system. It features a yield-based system that provides a safe environment for both “sponsors” and “scholars”, two main types of players on the platforms.

    Sponsors can loan out their NFTs without losing custody of their assets and this role is mainly aimed at less game-savvy participants who still do not want to be left out. On the other hand, scholars are “pure” gamers who can make earnings based on the agreed revenue split model.

    Spells of Genesis

    Branded as the 1st mobile blockchain game ever, EverDreamsoft’s Spells of Genesis was launched in April 2017 after a successful crowdfunding campaign that took place in 2015. Initially, it gathered around 300,000 USD needed to launch the development of the game. In the same year, the game minted its now “antique” NFTs.

    Spells of Genesis is a deck-building game that revolves around collecting and combining cards in an attempt to upend your opponents in battle. It is a multi-chain game, which comes with the support of Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Klaytn blockchains.

    This multi-chain interoperability is an essential feature for the game’s economic system which revolves around the storing of collectibles and the in-game purchasing of cards. A unique feature of the game is the support for the “blockchainization” which allows the players to turn their in-game cards into blockchain assets that are tradable outside the game. Once a card is “blockchainized” a player can choose which blockchain they wish to receive their card on.

    Conclusion

    Judging by the current state of NFT gaming, it’s easy to see that this industry is moving beyond the niche status into the world of the mainstream. The main attraction of these games is the ability to use NFTs as a way to embellish one’s gaming experience with an opportunity for monetization. Apart from that, NFTs make it possible for the player to make their gaming experience unique, particularly in terms of having access to tradable or leasable in-game assets.

    Yet, the very feature that sets these games apart from the “proper” ones, the NFT technology itself, is what makes the mainstream developers a bit wary in terms of balancing the gameplay around this concept. It’s a dilemma of almost Shakespearean proportions: is the inclusion of NFTs more important than perfecting the gameplay or graphics, or are NFTs to be left out altogether so as not to risk the gamers’ backlash and slow down the development time?

    Only time will tell, but judging by the state of the existing NFT gaming projects, we are ahead of times when these games can deliver on the promise of bringing the best of the gaming worlds together.

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    Coinpedia

    Crypto Journalist and Editor of guest articles in CoinPedia. I am also handling Outreach & Partnerships Manager. Contact me: [email protected]

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