28/06/2021 How NFTs Can Disrupt Gaming

In the future, NFTs could be used in the gaming world to let players own and transfer digital assets. Eyes have rolled in recent months at the internet’s latest obsession: “non-fungible tokens.” The term itself may even turn people off from learning more about it. But despite some lumping NFTs into the same category as joke-cryptocurrency Dogecoin or the GameStop meme trading frenzy, these tokens are more than just a fad; NFTs have important applications, and they could change the future landscape of digital assets or how some objects are uniquely identified, trusted, verified and owned. In its most simplistic form, a non-fungible token is a virtual deed that conveys ownership of a digital asset. Much like cryptocurrency, NFTs leverage a blockchain platform to uniquely identify and prove the existence and record keeping of a transaction. However, as the Wall Street Journal explains, there is a key difference between NFTs and cryptocurrencies. “While every bitcoin created can be exchanged for one another, these cannot,” reports journalist Caitlin Ostroff. These tokens are non-fungible and are uniquely uploaded to a digital ledger. The other major difference is that NFTs commonly use the Ethereum blockchain due to its versatility in being able to store and attach information to the token, whereas Bitcoin is its own proprietary blockchain and by design stores limited information about the creation and exchange of its namesake coin. If it still sounds confusing, think about it this way, as described in a previous Built In piece: While there may be millions of replications of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the only original is the one that lives in the Louvre Museum. If da Vinci were alive today, he could have created the Mona Lisa digitally and attached an NFT to uniquely identify this masterpiece (and himself as the creator). Yes, one could easily replicate and digitally copy his masterpiece all across the web, but that would be no different than someone replicating the original artwork as a postcard and mailing it to their friends. Much like those postcard replicas are essentially worthless compared to the original Mona Lisa, the digital copies would also not have the same value as the original verified by an NFT. More Than a Fad While NFTs may sound like a fad, they have real uses in our digital world. Digital transformation has made it possible for physical assets to migrate to the digital world, but like a “digital signature” on a scanned image, there is often no proof of the authenticity of such images. There needs to be some level of verification and proof of authorship for those who create digital art. That’s why services from companies such as DocuSign have become a necessity; they provide better verification, greater trust and a guarantee that the person who added their scanned signature truly is who they say they are. Demand from crypto-investors is one factor driving the price volatility of digital art attached to an NFT. People like Mike Winkelmann, a digital artist known as Beeple, are certainly monetizing the situation. His digital art collage, Everydays: the First 5000 Days, auctioned at Christie’s and sold for a record $69 million. This marked a historic transaction, both as the first NFT sold by Christie’s and the auction house’s first acceptance of a digital currency. NFTs in Gaming There are endless possibilities for how NFTs can be used in the gaming world to allow for the ownership and transferability of digital assets. Companies such as Riot Games and Epic Games have disrupted the industry by offering games for free, and first-person shooter and online battle-arena games have grown exponentially popular as a result. Alongside those free games, “skins” — typically visual enhancements, outfits or weapons that can personalize gaming avatars — have also become more popular, and users commonly pay a premium for these types of customizations. This is one reason why gaming company Roblox has become so successful; its platform allows so many ways for users to customize and style their identities in-game. Even more mind-blowing is the fact that users are spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars on skins that provide absolutely no improvement to the gameplay itself, only serving to enhance the appearance of a game, character or avatar. Skins have essentially become digital art for video games, and NFTs could allow digital artists who may later want to sell such designs to claim ownership of and authenticate their skins. There are other gaming applications for NFTs, too. Take Warcraft or Minecraft: Both games allow users to create their own gaming world or map, and they provide endless tools to help gamers leverage their creativity and build elaborate, unique worlds. But what if gamers could sell their proprietary map or world — and their authorship or rights to it — to someone else? NFTs could help make this possible. Along with ownership of such designs, another challenge with video games is that all the digital accessories, skins, maps and worlds created within a specific ecosystem or platform are “locked” into that game. That means if a 13-year-old is spending all of her or his allowance on customizations for one game, all of that is lost if the game goes away in its entirety. But NFTs can facilitate the transferability of skins and other accessories between different games. For example, what if a Souvenir Dragon Lore AWP sniper rifle (valued at $26,000 in real American dollars thanks to its rare drop rate) in the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive could be imported into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare? Or what if that rare turtle or bacon Minecraft cape could be transferred to Roblox’s Adopt Me! game? If players are able to get more use out of the skins and accessories they buy for one game, more gamers might shell out money for such customizations. Leyline, a not-for-profit company looking to gamify environmental and social sustainability, is working on developing collectible NFTs that people can earn by doing good social deeds that have a positive impact on the environment and their community. “We are seeing companies move from the box model, to a free-to-play, and now a play-to-earn,” Jeremy Dela Rosa, founder and CEO of Leyline, told me in an interview. “The market is transitioning from a competitive approach to a more collaborative one." As more use cases like this crop up, we expect that it is only a matter of time before gaming companies begin to adopt a centralized marketplace and blockchain to allow users to freely create and transfer digital goods. NFTs in the Future As NFTs have received more hype, cryptocurrency investors are increasingly becoming crypto-art collectors, and NFTs are currently finding their strongest application in the playground of digital baseball card trading and NBA highlight collections.. But we expect they will have more practical applications in the future. According to Nonfungible.com, which tracks the market for NFT sales, NFT assets grew from $40.9 million in 2018 to more than $338 million in 2020. The chart below shows weekly NFT sales and transaction activity for 2021, which according to Enjin.com, has already exceeded all of 2020 levels in just the first three months of this year. nft-sales-vs-transactions While speculation and volatility of valuation continue, the use case and practicalities of NFTs will likely stick around. There is a strong need for an underlying technology that can provide a trusted and verified source of creatorship for digital art. A decentralized blockchain network such as Ethereum functions as an excellent platform to provide a ledger that attaches, in essence, a smart contract to pieces of digital art.


Interesting NFTs
Christmas Sleigh
First Christmas-themed Visual Toy. For this work the artist has created a fantastic sleigh, ornamented in detail and with all the Christmas spirit that transports us to childhood, illusion, innocence. With its gift wrapping machinery, its Santa, a snow globe, the nutcracker, the European-style village and its soundtrack (first time with music) it is a whole Christmas mosaic for the imagination.
Ciao! I'm Kitty #279896. All you need to know about me is I hate wet food with a passion. I once made a rhino enjoy. It's pawesome to meet you!
Alex in Wonderland
A figure, Alex, stands mostly naked in the midst of a physical and psychological maelstrom. He is clad only in nostalgic 80’s era socks, on a tenuous island between active waters and a variety of shark denizens. Sharks on the right side of the image are all beached, including a shark with a quartz crystal snout, an orange shark wrapped in a life buoy, and a shark further in the distance wearing an 80’s style shirt with the number “88”. On the left side is the largest shark, wearing bright glossy red lipstick and brandishing prominent teeth with braces. She is cordoned off from the figure by a roped float divider, and within her thought bubble is a warning symbol. Behind the figure, hovering in the air, are Grey aliens emerging from the distance, out of a series of elliptical UFO shaped interdimensional membranes. The Greys take on the visual form of spermazoa ostensibly impregnating the interdimensional thresholds. As is typical, these Greys inhabit a zone just behind the unconscious topology of Alex’s dissociative mind. Though Alex’s bottom half is representative, his top half mutates into a psychological cornucopia. In a manner akin to “Auto-Erotic Sphinx”, a predecessor work, the figure has self suctioned—an act of sensual infatuation, enjoyment, and exploration. Upward exists the figure’s primary conscious eye, adorned with a revolutionary beret emblazoned with a Bitcoin badge. The figure’s summit features the nose of a fighter jet facing off against video game Bullet Bills, one of whom is marked by a communist North Korean star. A cropped section of a UFO observes the contest. Alex’s mind branches both left and right. To the left is more singular embodied consciousness, manifesting two eyes and a Ganesh trunk grasping crayons. The right branch dissociates upward diagonally, emerging into an array of eyes, faces, teeth, tail, a unicorn horn, and much more—all of which participate in expressing his unconscious being; a democracy of psychic factions representing thought impressions and associations. All illumination and darkness– fernal, infernal, high consciousness and corporeal underbelly–reside in this realm. In the distance are relatively languid, light clouds, and against the firmament hovers a colossal distant eye peering over the scene and far beyond. This painting possesses underlying genetic traits with previous works such as “Auto-Erotic Sphinx with Toys”, “Dionysus”, and “Fuku-Shiva”. The work serves also as a nod to an earlier period of art inspiration during late teens and early twenties— born out of the nakedness, vulnerability, curiosity, and wonder inherent to coming of age and all subsequent psychedelic revelation.
The Moth Catcher
In this psychologically bed-headed portrait, a creature sets in a trance; his eyes devolved and vestigal, his third eye open but hardened and in a form resembling a Sharingan. The imagery therefore expresses an awareness existing in corporeal introspection. The creature’s mind sprouts, on the left side, an emerging face, grinning. To the right side of the head, red tentacles and fingers intertwine–a collaboration of invertebrate and vertebrate consciousness cooperatively handling paint brushes of the sort used to build an oil painting. The neck and throat bristle with random thorns, as from a rose or the upper portions of a beak sprouting from its flesh. The neck itself disassociates into layers of membranous material, terminating upon an abstracted base of convoluted forms composing its body. The nose is virtually non existent, more a sinus reiterative of the shape of the third eye. Set against the exposed teeth peering out of thick, meaty cheeks, a skeleton-like impression results. That impression sets behind a visceral set of lips and tongue, which is the creature’s prime seat of awareness. Sensual, organic, the tongue organ hangs, meaty, and with consciousness of a sea cucumber. It illuminates at the tip, drawing the attraction of a nearby moth–with mystery of purpose.