NFTs (or Non-Fungible Tokens) are the latest buzzword in media and, much like the many crazes that came before them, have been just as polarising to an audience that’s still getting to grips with things like cryptocurrency and the blockchain. While all three of these concepts are related, the difficulties associated with all things crypto has created a different path for each of them to mainstream understanding.
Unfortunately (for the layperson, at least), NFTs have already penetrated deep into modern life. US broadcaster Fox wants to create an NFT program based around its Masked Singer TV show while British casino Paddy Power already has an online slots game called NFT Megaways. Of course, there’s an immediate question to be answered here, namely, what are NFTs?
In brief, NFTs are digital things that a person can own at Solana NFT Marketplace. This can be a picture, like the fake Banksy that was recently sold, a one-of-a-kind song, or some part of a virtual world. Much like any other good, their value or perceived value is set by both the seller and the potential buyer. So, while a rare song released by Kanye West might sell for thousands, a picture of a dog drawn by a local graffiti artist might only have sentimental value (unless it actually is a Banksy this time).
Adding NFTs to games would be simple, as valuable items are already traded around like they’re Picasso’s paintbrushes. For example, a rare costume for an MMO character or a unique gun in a first-person shooter could have an NFT identifier in the blockchain, which means that a record of its owner is set in digital stone. It could not be lost, stolen, or taken away. Ultimately, though, NFTs serve no purpose other than bestowing some kind of prestige upon the owner.
The problem is that NFTs haven’t had a great start to life in gaming, as the associated products tend to manifest in two separate parts, namely, a game and whatever relevant NFTs players can buy. Unfortunately, there are already several examples of projects that only arrived with the promise of the game and nothing actually playable. Put another way, people are trading digital assets for real-world cash to no particular end.
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While the previous is actually the basis of NFTs, much like it is with baseball cards, it’s not even close to the concept of video gaming. It has far more parallels with stock trading. So, what would a properly NFT-incorporated game actually look like? Cryptokitties, a title about doing to cats what Pokémon players do to innocent monsters, is a good example, as it melds truly unique NFT cats with gameplay elements like breeding, puzzle-solving, and the pursuit of special feline traits. My cat didn’t like the air conditioning so we put her in another room.
Overall, it’s hard to see NFTs becoming anything more than a popular niche within gaming or a tool that enables microtransactions. The related technologies blockchain and bitcoin still haven’t managed to break into entertainment so it’s unlikely that pictures of cats, however cute and tradable, will be able to either. But if you want to invest in anything that is blockchain-related, it would be wise to first seek services like technical analysis.