Investment is more than game. Is NFT game a good business?

Source:"Mobile game matrix" (id:shouyoujuzhen), author: cuncao

From Ubisoft's launch of NFT platform quartz, to Blizzard's questionnaire asking players' views on the "play to earth" model, to se's president's reiterated hope that the publisher of final fantasy will launch blockchain games, recently, game manufacturers seem to be interested in NFT.

Unlike Internet buzzwords such as metauniverse and Web3, NFT is not a grand concept containing infinite possibilities. It may have a more complex operating mechanism, but it is not mysterious. Since the concept was formally put forward in 2017, NFT, which is defined as a non homogenous token, has been developing continuously. Its irreplaceable and scarcity have made it popular with many collectors and investors. By 2021, NFT has ushered in a period of rapid expansion in the market environment where the supply side of IP creation and authorization, the demand side for investment, collection and identity symbols, and the channel of blockchain technology are tending to be mature. This year is also known as the first year of NFT. In the second year, the news that more well-known manufacturers have joined the NFT track has made this concept further out of the circle.

Overseas NFT fever

In foreign countries that have set off an investment boom in NFT, cryptocurrency and Web3 entrepreneurial track based on blockchain technology, NFT is not only a collection, but also has strong financial attributes.

The value of NFT is considerable. In December 2020, the total transaction volume of NFT was about $12million, and in March 2021, this figure soared to more than $500 million. Among them, digital artist beeple's NFT work everydays:the first 5000 days auctioned out a high price of more than $69million, setting a new record for NFT art. These transactions undoubtedly make NFT a potential stock in the eyes of investors.

Schematic diagram of the first 5000 days (part)

In addition to art, games are also one of NFT's projects. Adding NFT to games is a way for game developers to profit from the creation of the game economy, which has become more and more popular in recent years.

In 2017, cryptokitties, a "chain cat" game, quickly became popular after it was launched. In 2020, the same team cooperated with NBA to launch the same popular NBA top shot. From cats to stars, NFT games have a variety of themes and playing methods, but they all have common characteristics such as collection, competition, trading, etc. through playability, players are encouraged to participate, so as to create the value of NFT props in the process of participation. In addition, after the broadcast of the documentary "earn while playing - NFT game in the Philippines", axie infinity earned as much as $334million in one month, with a maximum daily income of more than $11million, and became the hottest chain game in 2021. Greatly improve the popularity of NFT games.

Video screenshot of the documentary "earn while playing - NFT games in the Philippines"

Perhaps seeing the success of this "play to earn" model, many traditional game manufacturers have also begun to enter the field of NFT. In addition to cooperating with blockchain technology platforms to find investment opportunities, manufacturers are also trying to develop NFT games or add NFT to their popular games.

Different from Blizzard's denial of NFT related projects after issuing the questionnaire, Ubisoft is very firm in this direction. Although its performance of "the first 3A level game playable and energy-saving NFT platform" is not ideal, and its move to add digital property rights to the game "ghost action: breakpoint" has also been frustrated by player resistance, Ubisoft has not given up, saying that it will continue to try this mode in more games. Blockchain technology and NFT have also been added to the global version of legend 4, an MMO end game owned by entertainment virtue, for players to experience.

Concerns of manufacturers under risk

However, not all manufacturers embrace NFT. Steam explicitly rejected blockchain games, saying it was to protect the core values of the game. The CEO of EA, who originally claimed that NFT was the future of the industry, also changed his tune, saying that EA would not enter the field of NFT for the time being. The boss of Epic Games, which previously welcomed blockchain games, also changed his mind in an interview recently, saying he believed that digital goods would become popular and profitable, but now the NFT market is full of criminals and scams.

Concern about the risks of NFT is an important reason to resist NFT. Climate replay, an overseas environmental protection video game organization, issued a letter of commitment to ensure that manufacturers who have used NFT minimize harm to society. It can be seen from the key points of the letter of commitment that the concerns about NFT mainly include speculation, the risk of unregulated and unstable cryptocurrencies, and the negative aspects of the play to earn model: informal employment, shifting the main purpose of the game from enjoyment to making money, and transparent operation.

From the recent news, we can also see some instability of NFT games.

First, the impact of game service suspension. In March this year, F1 delta time, one of the first officially licensed NFT games, announced its discontinuation of service. When it was launched in 2019, it detonated the NFT game circle, and the car in the game was once auctioned out at a sky high price. However, due to the inability of the game to renew its F1 license, the economic system in the game began to collapse before the service was stopped. Although the official promise will be converted into other assets in the NFT ecosystem as compensation, it has not been able to save the losses suffered by players in the decline of money prices in the game.

Second, security is difficult to guarantee. On March 29, the big fire axie infinity revealed that its virtual currency platform ronin was attacked and lost more than $600million worth of cryptocurrency. This is the most serious security incident in the chain game field, and it has been six days since the problem was found to be attacked, which also points out the security risk of the virtual currency system.

Different from the active investment in parallel with risks abroad, in the environment where the relevant regulatory mechanism is not yet perfect, NFT has weakened the transaction attribute in China and focused on the copyright protection function, which is mainly reflected in the digital collection. High popularity includes digital Dunhuang, music records, etc. domestic stars familiar to the public, such as Jay Chou and Junjie Lin, have also published their own NFT collections on social platforms.

In the past year, ant group, Baidu, B station and other large Internet companies have flocked to NFT, but they are all in a state of readiness in this field. When the policy is not clear, on the one hand, they must carefully refrain from excessive investment, on the other hand, they must master relevant technologies and seize the market in advance, in case of need. With the development of blockchain and the continuous expansion of NFT market scale, the relevant systems will be gradually improved, and the domestic secondary market may be opened. At that time, major manufacturers will also show their strength and make big moves in games and more fields.

Attitude towards unknown players

Although domestic and foreign manufacturers have different attitudes, players of traditional games are basically resistant to joining NFT in the game. In addition to its risks, the most important reason is that after NFT is combined with games, investment will replace the fun of games.

NFT games are mostly simple to play. At present, NFT games are mostly competitive and simulated business. Its core is play to earn. Taking axie infinity as an example, it has a good community ecology and has also become an important way for people in some regions to obtain a source of livelihood. This game is popular with many players. In essence, its players are mostly speculators. Traditional games are the superposition and penetration of various playing methods. The playing mechanism, story, role, and the truth and emotion to be expressed in the game are the core to attract players. Players are more concerned about whether the game is fun or not.

On the other hand, the resistance to NTF games is not the result of seeing, on the contrary, it is largely due to the lack of understanding of NFT. Different from NFT game players, traditional players' impression of NFT is mostly hype of virtual currency, or similar to the bad game experience brought by studio gold brushing. Coupled with many chaos in this market, in the expectation of players, traditional games and NFT games have always been two unrelated fields.

This idea can also be seen in players' attitude towards manufacturers. Traditional game manufacturers, especially well-known big companies, want to do NFT, which undoubtedly breaks the established cognition of players, especially when they know that they want to add a strange and bad impression to a game they are familiar with, the first reaction is rejection. Players dare not risk the destruction of the game connotation, and manufacturers are also afraid to provoke players, so it is quite difficult to go on this road.


Compared with the concept of metauniverse, NFT has a clear development path and technical support, so it is likely to become an important trend in the future market. However, although NFT has investment value, it has not been shown in the game market, especially in traditional games. For most players, the connotation and value of money, fashion, rare props and other assets in different games cannot be separated from the explanation of specific games. How these values exist in the form of NFT, at least for now, is still unimaginable.

In the current environment, to make players change their outlook on NFT, it may need a broken circle game, which is attractive enough for ordinary players to have access to NFT, so as to understand how NFT combines with game playing methods and what impact it will have on the game experience. It is reasonable to judge rather than reject it based on the established impression.

In terms of making a game about NFT and a game with NFT, at present, the development path of NFT game manufacturers and traditional game manufacturers is different. It may take a long time to explore how NFT games can avoid rapid explosion and depression, and how traditional games can achieve a balance between maintaining the core of the game and the play to earth mode.