Gamers in the traditional gaming industry face common challenges: having no ownership of their hard-earned assets, limitations on how in-game assets can be used, and most of all, not having any viable options for monetizing their gaming experience. In the event of a hack, disabled account, or a decision to proceed with other games, a gamer risks losing all the time and money spent on purchasing in-game items. Inherently, the game developers have full control over the assets the player supposedly owns. These two factors also contribute to a large drawback in the traditional gaming space–the lack of possibility for monetizing player-generated content and experiences.

This is what makes non-fungible tokens (NFTs) a perfect match for gaming. NFTs essentially are a digital store of value that allows gamers to solve the common pain points. NFTs allow players to retain true ownership of assets, transfer game items freely peer-to-peer, and use them to even monetize across the entire player ecosystem. It’s been dubbed the NFT gaming era and possibly the future of gaming as a whole.

NFTs are unique tokens that can represent just about anything digital–characters, power-ups, virtual land, weapons, a cherished video clip, and your favorite music soundtrack. They are built with the aid of blockchain technology that enables the uniqueness of each NFT.

Animoca Brands has a vision to leverage the power of NFTs to create top-notch play-to-earn games that benefits gamers but also redefines the entire gaming industry.

About Animoca Brands

Animoca Brands is an industry leader in digital entertainment, gamification, and blockchain. The company was recently ranked as one of the High Growth Companies in Asia-Pacific 2021. Animoca Brands owns a broad portfolio of products which includes SAND token, REVV token, The Sandbox, Crazy Kings, and Crazy Defense Heroes. The brand also boasts of products utilizing popular intellectual properties like Formula 1®, Marvel, WWE, Power Rangers, MotoGP™, and Doraemon.

Along with its wide range of products, Animoca Brands also has a portfolio of partnerships and blockchain investments, including Dapper Labs (CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot), OpenSea, Harmony, Bitski, Alien Worlds, and one of the most popular NFT games in the Philippines, Sky Mavis (Axie Infinity).

Uniqueness of NFTs

One typically asks the most common question, “what makes NFTs valuable?” The growth in the industry and hype around them baffles the minds of many and draws in more curiosity around its unique properties.

In an interview with The Human & Machine, Yat Siu, Chairman and Co-Founder of Animoca Brands, described, “When a painter paints, you’re not buying his paintbrush, neither are you buying the canvas, you’re buying what’s in his head, his idea. He just uses the brush or whatever tool he uses, to express that creative feeling, that concept, and imbues with it a form of value, or whatever that may be. It could be big. It could be small; it could be meaningful. It doesn’t matter.”

Siu uses this illustration to highlight how NFTs derive their intrinsic worth. “When you buy an NFT, you’re buying that same creative achievement, however, with a difference –you’re taking data blocks, which today we as users don’t understand the value of. It’s like raw materials, I don’t know what to do with it. And then we give this data to someone else, and he makes something out of it,” explained Siu.

The cryptographic nature of NFTs makes it impossible for them to be forged. This makes each and every NFT uniquely identifiable and hence contributes to how they are valued.

Akin to the painting scenario illustrated by Siu, different paintings have different values depending on the artist and other factors. The value of NFTs also varies across platforms depending on the utility they represent and the social elements associated with it.

From $13 million to $7 billion, can the NFT market continue to flourish?

From an initial market value of about $13 million in 2020, the NFT market is currently worth over $7 billion and still growing. While a number of players in the industry believe the market has reached its peak and there’s no room for further growth, Siu believes the opposite.

“This is like the internet era in 1990-2000. The growth rate accelerated over the years. However, 20 years after, the internet industry still continues to grow … You don’t see any of those internet companies reducing. And even if you were to tell us just a few years ago that the average market caps of those technology companies were going to be in the neighborhood of two to three trillion dollars, many of us would have said, ‘that’s ridiculous,’” Siu stated.

NFTs and the future of gaming

The unique features of NFTs allow gamers the opportunity to buy and sell digital items. This way, every in-game item purchased can be transferred, rented, sold, or otherwise monetized in ways that are only possible with blockchain. Gamers now have more freedom in the way they interact and experience digital games.

Even if the gamer chooses to move on to other games, they can still retain ownership of their NFT items. The NFTs can be sold on secondary marketplaces without restrictions from game developers. Gamers from multi-platform channels can now trade with each other peer-to-peer, 24/7 in globally accessible marketplaces.

This is redefining the gaming ecosystem by opening a new door of income opportunities for gamers. Gamers can earn as much as they want while still having fun. Play-to-earn games are capturing the tip of this iceberg, expanding the limitless possibilities of how NFTs are breathing fresh life into the saturated gaming industry.

Today the NFT gaming industry is growing at an accelerating rate with various gaming platforms like The Sandbox, REVV Racing, Axie Infinity, and several others making the frontlines.

Generating revenue while playing gives the gaming industry a whole new outlook. The play-to-earn trading volume in the market is currently over $2.5 billion with Axie Infinity topping the charts.

There’s so much potential embedded in this integration, which is one of the many reasons that Animoca Brands remains convinced NFTs are redefining the future of gaming. The platform is hard at work providing a cohesive ecosystem that empowers gamers with novel earning opportunities.

With the current growing base of users showing a fondness for both virtual gaming and NFT assets, it wouldn’t be a surprise if NFTs continue to revolutionize the market in the coming years.

The Human & Machine podcast is dedicated to inform and demystify the crypto, DeFi, GameFi, NFTs and blockchain industries for the average person.

Tlahui is a man in love with words and blockchain. His storytelling and passion to communicate led him to co-host The Human & Machine, a podcast and YouTube channel. Where he rightfully plays the role of an average-minded Human trying to understand and explain in layman terms, the lingo and complexities thrown at him by The Machine, his heartless, yet brilliant co-host.

Hikaru is a blockchain lover with a weakness for cooking. His outstanding understanding and experience in blockchain technologies, plus his unhuman work ethic have earned him the nickname of The Machine. In the show, he plays the role of a hybrid all-knowing robot that goes out of his way to explain blockchain concepts to The Human while trying not to lose faith in humanity.

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The NFT Boom: The popularity behind Non-Fungible Tokens [BEYOND Virtual Panel]