Can crypto and blockchain gaming change the creator vs company story?

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Gamers have a kind of feel about blockchain technology. They came out furious when major game studios like Square Enix, Zynga and Ubisoft announced plans to include NFTs in new titles. The argument is that these cryptocurrencies and blockchain assets are Ponzi schemes for the digital world, and still haven’t proven they have legs.

But there’s just a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings about what the value of an NFT is, which is why sales pitches don’t sit well with gamers, said Mike Wagner, CEO of Star Atlas, at a GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming Summit.

“A lot of people right now see this as essentially a money grab, a way to make some quick income with no follow-up, which just isn’t the reality,” he said. “What is needed is a lot more education and community understanding.”

Wagner was joined by Miko Matsumura, general partner at gumi Cryptos Capital, to talk about blockchain and what’s really in it for gamers, the ways blockchain and NFTs are rocking the gaming world, and what we can expect for the future of the game. blockchain games like Star Atlas, and the metavers.


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Evil crypto vs crypto for good

Matsumura pointed out that much of the crypto world is still the wild west, full of weird crypto projects that don’t represent the kind of innovations developers and investors are trying to launch.

“Let’s separate the builders and the people who provide triple-A quality games and stuff from people who really just start a store and launder money or whatever they do, whatever unsavory activity,” he said. “To respond to this community, it’s important for us to recognize that there are indeed a lot of bad cryptocurrencies. It does not mean that there is no good crypto. I want to underline that.”

At this point, we’re starting to see the emergence of these crypto-native IP franchises that are evergreen, community-driven, and gamer-centric, Matsumura said. It’s becoming part of the culture of celebrities and influencers, and brands are starting to get on board, and the crypto world is slowly unraveling.

“We are starting to see this fusion between popular culture and blockchain, crypto and especially gamer culture,” he added.

In fact, we now live in a world where Eminem has changed his Twitter profile picture to his own Bored Ape Yacht Club NTF Purchase. He spent 123.45 in etherium, or $461,868.42 in real dollars. Bored Ape Yacht Club, an NFT project, similar to Cryptopunks, the OG NFT project launched in late 2017recently announced that they were working with Animoca to get into the game space to play to earn, which will be launched in the second quarter of 2022.

“We saw mainstream artists, musicians, composers, all come into the space to create a new concept and sell a new product,” Wagner said. “It’s a portrayal of yourself on social media, which in itself is a nascent version of what the metaverse will eventually become.”

How blockchain focuses on the player

With Star Atlas, a triple-A quality video game that features both traditional core games and blockchain mechanics, Wagner and co are trying to change the narrative around blockchain and NFTs for gamers, arguing that blockchain is ultimately about gamer-centricity, and gamers on the driver’s seat. They focus heavily on utility-driven NFTs, or assets you can buy that are not only collectible but also offer in-game benefits and real earning potential, Wagner said. Players can earn one of two native digital currencies – ATLAS, the medium of exchange across the economy, or POLIS tokens – which give players a stake in the Star Atlas DAO.

“What is critical for us is to build a robust and sustainable circular economy,” Wagner said. “It cannot be purely extractive. It can’t just be these issues of tokens by playing to earn that end up being useless, have nowhere to go. How do we create experiences that other people want to participate in that we don’t have to develop as a team? That’s what we’re focused on, building this toolset, building this platform and empowering people around the world to create within this new universe.”

There’s an idea of ​​history and sustainability built into blockchain, and that’s a value proposition for gamers, Matsumura said. The thing that’s so interesting about creating sustainable IP franchises owned and controlled by the players is that the blockchain is a device for recording consensus history, he said. Players can essentially become legendary parts of a game’s history, and it can be remembered indelibly.

“To me, the idea of ​​player-centricity is enhanced by blockchain,” he said. “The NFT as a historical artifact. It is part of the legend of the player, the whole environment and the game itself. Those are the kinds of things that blockchain can uniquely add that I think gamers should think about.”

The core value for gamers

For Wagner, the core value proposition remains real asset ownership, or the sharing economy, involving the gamer in the value creation.

“For me, NFTs have tremendous value,” he said. “Players can then own that, sell it later, sell it peer-to-peer, trade it with someone else, trade with it, that’s all value. Making money with the time you spend on a game has never been before possibly. I spent thousands of hours in MMOs that I played over time, and what I got out of it was the entertainment value. That was really fun in the time I spent it, but if you can get that extra perk add that you can also capture some value, generate some income, then that’s fantastic.”

Traditional studios’ revenue models are based on extraction – it’s a unidirectional flow of capital. But blockchain creates open economies for players to participate in in many different capacities, he said.

“For me, one of the biggest benefits is being able to tap into this new financial ecosystem that is crypto, and bringing people in through gaming is one of the fastest ways to expose people to crypto in general.” ,” he said. “Obviously we have a strong focus on gaming as the primary application in the Star Atlas metaverse, and I really believe this will attract people. They will inform themselves. They will educate themselves about the benefits of this new financial ecosystem. I think there is no turning back once they are exposed to it. It’s the red pill. Once you’re in, you’re in.”

The game basically democratizes the economic metagame of participation and turns players into owners, Matsumura said.

“That feels gamer-centric,” he said. “That feels like a really desirable aspiration. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but I feel like there’s nothing wrong with wanting that for players.”

The Nerds Revenge

“For me, one of the biggest selling points of the rise of blockchain is NFT, and basically this financialization of gaming is the idea that the gamers can get revenge on the geeks,” Matsumura said. “And what I’m saying with this is that what becomes so important is that the fiscal and monetary power that is given to the gamer is really part of how we win.”

The creator-versus-company story is common in NFTs and in blockchain gaming, Wagner added, but creators can now bypass all these middlemen they normally had to use to sell things, like their art, for example. Now that they can sell their product directly, they are reaping the revenue that used to be siphoned off.

“We’re more focused on being the creator,” he said. “Yes, we’re also a corporate organization, but ultimately it’s being a creator and then handing that over to the people who participate.”

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