When A Video Game Asset Becomes An Investment
We are heading into a world where I can put my level 20 sword on my investment portfolio. And the crazy thing is it might be more than some of my stocks. Video game assets in certain games have always had some real world value over the years. There were the MMOs where you could sell your coin for real money and the mobile apps that asked for cash every time you made an in-game purchase. The problem was you never really owned any of these items and as they could be remade by the company. This lead to a lot of trust when you were buying digital assets online as it was mostly up to the game developers to determine its worth and since 99.9% of games didn't allow you to resell your item it was not like you were "investing" in it.
But that is all about to change. With blockchain technology you can make any digital item scarce. This includes artwork to any item in game. A game company can now release a piece of armor in a MMO and have there only be 1,000 copies of it. That means that your copy it an actual 1 of a 1000 that can be tracked on a blockchain. And when something has scarcity it can be given value on the market. This opens up the possibilities for several genres.
Before I start listing them I am not telling anyone to spend their money on a game to make it rich. This is a new field and a lot of hype is around it. This is not investment advice, you should be playing the game to have fun and if you make some money on the side bonus. A lot of games are going to try to get you to give them money for digital goods and there are going to be scams (and games which are not going to even make it out of development) so please be careful with your money. Look for free to play games where you can earn the assets in game and if you really believe in a team and project only spend money that you can afford to lose. Or even better money you would have spent on game assets anyways. And even with that there are probably better investments like the coin of the blockchain itself (even though that is high risk as well).
Here are some items that could utilise this new tech:
Who doesn't like looting in game? Any gamer has spent hours farming for that perfect item. Well now your raids can yield you a shield that you can sell on the open market for cash. Farming is a great way to chill for a couple of hours and it might also be a way to make some extra money. Any item can be on the blockchain from weapons, to armor, to pets, to potions. It will be up to the company to make the higher level ones more rare and thus more valuable.
You have already seen this with Splinterlands. This is the item that translates the best so far for blockchain gaming and it is why you are seeing it pop up a lot in the space. Digital card games have been charging people for packs for years. Look at Hearthstone. The games are free to play but you will need to buy expansion packs every few months to keep competitive. So why not play a game where you own you cards and could sell them later if you want to? Or even trade them. The problem is making a game where it is not pay-to-win. Splinterlands is an impressive early example of what blockchain gaming can do but you need higher level cards to compete and that can get really expensive. But if you don't have that then the cards will not be worth as much. This is where special design cards come into play. They have the same gameplay mechanics as regular cards but since they have a special artwork on them and are rare they can be valuable as a work of art would be.
Skins And Other Aesthetics:
We have all seen the massive success of Fortnite. And that game is 100% free to play. But you can spend money on different outfits for your characters and weapons. All these can be on the blockchain and when you are tired of your old look you can sell it for a new one. This will also open the game to tournaments with rare prizes only certain players will have. That guy rocking that gold shirt, he was top 10 in the summer bash.
The Character Themselves:
You can spend days leveling up a character. But at some point they will max out and unless an expansion comes out there is nothing more to do with them. Similar to items a character can also be a blockchain item. You can have ownership of them, level them up and then sell them as you would an item. This would be a way for people new to the game to catch up and for players with experience to make money for their time.
And you don't have to stop there. Any in-game item can be put on a blockhain and be worth something. This is a very new world at the early stages and like I mentioned before there will be a lot of games that try to sell you hype just to make a quick dollar. But keep your eyes open for a game in the genre you like that is free-to-play and gaming might be more worth your time than you think.