Crypto, NFTs, blockchain, all of that, has a terrible reputation, especially so in the world of video games. This isn't surprising, because everything we've seen so far with crypto and games has been pretty dystopian, but it doesn't have to be that way. These technologies are tools that can be used to do good or bad, and the good they could do is worth examining. So, in this article, we'll explain how cryptocurrency and NFTs could actually make games better.
Premium Currency As Cryptocurrency
Imagine you boot up a big, mainstream game like Call of Duty, and imagine you wander into its in-game shop. Instead of CoD Points, you see some kind of cryptocurrency. Imagine it's the same one you see used by every game because quickly a gamer-focused coin became popular and all the big companies started supporting it.
Now, you don't have to worry about getting scammed by currency purchases, having just too few points to get what you want or just enough extra to encourage you to buy some more. You'll simply be able to buy whatever thing you want by transferring whatever amount of crypto you need to your account. Plus, companies can price microtransactions, in crypto, based on the current exchange rate to your local currency, so things can cost $10 in USD while the crypto amount may vary slightly depending on its value.
This is a great way to not instantly lose all your money buy buying into a closed virtual currency system. When you buy CoD Points, you're giving away your real money to get fake money you can use on CoD stuff, but with a crypto system, you could move your money from game to game or simply back to your wallet as you saw fit, never needing to buy virtual currencies.
Microtransactions as NFTs
Take the skins and weapon bundles you can buy in CoD shop and imagine they're all NFTs. Same prices, same skins, they're just NFTs. Now, we'll instantly get logs of all microtransaction purchases done in a game's shop, so we'll have nearly unlimited access to a game's financial standing, which is great for the consumer.
But take it a step further, since Activision inserts microtransactions into basically all its games and probably won't stop, say the company pledges that you can use your microtransaction NFTs in any of their games. Just link your NFT to whatever account, and there you go. Instantly, skins and cosmetics become so much more versatile and valuable.
Plus, even if Activision does some sort of thing where you apply the texture of your gun camo to the weapon in a totally different game to try and keep continuity somewhat and it's not perfect, this is still some major new functionality that makes your purchases more valuable. It'll also be easy to transfer skins between games within the same series, like CoD.
On top of all this, you could trade your skins with other people. Don't like that skin anymore? No problem, your $20 isn't gone, just trade it for another cool skin somebody paid for. Done with the game? No problem! Sell all your skins and take your money out. There are a million ways this could be much more consumer-friendly than the system as it is now.
The Future of Games
On one hand, game companies don't seem to want anything to do with the above. Instead, game companies want in-house coins they control and limited features for the consumer while trying to sell as many limited-edition NFTs as they can for the least effort possible. This, of course, isn't good and has given crypto the terrible reputation it has today in gaming.
However, on the other hand, microtransactions themselves are insanely lucrative. What companies want to do, then, is to encourage more people to spend more on microtransactions. By making microtransactions a lot more valuable and versatile, companies can still enjoy the sky-high margins inherent to selling digital goods while getting more and more people interested in spending money on them.
Right now, in many respects, microtransactions are looked at as a necessary evil, and people with enough extra cash to spend on them generally resent being forced to spend money on what is supposed to be a 'free' game. If the system became more like, well, companies offering really cool and interesting features for money, more people would undoubtedly partake.
This toxic relationship game companies have with monetization where they're constantly pushing the boundary of what's the worst players will accept needs to change to simply companies offering stuff gamers really want that they can't say no to easily. It's not hard to do that when it comes to digital goods that are already being sold.