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A New Era of Ownership is Changing the Nature of Competitive Games

A New Era of Ownership is Changing the Nature of Competitive Games

Competition has long been known by gaming psychologists to increase motivation and engagement in gameplay. As a result, many developers strive to serve their most competitive players by incorporating greater complexity and higher stakes rewards into their upgrades. 

However, as with all things, these improvements are subject to the law of diminishing returns. In-game rewards become stale, and players seek out new challenges. 

Sascha Zehe and Richard McLaren, co-CEOs of Polemos, both believe that blockchain-based asset ownership is a solution to this problem. Polemos Forge, their new GameFi platform, is assisting all gamers in making better use of this industry. They have an educational hub that assists players in capitalising on new opportunities, and they will soon release an asset lending and asset staking library. 

“The most important aspect for me is ownership.” “The ownership of assets is what will drive the growth of Web3 games over Web2 games,” Zehe said.

The impact on the competitive gaming industry

This type of ownership opens a whole new set of incentives for competitive gaming. 

“If a player wins a weapon or badge that they can store in a self-custody Web3 wallet, they gain access to an infinite number of ways to leverage that reward,” McLaren explained. 

While the value of this type of ownership is not limited to competitive games, many well-known game developers use it in competitive settings. 

Illuvium, a AAA Web3 game still in development, has released Arena (Private Beta 2), which allows players to compete using assets and avatars (Illuvials) they own.

This competitive element is the first step in their full IBG (interoperable blockchain game) launch, and it has already gathered a sizable social following.

Another AAA-quality blockchain game, Shrapnel, is incorporating esports functionality into its own P2P (peer-to-peer) competitions and player-created tournaments. Players can design their own combinations of weapons and custom skins to use in matches against other players by using Shrapnel’s professional-grade creator tools. Players can either capture their opponent’s loot or lose everything in these high-stakes battles. 

While there is the potential for disruption, both McLaren and Zehe explained that measuring industry-wide impact is difficult at this stage. “These fantastic games are still in the works,” McLaren said. More active users are needed to determine how much transformative value NFTs can provide through high-quality games. 

“We need better games (like these) in Web3 that can leverage the value of blockchain ownership,” Zehe added. 

When asked if GameFi has the potential to disrupt the esports industry, McLaren stated, “Not yet, or at least not outside of the games’ inherent gameplay and spectator appeal.” “We haven’t come across any intriguing models for crowdsourcing prizes and tournaments or team sponsorships.” 

The fact that GameFi is still in its early stages may be interpreted positively by investors and players. It allows them to learn about and investigate the games and strategies that will provide them with the most opportunities.

Correcting the mistakes of the past

McLaren emphasised the importance of comparing in-game revenue models to gameplay quality. “If there isn’t a balance of incentives, games will struggle to acquire users for reasons other than profit.” 

For example, during the global recession and crypto winter, Axie Infinity, a play-to-earn video game, struggled to retain players. The value of the in-game currency dropped by more than 90% from its all-time high in July 2021 to February 2022, causing many players to abandon the game.

However, it is more than just a matter of unequal financial incentives. When asked why Ubisoft was having trouble launching it is Quartz NFTs, Zehe stated that “the industry as a whole suffers from a branding problem, and it’s called NFTs.”

 For those who are unfamiliar with the launch, Ubisoft introduced a new initiative called Ubisoft Quartz in late 2021. It sought to incorporate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into games by transforming in-game assets into collectible player-owned assets. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint was the first game to receive this treatment on PC. Unfortunately, the initiative was met with low sales and criticism from the traditional gaming community.

“Calling a game item an NFT is unnecessary jargon and, moreover, a somewhat discredited “dodgy” term,” McLaren explained. “Adoption will need to be more gentle and at the pace of the players.” 

NFTs will eventually appear in AAA games, but they most likely won’t be referred to as NFTs, he added. Additionally, the movement will be top-down-led.

Polemos’ work with AAA-quality blockchain games like Illuvium and Shrapnel includes facilitating community management and gaming lore. 

“Depending on the stage of the game, these communities’ openness to collaboration varies,” according to Zehe. Collaboration may be more difficult in the early stages of development, but as the game’s exposure grows, so will the opportunities for partnerships and marketing efforts. “Trivia contests, live game sessions, giveaways, AMAs, and the creation of educational content are examples of such activities.” 

In the case of Illuvium, the team even collaborated on an NFT, announcing a Polemos-branded Cosplay Illuvium Stabbin NFT earlier last year. 

Polemos is also working hard to flesh out its own platform’s lore, fantasy, universe, and backstory. They are devising novel ways to incorporate their storytelling into the work of their collaborators. This type of creative collaboration is the foundation of gaming interoperability, and it has the potential to open a new world of utility for gaming NFTs.

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