Gaming is now one of the most profitable sectors of the entertainment industry, with consumer spending in the United States growing 8% in 2021 to top $60.4 billion in revenue. Worldwide, the games market generated an estimated $180.3 billion in 2021, up 1.4%.
Within that segment are the hugely popular play-to-earn blockchain-based games, which are growing at an even faster pace given their virtual standstill some two years ago. But are blockchain games good enough to compete with more mainstream titles?
In its 2021 annual report, The Blockchain Game Alliance says that NFT games generated $2.32 billion in revenue in the third quarter of 2021, or 22% of all NFT trading volume. Making the most waves was Axie Infinity — with its much-publicized popularity in the Philippines during COVID-19 lockdowns — which became the first blockchain game to top $1 billion in NFT sales.
The report reveals that 68% of BGA members felt the growth was attributable to the P2E sector, and 85% said true ownership of digital goods in games is the secret sauce behind blockchain game successes.
Can blockchain games compete on gameplay and appeal with mainstream titles?
Jack Boreham, editor-in-chief of Metaverse Insider, has been following the trends over the past two years and believes blockchain gaming — or NFT games, as he likes to call them — will be adopted by mainstream publishers.
“The beauty of NFT games is that they invert the institutional hierarchy of video gaming so that the power comes from the base of decentralized gamers and not the executives,” says Boreham. “And yes, big names will come in, but not for a couple of years, and the first ones are likely to be characterized as the more off-centre brands such as Nintendo.”
So, is it just a matter of P2E goading traditional video gaming, or will the two parallel streams meet, merge or consume one another? The bigger names such as Ubisoft, Square Enix and Sega have already dipped their toes in the water by introducing NFTs, but they have witnessed backlash from…