Does blockchain gaming really have a future?
Blockchain is not a new word anymore. Even the grandparents on the streets know how Bitcoin has experienced several rises and falls in recent years, and how it has exploded people's positions. For different people, this obviously has completely different meanings: some people are deeply involved, give their destiny to a market that fluctuates more than 50%, make money that ordinary people can't make in a lifetime, or lose everything; in addition, The people just saw this as a lively drama, a huge hoax, standing safely from a distance, looking forward to something happening in it.
Before Bitcoin's recent plunge, the entire virtual currency market maintained a fairly long period of prosperity. Not only is the mining business good, but other blockchain-related industries are also developing rapidly. A while ago, it was reported that people made a living through the blockchain game "Axie Infinity" during the epidemic. The source of the news is a small documentary. It is introduced that in the countryside of the Philippines, due to foot restraints during the epidemic, people cannot go out to work, and many families have lost their main source of income. Later, some villagers found that they could make money by playing blockchain games-through in-game battles, breeding pets and selling them, and selling props "love potions" to earn virtual currency, and then convert it into real money. The income level is almost affordable. The life of an entire family on the Southeast Asian archipelago.
It sounds a lot like an advertisement, right? In fact, it's not much different. The uploader of the so-called "documentary" is called "Playing and Earning, NFT Game in the Philippines". Its YouTube homepage has only 3 videos. They are the trailer, the full version and the subtitled version of the film in 8 languages, including Chinese. The playback volume adds up to 300,000.
I know this doesn’t sound very reliable. We’ve heard too many scams of “watching videos to make money”, “playing games to make money”, “mousing the mouse at home to make money”, but playing blockchain games may indeed make you earn For some, just doing so also requires costs, and if there is a cost, there is a risk of loss.
In the video, rural youths in the Philippines rely on "Axie Infinity" to support themselves, and even some elderly people are playing
What is a "blockchain game"?
In the promotion video, "Axie Infinity" is called "NFT game". This is of course because it uses NFT technology-in fact, most blockchain games use this technology, we can almost use NFT Games and blockchain games are equated. The full name of NFT is "Non-Fungible Token", which is a bit like "digital signature", or the digital number of certain items, used to distinguish belonging. In blockchain games, players are trading props, that is, changing the ownership of NFTs.
Therefore, a blockchain game is an electronic game that uses NFT to store information in the blockchain to determine the ownership of virtual items. Theoretically, it can be completely indistinguishable from traditional video games, but the scale and focus make blockchain games what they are today-lack of gameplay, but extremely transactional attributes.
Of course, you may have questions. Why can NFT become a gimmick? Isn’t the most important part of the game fun? According to blockchain game supporters, the game industry has been suffering from "centralization" for a long time. For ordinary online games, developers and operators are a "centralized" part. They control the power of life and death. Even the valuable virtual items in the player's account, as long as they violate the rules, they may be banned. ——Sometimes, it may be blocked if it does not violate the regulations. In the "User Code of Conduct Terms" that no one will study seriously, most manufacturers clearly pointed out that players only have the right to play, not the game account and the items in it. As for "selling accounts" and trading virtual items on the secondary market, it's just that the government doesn't bother to control it.
But this is not the case with blockchain games, which are decentralized, transparent, and recordable. In other words, in a blockchain game, the ownership of virtual items is very clear and written on an indelible blockchain-the blockchain is equivalent to a giant database, and all transactions can be recorded in Inside: who sold it to whom, how much money was sold, what was sold-what should be yours is yours, and there is your ID on it.
The ownership of ownership is clarified, which makes digital assets truly have the potential to become "assets". Putting it in the game, your data in a blockchain game is really yours, not the operator's. . This is also the main concept of this type of game.
Perhaps you have noticed that the term "asset" appears many times, and it is true. When talking about blockchain games, people tend to pay more attention to whether it can make money, and less talk about whether its "game" part is well or not, whether it is rough or plagiarized. To a large extent, although it is called "game", "blockchain game" is more like an investment product.
I added several QQ groups for blockchain games, most of which have been silent, with less than 10 speeches in a weekend. Like the group of the well-known mining game "Alien Worlds", now only one can be found. When entering the group, someone will always jump out and say "Welcome to the new leek", and then remain silent until the next time someone enters. group. Later, he added a sentence at the end: "Welcome to the new leeks, the leeks are almost not enough." Then he sent a sad expression, looking bleak.
On the contrary, the group of "Axie Infinity" is quite active, with three or four new people being added every day, people chatting on various topics in the group and exchanging play experiences. Although many media have paid attention to "Axie Infinity", no one can explain what its gameplay is. Compared to using it to make money, people don't care much about how the game is played. I asked the administrator of the QQ group "Sunny Day", and he said that this game is a bit like Hearthstone.
Sunny started playing "Axie Infinity" in November last year. At that time, he was in a power leveling studio. When someone told him that there was a game that could make money, he decided to download it and try it. In the past, he has not paid attention to the blockchain, nor has he speculated on virtual currency, but is just an ordinary player playing "Fantasy Westward Journey" and "Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War". In order to enter the pit, Sunny Bleed bought 3 Ethereum (ETH), ready to buy "A crab". Unexpectedly, just a few days after the purchase, I experienced a big increase, doubling and doubling. But the potion and “AXS” related to "Axie Infinity" did not rise much, especially the reverse impact of the potion, which fell to 7 cents all the way-it doesn't matter if you don't understand, I will mention these things one after another.
"Axie Infinity" and "A Crab"
In the advertisement, "Axie Infinity" is the main deal. But in addition to "can sell money", if you just play a game, this game is nothing special, even a little mediocre. However, compared to other blockchain games, the mediocre "Axie Infinity" is already outstanding in terms of gameplay.
From the perspective of game modes and gameplay, "Axie Infinity" is actually a bit like the popular RPG mobile game in the past two years. It is divided into two modes: PvE and PvP. The PvE part is classified by map. Each map is equivalent to a chapter. There are a certain number of levels in it. Players will see the boss in the last level after passing through the levels in turn. The PvP part is the "Arena", where the two sides are matched in real time, which can be regarded as a card game. These patterns are quite common.
As for the "somewhat like Hearthstone" part, it should actually be said that it is the card part of the game. "Axie Infinity" has some card elements in the battle. Players use cards to command their "Crab", use moves to attack and defend, and fight with other "Crabs" in the game. There are also some skill changes- Here, "阿蟹" is the Chinese abbreviation of "Axie" in the title of the game, as a cultivated thing, similar to the Pokémon in Pokémon. Each "Crab" has 4 fixed skills, which appear in decks and battles in the form of cards. Draw cards, pay mana, and play skill cards. Compared to Hearthstone, I think it is more like the online version of Slaughter Spire.
Each "Crab" comes with 4 cards, like their skills. These skills are obtained by drawing cards in battle, and then paying the corresponding mana in the upper left corner to use
Outside of battle, "Axie Infinity" is about growing and multiplying. This system is also a bit like a "pokémon"-laying eggs, laying eggs, or laying eggs. But the "Crabs" are similar in appearance. They all grow into a spherical shape. The only differences are the color and the accessories on the body. Fortunately, there are different attributes under the similar appearance, which also makes players more motivated to cultivate the second generation of "Axie".
The difference is that the laying of eggs in "Pokémon" costs a rocker, and "Axie Infinity" needs real money.
In the game, in addition to "A crab" to cultivate the next generation, two virtual currencies-"SLP" and "AXS" are also needed. The former is a game prop "love potion", and the latter is an ordinary token. Every time you give birth, you need a variable amount of potion and 2 "AXS". The amount of potion increases as the number of breeding times of each "Axe" increases.
People refer to potion brushing as "fetching water". The 20th level of the first map in PvE mode is a level that people often come to "fetching water". You can swipe up to 9 bottles at a time. There will be additional rewards.
"SLP" and "AXS" are of course tradable. The value of "SLP" is as high as 2.7 yuan, and the lowest is only 7 cents. Now the price is mid-range, 0.92 yuan; the current market price of "AXS" is 30 yuan, and the lowest and highest prices are 0.78 yuan and 73.37 yuan respectively...Virtual Currency, that's it.
On a virtual currency trading platform, the recent price trend of "SLP" against USDT-USDT is a U.S. dollar token, just think of it as the U.S. dollar
The props can be traded, and the "Crab" as the main body of the game can't escape the fate of being traded. Regardless of the parents or the bred offspring, their ultimate destiny is to be sold. The good individuals sell at a high price, and the poor individuals sell at a low price. The game’s official website has a detailed trading system similar to that of an "auction house". Not only adult "Crabs" can be bought and sold, even unhatched eggs can be bought and sold. There will be individual values such as "life value", "speed", and "attribute" on the sales information, as well as the parents and children of this "A crab", as well as previous sales records-here, buying and selling is everything, this is " "Axie Infinity" is the main mode of operation.
All kinds of transactions also constitute the threshold of the game. "Axie Infinity" first requires players to have a complete team, that is, 3 "Axie Crabs" to start the game. According to the documentary "Playing and Earning", the original three ordinary "Crabs" were worth about four or five dollars, and the single price was less than two dollars. Sunny told me that in November of last year, three were worth 20 to 30 dollars. Today, the cheapest finished product listed on the official trading website costs US$185.95. If you buy finished products, the entry barrier for a new player is close to $550. Calculating at the price of $70 for 3A games on the new generation of consoles, you can buy almost 8; comparing the price of game consoles, PS5 and Xbox Series X can only sell for $499.
According to Sunny's statement, these cheap "Crabs" are not worth hundreds of dollars at all. However, it is the first choice for new players when entering the pit-to enter an uncertain game, naturally you have to try the "bargains" first, all for the "bargains", as a result, the value of the "bargains" rises sharply. Sunny said that there are some pitted newcomers. Of course, the pitted newcomers are not only that, but also include the complexity of the breeding system. Many anxious newcomers may get lost in them and rush to give birth to some poorly individual "Crabs".
On the bright side, players can sell everything when they decide not to play, and even make money, but considering the uncertainty of virtual currency...Oh, this is why I didn’t play "Axie Infinity" reason. One of the reasons people trust the blockchain technology is that it can record all your property on the chain, including game pets, equipment, potions... will not be put into waste due to official bans-but it will be "official" When the credibility is not enough?
The market is changing rapidly, and there will be price fluctuations in the time of cutting a picture
Believe what you want to believe
Proponents of virtual currency will always use some grand phrases, "wave", "history", "power", "decentralization"... always feel that this is a subversive change. People have an urge to invest in a great cause. When investing some money can "be a subversive part" and possibly make a lot of money for themselves, it is not difficult for us to understand this madness.
In terms of gameplay, there is no obvious difference between blockchain games and general games, so supporters rarely discuss these content. When talking about the prospects of blockchain in gaming, "Take down centralization and return the game to players and communities" is what supporters most often say, and it is also the reason why they believe that blockchain games are better than ordinary games.
If players are not satisfied with a blockchain game, they can choose to "fork" the game. The term also comes from virtual currency. If a group of investors are dissatisfied with the current currency, they can choose to fork-generate a new currency on the current basis. Bitcoin has gone through several forks, and a number of forked coins such as "Bitcoin Cash", "Bitcoin Gold", and "Bitcoin Classic" have been born (the name is really bad). These forked coins can still be used again. Fork to generate more currencies.
For the game, the fork may look like this: I am playing a blockchain version of "World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade", but I am tired of playing too long, so I want to upgrade the expansion to "World of Warcraft: Witch". The Wrath of the Demon King. There was a group of people who shared my opinion, and another group of people who disagreed with each other. In the end, all the players who supported the upgrade of "Wrath of the Lich King" chose to break with another camp and fork a new game named "Warcraft Lich". ", as a new virtual currency listed on the exchange, code-named "WLK".
This means that the player can finally control the game! People can choose what they want and bring the game in the direction they want; no manufacturer or authority can forcefully close your game, as long as you want to play, the game will exist forever! It will exist even if you don't want to play.
From a service point of view, the biggest difference between blockchain games and other games is the so-called "player's right to speak". In mainstream game discussions, we occasionally mention the manufacturer's control of the game, like a sudden remake A super high-priced out-of-print mount, the game currency has been greatly devalued due to a bug in a certain version... People usually shout two sentences: "Don't treat the player as a human!" Then get some compensation and continue playing. Blockchain games have gone to the other extreme: "Anyway, we have records on the blockchain, you can do it." In other words, the player group may fork by itself, and the operator gives the player the power to determine the future of the game . This is another common topic: "Do players really know what they want?"
When the iPhone was first born, consumers didn’t know what they wanted. Everyone could "teach Steve Jobs to make a mobile phone."
But in fact, blockchain game forks are not very common, and forks due to player attitudes are almost non-existent. The few fork cases, such as the fork of Cheeze Wizards, were updated because of an important bug fix. Some people like bugs, and some people don't, so they are divided into different versions to play. In this case, updating was originally a normal operation of the game, but blockchain games will force developers to "respect" players even if this is a version with major bugs. What if a player likes this bug? Oh, let's rely on people "voting with their feet"...
On some levels, this does make sense—respect always makes sense, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. From the result point of view, the developers have given the players the power to a certain extent, and they have less right to speak. It looks good, but it's actually a bit irresponsible.
If it is a person who does not usually play games, for example, more than half of the game virtual currency investors, they will indeed think that "the game belongs to the player" "the player determines the future of the game" is a good thing, after all, "master their own future" It's always an encouraging positive narrative, but people who are really playing games may not think so. Players quarrel for various reasons. The balance of PvP games is a topic that will never end. Even in some cooperative games, such as the "Monster Hunter" series, many people have torn apart due to differences in weapon performance. You die or die, but this in itself is the mainstream narrative in the game. It is important to listen to the voice of the player, but games that listen to the player too much have not survived for long.
And, do people really want to "control the game"?
The distribution of players in "Axie Infinity" seems to be a bit of a regional element-I am naturally not saying that it has any offline gameplay methods, but that it is difficult for people not to attract people around them if a profitable "project" is held in their hands. Together, if you have money, you can make money together, and you are not alone in the risk of encountering risks. Sunny told me that most of the domestic "Axie Infinity" players are located in Fuzhou and Ningde. These two cities have large-scale "Axie Infinity" studios, just like the Philippine villages in the documentary. Health is just more compact and professional. There used to be one in the city he was in, but it closed down in the winter when the potion fell to 7 cents.
If in ordinary games, only the studio is most concerned about making money, then in blockchain games, the focus on “making money” is all-inclusive. If you grab a random person from the pile of virtual currency speculators, and then ask him some questions about the blockchain, then you will most likely not get any serious answers. I do not deny that there will be people interested in blockchain-related knowledge and control of the games they play, but most of them are not interested in games at all. The only reason for playing games is that they can help them make money. A blockchain game developer, facing a group of players who have the power to control and fork the game, but don’t like the game so much...Hey, or just do it casually, after all, even the developer himself is not that much. Like games.
For Sunny, "Axie Infinity" is just a game, and he doesn't want to control it. On weekdays, there is still work to do on sunny days. Only in the morning he will play. At night, he will play Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. "Axie Infinity" will bring him 5000 yuan a month, but Sunny knows that this is not stable. From the beginning of the game, how long will it take to recover from the calculator every day, and now he can easily deal with the fluctuations, he has regarded it as an ordinary game to play.
In addition to "Axie Infinity", there are many dead or alive blockchain games. In November 2017, a blockchain cat raising game called "CryptoKitties" (CryptoKitties) was officially launched, which is the originator of all blockchain games. It has no gameplay, it just trades a kind of ugly virtual cat-buy, breed, sell, nothing more. If you must find a source for the gameplay of "Axie Infinity" trading "Axie", then it must not be "Pokémon" or "Dragon Quest: Monsters", but "Infatuated with Cats"-after all, they are connected to the interface They are all so similar.
The pet kitten in "Infatuated with Cats" is not so cute. It has been copied many times, and many people may have seen it
The profit method for "Fetish Cats" players is very simple. Buy and sell virtual kittens to make a difference. A cat has risen from a few dollars to millions of dollars. Countless participants and bystanders have asked the same question: "What is the value of this thing?" But when people discover that no matter how much they spend on a silly cat When someone asks for more money, rationality will guide you to "make some quick money." In the end, the drumming will pass the flowers to the end, the last person who can make quick money will sell the cat to the first "big head", and then the market stagnates or collapses.
"Infatuated with Cats" has set an example for the blockchain games behind it. For better or worse, it leads the future of this industry to a certain extent. Later, those who took pictures of cats and tigers were all made into the appearance of "beating drums and spreading flowers"-it is really in line with the tonality of the virtual currency market.
The transaction information of "Axie Infinity" is recorded on the Ethereum chain. There are many different games on it, many of which are not even game-like at all. For example, "Crypto Nation", which just spends money to auction the "country"-because no one The country can really be bought, so the buyer only gets a picture. For example, a picture of Japan was photographed with 709 ETH, which is worth approximately RMB 12.81 million at the current exchange rate.
At that time, the top ETH application ranking was "Encrypted Country", but it was not included in the "Games" category.
I asked Sunny if he had played other blockchain games, and he gave a negative answer. He doesn't know much about blockchain technology. For "Axie Infinity", Sunny hopes that the official can balance the production capacity and consumption of breeding. There are some things that developers need to do. No matter how loud the voice of the player is, it is still scattered. People cannot gather to change the game, and the game should not be changed in this way.
Although the core of virtual currencies is almost all about drumming and spreading flowers, they all come up with a little bells and whistles. In the first half of 2018, a virtual currency called "GTC" landed on the exchange. It claims to be a "global blockchain game platform": publishing, trading, payment, crowdfunding, venture capital, communications, all to do, more versatile than all the platforms in the game industry, but, the above mentioned Not only are these functions not actually implemented, but even the introductions on the official website are empty pages. GTC's related games are only at the level of inferior web games, and a complete copy of "Fetish with Cats". It must be emphasized that many of these games are not only rough, but also not "on the chain", that is, no information is recorded on any block chain, but just "like a block chain game".
When GTC coins are publicized externally, their official website domain name "Game.com" is often mentioned. This is an excellent way of propaganda. When people's blind faith in a thing exceeds a certain level, any element that strengthens its authority-such as this domain name that is very powerful at first listen-will become its excellent weapon and armor. But as time passed, people gradually became suspicious of this golden helmet and golden armor general. Under this scorching gaze, the GTC was fully exposed, and it quickly returned to zero after only six months of existence.
Game.com seems to have sold their domain name, and the current owner is an email service that is not yet online
As a new concept, blockchain has a heart to expand in all fields. But will it make people's lives better? At least in recent years, the only utility of blockchain for the masses is to double the price of graphics cards. Maybe it allows some people to make money that they shouldn't make in this life, but for the group, these are all like spectacles. Will it affect the gaming industry? I'm not sure, but everything so far does not seem to be on the right track.
Sunny feels that from the perspective of "Axie Infinity", blockchain games are still developing and have plans for the future. But whether this future can become a reality, or whether it is as clear as his favorite "Call of Duty", we have not talked about this topic.