These video games that bring in cryptos

Mythical Games raised 75 million in 2021 to fund its blockchain game “Blankos block party”

The scale of the fundraising, announced on Monday, September 22, shook the French tech scene. By completing a funding round of 680 million, the startup Sorare – gaming on the blockchain – becomes the best valued French unicorn at 4.3 billion euros just three years after its creation.

If Sorare got investors carried away, it is because it is developing a football video game of a particular genre: unlike competitors like FIFA, the cards representing the players are NFTs, that is to say certified blockchain digital assets, published in limited numbers, listed and directly salable from peer to peer. Finding a rising star, building a successful team can therefore translate into gamer by real financial gains. Nearly $ 150 million worth of Sorare cards have been sold on the various NFT marketplaces since the start of the year, including the record transaction of more than $ 287,000 for Cristiano Ronaldo in March. Several cards are currently on sale on Opensea at more than 100,000 units.

In the wake of Axie infinity

The Sorare success story echoes the “Axie infinity” madness, which ignited the blockchain this summer. However, with its small characters Pokemon-Tamagoshi atmosphere and its battles to the summary staging, the gaming experience of Axie Infinity was a priori unlikely to fill the gamer demanding.

That was without relying on the greed, which has so far drawn more than 1.6 million users enticed by the promise of winning cryptocurrency and trading NFT characters. The AXS governance token has seen its value rise by 13,000% in one year, and allowed players (60% in the Philippines) to get a monthly salary of sometimes $ 500, welcome in the midst of a pandemic, by earning money. crypto or NFTs. A phenomenon that has shed light on the play-to-earn model of video games on the blockchain. In July, Axie infinity’s profits exceeded 330 million in a month, double that of the Ethereum blockchain itself. So much so that an agreement had to be reached with the Philippine government for the taxation of these revenues.

Financial or finance game gamifiée?

More than 400 play-to-earn games are now available – it appears every week – with a strong trend towards financial games that gamifient DeFi (decentralized finance, on the Ethereum blockchain). Among them, one can quote Alien worlds, which proposes to mine (actually cryptocurrency) on one of the seven planets of the game, and the “staker“(place) for crypto yield inside the game. The lucky land owners receive commissions, sometimes 20%, on the activity of other players. Aavegotchi, driven by the lending and borrowing platform peer to peer Aave (leader in decentralized finance), offers character NFTs that can serve as collateral for loans and generate returns.

Nicolas Sierro, pioneer of on-chain gaming in Switzerland and member of the Blockchain game alliance, notes new trends: “We are seeing the emergence of virtual universes, in which people can interact economically, and even create new elements and games. inside, like The Sandbox. ” By exceeding 750,000 active users in August, the video game segment tends to overtake decentralized finance and NFTs in terms of adoption of blockchain technology.

Watched by industry, snatched by investors

Industry gaming, with its 180 billion annual turnover, is watching the trend carefully. Ubisoft has thus incubated Axie infinity and Sorare in its “entrepreneurs lab”, largely dedicated to blockchain projects in Paris. Nicolas Pouard, director of the blockchain initiative for Ubisoft, denies the suspicion that the industry would fear losing control over the value generated by switching to play-to-earn. “We are carefully observing a trend that responds to a legitimate expectation of players for more control over their digital assets.” However, it raises certain existential questions for historical gaming publishers: “Players from the blockchain sometimes expect a high return on investment. It is not necessarily healthy. Our activity is not to make the casino, it is another business. ” Nicolas Pouard recognizes, however, that “there is a fine line” between offering real valuable digital assets, and sliding into pure gambling: “We must avoid attracting more speculators than players.”

The moods of publishers do not dampen the enthusiasm of investors for “play-to-earn” and onchain gaming. Nearly half a billion was raised by the segment in the first half of 2021, notably with Forte (185 million) or Animoca (89 million) and Mythical games (75 million). An amount that will already be exceeded in the second half of the year by Sorare’s fundraising alone.

Far from the qualitative standards of the great games

If investor appetite is sharpening, we are still a long way from the $ 50 billion transactions recorded in the first half of the year for the gaming in general. Impossible to speak at the present time of a change of paradigm, according to Nicolas Sierro: “We note that the on-chain gaming Essentially appeals to an audience of crypto-enthusiasts. The user experience is still limited on games that are often often sketchy in design. ”

The expert also highlights the technical barrier to the purchase, storage and exchange of cryptocurrencies. A point on which Nicolas Pouard from Ubisoft agrees: “The gaming experience is essential to consider a switch. In graphic terms, we are still far from the standards of the big games, known as AAA, even if we are seeing the emergence of projects like Blankos from Mythical Games, whose designers have made their classes with the big publishers. “

Anouk Summermatter, lawyer specializing in video games, believes that it is possible that play-to-earn will break through in the long term: “58% of players seek the link with their friends. If some tip over, they can easily drag others away. ” While believing that the lure of profit is not the primary motivation of gamers, she recognizes that a fringe “also fan of the casino and online gambling” could be quickly seduced.

Virtual careers, real income

Play-to-earn also opens up the possibility of new business models and professions, even within virtual environments. gamifiés, type Metaverse. Sébastien Borget, co-founder of The Sandbox listed in a speech at the beginning of September, dozens of job opportunities in the game, with the key to real compensation. In particular, “virtual” tour operators, or even “virtual” architects who create their buildings in the form of NFTs, which can be sold on specialized marketplaces.

The opportunity for Sébastien Borget to point out that more and more people were leaving their physical jobs to “devote themselves full time to their careers in The Sandbox”