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Business News/ Technology / News/  Developers tap blockchain and NFTs to take gaming to the next level

Developers tap blockchain and NFTs to take gaming to the next level

The phenomenon of play-to-earn and earn through NFT or token is tipped to be the growth engine

Real money gaming and eSports have seen huge growth in India, especially after the coronavirus pandemic.htPremium
Real money gaming and eSports have seen huge growth in India, especially after the coronavirus

NEW DELHI : Gaming firms in India have begun exploring ways to incorporate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in electronics sports (eSports) and games and also develop new games that will run on blockchains, to cash in on the massive interest in crypto and NFTs.

Blockchain gaming allows gamers to be rewarded with cryptocurrencies for playing, while NFTs are used to purchase digital items and real estate. An example of a successful blockchain game is Axie Infinity, which has millions of players worldwide.

Mainstream gaming firms such as JetSynthesys have started experimenting on how to leverage NFTs in games.

“We have done some research on this and are deeply looking at some use cases. Some of the things are very obvious, such as the NFTs that can be used for skins and avatars," said Rajan Navani, CEO of JetSynthesys.

The company is behind successful mobile games such as Ludo Zenith and has tie-ups with global gaming giants such as Japan’s Square Enix.

Bengaluru-based Avisa Ventures’ gaming division, too, is working with game developers to create 2-3 blockchain-based games. It has launched an NFT Gaming Guild for NFT and blockchain-based games.

The guild has initiated a play-to-earn competition on Axie Infinity to give gamers the chance to earn tokens that they can sell to other players.

“We plan to start our games on blockchains with NFTs. Till now we are supporting the community by working on other games. We are in talks with several firms to develop NFT games for us," said Priya Ratnam, founder and CMO, Avisa Ventures.

In the eSports industry, NODWIN Gaming partnered with RageFan to offer chess NFTs in the Chess Super League (CSL) tournament held in October. RageFan is a blockchain-based platform that offers sports NFTs and fan tokens. NFTs were released by RageFan and will be available for purchase from their NFT marketplace shortly.

Decentralized apps (Dapps) reached an all-time high of 2 million daily unique active wallets worldwide in October and about 55% of this traffic comes from blockchain-based games, according to a report by blockchain tracking firm DappRadar.

These developments are a precursor to Web3 gaming, said industry experts. Web3 refers to the third generation of the internet, which many expect will be driven by decentralized infra and machine-based understanding of data.

Homegrown Polygon is organizing a hackathon with prizes of more than $100,000 to encourage developers to build and showcase Web3 apps and games running on blockchain. The crypto company aims to help create more than 100 Web3 unicorns in India by 2025. The DappRadar report also noted that Polygon had seen the “biggest growth" in terms of blockchain networks being used in the Dapp space.

“India is possibly the largest gaming market in the world, because of the deep penetration of mobile phones and cheap data rates. With the Web3 paradigm of play-to-earn, where gamers can monetize their time and in-game achievements, this market is set to grow multifold in the coming years," said Arjun Kalsy, vice-president of growth at Polygon.

Kalsy has a point. Real money gaming and eSports have seen huge growth in India, especially after the pandemic. India’s online gaming industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40% to $2.8 billion by 2022, up from $1.1 billion in 2019, according to a 2021 report by Deloitte.

“The phenomenon of play-to-earn and earn through NFT or token is going to be the next growth for the gaming industry," said Manish Agarwal, CEO, Nazara Technologies.

“India’s crypto user base is the highest in the world. This is an opportunity for India to take leadership in the crypto space," said Anshul Russtaggi, chief executive officer of Totality Corp, which is building a playable NFT gaming metaverse called ZionVerse, based on Indian mythology.

"People now value experience more. Web3 is the perfect combination of intrinsic rewards and experience. If your games can become more valuable economically it will make you spend more," added Russtaggi.

Though most companies are positive that NFT and blockchain-based games will see huge traction in India, many don’t want to rush things due to a lack of regulatory clarity on cryptos. Navani cautioned, “We're still figuring out what's the safest go to market strategy in light of something untoward coming towards the cryptos."

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Abhijit Ahaskar
Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
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Published: 15 Nov 2021, 01:20 AM IST
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