New NFT Business Model in Game Industry: GameFi (Play to Earn)

GameFi (Play to Earn)

If you’ve spent any amount of time in the gaming industry, you’ve probably heard about GameFi. You’ve probably heard about if you spend time in the crypto community, too.

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But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you know what it is or how GameFi works, so that’s where this article comes in. First, let’s take a closer look.

What is GameFi?

GameFi is all about blending gaming with finance, and it’s similar to the cryptocurrency term DeFi, which is short for “decentralised finance”. GameFi is a portmanteau of “game” and “finance”.

The exciting thing about GameFi is that it’s such a widespread field. As a result, no two GameFi games are the same, with some rewarding people for completing in-game activities and others enabling people to store crypto assets in-game and generate revenue from those.  

Crypto and blockchain gaming is big business, and it’s looking as though the trend is only going to continue. There are games like Axie Infinity that have broken the $1 billion barrier when it comes to the total number of in-game asset sales. 

The concept isn’t that dissimilar to NFTs, another emerging trend that has taken the crypto world by storm after the last eighteen months, with the most expensive NFT selling for an incredible $69 million.

That’s why we’re starting to see major players like Ubisoft getting into GameFi. They see that the money’s there, and they want a piece of that tasty money pie. But, at the same time, they’re forced to be careful because while GameFi isn’t gambling, it’s also pretty close, and game makers need to ensure that they don’t cross the line and end up facing heavy regulation.

GameFi

Main Earning Models in Games

For Developers

To wrap your head around GameFi works, you need to understand some of the different earning models that are out there. The sky is the limit here because you’re only held back by technology, which has virtually limitless potential. Here are a few of the main options.

Free to Play (Donate)

This model is similar to the old shareware model that was popular amongst video game developers in the 1990s. The game itself is free in this model, but players can donate to support its continued development. Examples:  

  • Apex Legends.
  • Doki Doki Literature Club.
  • Dota 2.

Game Subscription

Subscription-based games can be useful for developers because they can set up a model by which they have predicable recurring income. It can also be a great way to ease people in because you’re not asking them to make a larger purchase upfront. Instead, they pay a smaller amount but pay it monthly for as long as they want to continue playing.

Examples:  

  • Amazon Luna. 
  • Apple Arcade.  
  • Google Stadia.
  • Microsoft Xbox Game Pass.
  • Nintendo Switch Online.

Buying a Game

This is close to the traditional way of making money as a game developer. Here, the players pay an up-front cost for the game and then access all of its features in return.

Examples:  

  • Witcher 3.
  • GTA V.
  • Far Cry 6.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2.

Freemium

The freemium model is free in which the core game itself is free, but players can spend money to unlock additional content or gain in-game power-ups such as extra energy or reduced cool-downs. Many game developers are also offering up skins and other digital assets that people can pay to purchase.

Examples:  

  • Hearthstone.
  • League of Legends.
  • Maplestory.

For Gamers

The other thing to bear in mind is that for GameFi games, the players themselves can typically make money by playing. This is profitable for both sides, benefitting both players and the company when done well. Here are a few of the most common models for that.

Play to Earn

In this model, players are given financial rewards (usually in the form of cryptocurrency) in exchange for completing in-game tasks. Sometimes, this is combined with a proprietary cryptocurrency created by the game’s developers. 

Asset Ownership

In games where players can own digital assets, they can often sell or lease those assets to other players, with the developers taking a cut from it. 

How GameFi Will Influence the Game Industry

As you can probably imagine by now, GameFi has the potential to revolutionise the game industry from the ground up totally. It creates an ecosystem in which both players and game manufacturers can make money.

A few of the main things to consider are that GameFi can lead to video game assets having real value. Even though they’re digital, intangible products, they still have real-world worth. This concept isn’t exactly new, as you’ll know if you’ve ever purchased a skin or paid for extra virtual currency or power-ups.

GameFi just takes this to the next step. For example, if a game is using the Ethereum network, any Ethereum stored in the game network will have the same value as it would if stored in a crypto wallet.

This will, of course, have a big effect on in-game economics, creating a virtual, in-game economy that’s tied to the actual economy. This can help with realism and create a more engaging gaming experience, but it can also cause a headache for developers.

It also opens them up to financial risk. If they have vast amounts of Ethereum in their system and they’re taking a cut of transactions, that means that they’re reliant upon the network. So if there’s suddenly a big Ethereum crash, suddenly the whole game economy will tank, and the company itself will lose money.

Where to Start your GameFi Development?

So with all of this, you’re now probably wondering how you can go ahead and get started with building a GameFi game. The good news is that we’ve got you covered. Here are the rough steps that you’ll want to follow.

Make Idea

As with most things, the first thing for you to do is have your idea. Unfortunately, it’s not as though we can give you a sure-fire way to come up with ideas because if we could, we’d be millionaires. Still, there’s not much you can do without a decent idea. So the idea comes first, and then once you’ve got that sorted, you’re ready to move on to the next steps in the process.

Hire Tech Team

Once you’ve got your idea, you’re ready to hire a tech team to help to make it a reality. The good news here is that if you’re struggling, we at Zfort Group would be more than happy to help. You can also work with freelancers or agencies, as long as you make sure that you find a developer that’s used to working with blockchain, gaming and GameFi.

When hiring your tech team, make sure that you’ve created a thorough brief that outlines precisely what you’re looking for. A decent brief is a prerequisite for any successful development job, but it’s even more critical when it comes to games because it’s such a new phenomenon, and so if you’re not explicit about what you need, people will go away and do whatever they want, and you’ll end up with nothing usable.

Build Your Project

Now it’s time for you to go ahead and start the build. Be sure to ask for regular updates from your development team so that you can check in often and make sure that it’s progressing at the right speed and in the way that you want it to.

The build is usually the thing that most people focus on, but as you can see from this four-step process, it’s only one of several steps towards getting the job done. It might be the most important, but even once the build is complete and you’ve approved it, the hard work isn’t over.

Promote via Social Media

It’s likely that after the initial build and launch, you’re going to want to keep rolling out new features and functionality, so the build will never truly be over. With that said, you’ll also need to switch your focus so that you’re primarily looking at promotion because if you don’t promote it, nobody will know that your blockchain game even exists.

Social media isn’t the only option available to you, but it’s probably the most powerful. That’s because there’s a huge crypto game and GameFi community, and so if you’re able to break your way into the community, then they’ll do the hard work for you, spreading the word about your game on your behalf.

Why Zfort Group is the Best Choice for You?

If you’re still looking to make a blockchain game but you’re struggling to wrap your head around GameFi and the technical side of things, you’re in luck. We’d be more than happy to help!

Here at Zfort Group, we know how to cover the tech side of crypto games and build out a working economic strategy for NFT game development. All you need is the idea. Then, we can go ahead and do the rest of the work for you.

And so, if you need some help creating your GameFi project, go ahead and reach out to us. We’d be more than happy to help!

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We will help you with your NFT project!

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Roman Korzh

VP of Development

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Anna Slipets

Business Development Manger

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Tymofii Kryvtsun

Business Development Manger

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