Game assist: How players’ guilds are altering the landscape
As NFTs or non-fungible tokens enter the gaming space, the game that is perhaps the best example of the NFT model is Axie Infinity, launched in 2018.
Here, players acquire, breed and train fluffy Pokemon-type creatures called Axies. Each Axie is a tradeable NFT. Axies can be used to complete challenges that let players acquire digital assets (love potions) that can also be traded as NFTs. Those assets also allow them to breed more Axies… and so it goes.
The price of an Axie fluctuates based on a complex system of supply and demand. As a result, new Axie Infinity players must now invest up to $1,000 to acquire the mandatory three Axies before they can start playing.
This has become so prohibitive, that older players have formed guilds to try and help out. They lend new players Axies, as well as other in-game tools, in exchange for a share of their future earnings.
What’s interesting is that these guilds were not part of the original game design. They organise online and offline (in fund-raising efforts during natural disasters, for instance) in a way that marks a radical decentralisation from the era of total control of a gaming world with its creator / company.
One of the first Axie Infinity guilds, Yield Guild Gaming, was set up in 2020 by Gabby Dizon, a gaming veteran and Axie player from the Philippines. In India, an up-and-coming gaming guild is the Bengaluru-based Avisa.
“This is a significant change in the gaming industry, as in-game assets were previously restricted to centralised protocols, and players were prevented from trading or selling their digital assets outside of the limited avenues made available by the platform directly,” says Priya Ratnam, CEO of Avisa Ventures which runs the Avisa Gaming Guild.
And this is just one year into NFTs in gaming, adds Dhruv Saxena, chief strategy officer at NFT and gaming company Fantico. The metaverse will see this take a further leap forward. “In the metaverse, NFTs will have great meaning. The demand will also come once the proper infrastructure is there, and that infrastructure is just being built.”