The head of the studio behind the new ‘Shrapnel’ blockchain game has insisted that, instead of cute NFTs, the company plans to enable players to trade real money with other players for some serious in-game collectibles.
Don Norbury, studio chief at Neon, told Coin Rivet that having worked at some of the world’s leading game companies including Xbox, Electronic Arts, and HBO, as well as titles such as Halo, Call of Duty, Star Wars, and many more, Shrapnel is very well-positioned to combine AAA gameplay with the functionality of blockchain.
He added that renowned gaming investor Griffin has represented some of the biggest gaming studios in the world, making them the ideal partner for a game of Shrapnel’s calibre.
When talking about first-person shooter games, this also means that with playing Shrapnel, players hold their own digital items.
Asked how you can have value from holding item and how can cryptocurrencies (and/or NFTs) change the way users play games, Norbury said that, since the early days of gaming, players have loved collecting in-game assets, whether they be weapons, skins, virtual property, or skills.
“As is the case in the real world, being able to signify ownership and particularly ownership of rare or valuable assets, gives a player or their respective avatar, social capital,” he said.
“This isn’t just a whimsical pastime either, people are prepared to pay big money for these collectible items.”
He explained AAA games are “the top tier, most popular, and reputable games out there” and added that AAA games also have the best graphics, storylines, models, and developer teams, leading to the highest sales figures and best ratings from players.
“A blockchain-enabled game is literally a game that uses blockchain technology in its stack and it is essentially an encrypted technology that can be used to increase in-game privacy and security, restructure ownership, and ultimately improve playability,” he said.
Norbury also announced the plan is for Shrapnel to combine both of these elements.
“Designed to reward and empower players and creators using blockchain, the game is being created by our incredible BAFTA and Emmy award-winning team of game industry veterans who have unmatched experience in transmedia, virtual production, gaming-as-a-service, and blockchain production,” he said.
Game devs taking concept of in-game ownership to new level
The studio chief also highlighted that – in 2019 – renowned video game Fortnite generated $1 billion of its total $2.4 billion from skins on the avatar marketplace.
“That was prior to the pandemic-fuelled surge in gaming, so you can only imagine how the space has grown since,” he said, adding that “blockchain enables game developers to take the concept of in-game ownership to a whole new level”.
“By integrating NFTs into gaming ecosystems, game devs can ensure that the value of digital items is verifiable and traceable,” he said.
“As well as this, incorporating blockchain means that value isn’t locked solely in the game in which a player acquires an asset.
“Users, as such, truly own their in-game items and are able to trade, alter, and move them in and out of games, opening up a broader ecosystem of philosophical and economic possibility powered by NFTs.”
“Many games embed exchange, trading, and capitalism into their models,” he explained.
“Traditionally players have been happy to trade real money with other players for in-game assets offline, in forums, or via social media.
“This, unfortunately, takes these transactions and value outside of the respective games and means that players run the risk of theft or buying fake assets.”
Norbury reiterated blockchain has the potential to lock capital into gaming ecosystems, establishing fairness and traceability, whilst also creating a circular economy where money spent remains within the game.
“Implementing management structures like Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) can help to make gaming more egalitarian, handing back control of a game’s development and economy to players,” he said.
“Through new monetisation structures powered by blockchain, players can take control, enabling better game development, more user-generated content, and better protections for players.”
Norbury also added the company is currently hiring for its Seattle-based team.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.