In less than 2 decades, video game development has skyrocketed from interesting side-projects to a global industry with income streams worth billions of dollars. The revenue stream is not limited to mainstream game developers. The arrival of blockchain has further escalated progress, as Yahoo Finance reports forecast the industry to surpass US$314 billion within 2026.
Blockchain’s Revolutionary Play-to-Earn Innovation
The rapid popularity of play-to-earn games triggered an evolution across the entire gaming industry. A player can generate income through NFTs(non-fungible tokens) or fungible items. The medium also evolved, extending from gaming consoles and computers to smartphones. Conventional gaming titles may feature buy-in options with real fiat money. In the P2E model, gamers can simply earn their collectibles through the game itself.
P2E gamers can also build value through in-game options and earn the value through crypto tokens. Axie Infinity, one of the most popular blockchain-based games, allows its players to yield tradable “small love potions” that are bought using actual money. Another football-based title, Soare creates football player cards that remain in high demand across NFT marketplaces.
The Logic Behind Play-to-Earn Gaming
The logic behind the success of P2E gaming, though apparently confusing, is actually simple:
- Gamers invest actual fiat money to purchase in-game valuables.
- Playing the game allows gamers to earn additional in-game collectibles whose value exceeds their investment.
- The players trade their in-game yield for fiat denomination.
Despite sounding too good to be true, -play-to-earn gaming is gaining mainstream recognition. P2E tokens as a collective whole have a market capitalization exceeding $20 billion, and that too at the starting stage. The high revenues are attracting multiple crypto investors and VCs to consider allocating funds across these sectors.
This article will highlight how blockchain powers the underlying gaming architecture, the things to consider while building one, and associated cost estimates.
Also Read: What connects the Metaverse and the Crypto?
Blockchain’s Role in P2E Gaming
Game creators have started reaping the benefits of blockchain, kickstarting a transition from free-to-play to play-to-earn. NFTs serve an integral role as assets with value.
Blockchain technology boosts security and verification, authenticating the ownership of the crypto assets(NFTs). The assets enable players to earn rewards and actual financial advantages. From the developer’s perspective, NFTs facilitate game engagement with distinct digital collectibles having separate values. Being unique the reward items are sought after by gamers and can be bought, sold, or traded afterward. The in-game value economy i.e tokenomics adds a different element of exchange infrastructure requiring blockchain smart contract integration for establishing NFT usage protocols.
Blockchain Game Development
NFT-based games are primarily built on Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain(BSC), or Tron. Aspects such as fraud prevention, micropayments, game currency, smart contracts, and ownership require consideration prior to game development.
In a general sense, the following step-by-step guide may help in planning the development of your own blockchain-based play-to-earn game:
a) State and Define App Concept
Visualizing the product is crucial. But, more important is having a clear idea of the product you intend to create. The further you can categorize your proposed game prototype, the better. Both market and competitor research is necessary, as well as figuring out ways to monetize your NFT gaming app. Identify the pros, cons, and loopholes in your concept. Inspiration can also come from non-NFT games.
b) Convert Concept to Reality During Development
Game development is time-consuming, but the most important part of the process. This is the stage where ideas are fully built into functional NFT games, using modern technology. Top-rated blockchain development companies can convert an idea from scratch featuring every intermediate step such as blockchain integration, frontend-backend development, and crypto wallet connectivity.
c) QA Testing
The Quality Assurance team ensures flawless game execution. The team performs tests and checks everything, including key user stories, usability, tokenomics, engagement, gameplay smoothness, security, load balancing and more. All the possible aspects are verified, as faults and glitches make a negative impact on the game maker’s reputation.
d) Product Launch and Support
On completion of all checks, the game is finally ready for a title release. However, presentation matters significantly. A much better impact can be achieved with a proper marketing campaign and initiatives for active user engagement.
Estimated Cost for Game Development
As explained, game development involves multiple steps and hence requires experts proficient in converting an idea to reality. There are multiple factors that determine the estimated cost to develop a game. The variables include platform type, degree of difficulty, scenario complexity, the genre of the game, number of available platforms, development team size, animations, and more.
The general NFT game development ecosystem usually features the following slabs of expenditure:
- Document Creation for Game Design
- Animations and Graphics
- UI/UX design
- Backend Development
- Frontend Development
- QA Testing
- Project Management
- Marketing Campaign
It is logical that a tiny P2E game featuring minimal animation and levels will cost much lesser than epic role-playing games, or the ones with 3D animation. Large-sized games may cost well over 20 times more than a mini-game. An average play-to-earn game requires more than 1000 hours of development time and may cost anywhere above $20k. It is better to approach blockchain development companies with prior experience in NFT, blockchain, and metaverse gaming to avoid unnecessary hassles.