Gaming on the blockchain – Axie Infinity, FTX's new partnership and the rise of crypto games

Blockchain gaming is constantly growing in popularity. Axie Infinity is proving to be a knockout among players, there’s increasing hype around an innovative new crypto game, and even more of the corporate giants are starting to dip their toes into this new and exciting way of gaming.

This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about gaming on the blockchain - we previously discussed Atari’s digital token, the different types of blockchain-based games and how they can be beneficial for players. Find out more in our previous blog post here .

The rise of Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity is an NFT-based online video game inspired by the Pokémon franchise. The game uses a play-to-earn model, in which players can earn crypto in-game by completing certain actions such as participating in tournaments.

The aim of the game is to collect, breed, raise, battle and trade fantasy creatures known as “Axies”. Each Axie you collect is an NFT (non-fungible token), meaning that every individual Axie is a digital collectable that cannot be copied or forged.

Axie Infinity has its own native token – AXS – which is earned through in-game activities and can either be staked for rewards or exchanged for other currencies. You can also earn the smooth love potion (SLP) crypto by playing the game’s battle or adventure mode.

This fun-filled adventure game is certainly proving to be a hit and is currently ranked the #1 Ethereum game by number of active players. It has also generated over 13,000 ETH tokens so far.

Yield Guild Games and what it can do for players

Yield Guild Games (YGG) is a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) that specialises in NFT investment in the blockchain gaming ecosystem. The aim of YGG is to create a stable virtual economy, also known as a metaverse. In the Axie Infinity world, players can use their Axie NFTs to build their own virtual and profitable universe.

Players can also own or rent YGG-owned NFT assets, which they can use as a trading currency to earn in-game rewards. In order to start playing and earning crypto in Axie Infinity, you will need a team of three Axies. This doesn’t have to be an expensive investment, as some Axies sell for just over $10 (0.004 ETH). However, many suggest not buying “floor Axies”, as you’re not likely to make much progression with them.

But with the average Axie costing around $355, the total cost to create a team would come to approximately $1,065. This isn’t ideal for players who may not be able to afford to purchase Axies, so renting a YGG-owned NFT provides an alternative to new users who want to play the game without having to make a costly investment.

Star Atlas – the most ambitious blockchain game

While Axie Infinity has been taking the spotlight and Ethereum tends to rule the roost for blockchain gaming, other platforms are also offering their own crypto games.

The most anticipated is Star Atlas, an upcoming massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, which runs on the Solana network. It will also be the first blockchain-based game with an AAA classification. The game lets players explore an open-world galactic universe in which they can pilot spaceships, engage in trades and battle with others.

CEO Mike Wagner claims that Star Atlas “is more complex than it sounds” and won’t just be your typical MMO game, purely because it’ll be the first of its kind to run on blockchain technology. According to the Solana platform, this means that the players “truly own the stuff they win or buy in the game”.

The Star Atlas system will be built on two tokens – $ATLAS and $POLIS. The first token is the in-game currency, which players can earn through certain activities, such as mining ore. On the other hand, $POLIS is the governance token for the game. Anyone who holds the token will have the ability to vote on key decisions surrounding the game and can even outvote creators. Wagner explains that “we give up that majority stake that we have, and then it’s totally feasible for the public at large to implement changes that maybe we don’t want. The idea is that in the future, we don’t have complete control over the outcome of the metaverse.”

While the full version of Star Atlas hasn’t been released yet, players are able to start earning by participating in the second phase of the game. This involves a minimum viable product (MVP) browser-based minigame, where players can get a taste of the full version. They can also purchase and use in-game assets during this stage.

Riot Games log onto blockchain

A few months ago, gaming giant Ubisoft partnered with Tezos to become a corporate baker on their blockchain. Japanese developer Nexos also expressed interest in blockchain technology, having invested around $100 million in Bitcoin (BTC) in it.

Now, Riot Games have jumped on the bandwagon by signing a seven-year deal with exchange platform FTX. Riot Games are the developers behind the popular online game League of Legends, which was reported to have over 120 million active monthly users in the last four months.

FTX was named the official cryptocurrency exchange of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS). The seven-year partnership means that FTX will have its logo displayed prominently during the series and will present the “Most Improved Player Award”. While the amount was undisclosed, Riot Games said it was the largest sponsorship agreement it has signed for an esports league.

Blockchain gaming has great potential to bring new opportunities to both developers and players. With Axie Infinity’s growing popularity and the hype surrounding the ambitious Star Atlas game, it isn’t slowing down any time soon. So much so, that it’s even been speculated that it could redefine the gaming industry by enabling open communication between players and developers, allowing players to truly own their in-game assets and giving players greater control over their favourite games.

While it may still be a long way off, blockchain gaming is certainly heading in the right direction for full mainstream adoption and there’s a good chance it could completely change the face of the industry.

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