Mythical Games plans to launch a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace for its video game Blankos Block Party.
When the alpha version of the market opens next month, the company will make the transition from a maker of a game with collectible digital items to a game with items you can buy and sell. Finally, you can earn these items (which are fun, vinyl-like characters named Blankos) through gameplay and pay out your NFTs with each coin, CEO John Linden said in an interview with GamesBeat.
In other words, it is an example of the Leisure Economy, where we are paid to play games. Mythical has been working on its NFT technology, which is based on blockchain, the decentralized, transparent and secure leather technology. That technology makes it possible to track transactions and make it easy to control things. The full game will debut on PC in 2021.
Until recently, Linden did not name NFTs because there was a kind of backlash against blockchain and cryptocurrencies as the tech went through its boom-and-bust cycle. But cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are booming again, and NFTs have gone through the roof.
“When my mom starts talking about NFTs and Saturday Night Live ‘s a boat on it, I think we can talk about it too, ‘he said. “Now it’s like everyone is talking about it.”
Now Linden is happy to say the acronym NFTs, as he believes Blankos Block Party has a chance to take them to the mainstream. He has a head start because Mythical has a few hundred thousand users, more than most blockchain game companies.
In the past few months, NFTs have exploded into other applications such as art, sports collections and music. NBA Top Shot (a digital take on collectible basketball cards) is one example. Published by Animoca Brands and built by Dapper Labs, NBA Top Shot has surpassed $ 100 million in sales, five months after going public to a global audience. And an NFT digital collage by artist Beeple sold at Christie’s for $ 69.3 million. Investors put money into NFTs, and some of those investors are gaming fans. But many of these items are bought by crypto enthusiasts with a lot of money and technical know-how.
The question is whether the mainstream will use them.
MFTs are taking to the mainstream
“We’re really excited about how we do something different with the market than some of these other NFC brands out there,” Linden said. “It’s really focused on these concepts of utility, getting characters you can play with to level them up, and they can resell.”
That’s why Mythical has made it easier to use NFTs through their fun characters and simple branding, Linden said. Mythical’s Marketplace will facilitate peer-to-peer sales of Blankos Block Party playable NFTs, an open-world multiplayer party game with an emphasis on player-designed levels.
“It’s easy for players to find what they’re looking for,” he said. “You can buy an NFT character and it’s already made for you. We try to take away all that complexity. You can pick it up, open the box, see what number you have and go to the market. With Mythical we set it up to bring it to the regular player. ”
Blankos Block Party offers NFTs with utility in a triple-A gaming experience, Linden said. Collectors take an active role in increasing the value of their digital vinyl games by leveling it up, competing in special events, and more.
Players have invested billions of dollars in digital articles in other online games without a tangible way to take advantage of the occasional game benefits. Content remains locked behind in-game accounts, because the typical “purchase” is actually just a rental or licensing agreement, with no ability to transfer or sell. (I think of gaming companies as the lords of a country house, and gamers as farmers renting the land they work for, to use an analogy of class warfare).
And while other secondary marketplaces have existed in the form of gray and black markets (think of gold farmers in World of Warcraft from years ago), players who participate are exposed to insecure transactions, scams and even the threat of losing their accounts for Terms of Service violations, Linden said. But Linden wants Blankos Block Party to be a fun game first, where gameplay and blockchain make sense.
“The theme we are talking about is how gameplay is changing in tightness and rarity, which can then be immediately reflected in that market,” he said. “We’re really excited because it’s really starting to unravel the investment that players are buying these articles for that they really are. Now they have options for buyer or seller. ”
Through its own Mythical Marketplace, players can unlock the value of monetary, rarity and time-based investments by selling their Blankos to other players for real money (such as US dollars) or cryptocurrency in safe and secure transactions, with proof of authenticity, he said.
“The first step will be to get the marketplace out. And so people can deal with it, “he said.
Currently, players start with a Blankos starter character that they use to play, but it is not NFT. Over time, they could use such a character to earn rewards and eventually earn money. Other Blankos in the game are NFT based.
“We can actually have a path where a player could come in and hone the game, get a Blanko, and level up and exchange that,” he said. “It becomes your Leisure Economy. We’ll see how they play. Maybe they’ll turn into Pokémon cards in 10 years. ”
Build on the blockchain
With Blankos Block Party and its brand, Mythical aims to encourage mass ownership of games through NFTs and Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchain technology, opening the door to a new kind of global gaming economy where makers are owners and players are investors.
I need to stop this and explain. Blockchain verifies the authenticity of something – a digital item – by storing it in a decentralized way on a bunch of computers and then checking those computers to see if the thing being stored matches. If one of those computers is hacked, it is not a big deal, because all other computers have matching data of what is stored in the blockchain. Data entered on the blockchain is immutable, and anyone can see transactions that are registered on the blockchain.
If someone hacked 51% of all the computers that registered the data, then the hacker could succeed in hacking the blockchain and stealing money that was recorded on it. But it takes an enormous amount of computing power to do so, making hacking impractical. To motivate parties to lend their computers to the blockchain, the makers of various cryptocurrencies have engaged in mining. That is, the computers can solve complex mathematical puzzles and are rewarded with cryptocurrency. But mining consumes a lot of energy, which is why this type of cryptocurrency tech, called Proof of Work, is considered a waste. Moreover, it is slow. And fees, known as gas costs, are high on the blockchains that are extremely popular.
That Mythical Games works with an alternative game-friendly blockchain, called EOSIO, which is fast and uses Proof of Stake, which focuses on trusted parties to record the blockchain transactions and maintain the network. Mythically, EOSIO uses to manipulate, as well as create, its NFTs, which are unique digital items that can be verified on the blockchain. And EOSIO does not use as much energy, Linden said. And Mythical does not require any cryptocurrency to participate.
EOSIO is perhaps a little easier to crack than a high-energy-consuming alternative like Bitcoin or Ethereum, so there’s a downside to Mythical.
“We rewrote a good deal of goods that we did not find necessary for us,” he said. “It uses proof of authority versus proof of work. Ours is environmentally friendly, and it is fast and efficient. ”
But so far, the community of 300,000 registered players has shown their enthusiasm. Those players bought more than 60,000 NFTs based on the 35 Blankos characters. Each character has 5,000 or fewer copies, which improves collectibility.
As the game’s audience continues to grow, previous assets and specialized releases will become scarcer, and likely more valuable in the secondary market, leading to rarity on a mass market scale.
The company will later add some ways for players to take the NFTs to public blockchains like Ethereum or Bitcoin, or to fiat currencies like the US dollar. That in the future, when the alpha market plate is ready, players can sell their Blankos for real money. By the summer, the market is expected to be open to all players.
“Some will be happy that this is liquidity,” Linden said.
Since players can pay out their items, Mythical has complied with regulations so that money laundering through his game can be prevented. And it has had to work with many countries around the world to ensure that it can function legally in those places. But all of this complexity will be masked by users, Linden said.
“Most people will never know. And that’s how we want it, ‘he said. “We do not want people to think about this stuff.”
Mythical has recently hired new directors focused on developing large-scale systems. Stoyan Stoyanov, vice president of the market, joined Mythical from StubHub, the ticket sales company. Stoyanov has experience in brand management, e-commerce, inventory strategy and related areas.
And Matt Nutt has joined Mythical as Vice President of NFT Engine, collaborating with Stoyanov and the marketing team to help other games and interactive media companies build their own economy engines using Mythical’s own platform. This means that Mythical has plans to license its NFT tech to other gaming companies. Nutt was previously group general manager for EA Mobile.
And Cristina Lee has joined the company as vice president of finance, after nearly a decade at Warner Bros. Entertainment and more than six years at Fox Filmed Entertainment. Overall, Mythical has nearly 100 people and it hires.
In the future, Linden believes Mythical can license its tech to others.
“We’re currently in talks with quite a few other games, which is really exciting,” he said.
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