More than a decade ago, I bought my first digital gift card. It was for a game called MapleStory. There was a specific section of the card whereby you’ll have to scratch it to unravel the code. It was a string of alphabets and numbers, somewhere along the lines of X5AL98AmD0M1fG. I’m sure the team who developed this technology ensured a secure platform for millions of dollars to be transferred in and out of the game. This method of gaining access to virtual currency works. But, it is cumbersome. No one wants to buy a physical card and manually key in a long string of foreign code. We would very much prefer a personal code to be sent to our email within seconds and we can simply copy and paste under 2 clicks to get what we want. What tilts us even more is having to read off and repeat a bunch of serial number on the bottom of a device mixed with 0s and Os, 1s and ls to a IT helpdesk over the phone. It is like that annoying gatcha that asks you to select the squares showcasing a traffic light.
We’re not annoyed at the gatcha. We’re annoyed at the fact that 20% of the traffic light is eating into another square and when we include that specific grid into our selection, we’re considered a freaking bot.
This brings me to my first point of evaluating a good NFT game: Intuitive. Simply put — “Does the game looks fun to you? Does it make you excited? Do you feel like playing it?” You may not be interested in the graphics, the same way I’m not keen in Minecraft. If you’re turned off by how it looks, chances are you wouldn’t invest time, money and effort into it. You may not be interested in the genre of the game, the same way I’m not keen in Star Atlas. There is nothing wrong with the game, I’m just not into spaceships. At the end of the day, we want to find a game that appeals to us.
You would believe more in a game that you would want to play than in a game you personally wouldn’t be involved in. This is especially important for NFT games, because you’re gonna be spending quite a sum of money on it as compared to pre-blockchain games.
The second thing to take note of when it comes to evaluating a good NFT game: Founder and Team’s Past Experiences and Successes. Other than basing off on our intangible excitement of how good a game will be, we need to look at some concrete facts too. We need to know the team who is creating the game. Have any of the team members built any well-known games prior to this? It is a good sign if they’re associated with bigger companies or games such as Steam, DotA, League of Legends, Guild Wars 2, Fortnite, Valorant and the list continues. Are the team members transparent on what they do? Are we able to find information on what they’ve worked on in the past on LinkedIn?
The same way we are skeptical against a thin chef, I believe there is a substantial amount of truth to someone’s past experience.
The third thing we should focus on is: Roadmap, Whitepaper, Vision and Tokenomics. Essentially, we’re asking a simple question — “What is the plan for the next 5–10 years?” It is a major red flag if we’re unable to find a project’s roadmap or whitepaper. This means that we have no idea on what is gonna happen next. We’re talking about regular patch updates, game development, decentralised marketplace, new mechanics, etc. Even the Olympic sport Badminton has updates. The first time I played Badminton, I was told that the first person to reach 15 points wins the match. Subsequently, the rules were updated and changed to 21 points instead. If something as mundane as Badminton can have new changes, we should expect more from NFT games. Furthermore, since NFT games involve money, we should pay slightly more attention on the game’s tokenomics too.
Tokenomics is the subject of understanding the supply and demand characteristics of a specific cryptocurrency.
I’ll use Axie Infinity as an example. When you win a match in Axie Infinity, you gain Sleep Love Potion (SLP). You can use the Sleep Love Potion (SLP) to breed more Axies. This is a burning mechanic to reduce the supply of SLP. You might be wondering, “Why should I use the SLP to breed more Axies when I can simply sell them for profit?” The reason is simple. When you breed Axies, you’re gambling for the Axie that you’ve bred is a rare species. It is either pretty, strong or both. This way, this rare Axie is worth more than the money you’ve spent to breed it, which allows you to gain more profit as compared to simply selling the SLP. You may also be curious as to “Why would I want a strong Axie when I can simply earn SLP with a standard Axie?” The stronger your Axie is, the higher the chances of you climbing higher ranks in the game which allows you to earn more SLP and even the chance of earning AXS if you’re able to be in the Top 1000. This means that there is a monetary incentive to having a strong team. Axie Infinity is an example with a well thought-out tokenomics, and I believe more games out there will think of better ways to surpass it.
If we read a project’s whitepaper and the tokenomics resembles a casino that is on a gradual bankrupt, we should walk away.
The fourth thing we should pay attention to when we’re determining a NFT game is: Community. I would imagine that if you’re buying a toaster online, you would sort by Popularity and read at least the first page of its reviews. If everyone is giving 4.5–5 stars with naturally dimly lit photos of how their bread is well toasted (hopefully coupled with a sunny side-up beside it), you start to gain more confidence in clicking “Buy”. Similarly, we want healthy reviews for a NFT game too. The game may not be out yet, but is the team having healthy interaction and engaging with its fans across multiple platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Telegram, Discord and Reddit? Are there grammar mistakes or discrepancies in the videos or documents they’ve released? How about AMAs (Ask-Me-Anything) whereby the founder or any of the team members chat with content creators on the development of the game? If it is a ghost town and nobody is talking about it, something is off. I wouldn’t place my bet on it.
I believe these are the essential factors we need to consider when we evaluate a NFT game. It isn’t very much different from stalking your ex-girlfriend.
(And yes, I’m finally putting an image up on Medium after writing for years. About time, I guess.)