Dec 15, 2021 - Economy

NFT games fueled by speculation

Legacy. Screenshot: 22 Cans/Gala Games

Legacy. Screenshot: 22 Cans/Gala Games

Plots of virtual land for veteran developer Peter Molyneux’s upcoming NFT-based game Legacy have sold for more than $15 million, based on a check of items marked “sold out” in the online marketplace for the forthcoming game.

Why it matters: A lot of the money in NFT gaming now is based on speculation.

  • NFT gaming companies like Legacy publisher Gala encourage virtual land purchases long before the games that contain that land launch.
  • That’s a particularly risky offering in this case, given Molyneux’s notoriety for overpromising and under-delivering.
  • Speaking of flying blind: Gala invited owners of its “founder’s nodes” to vote last week whether to allow Legacy and another game onto its platform, prior to the games or their creative teams being revealed. Gala assured voters that the then-secret game was “sure to be an instant hit" and the votes passed.

The big picture: The video game industry has long been built around hype for the future, as publishers incentivized players to pre-order games months in advance to secure exclusive rewards.

  • This approach with pre-release NFTs extends that dramatically, given players can bid just about anything on an item for a game no one has yet reviewed or played.
  • Another example of this: The creators of upcoming big-budget first-person shooter S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 said today that people will soon be able to bid on NFTs that will result in three people being depicted in their April 2022 game.

But it’s awfully hard to discern what any of these gaming NFTs should be worth.

  • Ubisoft’s first batch, a set of 2,000 gun skins distributed to players for free last week, has begun to show up on crypto marketplaces.
  • Asking prices for largely the same item on the marketplace Objkt range from $634 to $423,000.
  • The highest listed offer is $21.
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