NEAR & Gaming: Putting Gamers in the Driver’s Seat

August 17, 2022 — NEAR Team

Video games are portals to alternate realities. They are the means of escape for the more than three billion players worldwide who value the journey and experience of gameplay. Unfortunately, the journey through imaginative landscapes has been threatened by the prevalence of microtransactions and in-game currencies offering less and less to players. 

As industry-wide revenues are forecasted to surpass $200B in 2022, many gamers are looking for a more prominent voice in where and how they invest their time and money in virtual worlds. Blockchain and Web3 have thrown gas on the fire of gaming innovation with their underlying technology and the ease with which people can interact with each other on a global scale. 

Never before has there been as wide an array of platforms, developers, publishers, and gamers as exists now. Blockchains like NEAR have generated mass appeal in crypto gaming, boosted by incentives in play-to-earn mechanics. Players can now monetize their time and attention to find, craft, and seamlessly generate NFT assets of in-game digital items while establishing connections along the way. Self-governing inclusive communities in the form of decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs, serve as a foundation for gamers empowered to take on leadership roles. 

From arcade to massively multiplayer to casual mobile gaming, NEAR is powering the next generation of games through blockchain technologies like NFTs, DeFi, and DAOs, unlocking substantial rewards for players’ time invested. A radical transformation in gameplay, the Web3 approach gives power and control to the players. Beyond helming the controls, significant players in the gaming industry are truly putting gamers in the driver’s seat.

Building the future of gaming, one block at a time

OPGames, a Web3 arcade gaming platform, fuses the worlds of gaming and NFTs with a vision of revolutionizing game development and publishing. Their HTML5 arcade is a profound transformation in gameplay and development that shifts power to the players. OPGames’ developers utilize fractionalized NFTs to grant the community the ability to own a piece of the games they play. 

Arcadia, OPGames’ community-owned gaming universe, invites players to step into virtual worlds by discovering games, joining tournaments, and experiencing limitless gaming in entirely new ways. Their end-to-end solution promotes game discovery and seamless distribution in a novel way. 

Through collective ownership, gamers’ time and attention are effectively monetized through NFT price appreciation as any game grows in success. The OPGames DAO establishes a relationship between players and developers, with real dialogue about how the game evolves over time. Together, these facets combine to make the perfect toolbox for game developers to jump from Web2 to Web3.

The OPGames DAO gives the community a direct line of communication with game developers. This opens up dialogue on upcoming enhancements, new levels, or the latest in-game assets that players can buy, own, and trade through gameplay. Most gaming platforms lockdown digital collectibles in their ecosystem, but OPGames users are given the freedom to bring accomplishments and skins from other games. This model affords players more meaningful rewards for the time they invest in virtual worlds.

Arcadia is an inclusive gaming universe that lowers the barriers of game ownership and truly serves as a platform for everyone. Gamers, game creators, and communities alike can share fun experiences through an ever-expanding roster of games with an ecosystem feature set that continues to evolve.

A GameFi ecosystem for the players, by the players

Vorto Gaming is a prominent blockchain gaming company with a mission of creating a new gaming economy owned by the players. Vorto Network’s marketplace allows users to browse, buy, sell, and trade NFTs and other in-game assets. Their “the more you play, the more you earn” model empowers players to monetize their time and attention to find, craft, and generate NFT assets of in-game digital items. 

Hash Rush, the first title launched on the Vorto Network, is a massively multiplayer real-time strategy game featuring play-and-earn mechanics. By establishing Crypto Crystal mining colonies, players play-to-earn as they mine, complete quests, and defeat enemies. Through tokenization and P2P trading, the gaming industry’s status quo model is flipped. “Instead of players working for the game, the game should work for them,” says CEO Kris Vavoids.

In early 2022, Vorto revealed an exclusive partnership with Gold Town Games in developing a blockchain cricket game, Cricket Star Manager. Inspired by sports simulation titles and play-to-earn games, Cricket Star Manager lets players create their own cricket team and compete for the highest title in their country. For the first time, the cricket community has an opportunity to earn real money from their passion through gaming.

Vorto has created a platform that allows gamers to easily manage their digital game items, whether collecting, selling, or trading. Their APIs allow game studios access to item creation, inventory management, and transaction reporting, while gamers benefit from an online storefront with a peer-to-peer marketplace. Not only does this bring an unprecedented level of autonomy to gamers, but it also puts them in control of their achievements and virtual legacy on and off the platform.

Bringing Web3 fun to Web2 games

playEmber is bringing Web3 to the hyper-casual and casual gaming space, with ambitions to onboard at least one million new crypto gamers. The first wave of play-to-earn games were lousy offerings, or as CEO Hugo Furneaux bluntly says, “a bit crap.” 

“Rather than fun games, they seemed to be reverse engineered gamified staking platforms, giving the player a sub-optimal gaming experience,” he adds.

playEmber’s player-centric focus is rooted in three tenants: fun, interoperability, and ownership. They recognize that if the main target is to earn, the core of gaming’s appeal–escapism through joy and pure fun–is lost. 

“We think that is key to putting gamers back in the driving seat,” says Furneaux. “It shouldn’t be a job, it should be a passion.”

By bringing blockchain gaming to existing mobile gamers, their everyday experience is enhanced by enabling the interoperability of game assets. Players have power by playing multiple games with the same avatar and storing and trading their game achievements and progress. For gaming studios, a new audience of Web3 gamers is unlocked without the complexities of worrying about core elements like smart contracts, tokens, and NFTs.

Players make substantial investments in virtual worlds with their time and resources. As such, gamers should retain ownership of the characters, weapons, avatars, and NFTs they’ve invested and improved upon. For playEmber, this is non-negotiable. Their OG NFT collection partners with many of the top NEAR collections that allow followers to play, earn, reward, and compete in thousands of mobile games. 

CMO Jon Hook says that a key focus is an ongoing commitment to greater inclusivity and governance within the greater community. “We are looking forward to welcoming key strategic studio partners into our DAO to inform and decide future product developments,” he says. 

Having a seat at the table is a powerful and exciting way to empower players to control their future.

Leveling up Web3 gaming on NEAR

Thanks to NEAR’s robust framework and infrastructure, gaming in the Web3 era is limited only by the collective imaginations of developers and players. NEAR’s robust, stable, and feature-rich blockchain also achieves a level of energy efficiency and impact unheard of in other blockchains. Its scaling technology divides computation across parallel “shards,” which optimize the already super cheap, high-speed, and outstandingly secure platform. So with NEAR, developers now have the toolkit to level up worldbuilding and gameplay experiences.  

Extremely versatile, DAOs are one component of NEAR’s commitment to facilitating the network’s decentralization to a worldwide creative community and beyond. Through their democratic, flexible, and collaborative foundations, DAOs empower like-minded individuals to come together and decide how the gameplay journey will unfold. 

Building the next hit Web3 game on NEAR is possible through supporting documentation and open source repositories available to all. Any developer can build on existing concepts and choose different elements to get their next idea from concept to fruition. And a low barrier to entry for developers, creators, and players translates to massive exposure and accessibility to the global gaming community.

As gamers are put in the driver’s seat in the era of Web3, the industry’s development and evolution know no limits on the road ahead. 

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