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Crypto & Gaming: A Look At NRG’s Insights Report
Gaming might seem like a natural, endemic partner for blockchain technology and cryptocurrency partners, particularly when we look at play-to-earn engagement and room for innovation in the gaming atmosphere. However, to date, it’s a vertical that has seen strong resistance from casual to competitive and everything in between – at least, almost.
We’ll take a look at esports organization NRG’s latest insights report, which suggests that perhaps the industry can come around as crossover audiences grow.
The Push In Gaming: Can It Overcome Hurdles?
Gaming has made strides, but overall has seen large resistance around crypto. The sticking points have been more rigid around casual gaming than competitive though. With few exceptions, major gaming developers have largely avoided or denied any interest or immediate movement around NFTs, crypto, and the like.
In the competitive space, however – that hasn’t stopped esports organizations from making moves, like 100 Thieves from creating their own NFTs, which they distributed for free on the Polygon blockchain. It also hasn’t stopped orgs from partnering and pairing up with blockchains and exchanges for formal relationships, either. Even major organization TSM locked in a naming rights deal with crypto exchange FTX last year, rebranding the org as ‘TSM.FTX.’
And what about play-to-earn? Well, it’s likely just too early to say. Axie Infinity, which was for a long time seen as the most respected and developed play-to-earn title in the space, is struggling, as the games native currency $SLP is now under a penny. Only time will tell if play-to-earn can really be implemented in a long-term sustainable way.
Esports organization 100 Thieves released a championship NFT for free on the Polygon (MATIC) network last year - and Polygon continues to have a gaming and broader sport focus. | Source: MATIC-USD on TradingView.com
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What Can We Takeaway From NRG’s Survey Results?
Let’s take a look at some main points that are highlighted from NRG’s survey data – which has a notably small sample size of around 1,300 respondents, and targeted males 18-34 (likely a saturated demographic in the crypto space).
NFTs: The survey shows that while 3 out of 4 of queried gamers own, or have owned, crypto – just 1 in 4 own NFTs. Additionally, while play-to-earn still needs to show it’s viability in a long-term time horizon, a majority of surveyed gamers (57% to be exact) believe that play-to-earn is good for gaming.
So what’s the hold up? The gaming audience is yet to trust NFTs, and the often times blatant shilling, rugpulls, and other negative and oftentimes egotistical behavior is likely serving as a larger barrier than we often give credit. A majority of gamers haven’t bought NFTs because of a lack of trust or belief in utility. While most respondents considered themselves ‘eco-conscious,’ environmental concerns were only 5th in top concerns around purchasing an NFT – suggesting that the growth of Ethereum-alternatives (or perhaps a belief in Ethereum’s proof-of-stake migration) are present in the minds of gamers that are paying attention to the NFT space.
Metaverse: Defining the ‘metaverse’ is obviously a task in and of itself (we personally recommend Matthew Ball’s ‘The Metaverse Primer‘ to help out), and survey results from the NRG inquiry validate this perspective. 7 of 10 surveyed gamers believe that VR is ‘the metaverse,’ and show interest in gaming in VR – likely encouraged by the increasing amount of VR streams on platforms like Twitch.
Meanwhile, these respondents don’t see sandbox games – such as Roblox, Fortnite, etc. – as part of the metaverse. We’ll let you decide for yourself.
Web3: The hottest topic over the past year around technology has been the conceptual emerge of Web3, an all-encapsulating idea that the way the internet functions could be in a paradigm-like shift that transfers ownership rights from conglomerates to creators. This sort of shift will of course take time, regardless of what stage you believe we are in today – so it’s impacts on media and how we consume content, culture, and information are largely immeasurable.
However, this gaming audience is no stranger to the topic. While study results show that the gaming audience is twice as likely to be familiar with Web3-related terms, a large majority of this audience – 3 out of 4 respondents – cannot describe what Web3 is specifically. This is a logical conclusion: explaining the internet in the 90s wasn’t particularly easy either.
In all, we’re still painting this space each day in broad strokes. As is often the case, the markets will dictate use case and demand, and innovation will respond accordingly. If you blink, you might miss it.
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