NFT Worlds First Impressions
NFT Worlds is the latest hotshot in town. Its 7-day trading volume ranks 7th on Opensea, and floor price is 13.25 ETH (roughly $35,000).
For those of you who are not familiar with the project, "NFT Worlds is a fully decentralized, fully customizable, community driven, play to earn gaming platform where world owners can create their own limitless metaverse games or experiences for players or exclusive communities within their worlds," says the NFT Worlds website.
NFT Worlds utilizes Minecraft as the game engine. Minecraft is a sandbox video game first released in November 2011. It is the best-selling video game of all time, with over 238 million copies sold, and nearly 140 million monthly active users as of 2021. In Minecraft, players explore a pixel-based 3D world to extract raw materials, craft tools and items, and build structures.
I think NFT Worlds design is possibly flawed:
- NFT Worlds experience can be created without NFT Worlds.
- Demand for $WRLD is neither organic nor sustainable.
Before we dive in, please note that I am sharing only first impressions of NFT Worlds, as a NFT enthusiastic and a gamer. If anyone could help elevate my understanding of the project, that would be very much appreciated.
NFT Worlds experience can be created without NFT Worlds.
NFT Worlds are basically algorithm-generated Minecraft worlds. Such worlds can be randomly generated in-game for free. Here is an 8-step tutorial. The process seems simple. I also consulted with my 17yo cousin, who grew up in Minecraft. He confirmed that generating worlds is "very easy" in Minecraft.
So what are NFT Worlds owners paying money for? Essentially limited editions of Minecraft worlds created by the founders, ArkDev and Temptranquil. Considering you can get something with similar utility for free, the only explanation is that NFT Worlds is a brand. Per my last article, collectors pay premium for brands. For example, they spend hefty amounts on bored apes as profile pictures. But I am very skeptical about whether NFT Worlds is worth it.
NFT Worlds team is also not responsible for making NFT Worlds different from ordinary Minecraft worlds. NFT Worlds owners are. For example, to launch a game in their worlds, owners must build it by themselves from the ground up, with the help of existing Minecraft tools. Or they may hire experienced Minecraft builders. They could do both in a free Minecraft world, without buying NFT Worlds.
There are more smart plays by NFT Worlds. It is free-riding decade-long Minecraft developments and marketing those developments as its own achievement.
For instance, NFT Worlds shows that, unlike Decentraland and Sandbox, it is available on consoles and smartphones. But it is Minecraft that makes NFT Worlds playable across platforms.
By the way, in order to access NFT Worlds, owners need to pay an additional $30 to buy Minecraft.
Demand for $WRLD is neither organic nor sustainable.
There is also a token. $WRLD is the official currency of the NFT Worlds economy.
The team provides two use cases:
- Primary Medium Of Exchange
$WRLD is the main medium of exchange within the NFT World's ecosystem. In many NFT Worlds, it will be necessary for players to give world owners $WRLD tokens in order to access the content, perks, competitions and more that world owners have created in their worlds.
- Play To Earn
NFT Worlds will implement mechanisms for players to earn $WRLD tokens by playing games in worlds. Additionally, world owners may incentivize players to visit their worlds through competitions, free-to-play games, and more than reward players with $WRLD tokens.
It is not clear why Minecraft players would ever pay to acquire $WRLD. I checked with my cousin. No one pays to play Minecraft right now, other than buying the game. Current Minecraft players access existing worlds, with all of their content, perks, competitions, and more, for FREE.
As SBF once points out, for every person that is playing to earn, there is a counterpart that is earning to play.
Who will E2P to support P2E in NFT Worlds? It seems that only speculators, rather than gamers, are buying $WRLD, because speculators love the combination of NFT, P2E, and digital land.
This is neither organic nor sustainable. I thought NFT Worlds was supposed to be a gaming platform, not a ponzi.
In addition, gamers tend to be very hostile against NFTs at the moment, as noted by a member of the NFT Worlds discord. Existing Minecraft players may be unwilling to even try NFT Worlds, let alone pay for it.
NFT Worlds could thrive in an ideal scenario. Imagine that it unleashes a robust creator economy, which allows talented Minecraft creators to charge for their work. Paid Minecraft creators become capable of developing gaming experiences like never before, something that Minecraft players are willing to pay $WRLD for.
However, if this happens, Microsoft, as the owner of Minecraft, is unlikely to remain on the sidelines, letting NFT Worlds make all the money. They could acquire NFT Worlds. Hallelujah! But they could also ban NFT Worlds. $WRLD is a direct violation of the Minecraft Commercial Usage Guidelines.
YOU MAY use and sell in-game virtual currencies IF (i) they have no real-world value and that cannot be cashed out, used, or transferred across free or paid servers, or into any other currency with real-world value;
If a p2e model proves superior to the current setup, Microsoft could easily deploy a p2e marketplace in Minecraft. It is their game after all.
Digital real estate is the trending concept in NFT. There are many interesting experiments in this field. But it is unclear whether current attempts are fundamentally different from the once popular million dollar homepage of web2. It is worth pointing out that while there is only one Earth, there could be an infinite amount of metaverses. While land supply on Earth is relatively constant, land supply in each metaverse is theoretically unlimited. Digital real estate may not be "scarce."
Specifically, I am pessimistic about the future of NFT Worlds and its derivative projects like Gray Boys. For anyone who thinks otherwise, I'd like to ask two questions:
- Who is buying NFT Worlds, NFT investors or builders who know Minecraft inside out?
- Who is buying $WRLD, speculators or Minecraft players?