Virtual Guns in Videogames Could Soon Be Worth Real Money

Game makers are increasingly selling virtual weapons and gear as NFTs, extending the trendy digital deeds' reach but rankling some players. From a report: More videogame makers are selling virtual guns, helmets and other gear in the form of NFTs, a move that is increasingly pushing the trendy digital deeds into the average household. Players have been paying for virtual goods in games like "Grand Theft Auto Online" and "World of Warcraft" for years, but turning those items into nonfungible tokens would let gamers trade and resell them, making them into potentially valuable assets. The change also could mean that players who buy an NFT in one game could use it later in other games, on social media and in other corners of the internet -- an important step in developing an economy for the so-called metaverse. "FarmVille" maker Zynga and "Assassin's Creed" creator Ubisoft Entertainment are among the first big, publicly traded gaming companies to say they are experimenting with the strategy. Electronic Arts, Playtika and others are also looking into NFTs' potential use for engaging players. "We're doing this because this may be part of the future of gaming," said Matt Wolf, Zynga's new vice president of blockchain gaming. "This is all about community building." Nonfungible tokens are essentially digital deeds that verify the authenticity of the items they represent as unique. They are the latest internet-based collecting craze, and so far they have come in forms ranging from digital artwork and trading cards to virtual real estate and sneakers, as well as concert tickets and even sports highlights. The tokens are stored on a blockchain, a digital ledger that shows when they were purchased and for how much, and ensures NFTs can't be duplicated or changed. Amid all that activity, NFTs' advent in videogames holds particular significance because gamers spend so much time in virtual worlds. That makes them potential early adopters in the metaverse -- a virtual realm where proponents say people will work, play and shop and where technology experts say the ability to buy and sell NFTs will be key.

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