From Ghidora Godz to Momoguro: Holoself. I’ve lost $15,000 to $25,000 more than once while positioning myself into a flashy new web3 NFT game.
GameFi is hot and booming, and it often rewards finding gaming projects in the NFT field early on. Problem is, the earlier you invest, the more likely they haven’t even started creating their promised product yet. If they even plan on delivering a working product…
A relatively safe bet is to focus on trusted brands, both in web2 and web3. A prime example is Yuga Labs, where at least you know they will deliver a working product. The games they release are not guaranteed to succeed.
You will however always retain some value, simply because there is a massive community behind them. Whereas with new gaming projects that are rugging or scamming you, your value is going to $0 in the blink of an eye.
Web2 embracing Web3
Another great way to dip your toes into gaming NFTs is by looking at traditional Web2 games entering Web3. We’re still early, but global brands in the gaming field are opening up to the idea of Web3 technology.
Epic Games Store, well known from Fortnite, is allowing more games with NFT mechanics into their gaming store. Recently they announced 20 titles with NFTs will be available in the short term, a leap forward compared to the 5 or so currently available.
Perhaps even more thrilling is that both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store are opening up to NFT games as well. Play Store is making huge changes to their policy, enabling blockchain developers to include Web3 elements in their applications and games.
They work closely together with Reddit and other trusted brands to create a level playing field that “promotes user trust and responsible usage of blockchain technology”.
The good, the bad, and the ugly
Let’s explore some examples to protect yourself from making impulsive decisions next time. First we’ll have a look at an obvious scam in hindsight, which misled many experienced Web3 investors into losing big chunks of money.
Then we’ll move on to an example where projects faced major complications, but came back stronger. Lastly, we’ll cover two promising NFT gaming projects close to releasing their first game. One for mobile and one for desktop!
The most covered disappointing gaming project in Web3 recently on Twitter is Momoguro: Holoself. One of my favorite thread writers on Twitter is Loki The Bird, who covered them more than once. Mainly because, well, things keep looking uglier by the day.
There is a common pattern to be found, similar to some popular NFT pfp scams, or even to the ICO boom in the 2017 crypto days. In hindsight it’s easy to see. Momoguro hyped up investors into believing they were backed by major global brands in the likes of Disney. New projects will try to build trust and mislead you into thinking there’s a working beta product already there, or near completion.
Major red flag was the lack of gameplay previews, but due to hype and fomo a lot of investors gave them the benefit of the doubt. Some well known investors in Web3 went as far as getting on private calls with the team behind Momoguro, and even that turned out to be insufficient. In Web3, there’s only so much you can do to protect yourself.
Pixelmon and Hytopia
Sometimes being patient with Web3 teams can turn out to be the right decision. Truth is, you can’t really tell upfront. Both Pixelmon and Hytopia (Formerly NFT Worlds) have had some wild rollercoaster experiences.
Pixelmon raised an incredible amount of money ($70mm) during their initial mint, yet revealed art that was cheap to say the least. In fact it was so bad that it was actually hilarious, resulting in Kevin becoming a popular meme.
Thankfully, with a new team and vision, the Pixelmon IP is making major moves forward. Their art got updated and looks impressive, Trainers have been released, and the project is positioning themselves into an IP that can last a lifetime.
In the case of Hyopia the unfortunate event happened where Microsoft kicked them off Minecraft, which the project was heavily relying on. The team behind Hytopia had to completely change their strategy, and it turned out they are flexible and agile enough to do so.
Today one could say the ban by Microsoft is the greatest thing that happened to Hytopia. The project had a major rebrand and created a new vision. They are moving to their own chain and are no longer limited by the ways of how Web2 infrastructure is doing business.
Now let’s look at one of the first two promising projects in the Web3 gaming field. Delabs Games recently minted their Delabs Adventure Passes with a relatively low supply of 3,433 items. 433 refers to their Korea based parent company 433.
Delabs Games develops highly engaging and fun Web3 games that are made for everyone. Holders of the Delabs Adventure Pass can stake and level up their passes. Pass holders have access to a variety of benefits and perks, such as first access to released games, exclusive in-game items, in-game NFTs, IRL event invitations, and more.
During the initial mint there wasn’t too much information available. And there was definitely a lack of gameplay content showing the products being built are genuine. At this moment a total of three different games are being developed. First up is a kart game scheduled to be released in the next few months, Rumble Racing Star.
Usually you don’t have to invest right away during a project’s initial mint. Same goes for Delabs Games, since the Adventure Pass is now below mint price. Even though we are certain that their first game is about to release soon. Some weeks ago I was able to download the full beta for Rumble Racing Star and was able to play and explore the game fully.
Hence, I can say with confidence Delabs Games will launch their games. Again, there’s never a guarantee that any of their games will gain a lot of traction, as the gaming space is highly competitive. So the only question remains, how much you believe in the team and their games yourself. As well as how much you believe Web3 is the future of gaming. Ultimately every investment comes down to DYOR.
Where Delabs Games is launching on desktop only for now, Valeria Games is taking a different approach. With the App Store and Google Play opening up more to blockchain elements, the time is now to launch games on Android and iOS.
Over a year ago Valeria Games minted 10,000 lands with various rarities. Throughout the past year they also released a free mint for holders rewarding them for their patience and trust, so called in-game Champions with additional utility once the game launches.
Similar to Delabs Games, you didn’t have to participate in the initial mint right away. The floor price has hovered around the mint price most of the year. Only recently floor price has surged a bit as Valeria is close to launch. Their lands can be staked and will generate monthly tokens for the next two years, and in-game NFT assets to utilize while playing the game.
“Valeria: The Land Before the War” is a free-to-play, real-time strategy game built on Polygon and set to be released on iOS and Android. In this game, players will summon, train, evolve, and battle with their Valerians as they progress through the story, participate in player versus player matches, quests, dungeons, survival mode, and tournaments.
A physical trading card game is set to be released to expand the IP even further. Additionally Valeria partnered with VoyceMe to release a manga series. 7 chapters are already out and available to read for free!
Apart from all these initial good signs, the team has constantly updated their community on all progress made. Most importantly on the ongoing developments of the actual game. They have done this in a ‘build in public’ type of way. Every now and then early gameplay footage has been released along with artwork. The team also holds bi-weekly townhalls on Twitter spaces to talk about progress made and to answer any questions from their community directly.
If there were any doubts left, the successful event at NFT NYC surely cleared up any remaining second thoughts. The booth was a big hit with physical merchandise and trading cards. Free gasless claims of in-game NFT assets and collectibles. And of course, the opportunity to play the Valeria game yourself!
It is extremely rare in the current stage of Web3 gaming and NFTs to find this type of commitment and transparency. Early adopters will be rewarded for their trust soon, as the beta tournament is around the corner. In August 2023 a $50K beta tournament will commence, allowing the team to stress test and improve performance, look, and feel of the game. This leads up to the full game release shortly after on Android and iOS.
One thing both Delabs Games and Valeria Games have in common is partnerships with various IPs. In the case of Delabs Games and their Rumble Racing Star kart game, profile pictures from other collections can be selected as drivers inside the racing game. Goblintown is one of the IPs to be featured in RRS.
With Valeria Games, IP of partnered NFT collections will be utilized as in-game champions to fight your opponents. Valeria Games has partnered with over 40 NFT projects, offering in-game integration for players who hold these NFTs and download their game upon release. Holders of various NFT collections will be able to mint their champion for free. Whereas in some other cases, there may be a limited mint. We mentioned Grail earlier in this article while we talked Momoguro.
But we can end this article on a positive note! One of Grail’s extremely rare ‘grail’ or ‘spirit’ Azuki will be leveraged inside the Valeria game. Anyone quick enough will have the option to mint the grail Azuki through Binance (TBD)) and use the character inside the game. It’s another way Valeria showcases innovation and collaboration in the space. And how IP by holders of NFTs can be used throughout different collections.