The entire concept of the Metaverse and Web3.0 might be new to outsiders, but gamers it has been living in this reality for years.
Phil Spencer, the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Gaming, revealed this position in an interview with Bloomberg Studio 1.0, highlighting that gamers nowadays do not really understand the thrill of the metaverse “because the technologies proponents claim as novel are ones they have experienced in games for years.”
“It’s not at all surprising to me that gamers might look at metaverse and think… I already have an avatar of myself, I can already go into a shared world, and I can already have voice conversations,” he said.
Spencer reiterated how Microsoft has been very cautious when it comes to certain offshoots of the blockchain gaming ecosystem, such as Play-to-Earn (P2E). The tech giant is cautious as it does not want its platforms to be unduly monetized, although Spencer noted that some forms of monetization are already commonplace in the Web2.0 ecosystem.
“There have been gold farmers, people who literally just spend their time doing some menial task in a game to accrue some currency that they can then sell to some other rich player for real money, so that person doesn’t have to spend their time… But now you find games that are starting to build that into the economy of the game itself,”
Microsoft’s reservations regarding monetizing NFTs and their underlying innovations have pushed its Mojang Studios, the startup behind the Minecraft game platform, to ban all forms of NFT and monetization-related activities, as announced back in July.
The limitations Minecraft announced have pushed platforms like NFT Worlds to pull out from Minecraft as its primary gaming platform. In all, Microsoft still remains one of the major tech giants pursuing metaverse-related advancement as Web3.0 evolves.
PlayStation may be eyeing a move into the non-fungible token (NFT) world as the gaming giant has been surveying its players about their interests in digital collectables.
As revealed by a Twitter user with the handle Snorlax Ownz, the gaming giant added a question bordering on the interests of EVO 2022 players with respect to digital collectables.
Per the screenshot shared above, PlayStation asked the EVO participants to give an insight into the digital collectables they collect the most. The listed options include Evo Branded, Favorite Music Artists, Favorite ESports Players/Teams, PlayStation Items, and Favorite Game Characters.
It is becoming commonplace amongst game developers and Guilds to integrate non-fungible tokens into their characters and merchandise build. In fact, there is a whole new push to integrate blockchain dynamics into decentralized finance, birthing Play-2-Earn (P2E) games such as Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, and other growing titles.
PlayStation provides the console that serves as the avenue by which most gaming enthusiasts access some of the most thrilling titles around. Should the speculations about the outfit consider adopting NFTs, it will mark a milestone that can arguably steer the new innovation to a whole new level.
While the likely disposition of PlayStation is yet to be determined, other gaming stakeholders are already making their stands known. Popular gaming studio Minecraft has openly said no to NFTs and blockchain technology in general.
Per the position of the gaming giant, NFTs, with their inherently uncertain price hikes, are billed to unsettle its ecosystem. The key feature it prides itself on, inclusivity, may be removed altogether.
While Minecraft said it will be keeping tabs on development in the setting of the digital collectable, other major platforms like Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Magic Eden have launched dedicated funds to help bootstrap gaming protocols. This shows the growing level of importance being accorded to NFT and blockchain-powered games across the board.
Tech giant Microsoft and blockchain developer Enjin have teamed up to release a game celebrating women in science that rewards players with Minecraft-compatible non-fungible tokens.
“Azure Space Mystery” is an interactive, fictional online game designed to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Players work to save the International Space Station, and on completion they can claim a limited edition NFT.
During gameplay, players will also learn about prominent European female scientists including Mary Somerville, Caroline Herschel, and Raymonde de Laroche. The NFTs are compatible and transferable with the popular game Minecraft, which had 131 million monthly players as of October 2020.
Bryana Kortendick, Enjin’s VP of operations and communications, stated:
“Education is key to empowering the next generation of innovators. Enjin is proud to work alongside Microsoft to generate innovative opportunities for merging virtual worlds, bringing digital communities closer together and celebrating powerful women in science and tech.”
By logging into Minecraft’s MyMetaverse server and connecting with an Enjin wallet containing the NFTs, players can access a sequel Azure Space Mystery quest within Minecraft which can be completed to receive additional collectible NFTs.
While there is an infinite supply of the tokens available to be claimed by players, the NFTs will never be issued again after the Space Mystery promotion has ended.
Microsoft first announced it had teamed up with Enjin to create blockchain-powered “badge rewards” in 2019, with the Azure Heroes program delivering NFTs to roughly 6,400 unique recipients.
Microsoft has launched a browser game that rewards players with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for use inside Minecraft, one of the world’s most popular games.
According to a press release shared to CoinDesk on Thursday, Azure Space Mystery is a text-based interactive and educational puzzle game set aboard the International Space Station.
There, players encounter prominent female scientists, including German astronomer Caroline Herschel and Scottish scientist Mary Somerville, the first two women to join the Royal Astronomical Society; Alexandrian philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician Hypatia; and French pilot Raymonde de Laroche, world’s first licensed female pilot.
NFTs acquired by playing the game will allow players to unlock a new “quest” inside the MyMetaverse Minecraft server. Users can then spawn Microsoft Azure heroes via the EnjinCraft plugin into the popular game.
“Education is key to empowering the next generation of innovators. Enjin is proud to work alongside Microsoft to generate innovative opportunities for merging virtual worlds, bringing digital communities closer together and celebrating powerful women in science and tech,” said Bryana Kortendick, VP of Operations & Communications at Enjin.
Microsoft says the new initiative demonstrates a viable interoperability between multiple platforms, applications and games.
“Enjin’s platform powers innovative projects across the gaming and wider blockchain ecosystem,” said Sherry List, Azure developer engagement lead at Microsoft.
List added the collaboration between Microsoft and Enjin has allowed her department to integrate “cutting-edge technology” with educational tools while simultaneously recognizing developer communities.
Minecraft + NFTs: How it works
On the first leg of the journey, a user embarks on a quest to explore and repair a failing international space station – the text-based part of the quest.
Upon successful completion, the user is then forwarded to a web page where they are asked to scan a QR code. The code provides an NFT that drops automatically into a user’s Enjin wallet, from there they can link their wallet to cross-platform gaming network MyMetaVerse.
NFTs are digital assets that represent a wide variety of physical goods as well as intangible assets, in the case of Microsoft’s initiative, digital badges.
Key characteristics of an NFT include the fact they are non-interoperable, indivisible, indestructible and verifiable.
Built on Ethereum’s ERC-721 and ERC-1155 token standards, they contain information that makes them distinct from other NFTs. Because they are easily verifiable, no two are the same and are unable to be traded with each other, differing from typical cryptocurrency standards.
It’s important to gamers because they can access forms of value that unlock perks and benefits across multiple platforms, games and apps, creating integrated experiences that can potentially travel with them across the internet.
On the final leg, a user needs to link up MyMetaVerse to Minecraft enabling access to Microsoft’s NFTs within the blocky 3D world.
Once inside Minecraft a user can type a directive /wallet that will spawn collectible “companions” who follow the user around the server and protect them.
“NFTs are important because they provide irrefutable proof of digital scarcity,” said Simon Kertonegoro, vice-president of developer success at Enjin. “With over 126 million users, the ability to spawn blockchain assets inside a Minecraft server is a huge step towards NFT adoption,”
Finally, completing the quest in Minecraft will enable players to unlock fungible tokens that provide benefits in Telegram and Discord. The “XX & XY Certified Equal” token can be used to unlock exclusive chat groups in the popular social messaging apps.
The Azure Space Mystery challenge is currently free to join and is accessible via Microsoft’s website from Feb. 11 through to March 11, 2021, according to the release.
See also: Microsoft, EY Expand Blockchain Platform for Gaming Rights to Include Payments