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Depending on who you ask, blockchain gaming is either the next big thing in Web3 or a detestable trend that companies should avoid indulging.
The space is divided, and taking an objective temperature on the matter can be challenging. Minecraft banned NFTs from their iconic title, GameStop opened an NFT marketplace, the WAX blockchain has become a hub for Web3 gaming, and Axie Infinity is doing its best to bounce back from a comically painful $615-million hack that took place earlier this year. Even two of the most popular NFT-based games, Decentraland, and The Sandbox, struggle to break 1,000 active monthly users.
Regardless of how any person or organization feels about blockchain-based games, however, they’ll likely impact the industry’s future significantly. The changes NFTs will bring to the industry, in the long run, remain to be seen. But we can take some educated guesses.The future of blockchain gaming
To better understand the state of the blockchain gaming space, nft now spoke to Şekip Gökalp, the Core Strategist of the Web3 gaming startup Infinite Arcade. The startup produces a meta layer that introduces metaverse dynamics like NFT ownership into existing game titles, and they work with gaming studios to make their existing titles more profitable.
Gökalp is also the CEO and co-founder of the mobile games publishing platform Coda, which launched Infinite Arcade in February after dedicating nearly all of its resources to preparing for the future of blockchain gaming. The Coda platform has become so popular that it hosts over 15,000 mobile game developers.
“We started a soul search,” Gökalp said of the company’s recent pivot to blockchain gaming. “We tried to understand: what is our role in a very late-stage mobile gaming market where there is little room for disruption and innovation left?”
The answer? Honing in on Web3. Gökalp dabbled in Bitcoin in 2014 after being introduced to crypto by friends and later began investing in early-stage Web3 tech startups in 2023 after selling an ad tech company he had successfully built. In 2023, when Axie Infinity and The Sandbox made waves in the gaming space, he felt eager to get as close as possible. “At some point, I realized I was spending as much time exploring these games for fun as I was running a company,” Gökalp said. “That’s what led to Infinite Arcade.”
“Owning things that come out of a game you play has the biggest chance to make things mainstream in the long term.”
It’s telling that a highly successful free-to-play gaming platform essentially gutted its legacy business to dive into blockchain gaming. When asked if IA is betting on the future of that industry, Gökalp was blunt: “100 percent.”
It’s a staunchly pro-blockchain perspective to take in a field of wildly-varying opinions on the technology’s prospects in the gaming world. But Gökalp isn’t bothered by even the more vocally anti-blockchain naysayers out there, since he believes the disagreement is healthy and not unlike the world of crypto itself.
“There’s so much out there in both camps,” Gökalp reflected. “There is crazy tribalism of all sorts. Within crypto, there is no unity either. So, I find it healthy that people speak up and criticize things. But saying a specific technology is not good for A, B, or C use cases is a pretty blanket statement and very often just wrong.”
Gökalp believes the genie is out of the bottle with blockchain technology. It’s simply not possible for the tech to disappear entirely. Whether people like it or not, Web3 will have its place and use cases for games.Ownership, not P2E use cases, will drive mainstream adoption
Gökalp agrees with skeptics that developers of play-to-earn games need to focus more on “play” and less on “earn” if they want to attract users. The current focus on financialization use cases, he believes, is also likely a natural part of the evolution of Web3 in the gaming space.
“The fun core of a game is really what makes the game a game,” Gökalp emphasized. “But new possibilities with crypto — actual ownership of assets and tokens and all of this happening in real-time on-chain without anyone needing permission for that — that opened up a very obvious financialization use case for a lot of things. And I think it’s also fairly natural in hindsight. Maybe a few years from now, when we look at this early exploration phase where the money is emphasized, that will feel very normal.”
However, Gökalp emphasized that the studios making the best games are the ones who win in gaming markets. By definition, this means the best games are the ones that keep their players coming back.
“Social media is owned by companies that will only suffer from true decentralization. And they know it.”
“The financialization use cases are niche,” Gökalp said. “And it won’t be the mainstream use case. I think ownership will be mainstream. Owning things that come out of a game you play has the biggest chance to make things mainstream in the long term.”
Gökalp also mentions that, in speaking to game developers, VC funds, and investors in the last six months, it’s clear to him that the projects receiving support are not the ones that are focusing on that financial aspect. The games with fundamental Web3 principles at heart seem to be the most attractive in that regard.Web3 needs to face its technical problem
Like many in the Web3 space, Gökalp believes that the technical barrier that Web3 presents to the average person is one of the main things preventing its mainstream adoption, whether in gaming or any other space.
“People need a seamless, invisible, completely abstracted away kind of experience, whether they’re touching a blockchain indirectly or directly,” Gökalp elaborated. “For them, it needs to be as easy as logging into Spotify using your Facebook login, and everything else is taken care of in the background. And only at the moment when you want to extract assets, which requires an immutable chain, then you potentially need to be aware that you’re moving funds or assets and you can lose them.”
Gaming, Gökalp says, is the most likely candidate to help onboard people to Web3. As one of the world’s most popular forms of consumed entertainment, it’s simply more likely to do so than any other industry. It’s also inherently open to the principles upon which Web3 is built, compared to other industries.
“I’m not an idealist, but I think it’s games,” Gökalp said to nft now. “They’re way more decentralized, way more bottom-up, creativity-driven, with the right type of minds and the right type of people. Social media is owned by companies that will only suffer from true decentralization. And they know it. And they don’t want it. And it’s clear that they are trying to get ahead of it and try to own it. I respect the conviction. But obviously, we know from their prior behavior what the most likely future behavior will be from those companies. I hope that they don’t win Web3, too.”
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Tell funny stories. It can be tricky to tell a story that can entertain a crowd and make people laugh. Some stories are hilarious if you tell them to one person in private, while others really can win over a diverse group of people. Do not tell a story that would embarrass your friend or family members. The key is to keep the story short enough to hold interest, but long enough to have entertaining details that leave people wanting more. Tell the story with charm and confidence, and, if you can pull it off, you can even reenact parts of the story of do impressions of the people involved. While you shouldn’t spend all night trying to tell stories to entertain people, one or two stories per night can really do the trick. Here are some things to keep in mind:
A story that lightly and playfully makes fun of someone you all know, whether it’s a friend or a teacher, can crack people up, especially if you know how to do impressions. However, if your story is mean-spirited in nature, people will be naturally turned off.
Read the audience as you’re telling the story. If they’re making eye contact, not whispering to each other or playing with their phones, or even gently nodding as you talk, then they’re engaged and want more. But if they’re shifting on their feet, looking at each other, or act like they’re in a dentist’s chair, then you should probably wrap up your story sooner than expected.
Be animated as you tell your stories. While you don’t have to walk back and forth across the room and gesture wildly like Dane Cook, you should stand upright, maintain positive body language, and gesture occasionally as you tell your story.
Build suspense when you talk. People need a reason to get to the end of the story. If they feel like they already know what happened, then they won’t want to hear the end. Instead of saying, “Let me tell you the story about the crazy ex-girlfriend who painted my car pink,” you can say, “You’ll never believe what my ex did to get revenge on me…” Then, the audience will want to keep listening because they’ll want to know what happened next.
It can be tricky to tell a story that can entertain a crowd and make people laugh. Some stories are hilarious if you tell them to one person in private, while others really can win over a diverse group of people. Do not tell a story that would embarrass your friend or family members. The key is to keep the story short enough to hold interest, but long enough to have entertaining details that leave people wanting more. Tell the story with charm and confidence, and, if you can pull it off, you can even reenact parts of the story of do impressions of the people involved. While you shouldn’t spend all night trying to tell stories to entertain people, one or two stories per night can really do the chúng tôi are some things to keep in mind:
Reactions were mixed when Apple last month revealed its approach to flexible working post-pandemic. CEO Tim Cook announced that staff would be expected to return to the office three days a week, but would, with line management approval, be free to work remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Cook described the arrangement as a temporary one, and appeared to be hinting at a fuller return to work next year …
Some hailed the new policy as a generous one. Apple has always had a strong culture of office-based working, so allowing employees to work from home two days a week could be considered a pretty dramatic shift in the company’s stance. In their view, any Apple employee unhappy about the arrangement can go find employment elsewhere.
Some Apple employees, however, have expressed concern and dissatisfaction at the policy. Many have grown accustomed to working from home, and report that they are both more productive and happier by cutting out what is often a lengthy twice-daily commute. A survey found that almost 90% of Apple employees said that greater flexibility is important to them, with a majority concerned that the policy would result in some quitting the company.
Yet Apple seems to be doubling-down on its stance, even going so far as to require staff to release confidential medical records if they want greater flexibility. That’s a pretty hardcore response.Apple’s justification is reasonable – for some
Apple justifies the policy by arguing that in-person contact has played a key role in the company’s history of product innovation.
Senior VP of retail and people Deirdre O’Brien said that Apple believes that “in-person collaboration is essential to our culture and our future.” O’Brien also mentioned that the products and services introduced by Apple in the past have all been the result of in-person collaboration.
“If we take a moment to reflect on our unbelievable product launches this past year, the products and the launch execution were built upon the base of years of work that we did when we were all together in-person.”
I would absolutely buy this – for some employees.
If you work in Apple’s product development labs, then sure, working together in person will be all but essential. There will be back-and-forth discussions and debates that will tease out ideas, and test the validity of beliefs and assumptions.
Apple also relies heavily on prototypes. Former design head Jony Ive has said that the company often makes these so that people can get a better sense of the look and feel of a concept, and I can 100% believe that making these models, and physically handling them, plays a vital role in sparking ideas – and revealing whether an idea that seems good on paper is workable in reality.
Cook has also frequently talked about “water cooler moments,” where two employees working in unrelated areas bump into each other at the water cooler, in the cafe, or in a corridor, and a random conversation sparks an idea. Indeed, Steve Jobs said that was a key part of the thinking behind the design of the Apple Park campus, that it would make such chance meetings more likely.
I’m personally a little skeptical about that. The company’s culture of secrecy is such that product development teams tend to work in silos, and are often not allowed to share their projects with anyone outside their own team. Indeed, there have been cases where employees have not even known what it is they are working on, as everything was on a need-to-know basis, and they were told nothing beyond their own specific piece of the puzzle.Three counterpoints on flexible working
But regardless, I would raise three counterpoints to this narrative.
First, there are a great many staff – even in Apple Park – who don’t work on new product development. That argument doesn’t apply to them to anything like the same degree.
Second, remote working doesn’t mean people don’t collaborate; they simply do so in different ways. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of pieces like this that were prompted by a conversation in the 9to5Mac Slack chatroom.
Third, ideas are sparked in all kinds of ways. Interactions with other employees is one of them, sure, but we’re just as likely to get an idea through a conversation with our partner, or with a friend, or something we see while out for a walk, or watching something on TV, or reading a book, or just using a product at home. Most of our Feature Requests, for example – many of which are adopted by Apple – begin as a frustration experienced while using an Apple product.
So yep, I totally buy the need for in-person working for some teams, some of the time. But I don’t buy it as essential for most.The difference between theory and practice
Yes, it’s true that every Apple employee hired before the pandemic knew their terms of working. It would be perfectly fair to say that if you were hired to work five days a work at Apple Park, or another Apple office, then any flexibility you get over and above that is a bonus.
But Apple doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The pandemic has opened people’s eyes to alternative working methods, and while some are desperate to return to the office, there are others who never want to do so again.
Every company and organization in the world has had to reevaluate its working practices. A great many tech giants in particular have decided that many of those who have enjoyed working remotely full-time will be able to continue to do so on a permanent basis. If Apple is to be able to retain and recruit the best and the brightest, it’s in the company’s best interests to compete on flexibility as well as other metrics.
Any employee or candidate for a role will look at the complete package. That of course starts with the work, the manager, the team, and the salary. But benefits play an important role, and for many, the ability to work from home is very high up the list of desirable ones. If Apple insists on remaining (comparatively) inflexible about flexible working, it’s the company that will ultimately lose out.
Photo: Jodie Cook/Unsplash
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It’s a well-known fact that individual NFTs have often sold for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars through the years. Whether it’s a particularly rare piece from collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club, or a new piece from an acclaimed artist like Beeple, high-value NFTs are a prominent feature of Web3.
Given how NFTs have gradually established a warm relationship with luxury goods, several brands catering specifically to luxury markets have firmly established themselves in the NFT space. But it goes deeper than just entering a market prepared to shell out considerable sums of cash, though. NFTs also offer users regularly making four, five, or even six-digit transactions untold security thanks to the blockchain.
But does it stop there? Hardly. Here are four luxury brands that’ve utilized everything NFTs offer to improve their ability to serve their customers.
One of Arity’s gemstone NFTs. Source: Arity
Arity is a Colombian luxury conglomerate hoping to bring its decades of combined expertise into Web3. Through its affiliated jewelry retailer, it has origins steeped in history dating back to the early 20th century. But after all this time as a player in an industry that’s only getting more competitive by the day due to increasingly scarce resources, it has worked to modernize its operations for a leg up against competitors. Its solution? Blockchain technology, particularly the usage of NFTs.
“We thought that NFTs are the best example to [immortalize] our process and jewelry design,” said Arity Co-Founder Ismael Fleing in an interview with nft now. “When we extract a rough gem from our mines, it’s unique.” The problem is, once these gems are cut and processed to be turned into jewelry, they technically no longer exist. By minting these stones as NFTs, Arity looks to immortalize each stone harvested from their mines. This isn’t just for show, either. As part of the minting process, every detail regarding stones harvested from mines is recorded and minted onto the blockchain — a step that undoubtedly helps shore up security as the stones pass through Arity’s supply chain.
Thanks to Arity’s decision to go the extra mile when documenting gemstones extracted from its mines, Arity also believes NFTs can play a pivotal role in adding more value to their products in a trustless way. “For gemstones, the location where it comes from adds value to the gem,” said Arity Co-Founder and CEO Daniel Martin. “That’s why traceability is so important in this industry,” he said. Besides adding value to gems, NFTs can also help curtail the sale of unethically sourced gems and precious metals down the line. Blood diamonds no more? It’s certainly a lofty goal, but it’s definitely possible.
Starting things off was Louis the Game, a 2023 mobile game that enabled players to engage in a collect-a-thon in a virtual world laden with LV’s iconic prints. Of course, some digital collectibles players could acquire in the game were postcards that doubled as fully fledged NFTs. In-game raffles also gave players a chance to win one of ten PFP NFTs depicting the game’s player character Vivienne in licensed LV gear.
Doubling down on its NFT-driven online strategy, April 2023 saw the fashion titan announce several new NFT rewards available to players of Louis the Game, in celebration of its over 200-year history.
Tokyo-based jewelry brand recently took to a growing trend in the luxury goods market, releasing a limited run of digital jewelry NFTs bearing the brand’s iconic smiley design. Kicking off its public sale in November 2023, EYEFUNNY’s 1,152 pieces of NFT jewelry went up for grabs.
So what’s in it for owners of these NFTs? The chance to participate in a raffle for real-world pieces of physical jewelry. As of writing, raffle winners are scheduled to be announced on EYEFUNNY’s official website, and will be able to pick up any winnings they may have at EYEFUNNY’s physical stores in Tokyo, Japan, along with a yet-to-be-announced seasonal location in Paris, France.Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and more
Diana Sinclair’s I Am That I Am. Source: Diana Sinclair
When Beeple sold his iconic Everydays piece on legacy auction house Christie’s in March 2023, considerable progress was made in legitimizing the sale and purchase of NFTs in the public eye. The price tag it ended up fetching certainly helped. Selling for an eye-watering $69.3 million, other auction houses quickly began moving to accommodate this fast-growing trend in the art world.
Besides Meta’s highly-publicized Horizon Worlds metaverse game, the firm is also bringing Instagram and Facebook — two of the most defining platforms of Web2 — into full Web3 functionality. But that shift won’t happen overnight, with intervals of introduction in store. This is why NFTs are taking center stage on Facebook and Instagram’s Web3 transition, and we’re here to explain everything you need to know about where NFTs fit into the future of these social media titans.Instagram: From image-sharing platform to NFT marketplace
When Instagram launched in October 2010, it was marketed as a free smartphone app wherein users could freely share photos with their social circles. But, given the comparatively primitive camera hardware of most smartphones back then, most results weren’t pretty. However, amid the sea of grainy iPhone 4 selfies was actual photography. Sometimes art, too.
Twelve years and a Facebook acquisition later, for millions of people, Instagram is social media. It’s since expanded its suite of services from simple image-sharing to include carousels, videos, and — since May 2023 — NFTs. Following a January 2023 announcement regarding the site’s future NFT-ready feature set, Instagram looked primed for a year of massive changes. So what type of NFT functionalities can Instagram’s userbase enjoy today?A rundown of Instagram NFTs
Although a recent update allowed several high-profile NFT creators to sell their works as NFTs on Instagram, this won’t be an exclusive feature forever. Much like how it launched features that enabled NFT creators and collectors to display and share their NFTs on Instagram free of charge in May 2023, that initial crop of creators was merely Meta’s test group.
How NFTs look on Instagram’s UI. Source: Meta
Instagram expanded support for its NFT sharing features, to include more than 100 countries in August 2023, just three months after the feature first went into testing, it’s only a matter of time before regular users gain the ability to sell NFTs on the platform on its upcoming Creator Marketplace. At that point, Instagram could seize the top spot among currently existing NFT marketplaces on the internet.How Instagram NFTs work
And the reason for that extends beyond the obvious brand recognition of Instagram. To further facilitate Instagram’s potential status as a massive Web3 onboarding platform, Meta has placed considerable focus on ensuring that availing of Instagram’s brand-new NFT features is as easy and accessible as possible. Creators, collectors, and whoever else hopes to use these features have them available in a few simple taps.
So what’s the appeal of Instagram’s NFT implementations? To start, Meta has emphasized several key features, like sharing NFTs as posts, which will be entirely free of charge. Additionally, once its NFT marketplace services get up and rolling, it’s promised to be completely free of gas fees, at least for the time being. Fees on the iOS and Android app stores may also still apply.
Meta also aims to ensure its list of compatible blockchains and crypto wallets is as inclusive as possible. According to a November blog post, among its growing list of compatible blockchains are Ethereum, Polygon, Flow, and Solana. As for crypto wallets, compatible wallets listed include MetaMask, Trust Wallet, Rainbow, Dapper, Phantom, and the Coinbase Wallet.
So what kinds of NFTs could you put up for display on Instagram? In theory, anything. So long as there’s a visual component of some kind. Also mentioned in Meta’s November blog post is a recent expansion to the types of NFTs users can share, and eventually trade, on the platform. Namely, video and animated NFTs.Facebook: the everything social network. That includes NFTs.
A decade ago, Facebook was a simpler place. People poked each other and “became a fan” of pages with names that amused them. Now, Meta’s flagship product is essentially a microcosm of the internet. You can do almost anything on the platform, so it only makes sense that eventually, Facebook will offer its billions of users the ability to buy and sell NFTs on the platform.
But it won’t happen in one shot.How NFTs work on Facebook
For now, Facebook’s implementation of NFTs is limited to sharing them as posts. Provided a creator has a large enough audience on the platform, this feature can be used to easily promote new NFT drops directly on the biggest social media platform in the world. Instagram already does this, and creators on the platform see it as a game-changer for marketing and promotion.
Although Facebook users received these NFT sharing features at the same time Instagram’s denizens did, there hasn’t been word on when exactly NFT trading will become available on the social media platform. Right now, the focus seems to be largely on expanding support for this feature across more markets. As of a September update, all U.S. users of the platform are privy to NFT sharing functionality, with the option to cross-post their NFTs across both Facebook and Instagram, akin to stories and regular photo posts today.Facebook’s road to turning into an NFT marketplace
Although there’s no solid news on when and how Facebook intends to approach the subject of trading NFTs on-site, its recent efforts to streamline how creators on the platform get compensated for their work indicates that Meta wants to get everything in order before it truly opens the NFT floodgates on Facebook.
Like how “bits” work on Twitch, Facebook has offered fans a way to directly donate to their favorite creators via its Stars feature, which is a form of digital currency users can purchase with fiat currency and use as a way to engage with their creators of choice financially. As of a June 2023 update, the feature is now available to all eligible creators in select markets and can be implemented on live streams, videos, reels, and even photo and text posts.
However, unlike how Twitch has implemented digital currency, there’s good reason to assume that this is part of Facebook’s process of getting its users accustomed to the idea of spending real money on digital goods. In Web3 terms, Stars would be crypto. But what about NFTs? Those would be the virtual gifts Meta has included in Facebook’s November update to the Stars service. Fans can now use their Stars to purchase digital gifts to virtually hand to their most-loved creators. It might still be several steps away from NFTs, but it’s definitely beyond the first step toward that reality.
In 2023, NFTs no longer revolve around the simple dualities of art and money. Although it’s true that artists and collectors continue to lead the space, both making and losing millions on a regular basis, the nonfungible ecosystem has changed.
Birthed as a niche internet microcosm, the NFT market has since become a multi-billion-dollar industry. And this market has grown far beyond the constraints of an “NFT” blanket term. Within this industry now lives a wide variety of subsections that continue to gain prominence as the months go by.
More recently, we’ve witnessed a diverse range of content creators and owners finding new avenues through which to monetize their intellectual property (IP) in ways we’ve never seen before. One multifaceted artist, Metasebia Yoseph, is providing a shining example of how Web2 content can be reinvigorated as a dynamic Web3 endeavor by rewriting the history of her book, A Culture of Coffee, on the blockchain.
A digital version of A Culture of CoffeeA Culture of Coffee on the blockchain
In 2013, Ethiopian-American author Metasebia Yoseph set off on a journey to educate culture enthusiasts and coffee drinkers alike about the ritualistic and time-honored tradition behind the world’s favorite caffeinated beverage. Through her book A Culture of Coffee, she hoped to help readers rediscover the value of and the complex history behind the global coffee culture.
Nearly a decade later, Yoseph works in developing products and experiences at the intersection of art, design, culture, and technology. But while her personal and professional goals have changed, her deep love for coffee has stood the test of time. Now, with the major anniversary of her book on the horizon, she’s begun to reimagine what disseminating the rich history of coffee might look like in a new age.
And how do stories get told in a digitally-native, Web3-centric era? On the blockchain of course.
Yoseph’s journey is one of many within the literary ecosystem that has culminated with blockchain technology. Even recently we’ve seen writers aim to join the NFT space via digital merchandise, with prominent Web3 journalist Laura Shin kicking off a sort of digital book club powered by blockchain tech.
Nowadays, Yoseph is as much a part of the Web3 community as anyone, and as a writer looking to innovate in the space, it makes perfect sense for the 10-year anniversary edition of her book to find its way to the blockchain. But it isn’t only NFTs that we’re talking about, Yoseph is aiming to create an entire ecosystem surrounding both her book and coffee culture.
The roadmap for the Culture of Coffee Web3 project
To kick off this new endeavor, entitled Culture of Coffee, Yoseph intends to leverage blockchain tech to launch a crowdfunding campaign towards the end of May to help bring her vision to life. Alongside the initial crowdfund, she will also be releasing a $COFFEE token that will be gifted to early supporters. Once the wheels are turning, Yoseph will unveil an interactive book, token-enabled access to a virtual gallery featuring transmedia and 3D artifacts, in-person events and activations, and more in celebration of the special anniversary edition of A Culture of Coffee.
In preparation for the first stop on the path to Culture of Coffee, Yoseph launched a series of Twitter Spaces called #CoffeeSocial as well as a Discord server to unpack all things at the intersection of $COFFEE, culture, and crypto. Yet, while the information surrounding the multi-faceted project can at times feel dense, one thing has become clear: that for Yoseph, this latest endeavor is a labor of love and community above all else.
“The Web3 rise of micro and creator economies means that my vision for the project as an artful, dynamic, and community-owned crypto-artifact can be manifested to scale,” says Yoseph. “All of this, while compensating the collaborators and coffee enthusiasts invested in collecting and preserving coffee culture, while actively shaping its future.”
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