Understanding Gaming Guilds: Are They Here to Stay?
In the last year, blockchain gaming projects have gone from being relatively obscure titles used by a minority of tech-savvy gamers to a thriving ecosystem, filled with innovative platforms that are pushing the boundaries of how players can create and monetize in their spare time.
But now, they’re being delivered to a whole new audience, thanks to the invention of guilds — a type of blockchain-based DAO that helps bring investors, players, and creatives together to maximize the potential of play-to-earn games.
And now, they’re quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to access the play-to-earn experience. Here’s what you need to know about blockchain gaming guilds.
What are Guilds?
Similar to traditional gaming guilds, blockchain guilds are an alliance that is formed around a shared interest, in this case, playing, progressing in, and monetizing blockchain-based games.
These typically take the form of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) that work together to collectively acquire, manage, use, and monetize assets from a variety of popular blockchain game titles, such as Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, Decentraland, and Wilder Worlds.
Blockchain gaming guilds help to make the process of procuring, sharing, and lending blockchain game assets much safer, helping new players get to grips with various play-to-earn game titles with no upfront costs, while ensuring that the NFTs remain safe and utilized at all times.
Beyond this, these platforms have popularized the concept of “scholarships”, which essentially see players securely borrow assets from the guild in order to take part in the play to earn mechanics of specific games. In return for their effort, these players earn a share of the revenue they generate, whereas the rest is split between the other guild participants.
These platforms not only provide a way for NFT holders to put their unused assets to work, but they also unlock an additional revenue stream for players (known as scholars), who can now earn real-world revenue just by playing the games they love.
Why Are They So Popular?
It is no exaggeration to say that blockchain gaming projects have seen meteoric growth in recent months, with platforms like Decentraland, The Sandbox, and Gala Games seeing their market capitalization explode past the $1 billion threshold.
Likewise, popular blockchain games have seen their player counts swell over the last year, including Axie Infinity, which recently crossed the 2 million daily active users (DAU) mark, out of which, a whopping 50% have never used cryptocurrencies before — painting the game as one of most potent on-ramps for retail users.
But this staggering growth hasn’t been uniform, since many play-to-earn games require users to invest in the project, whether by purchasing tokens, NFTs, or sometimes both — this can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a good team. This means that those with limited disposal income have been largely left out. Indeed, blockchain gaming NFTs are largely monopolized by those in economically developed regions — including North America, Europe, and Eastern Asia.
Blockchain guilds address this problem by democratizing access to the most sought-after blockchain games, allowing even those with limited starting capital to instead trade their time for revenue — much like a typical job. In line with this, play-to-earn games are now the primary income stream for thousands of users, many of which come from developing economies and access these games through one or more guilds.
It isn’t just the players that benefit from these platforms. Guilds allow managers to maximize the utility and revenue-generating capacity of their assets, by securely lending them to scholars through their guild. The exact split between the managers and scholars can vary from guild to guild, with it being 70% to scholars, 20% to managers, and 10% to the treasury for Yield Guild Games, whereas for Merit Circle, there’s a 70/30 split between scholars and managers.
But more than this, gaming guilds provide valuable alpha to both managers and players, by allowing them to safely gain exposure to new and upcoming blockchain gaming projects, helping them diversify their investments and maximize their returns. Oftentimes, guilds get first access to digital land and early access to games, opening up opportunities that are not available elsewhere. Likewise, since most guilds are full-fledged DAOs, they can also gain considerable influence over how the games they work with operate, leveraging their collective voting power to help ensure the longevity and profitability of games.
What’s the Market Like?
Right now, the blockchain guild landscape is dominated by three major players: Yield Guild Games, Merit Circle, and Good Games Guild, but there are a huge number of up-and-coming platforms as well as dozens more that are currently gearing up for launch.
These guilds can vary considerably in their form and function, but they all typically have certain entry requirements, which users will need to meet if they wish to become part of the guild.
This might involve contributing assets to the DAO, becoming an active member of the guild community, assisting with tasks, training and onboarding new scholars and managers, and submitting proposals to the DAO. Many guilds require users to hold a fixed minimum number of their native utility tokens to unlock access to certain perks of features — such as token rewards, co-investment opportunities, and early-access opportunities.
Given the clear-cut benefits these platforms offer to all stakeholders, the most popular guilds have seen incredible growth as of late, both in terms of the number of participants as well as their market value.
Indeed, as per YGG’s latest asset and treasury report, the platform now has well over 14,000 official members and close to 5,000 active scholars. In total, the platform has brought in more than $10 million, of which a whopping $873,000 was paid out to scholars in September alone. On the other hand, Merit Circle is seeing its scholar base grow by more than 500 members a month, while the MC token has doubled in value over the last month.
Since the play-to-earn landscape is growing in both scope and complexity, and ever more ambitious games are now inching closer to launch, guilds will almost certainly grow in tow, helping to ensure the landscape develops along the lines that best benefits the players. Soon, the next generation of play-to-earn games will go live, including the likes of Gold Fever, Star Atlas, and Illuvium — each of which is set to unlock an array of opportunities for players and investors both inside and outside of guilds.
As one of the first AAA blockchain gaming titles, Big Time has garnered a huge amount of attention lately, with some pitting it to become the Fortnite of the Metaverse — thanks to its aesthetic similarity, scope, depth, and customizability. We share this vision, which is we backed the project early on.
Why Are Virtual Lands Suddenly So Popular?
In the last few months, digital land sales have increased considerably, with most major NFT land titles seeing a dramatic increase in value and trading volume. This has led to several record-breaking NFT land sales recently, including a 550 ETH Axie Infinity genesis plot.
This was arguably brought on by a surge of hype surrounding the Metaverse, a composite landscape of protocols and products that will form the successor to the internet. As an industry projected to become a potentially multi trillion-dollar space over the next few years, the platforms that form an intrinsic part of the Metaverse are set to become its first unicorns.
For this reason, investors are speculating that several of the blockchain gaming projects of today will eventually become a major building block of the Metaverse, and dramatically grow their user base and reach. If this occurs, investors could be set to experience impressive returns, similar to being an early participant in the dot-com boom.
That said, it is a common misconception that virtual land only recently became popularized. A huge number of digital worlds have featured land sales in the past, including the ever-popular Entropia universe, which launched back in 2004 and supported semi-player-owned digital real estate. However, it wasn’t until the advent of Decentraland in 2015 that NFT-based digital land was introduced.
Now, players have true control over their assets and are not reliant on the game or platform it is derived from. But more than this, these assets can be more easily monetized, thanks to the wealth of NFT staking, leasing, building, and usage options many blockchain games now weave into their gameplay.
The Future Looks Bright
Given that NFT-backed land offers true ownership that extends beyond the original game they were designed for and unlocks new opportunities for creativity, collaboration, and monetization, it’s safe to say that digital land is set to become a pivotal use case for blockchain technology.
With brands, businesses, creators, and individuals the world around now beginning to get to grips with this new asset class, its potential is being slowly unraveled, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that NFT land can be an incredibly valuable asset to both short term and long term speculators and builders.
But they’re still in their very earliest days. As blockchain games, metaverse projects, play-to-earn guilds, and on-ramps become increasingly sophisticated and widespread, we will at some point see an inflection point. At which, most savvy investors, funds, and organizations will have at least some exposure to digital land, much in the same way that real estate is considered an essential component of a diverse investment portfolio.
Given the pace of growth in the industry, that day might be coming sooner than you think.
Interested in learning more about Guilds? Stay tuned, Master Ventures have some major guild-related news on the way that you won’t want to miss.
About Master Ventures
Master Ventures is a blockchain-focused venture studio helping to build the next generation of blockchain-based Web 3.0 system innovations within the crypto industry. Launched in 2018 by Founder and CEO Kyle Chassé, the company’s ethos can best be summarized in the acronym #BeBOLD: Benevolent, Open, Love, Decentralized.
Master Ventures co-creates with entrepreneurs and businesses worldwide to turn the best ideas into innovative and disruptive products. They do this by investing as strategic partners through offering advisory services to the projects they believe in. To date, Master Ventures has invested in over 40 crypto projects, including the likes of Kraken, Coinbase, Bitfinex, Reef, DAO Maker, Mantra DAO, Thorchain, and Elrond.
For any questions, please feel free to reach out to us on: