Blockchain gaming group tries to lose ‘cunning’ label in Japan

Times have changed rapidly since the Tokyo Game Show started in 2019, and one of the biggest booths at this week’s convention was occupied by a lending provider serving blockchain gamers.

Philippines-based company Yield Guild Games (YGG) is Asia’s largest provider of startup loans, offering loans to people looking to make a living from new genres of gaming. It chose the show to launch a global marketing campaign to convince industry, governments and the public that crypto-related games are not “sly”.

The Tokyo Game Show in Chiba, one of the major gatherings for the global video game industry, has been canceled twice due to the pandemic. During its hiatus, blockchain gaming has emerged as a new growth area.

Video games have long featured their own in-game currencies, but new cryptocurrency-based games allow players to convert their winning assets into real cash through officially recognized channels.

The high entry fees for games have prompted companies like YGG, which provide start-up capital for people who plan to devote themselves to gaming to make money.

Part of the mission of YGG Japan and its local partner ForN is to convince the skeptical industry and public that blockchain gaming is fun, in addition to being lucrative.

“People think they’re very dodgy by playing games to make money, and some even suspect it might be a financial scam, but we want to change that image,” said ForN head of marketing Sho Miyashita.

“So, instead of promoting the global slogan of ‘play to earn’, we are promoting the concept of ‘play and earn’: we want people to enjoy the game first and then have the experience of earning money,” he added.

In other countries, such as the Philippines during the pandemic, players have quit their real jobs, believing they can make enough money by fighting digital monsters in games, such as axis infinitedeveloped by Vietnamese studio Sky Mavis.

start, axis With a $1,000 entry fee, YGG became axis Players in the Philippines and investors in gaming tokens. It offers “scholarships” to funded users in exchange for a portion of their income.

Miyashita said that the popularity of blockchain games in Japan has been slow, in part because of strict regulations that require foreign blockchain game publishers to register their tokens on Japanese exchanges to sell games in the country.

The bigger factor, he admits, is their image.

“Many players of these games today are speculators. . . unless Japan, which is said to have a gaming population of 40 million, adopts these games on a massive scale and finds that they are just fun games, the blockchain gaming industry will fade out in the next few years,” Miyashita said.

Blockchain game publisher Digital Entertainment Asset (DEA), at another booth at the show, said its products could be financially supported in other ways.

For example, Belgian football club KMSK Deinze used funds from its sponsors to purchase non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for the DEA gaming project. It lent them to fans, who could earn money from playing games and use it to buy items from the club store, as well as match tickets and even seats on the bus to away games.

“This shows that blockchain gaming provides professional sports clubs with a new option to make money, rather than broadcasting rights,” said DEA founder Kozo Yamada. “Games are no longer about those who develop and play them. The surrounding economic zone can expand a lot.”

Konami, one of Japan’s largest traditional game publishers, is also looking to get involved. Ken Kanetomo, who runs his blockchain business, said he believes the technology will “exponentially expand” the value that gaming can provide.

Publishers behind traditional hits such as Castlevania and silent Hill It has yet to give a release date for its own blockchain game and is also trying to balance making games that are enjoyable while allowing players to profit from the trend.

“If the world’s understanding of blockchain can’t keep up, it will be seen as a money-making game, which is not our intention,” Kanetomo said.

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