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Are NFTs the Future for our Sector?

Recently, we asked our board members, David Amor and Alex Cowell, for their thoughts on blockchain technology, the rise of NFTs and what that it all might mean for our sector.

Blockchain for Gamers

David Amor, CEO, Playmint

Like many digital businesses in Brighton, games studios work busily in unmarked office buildings. Games that are played by millions are built by talented groups of programmers, artists, animators and designers. A fusing of creativity and technology. A Star Wars game is built in Seven Dials and another is built 100 meters from Brighton station. Fortnite-makers Epic work on secret projects near the pier and Unity, whose technology powers most videogames, quietly occupies a prestigious new office near North Laine.

Behind those behemoths are younger companies putting all their technical and creative talents into finding the next big thing. What will be the next Candy Crush or the next Minecraft? If there’s one constant in the games industry it’s that nothing stays the same for any length of time - a source of anxiety for anyone with a hit game but an opportunity for game-makers, knowing that if they’re able to harness new technology and predict future trends they could find themselves with a billion-dollar game. 

The most-talked-about new technology in the games industry is blockchain, which is a technology that claims to facilitate the ownership of digital items, most famously digital artwork in the form of NFTs. The concept of owning digital artwork that anyone can easily reproduce with a screenshot requires some mental gymnastics, but ownership of digital items in a videogame is perhaps easier to understand since it’s the predominant way that games such as Fortnite make money: give the game away for free but encourage people to buy digital items within it.

Like YouTubers who make money from uploading popular videos, popular and savvy gamers could see themselves making an income from the games they love.

The promise of blockchain is that those digital items bought by players can more easily be sold to others. A seemingly small change, but one that allows gamers to potentially make a profit from the games they play. Like Youtubers who make money from uploading popular videos, popular and savvy gamers could see themselves making an income from the games they love. Battle lines are being drawn between gamers who love the idea and those who see it as a corruption of their favourite hobby. Time will tell if it becomes the next big thing in gaming.


Making Sense of NFTs

Alex Cowell, CEO, Sponsorworks

We are currently in a speculation bubble even more frenzied than the dot-com boom of the late nineties. A year ago, most people had never heard of NFTs (non-fungible tokens), unique digital identifiers that record ownership of media. Jump forward twelve months and hardly a day goes by without NFT stories in the business press. It is in the digital art world that NFTs shot to fame in 2021, with that year’s top five sales alone generating $100m.

A few have made fortunes trading art NFTs, but if you’re thinking of investing your precious savings in the hope of joining them, my personal advice is: don’t. Most may end up being worth nothing and a growing number of people believe it is a Ponzi scheme. It is definitely a case of BUYER BEWARE.

Despite such warnings, I do see a successful future for NFTs in sport and entertainment ticketing. At my company, Sponsorworks, we help major sponsors, like Guinness and Castrol, automate the management of their corporate hospitality programmes. Contactless entry requirements during the pandemic accelerated stadia transitioning to e-ticketing and almost all tickets are now distributed digitally. Whilst the technology thwarts ticket touts, prevents lost tickets and saves countless trees, we regularly hear from fans that they miss being able to save physical tickets as mementos. 

In this digital world we must find a way to preserve treasured memories. Can NFTs rescue us?

Just the other day I was rifling through my cherished collection of match and gig ticket stubs from years gone by. It was a joyous few minutes. As a Brighton & Hove Albion supporter in 2022 however, I can only own a mobile ticket which vanishes after each match. In this digital world we must find a way to preserve treasured memories. Can NFTs rescue us?

In the US, all attendees of the recent Super Bowl LVI were sent a virtual commemorative ticket NFT featuring their unique seat number. Fan feedback was overwhelmingly positive so I expect to see this idea spread quickly to global clubs and venues.

I look forward to the day when I am gazing at my commemorative FA Cup Final ticket NFT and reminiscing about Brighton lifting the famous trophy.

Are you a UK-based visual artist and/or content creator?
Are you using, or have you used, NFTs as part of your activities?

Our FuseBox resident, Mariachiara Restuccia, from the University of Sussex Business School is carrying out research into NFTs - to explore whether they are 'a revolution, an evolution or a fad' in the creative industries. If you’re a UK-based visual artist, or a content creator using NFTs in your work - we’d love for you to get involved. Find out more


About the author

Anna Bagley

Hi, I'm Wired Sussex's Events & Marketing Manager, I help to promote our range of services to support our members and the local digital sector, as well as helping to create inspiring events for the community.

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