Gaming is THE giant of the entertainment industry. If you didn’t know, gaming revenue surpassed the movie industry's income years ago. The combined revenue of movies (including at-home viewing), plus the entire music industry’s income, is about $125B. That’s impressive… but not nearly as impressive as the $180B that gaming took in during 2021.
This mega market is one of the biggest opportunities for crypto mass-adoption. Every year, players spend literal billions on things you might not expect. Purely cosmetic upgrades to in-game characters–for example, “skins” in Fortnite–are a huge income source. The blockchain gaming industry has dreamed of offering players a safer and more equitable way to make these purchases. Via NFTs, a web3 game offers players self-custody of their gaming assets. Ownership and trading of assets leads to the possibility of Play to Earn gaming–which was hinted at by the rise and calamitous fall of Axie Infinity. The problem, thus far, is that most blockchain games are awful! But... what if someone made a web3 game that was actually good? This is where Pirate Nation (PN) comes in.
▪️Our Tech▪️— Pirate Nation (@PirateNationNFT) December 29, 2022
Our in-game assets are dynamic, which means they grow and change as ye explore and improve yer crew. The pirates level-up and gain new abilities as ye complete quests, and that data is stored on-chain and travels with yer pirate forever. pic.twitter.com/jtIZlV2F4V
Pirate Nation is “a fully on-chain RPG brought to you by a team hailing from Farmville, Riot Games, Madden, Epic Games, Zynga, EA, Activision and more.” The team is probably the biggest reason to be bullish on PN. CEO, Amitt Mahajan, was a co-creator of Farmville–a massively successful game. On top of the aforementioned companies, PN’s team includes a founder from Cash App and vets of Google, Apple and Facebook.
The talented group is building a browser-based game that is like a pirate-themed Farmville. Instead of an open plot of farmland, each player starts on a desert island. There, players get to build their pirate base! One can choose from a variety of buildings to place on the island. Different buildings generate different resources–this allows for more building and so on. Thus, Pirate Nation falls into a classic base-builder RPG/sim gaming category. However, unlike previous games of this genre, building an efficient base can lead to real-world profit!
All the resources in the game are NFTs. Resources like cotton, wood and iron will be available to trade at a later date–the game is in early beta at the moment. Additionally, in-game gold ($PGLD), can traded for other digital assets too.
While much of the game is still developing, there is already one major innovation working smoothly in Pirate Nation: pop-up free gameplay. Anyone familiar with the Metamask browser extension knows that crypto wallets pop up for any transaction. In a blockchain game, most actions a player takes are recorded transactions. I.e. if you spend a resource to obtain a different item, that’s a swap which needs recording on the block. Without the pop-up free gameplay, a Pirate Nation player would need to click “approve” and “sign” an absurd number of times. To solve this issue, PN devs created a custodial “game wallet” which is stored on a user's browser. This allows items to pass smoothly from game account to a crypto wallet without the immersion-breaking flurry of pop-ups.
Pirate Nation has a lot going for it but it is NOT a finished product–currently there is no adventuring on the high seas! Pirates are stuck on their islands for now; in fact, playing the game is just a matter of clicking a button to do a “quest.” This is sadly all too reminiscent of the past generation of boring blockchain games. Thankfully, the team has promised treasure hunts and PVP combat in 2023. This should elevate Pirate Nation far beyond a base-building game.
Another concern with the PN is the player base. Currently, you need to own a Founder’s Pirate NFT to play the game. There are only 10k founder NFTs. Since the November 8th mint, the collection’s floor price is .12 eth–that’s expensive for a mobile-type level of gameplay. Additionally, the game is browser-based but seems like it could/should be available on mobile. This would hugely increase the number of potential players for the game.
Voxel Pirates are here!— Pirate Nation (@PirateNationNFT) December 22, 2022
This colorful crew has docked on our shores
As of today you'll be seeing them on your island. They'll be sprouting up more and more as they get their land-legs back!https://t.co/XUtMkIaZYF pic.twitter.com/uidQX1XWij
Despite these concerns, Pirate Nation has a lot of promise. Will it be the blockchain game that makes a major impact on the global gaming industry? It is too early to tell. However, the team has earned the trust of its community. The devs are delivering new innovations rapidly–like this impressive voxel integration. Thus, Pirate Nation is one to watch: it has only been two months and the game is already sailing at flank speed.