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NFTs, also known as non-fungible tokens, take many forms. They can be art, music, items in a video game, virtual land, and much more. NFT was the buzzword of 2020, and though its popularity has faded in pop culture,
it has found its way into several industries like an invasive flower finds its way into your backyard. They may no longer dominate the news cycles or stand-up comedian’s sets (“You guys hear about these NFT things, huh?”). But NFTs do have yearly cons, billions of dollars in revenue, and a thriving community.
However, we aren’t interested in random music or art NFTs here. We want gaming NFTs; swords, characters, spells, spaceships, and trading cards. Luckily, gaming is one industry that is seeing NFTs thrive. Well, web3 gaming sees the surge. Traditional gaming has adopted a passionate hatred for all things NFT-focused. Which is why they are NAGMI. But NFT gaming? WAGMI, baby.
Many web3 games require NFTs to play. But how players acquire those NFTs is different for each game. Some games require players to mint their NFTs at the game website, others have an in-game marketplace on their website, and yet others need players to travel to a third-party website to purchase an NFT. And unfortunately, that last group is a prevalent majority in NFT gaming.
But we aren’t just going to look at one form of NFT marketplace, we’re going to examine the best of all of them. These websites require users to have their own digital wallets, and these NFTs aren’t free, so users will also need some cryptocurrency to make their purchases. Luckily, we have some guides for CEXs, how to turn fiat currency into crypto, and how to navigate some scams to ensure you’re investing in an NFT game that will be successful.
Key Info Up Front
Are you ready for the best NFT marketplaces for web3 gamers? Incoming
- Axie Marketplace
- Gala Games
Now go DYOR and stop bothering me.
What Is an NFT Marketplace?
An NFT marketplace is a website where any artist, game developer, musician, writer, or other creative can post their creativity to be purchased. It’s a place where anyone–large or small, incorporated or illegitimate–can put their project/product up for sale. Whether or not they sell it is another issue entirely.
Most NFT marketplaces are for buyers and sellers looking to trade their NFTs for arbitrage profit. They are constantly checking the floor price of collections, buying the dip, and trying to sell at the highest price point.
But we’re gamers. We are only on these websites and marketplaces in so much as we need health potions for our heroes and ammunition for our spaceships. We aren’t here to scalp projects or arbitrage trade. We’re here to suit up our digital avatars and quest into the ether of the metaverse. And as such, there are certain things to look for in a marketplace as a gamer.
What to Look For as a Gamer
The good thing about navigating NFT marketplaces as a gamer is that you’re unlikely to be on a marketplace just browsing for a game to play. If you’ve found a game that looks cool to you and is something you want to join, that game will point you to where you can obtain an NFT. Most people aren’t browsing an NFT marketplace searching for the next great NFT game. That’s what Twitter and Discord are for.
If you can’t decide if an NFT marketplace is gamer-friendly, head up to their search bar and search for a few games. Check out their ‘Explore’ or ‘Categories’ tab and see if there’s a ‘Gaming’ section. If nothing comes up, if the NFT marketplace seems more concerned with digital land or bored chimpanzees, then it’s not a place for gamers. Move on.
Thankfully, you don’t need to peruse the internet for the best places to collect gaming NFTs. I’ve done this for you. Below is a list of the best NFT marketplaces for web3 gamers. It’s a short list. Because although there are lots of NFT marketplaces out there, most have a piss poor gaming selection. Some of them try to claim their NFT collection is a game, but if the only “gameplay” that exists is in a Discord chatroom, then I call shenanigans, sir. And while there are marketplaces out there with higher volume and sales than some on this list, again, they aren’t geared toward gamers. They’re geared towards collectors and traders.
And that’s not us.
You would think that the largest NFT marketplace in the world would have a bigger push toward gaming adoption. You’d be wrong. Heck, I was wrong.
Open Sea is the largest NFT marketplace by every metric we use to measure success–by a long shot–and for some odd reason, it has very few gaming projects. Instead, it acts as a haven for desperate graphic artists and greedy silicon valley wash-ups. There are so many projects on Open Sea it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all.
And yet, surprisingly, Open Sea promotes no gaming NFTs, you won’t find a ‘Games’ section under their tabs, and I haven’t seen any games released on Open Sea in ages.
However, not all is lost on Open Sea. It is, after all, the world’s largest NFT marketplace. It has at least a few gaming projects on it. And the beauty of Open Sea is that it’s the perfect third-party marketplace. If an NFT shows up in your wallet and you can connect that wallet to Open Sea, you can sell the NFT. While there may not be many official projects on Open Sea, there are tons of people selling their gaming NFTs.
Example: Cryptoblades. Cryptoblades is not officially a part of Open Sea. After all, they have their own NFT marketplace and don’t want any fees or potential profits to go elsewhere. However, when I go to Open Sea, it registers my Cryptoblades NFTs. It shows analytics, prices, and history of activity. If I wanted, I could sell all my NFTs for Cryptoblades on Open Sea.
It would be unwise to do so since I’d probably get a better price on the Cryptoblade’s marketplace, but that’s not the point. The point is that I could sell Cryptoblades NFTs Open Sea if I wanted. And that’s how most games operate on Open Sea. They aren’t officially there, but they have a presence nonetheless.
Rarible is a solid NFT marketplace built across multiple blockchains and is proud to put gaming NFTs front and center on its website. They have NFTs across the Ethereum, Solana, Polygon, Immutable, Tezos, and Flow blockchains, so users have plenty of options for how to use their digital assets.
The best place on Rarible is their Immutable blockchain section since the Immutable blockchain is focused almost entirely on gaming. On their marketplace you can find Guild of Guardians, Sparkadia, and Delysium NFTs to check out. There are other gaming projects scattered across the other blockchains, but I’ve found Immutable is the most game-heavy part of Rarible.
Rarible is poised to take on other NFT marketplaces and win in the near future. NFTs were crazy popular in 2020 and 2021, but their popularity has died off immensely in the past seven months as the crypto winter/bear market wrecks everyone’s portfolio. As such, projects that were meant to turn a hefty profit for these sites have stalled, delayed, and produced a product that’s half of what was promised.
When the bull market returns and NFTs are no longer a craze but an established industry, Rarible is going to be an industry leader.
Gala Games Marketplace
I can’t talk about NFT marketplaces without talking about the heavy-weight champion that is Gala Games. Gala Games has a lineup of fifteen games to offer gamers, and while not every game is currently active, most have an active marketplace so gamers can get in on the action early.
Gala Games is also moving a ton of volume on a daily basis. With Spidertanks, Mirandus, and Town Star under their belt, Gala Games has plenty of ways to make money from their NFTs. While they aren’t going to be featuring any third-party projects in the near future, they do offer NFTs for fifteen different games, and I think that’s a great start for any beginner in web3 gaming.
Games With Their Own Marketplaces
If you’d rather not mess around with third-party sites, peer-to-peer trading, or transferring NFTs around from wallet to wallet, you could try to play a game that’s self-contained. It has its own marketplace for all its gaming needs and offers much less headache for gamers. Try some of the games listed below for large, well-maintained NFT marketplaces.
DeFi Kingdoms has the best in-game marketplace around. It has multiple, actually. You can head to the trader in town, or check out the agent at the tavern, or speak to the vendor in the marketplace. Each NPC offers different NFTs. The fact that it acts like an actual game only helps immerse players in its universe.
Star Atlas is shaping up to be a massive game. It is, after all, meant to take place across an entire galaxy. And there’s a lot of, well, stuff in the galaxy. Ships to travel, people to crew the ships, fuel to run the ships, food to fuel the people, ammo to attack other ships, repair kits to defend your ship, different skins, badges, mining rigs, space stations, posters to decorate the ships, pets to bring aboard the ships–you get the point.
And all of it is on the Star Atlas marketplace.
Splinterlands is a trading card game with some of the worst art in all of gaming. Despite its horrendous artistic style, it is a wildly popular game with highly lucrative earning opportunities. There’s a lot more than just cards to purchase on their marketplace, as well. With virtual land, card packs, potions, and skins, there are plenty of things to keep you busy.
The Axie Marketplace has made almost $6 million in sales in the past 30 days.
I know the Axie Marketplace is a marketplace exclusively for the Axie Infinity game, but considering Axie Infinity is the world’s largest crypto video game, it’s a large marketplace. It certainly does more than several others in this article.
For those that aren’t into Axie Infinity and will never use this marketplace, you may move on to the next selection. But for those who may be interested, be warry; you are about to enter a whole new world with Axie Infinity. Trading, buying, selling, breeding, and battling axies is a full-time job, so if you’re not up for crunching numbers and getting fully invested in its nuances, it’s best to look for other gaming marketplaces.
But there’s also so much more than just furry little cat monsters to trade like slaves on the Axie Marketplace. There are virtual land, item bundles, runes, and charms to obtain to help you on your way to axie greatness.
While the NFT marketplaces above are the best websites for gamers who enjoy crypto and web3, they are by no means the only gaming NFT marketplaces. Some gamers may find better deals, more profits, or simply games they enjoy more on other marketplace sites, so I’ll include a few words about the honorable mentions.
Enjin Marketplace is a website that caters exclusively to the Enjin blockchain. And since the Enjin blockchain was built for gamers by gamers, it makes sense that their marketplace would be a winner.
Alas, the Enjin blockchain kinda, sorta, maybe, just a little bit, totally sucks. Almost all the projects being built on-chain have stalled or stopped completely, and its token price has dropped drastically, crypto winter or not.
It’s a gamer’s marketplace, alright. Just not a good one.
Nifty’s skirts the line between a gamer’s marketplace and a trader’s marketplace. Their games don’t have animations, boss fights, or multiplayer, but they do exist outside of a Discord chatroom so I’ll include them on the list for now. They’ve also partnered with some massive names in entertainment, like Looney Toons, The Matrix, and Space Jam.
Nifty’s is a marketplace that features only a handful of handpicked NFT collections for users to browse. This keeps their community small and niche. Instead of letting just anyone host a project on their marketplace, they only partner with the most lucrative and potentially engaging NFT projects. And thankfully, most of them have incorporated gaming elements, with XP and quests and rewards for players.
Check out their Matrix or Bullet Train NFTs to play games in the universes of blockbuster films, or try out their Looney Toons collection to join the Biosphere.
Question: What Are Some of the Best NFT Games?
Answer: That question has an entirely subjective answer. I can’t tell you the “best” NFT games (DeFi Kingdoms and Star Atlas), but I can tell you the most successful games that involve NFTs. In order of success, you’ve got Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, Gods Unchained, DeFi Kingdoms, and Splinterlands. Are they the “best”? That’s up to you to figure out. But the gaming community has decided they are the games most worth the time, effort, and crypto to play.
Question: How Do I Find New NFT Games?
Answer: Are you an alpha-hunter, bro? Are you looking for the next 10x–no, the next 100x project? Well, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m here to tell you the next best blockbuster NFT web3 game that’s going to be a household name in a few years (DeFi Kingdoms, Star Atlas), but I can tell you a few websites to use as tools in your quest for the next best thing. Coinmarketcap.com and Coingecko.com are both great analytic sites to help you crunch numbers and conduct research on gaming projects. Browse Twitter under NFT games and other related topics, and whenever you find a free Discord channel for gamers, join it and start asking questions. The best thing you can do is ask questions.
Question: What Currency Do I Need to Purchase NFTs?
Answer: That changes for each game you’re looking to play. Generally, if you own some Ethereum, you’re going to be okay. Most NFT marketplaces, even if they are built on other blockchains or primarily accept a different coin, usually also accept Ethereum. However, for Gala Games’ marketplace, you’re better off purchasing NFTs with Gala Coin. On Open Sea, you have the choice of Ethereum or Polygon. And on Rarible it changes for each game you’re looking to join. But a generally good rule is to have some Ethereum.
NFTs are a vital part of web3 gaming. Without digital ownership on the blockchain, there’s no proof you own an item. And web3 gaming is all about true player ownership.
So if you want to play web3 games, you must get used to dealing with NFTs.
Thankfully, the websites listed above go a long way to provide security, ease of use, and peace of mind to gamers as they navigate the waters of web3 gaming.
But don’t take my word for it. Check them out and be sure to DYOR.
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