NFTs: “Jpegs Are Not The Future Of NFTs” Says Polygon Studios

In the early years of the NFT space thus far, it’s been profile pictures and artwork that have yielded top-dollar sales. And rightly, they have also consistently dominated headlines. However,  as the market evolves and the immersive future internet of the metaverse takes shape, a question beckons. Will tokenized images continue to be the most prominent use case for NFTs?

Brian Trunzo, metaverse lead at Polygon Studios, doesn’t think so. In an interview at the Chainlink SmartCon 2022 conference, he made a statement. Brian stated that the crypto industry will have achieved mainstream adoption of Web3 technology, NFTs, and the metaverse when “we stop saying it.” Emphasizing that things will change only when those terms are no longer necessary.

Trunzo believes that skeptics of the technology are informed by a limited understanding of Web3. Consequently, suggesting that a wider set of NFT use cases will take hold in the future.

NFTs, What Are Those?

An NFT is a blockchain token that can serve as a proof of ownership for an item. It can represent digital things like profile pictures, artwork, and collectibles. Furthermore, it also involves interactive video game items, customer engagement rewards, real estate deeds, and more.

Polygon Studios works with creators and companies that are building on Polygon, a sidechain scaling network for Ethereum. In his role as metaverse lead, Trunzo and his team help pave the way for technology to support immersive applications and NFT-powered experiences from various creators.

He pointed to Starbucks’ recent NFT announcement as an example of how the assets are being used as an asset class itself. Starbucks will use Polygon to give away NFT stamps to customers. These includes premium NFTs, all of which can earn customers real-world perks and experiences.

“If Web2 was measured in engagement, [then] Web3 will be measured in gamification—brand immersion,” he explained.

In the case of Starbucks, it won’t be a game-like 3D metaverse akin to Decentraland or The Sandbox. However, the NFT-powered program is designed to engage users across digital and physical spaces alike.

Furthermore, that sort of Web3 gamification is one of the biggest opportunities he sees in the space, along with digital fashion. Trunzo, who previously co-founded real-world menswear brands, said that metaverse fashion will tap into users’ need for 2 reasons. One of them is for self-expression. The other is good-old vanity and a desire to showcase virtual “flexes.”

NFTs Gaming, A Firm Future?

Furthermore, when it comes to true video game experiences, Trunzo is unsurprisingly on the side of the debate that sees NFTs as a prospective benefit. Many gamers aren’t thrilled about NFTs. In part because of scams and speculation. But also a widespread belief that creators and publishers will use them to extract even more value from players.

Moreover, with that stigma out there, Trunzo expects a “genie out of the bottle moment.” One in which more and more players embrace the benefits of using NFTs in games. 

In his view, the ability for players to truly own their progress and unlocked benefits as NFT assets will be a real plus.

Nevertheless, he doesn’t expect that all future video games will use NFTs when that happens. Some games may live entirely on-chain, some may not see a need for NFTs, and others could land somewhere in between. In Between modest and limited Web3 functionality.

“We’re not trying to cram it down people’s throats that you have to incorporate NFTs into your game,” Trunzo said.

Poor Graphics

In the meantime, some early metaverse games have been criticized for underwhelming graphics compared to the traditional game industry’s top titles. 

Trunzo acknowledged that Web3 gaming is early, but also said that games don’t necessarily need hyper-realistic graphics to look beautiful.

NFTs Consultant  Says Poor People Can Be Used As NPCs

Players in developing countries could work as NPCs in wealthier players’ worlds on NFTs gaming, according to one game consultant.

“With the cheap labor of a developing country, you could use people in the Philippines as NPCs (non-playable characters), real-life NPCs in your game,” said Mikhai Kossar, who is a chartered accountant and member of WolvesDAO

Kossar told Rest of World that players in developing countries could “just populate the world.” 

“maybe do a random job or just walk back and forth, fishing, telling stories, a shopkeeper, anything is really possible.” 

According to WolvesDAO’s membership application form, its mission is to “equip the blockchain gaming sector. They intend to do this with key insights, education, and tools to build the games of tomorrow.”

That future community, apparently, could be a dystopian one

Some find the idea of making real-life people across the globe roleplay as automaton-like NPCs dehumanizing.

People are coming up with fresh ideas for how citizens of the Third World can be put to productive use. Especially by wealthy users.” According to long-time video game journalist Andy Chalk. 

“It’s an odious idea, perfectly in-character for the NFT field, and literally the dictionary definition of exploitation.”

It also raises questions surrounding the ethics of Web3 gaming more generally. Furthermore, where “scholars” in developing countries already play with NFTs they can’t afford to own in play-to-earn blockchain-games. Especially while NFT owners reap a percentage of the profits.

Importance Of NFTs NPCs

The potential for sentience, and the ethics of exploiting NPCs as disposable beings, has been a staple of science fiction. Furthermore, it was recently explored in HBO’s “Westworld.”  

We also cannot neglect its depiction in last year’s Ryan Reynolds-led Hollywood action comedy “Free Guy.

However, roleplaying as an NPC isn’t necessarily dystopian in every context. Gamers in roleplay (RP) servers for “Grand Theft Auto V” like NoPixel. The company already volunteer to act as characters who work in various positions in the virtual world. 

Whether it’s as a mechanic, a stripper, or a bartender, they’re effectively roleplaying as NPCs for free. Some RP servers are highly curated, with waitlists of hopefuls wanting to get in.

When it comes to paid metaverse employment, there’s also a whole world of virtual jobs in games like ‘Roblox,’ which doesn’t use any cryptocurrency. But some argue that ‘Roblox’’s underage creators are being exploited and don’t take home the wages they deserve.

As metaverse worlds come to market, so too may a whole new realm of employment. But some jobs are sure to raise more eyebrows than others. 

NFTs And Music

In our latest episode of Behind The Drop, we spoke with rapper, singer, and songwriter Iann Dior about his debut NFT project: the iann dior: 1212 collection. Launched in partnership with green NFT platform OneOf in June 2022. The collection consisted of 1,212 animated NFT avatars depicting the Sick and Tired singer in various interpretations. These were adapted to resemble Tim Burton’s take on claymation.

Speaking on the drop in an interview with nft now, dior stated that the collection was a way for him to “make art and express [his] different emotions.” 

But why claymation? Styling himself as a “big fan” of the medium, the collection’s genesis can be traced back to one fateful day. A day when the young artist was idly scrolling through Instagram. Popping up on his feed was a piece of fan art by digital artist depicting him as a claymation character.

Following this discovery, Dior, took a bold step. The artiste who had recently been exploring the creation of an NFT collection to better engage with his fans, flew out to Ondrej. The rest is predictable, work started immediately on what would later become the 1212 collection.