NFTs in the FGC: The next iteration of fighting games? 

NFTs have become a growing occurrence within the esports industry. A multitude of organisations have either secured blockchain partnerships or launched a series of NFTs on a variety of platforms.

However, NFT integration doesn’t just stop at esports. The gaming industry has also embraced the allure of blockchain, with many games developers looking to utilise the potential of NFTs.

By the looks of Psyker, a new fighting game set to come out by the end of Q3 2022, blockchain could become a core mechanic for certain titles in the future — whether that’s within the esports sector or not.

Psyker NFT fighting
Image credit: Psyker

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What makes Psyker unique is that it encompasses an NFT component from the offset. Each character within the ‘dystopian style’ fighting game has five slots of customisable, attachable and traceable item NFTs (head, torso, legs, weapon, arms). 

Psyker will be built on the Solana blockchain, a platform also being utilised for G2 Esports and Metaplex’s NFT project. According to the title’s developer Respawn Limited, Solana “offers the Psyker ecosystem a solid foundation that includes all of the key layers for creating a Psykerverse with amazing long-term development potential”.

Ahead of the title’s pre-release beta access on March 15th, which will see the game release 7000 early access keycards for users, Esports Insider spoke with Rhys Boulanger, Psyker’s Co-Founder, to discuss how NFTs could change the fighting game scene — both from a casual and esports standpoint.

“The integration of NFTs changes the fighting game genre with true customizability of characters,” said Boulanger, highlighting the game’s ultimate vision.

According to the Co-Founder, NFTs offer a sense of ownership that has yet to be fully established in the fighting game genre. Players will have access to assets that look to add a sense of ownership and personalisation to the game’s characters. 

He continued: “Our solution offers players access to true limited items that cannot be faked, users will be able to verify they actually have a 1/500 item and track ownership on the blockchain.

“The NFTs are also tradable to other characters in our marketplace. We wanted to build a fleshed-out in-game economy and give gamers the ability to sell and trade with other players.”

Image credit: Psyker

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NFTs truly are a core part of how the game functions. Psyker’s item tokens will provide boosts to character stats. There will be NFTs for character skins and animations. Finally, ‘Powerup Decks’ will be collectible NFT cards that players can equip before matches in single-player, story, and arcade mode. It’s safe to say that the blockchain is not just a gimmick, but is an essential feature. 

Another interesting concept is that players will also have the opportunity to wager the NFTs in 1v1 fights. Boulanger noted that the players will wager what their character wears to provide “a winner takes all model where the winner would literally take the clothes off the back of the other player in a competitive 1v1 match”.

In total, Psyker will mint 100m PSYKtokens on the Solana network. These will be utilised throughout the network for rewards, staking, fees and governance. Initially, 2.8m tokens will be circulated.

Alongside the ‘winner takes all’ showcase, Psyker will also include a variety of game modes such as tournaments, team battles, survival mode and online PVP. A spectator mode was also mentioned in the title’s January whitepaper, hinting that the game already has one eye on its esports potential.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the game is its claim that the title will provide free to play (F2P) and play to earn (P2E) opportunities. P2E titles have risen in prominence over the last couple of years, and titles such as Axie Infinity have started to look into esports opportunities in order to broaden its reach.  

Discussing P2E’s role in the game, Boulanger said: “Play to earn capabilities will be consistent throughout the campaign mode and users will work their way through a ladder of competitive AI winning both PSYK tokens as well as NFT items that will be dropped. 

“The game itself is free to play in its entirety — users can earn NFTs and tokens as they progress through the campaign, how you set your character up with a variety of in-game NFT items is dictated by the player.”

Psyker NFTs
Image credit: Psyker

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The game’s esports ambitions were confirmed to Esports Insider by Boulanger. While its official structure is still up in the air, the Co-Founder teased that esports is in Psyker’s roadmap. This includes at least hosting a post-launch tournament with an up to $10,000 prize pool.

“Our vision is to build a competitor to Tekken or Street Fighter – but fix what these games didn’t include and that’s the blockchain component that will allow users to earn crypto as they play and tangible NFTs that have real-world value,” said Boulanger. 

“Pair that up with the P2E model we’re running and gamers will be able to earn crypto for their time playing.”

With the launch of Psyker and also Riot Games’ intended expansion in the FGC, the fighting game genre is seemingly entering a phase of redevelopment. As the genre adapts, some titles will thrive while others will languish. 

Nevertheless, the integration of NFTs into a new game at this level might offer a glimpse into the future of what titles will look like in the next five years.

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Created in collaboration with Psyker