Vietnam based Play to Earn start-up Step Hero aims to take on Axie Infinity with innovative blockchain gaming

Vietnam based Play to Earn start-up Step Hero aims to take on Axie Infinity with innovative blockchain gaming
Photo by Pawel Kadysz / Unsplash

Recent reports suggest a population of 2.6 billion gamers across the globe, which is expected to further grow to 2.9 billion by the end of the year. Over the past three years, the industry added 500 million new gamers fueled by mobile gaming adoption and a desire for social experiences. In terms of revenue, the global gaming market is earmarked to generate $175.8 billion in revenues this year and is projected to reach $300 billion by 2025.

Multiplayer online games, amidst their successes, are also grappling with critical challenges. For instance, World of Warcraft or Lineage are developed as walled gardens, i.e. the centralized gaming studios that created them maintain strict control over this game. This always brews up conflicts between game studios and gamers who don't like being kept on a tight leash. Gamers want to put their spin on things. Take, for instance, where users have tried to modify games such as World of Warcraft (WoW) like in the case of Nostalrius of WoW. Nostalrius, a fast-growing private World of Warcraft server with nearly a million sign-ups, was forced to shut down. Apparently, Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind World of Warcraft, issued a cease-and-desist letter.

Like in a typical online RPG game such as World of Warcraft, or any other similar title, there are items in the game that are common while others are special. Others may even be rare, while some could be epic or legendary. Of course, the rarest would be the legendary items. But what happens if the game you play suddenly shuts down or ceases from existing?

Blockchain to the rescue

Blockchain's application in gaming doesn't really come off as alien to gamers.  This is because most game players, at some point,  have been exposed to tokenization while playing games. For instance, a few of the earliest games featured applications of virtual currency. But then, like most industries, games evolved and fused changed as innovations on the internet progressed.

A blockchain game is when some parts or all of the gameplay takes place directly on the blockchain. In other words, gameplay inputs or activity in a blockchain game look like transactions broadcast by players onto the network. In a "true" blockchain game, 100% of the game persists on-chain. Essentially, blockchain games have ushered in a new paradigm where a network of games run without servers.

The pitfalls that exist in centralized online games are easily remedied with blockchain games. For example, technology like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) allows users to own their in-game assets, preventing the challenges of account theft or obsolescence. Furthermore, with cross-chain advancements and interoperability, NFTs are transferable among multiple blockchains of the metaverse. Owners of these rare items could even port them between different games, opening up new avenues of value for the sector. Furthermore, you can store them in your cryptocurrency wallet. This is how cool NFT's are. In a nutshell, decentralization helps smaller developers wrest control from the small handful of big gaming studios that dominate the space.

Blockchain games present another parallel but a superior universe as they are infinitely adaptable, largely community-owned, and piloting newer decentralized economies that reward content creators. According to Toptal industry research, the industry is poised for a sea-change and that it will be the first actual use-case for blockchain technology.

The rising trend of blockchain games

What new paradigm are blockchain games pioneering? So, instead of trading digital money, players buy and sell all sorts of in-game items currently proliferating at an insane speed. CryptoKitties is indisputably the first popular crypto game ever. It featured grooming and breeding cats which users later auctioned for crypto. While non-gamers could dismiss that as a fad, the game's most expensive sale to date was a CryptoKitty named Dragon. It was sold for a staggering 600 ETH, valued at $172,000 in 2018 or $1.9 million at ETH's current value. That marked the tipping point for blockchain games, as we have come to see today. Many more crypto games have emerged after CryptoKitties.

However, beyond the enthusiasm for breeding digital pets, many new games in the genre have followed, basing their value proposition on digital pets' gameplay. For example, the unicorn-bound Axie Infinity has taken digital pet breeding a nudge further. So, instead of cats, Axie uses all sorts of creatures that make collecting extremely fun. Players can also go to battle with their pets. It's basically a Pokemon-style crypto game. Moreso, Axie Infinity earlier this month became the first blockchain game to generate over $1 billion in sales.

Challenges with blockchain gaming solutions

Regardless of how revolutionary blockchain games are compared with legacy games, they also come with their challenges. In February, the digital pet universe Axie Infinity, one of the fastest rising blockchain games, migrated to its sidechain. Likewise, Decentraland, a VR metaverse, moved to Polygon, a layer two solution after much frustration. Both platforms cited Ethereum's scalability woes, resulting in high transaction fees as their hot burner reasons for migrating.

But these aren't the only challenges blockchain game developers have had to endure. For example, the fact that most blockchain game activities have to be registered on the mainchain stunted the growth of these games during spiking gas charges on Ethereum, which was initially home to most of the blockchain games out there. Moreso, blockchain gamers usually need a balance of native platform tokens in their wallets before initiating any transaction. And to do this, they require exchanges and cryptocurrency wallets. However, the biggest issue is that blockchains in their current format don't actually help solve the challenges gamers are asking.

An opportunity for Step Hero leveraging Binance Smart Chain’s fastest-growing blockchain and Polygon scaling solution

Developers face the scalability conundrum when developing game logic on smart contracts. This is particularly the case with complex games, especially given Ethereum's high transaction costs. Some developers operate a hybrid approach, using centralized servers to fend off this challenge, which brings us back to where we initially started; centralized games. In practice, centralized servers block players from accessing them, limiting game players' ability to modify features they would love.

Step hero, a blockchain game built atop Polygon is keen on remedying the blockchain gaming conundrum. A perfect blend of NFT gaming and DeFi ecosystem facilitating fun for users while they earn profit simultaneously. A fantasy-themed role-playing game (RPG) with attractive gameplay, a cross-chained NFT marketplace, NFT collectibles, HERO token for governance, and DeFi farming. But beyond all these, Step Hero also provides a social network experience with a supportive community.

Step Hero' choice of building on the fast-rising Polygon gives it an edge over Ethereum-based games still grappling with spiking gas fees and scaling issues. Furthermore, to address the issues of inclusivity and the problems of siloed blockchain gaming development within the space. Polygon on the other hand is the first well-structured, easy-to-use platform for Ethereum scaling and blockchain infrastructure development. Using a modular and flexible framework, Polygon helps dapps achieve faster transaction speeds by moving them off-chain at a fraction of the cost in transaction charges. Moreso, the Polygon ecosystem has recently exploded, with blockchain games such as Cryptoblades, PolyFund etc., topping the charts.

Step Hero also comes with one of the most sophisticated graphic designs of world-class collectibles out there. Although NFT marketplaces are springing up like mushrooms within the blockchain gaming industry, Step Hero’s NFT marketplace comes with differentiating and superior features that promote NFT assets’ originality through KYC for creators. Users can buy and sell NFTs, list other NFTs, create their own NFTs, even launch NFT auctions. They can also join affiliate programs with an attractive commission rate for promoters and referees as an incentive for loyal community and ecosystem members. Finally, and more importantly, Step Hero has an ultimate RPG game that obtains interesting playing rules ranging from basic to advanced levels accommodating gamers irrespective of their experience level.

Comparing Step Hero with its industry counterparts is undervalued as it is less than three weeks from publishing this report. On the other hand, Cryptoblades and Faraland have been around for more than two months now and have garnered some decent values in their market cap.

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