League of Legends and the Weird World of NFTs

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Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been taking the gaming sector by storm in recently. NFTs work on the same principle as cryptocurrencies and utilize blockchain technology. They’ve been readily adopted by the art scene and across different forms of media, but have only recently made moves into the gaming market. Although some gamers have proved resistant to the advent of NFTs, it seems almost certain that titles like League of Legends will soon be incorporating them.

NFTs Explained

In simple terms, NFTs are digital tokens that determine the ownership of a virtual item. More importantly, NFTs don’t require third-party validation to certify ownership. This stands in stark contrast to ownership in the physical world. Whenever you purchase something in a store or online, you’re given a printed or virtual receipt to confirm ownership.

How can NFTs be applied to the world of gaming? Well, in the case of League of Legends, NFTs will most likely take the form of skins and cosmetic upgrades. The basic infrastructure for NFT adoption is already in place. There’s a thriving market for LoL skins, while Riot Games offers multiple virtual currencies that can be used to acquire in-game items and upgrades.

The Impact of NFTs on League of Legends

Introducing NFTs to League of Legends does present some issues. At the moment, League of Legends is a free-to-play title. This is arguably one of the biggest reasons why the game has become so popular and amassed such a significant player base.

Of course, Riot Games makes a healthy profit on League of Legends. Players need to spend actual cash to acquire Riot Points and other in-game upgrades. However, the developer currently enjoys complete oversight of this financial ecosystem. Introducing NFTs would complicate things somewhat. Exclusive NFT skins would amass significant value because of their uniqueness.

If Riot Games decides to produce exclusive skins for a LoL live event, they relinquish rights to these skins. Those players who’ve received these NFT skins could then sell them at a later point. Because of their one-of-a-kind nature, these NFTs could sell for six or seven-figure sums. The nature of NFT ownership means that Riot Games would have relinquished all rights to these skins, cutting them off from a lucrative income stream. If the NFT skin market becomes buoyant enough, it could also become something akin to an LoL cryptocurrency.

Potential Problems

On paper, there’s nothing inherently wrong with LoL NFTs. However, there are some potential drawbacks. Because League of Legends skins can only be used within the game itself, your digital assets are tied to the LoL infrastructure. There’s no viable way to export these assets, meaning they only have actual value within the game itself. If Riot Games decides to block access to an account, you’re also cut off from your NFTs. Furthermore, if Riot Games ever decided to close down game servers, your NFTs would no longer be accessible.

For NFTs to become a staple of League of Legends, Riot Games will likely maintain oversight of transactions. For LoL NFTs to hold any value, players will need to be free to share and sell their digital assets with other users. To facilitate this, it’s likely Riot Games will charge a small fee for the privilege.

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