The cryptocurrency landscape shifted considerably between late 2017 and today. Some coins have successfully navigated this change, while others have fallen by the wayside. Enjin Coin (ENJ), one of the first gaming-focused cryptocurrencies to emerge, forded the crypto-winter and emerged as a potential powerhouse in both the NFT and metaverse sectors. Both come as a natural extension of the original Enjin Coin concept, supplementing rather than completely changing the core ideal behind the product.
Enjin Coin is the brainchild of the Enjin platform, which allowed players to create community websites for their groups in various games. Yet, it is safe to say that the cryptocurrency aspect has eclipsed the original community site provider – and drives the current value of the overall platform. As Spotlight Growth wrote in 2018, Enjin intended for ENJ to represent a cross-chain opportunity to trade assets across games. The advent and proliferation of NFTs created a new and more efficient infrastructure for this purpose – one that Enjin quickly adopted.
Enjin: A Shift in Focus
Trading real-world money for in-game items dates back to at least 2006, but the process has been pointedly one-way. Users pay the company for locked or additional content and gain access. In contrast, Enjin’s goal is to create that content as a persistent digital entity. A user that purchases the item can then own the item, in the same sense as they would a physical product. Enjin effectively pioneered this idea, before the proliferation of NFTs. Now, NFT technology seems tailor-made for this purpose – as well as that of the nascent metaverse concept.
Enjin’s ongoing partnerships with game providers allow for the building of a framework, one in which NFTs integrates directly with game systems for maximum benefit. However, there remains one major point of contention. Gaming companies notoriously avoid relinquishing ownership – having lately shifted to a games-as-a-service licensing model. Moving towards NFTs would significantly empower users.
The Digital Ownership Conundrum
The concept of NFTs with regards to gaming specifically allows users permanent ownership of digital goods. Assuming they function properly, this would also imply a second-hand market for digital items without additional profit passing to the game provider – historically a non-starter within the game industry. The much-touted prospect of NFT-based ownership of games themselves – allowing users to sell their access to a game after completion – would effectively create a digital version of GameStop’s used games market.
This is not something that game publishers want, and that may make it more difficult to create without significant influence. Steam’s marketplace managed to strong-arm publishers into participation, but gaining the same degree of power would be difficult for an NFT-based system. Yet, some hope lays with the metaverse concept. As the metaverse subsector develops, NFT-based ownership maybe both intuitive and desirable for players and producers as a new means of generating business.