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How buying and selling skins is empowering gamers to be digital traders

Gaming has become the predominant form of entertainment online, and behind millions and millions of followers and audiences around the world exists various levels of economies dependent on the participation of gamers across all platforms.

The economic footprint cannot be understated, Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch — the gaming streaming service that acts as the most popular medium for connecting gamers to their audiences — for $970 million USD was a legitimate investment into the future of entertainment consumption, not just from an viewing perspective, but the ability to have game developers directly communicate and interact with their audiences at large.

To put this in perspective we need to analyze the growth of Twitch and it’s services.

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The streaming service directly interacts with 100 million unique viewers monthly, and the economic powers that be at Twitch have not let this fact go unnoticed.

Enter the state of microtransactions and in-game purchases. There’s no doubt about the impact that in game purchases provide to the longevity of a game’s economic model.

The state of in-game purchases and digital assets within a game has become so popular that it has picked up the baton from the impact that app purchases on mobile markets created.

This combined with the “skinner box” psychological game model has produced near addictive levels of economic return for publishers. In fact the “loot box” offered throughout many popular games such as Overwatch, Call of Duty, and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds has become a political debate about the legality of the probability aspect of in-game purchases teetering on gambling for children to access.

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However, this exclusivity has not gone unnoticed as companies such as PUBG Corporation and now Epic Games are taking up the mantle introduced by Valve within their games such as Counterstrike Global Offensive and Team Fortress 2 by creating secondary economies for players to resell digital assets to each other.

Enter the microcosm known as Twitch Prime. Expanding their ability to service the evergrowing community of viewers and streamers, Twitch offers a premium service in tandem with other services offered through Amazon and their affiliates that allows them to provide players with different in game assets unique to Twitch prime subscribers for different games.

This uniqueness has lended assets provided from Twitch Prime quite an appraisal within the community, with “loot boxes” from games like PUBG and the potential for acquiring limited skins and costume modifiers was going for $70 — a price that seems excessive until you put it up against the “alpha loot box” set offered for over $1,000 on Steam.

Currently on auction sites like eBay, Twitch Prime accounts for access to Fortnite loot boxes are currently trending between one and five dollars, which may seem small but when taking into account the value of the previous example given, five dollars seems like a worthwhile investment for the potential to make hundreds.

However, there is a drawback in Fortnite particular instance as to reap the reward one requires a linked Epic account and Twitch Prime account, making the fluidity of the asset much harder to extract.

This hasn’t been a unique instance of economic benefit emerging from recent trends — but merely a regime shift in genre popularity and the secondary economies that follow it.

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If we were to take a very general timeline of the last ten years we see various games showing very active economies outside of their in game marketplaces — Halo 3 had the Flaming Recon head cosmetic only available to Bungee employees and certain individuals, the emergence of the Hat Economy in Team Fortress 2, the rise of the weapon skins economy in CSGO, and the successful implementation of limited character skins in the MOBA genre in games such as Riot Games League of Legends have all stood as examples to the rise of secondary economies that participants have become quite wealthy over.

Now as the digital asset economy has become more tested within this past decade, more efforts are being made to provide security, trust, and a better way to exchange assets outside of internal marketplaces like the Steam marketplace — and coincidentally on the topic of new economic regimes, technology such as distributed ledger tech and blockchain have stepped up to the plate to provide said marketplaces.

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Products like WAX have now created external exchanges supported by Distributed Concensus that disintermediates a near 400 million large audience who exchange digital assets who range from different fiat currencies globally and allowing them to find a medium of exchange that directly affects their respective bank accounts.

In any case the yield and the impact that gaming has had is evident in it’s projection to be the replacement for the preferred consumed media, and financial opportunities will always be available in growing subindustries.

E3 roundup: The ‘Big Three’ show what the future of gaming looks like

Once again another E3 comes and goes, elevating the way we as an audience interact with the digital landscape. Every time we ask where the ceiling on awe-inspiring, action-packed, and completely revolutionary experiences could be, the gaming industry proves to us that not even the sky is the limit.

So where do we start in our look back on this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo?

Each of the ‘Big Three’ proved this year that the focus has, and will always be, on the core experience, which is a welcomed adoption of philosophy where games will always be the focal point.

Xbox just unveiled their new Xbox One X system

Xbox’s press conference this year made good on the promise of their claims of a transcendent console experience as the Xbox One X made its debut on the main stage, boasting a monolithic six teraflops of computing power and liquid cooling in a console that is wildly smaller than any Microsoft console to date.

The One X’s challenge to the gaming world is it’s focus on 4K gameplay that remains prolific throughout even the most dense of worlds.

Right out of the release window for the One X will be games that truly capitalize on the capabilities that the One X can provide such as Forza Motorsport 7, Microsoft’s premier racing game, Metro Exodus, the sequel to the 2013 best seller Metro Last Light by 4A Games, and the next entry in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ digital franchise Middle Earth: Shadow of War.

The next generation of Xbox One X games will be visually insane

Of course, fan-favorite, stand out titles were abundant. Fans weren’t sure if Dragonball Fighter Z, a 3v3 hyper-fighter brought to us by the Guilty Gear team Arksys Games, would actually be good, or Bioware’s new IP Anthem would provide stellar visual fidelity.

Obviously the usual suspects made their appearance at Xbox’s press conference, with Assassin’s Creed taking a year off to bring us a reassuring return to character with Assassin’s Creed Origins and Minecraft’s announcement of 4K (which is the dumbest thing ever in my opinion). In any case, no one can deny the strong return to form that Xbox has had this year.

In Sony’s defense, this year (and frankly almost every year after E3 2015) was lukewarm, but the Japanese juggernaut proved that it knows how to stay the course with its focus on strong titles backed by their partnerships with third party developers.

What essentially boiled down to an hour and a half of trailers showed a pretty impressive line up for the coming year.

Marvel showed that their future is now

Swing into action with the new #SpiderManPS4 gameplay footage that just premiered at #E32017! 🕸️ [link in bio]

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Marvel’s had a great presence at E3 on Sony’s stage as Spiderman showed us that it actually is possible to make good Marvel franchise games. The webswinger has never looked better (not since Spiderman 2 anyway) in a cinematic open world foray through the streets of the Big Apple, and their cross-universe promotion with fighting game legend Capcom in Marvel vs Capcom Infinite proves that simplicity can be interesting if approached correctly.

God of War made an appearance, yet again displaying more of Sony Santa Monica Studio’s development within the tragedy that is Kratos’ existence, transitioning over from Greek to Norse mythology has actually proven to be an interesting take on the origin tale.

Sony is stepping up their VR experience

Media on site checking out PlayStation VR in NYC 👍

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Surprisingly, Sony has shown dedication to their journey into VR, displaying what seems to be competent attempts into making good games for this new medium. Titles such as the surprisingly fun first person shooter/mindtrip SUPERHOT, smaller-than-life indie adventure tale Moss by Polyarc, and the curious Monsters of the Deep expansion for Final Fantasy XV by Square Enix show Sony’s intent in this space.

Though the true standout (in my humble opinion) would have to go to the amazing remake to Team Ico’s Shadow of the Colossus, which brings the emotional PS2 sleeper hit on to new grounds and the nostalgic trip down memory lane with the reboot of everyone’s favorite, Crash Bandicoot.

All in all, Sony put up a good show, but noticeable absences like Final Fantasy 7 remake, and Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding proves that age old adage of unsustainability of hype over long periods of time.

Nintendo showed that they’re committed to the Switch

And last, but certainly not least, was Nintendo’s half hour montage of its newest additions for the Nintendo Switch, which launched earlier this year.

The Nintendo Direct, shown by semi-approachable Nintendo executives, provided a look at titles such as Pokken Tournament DX, the update to the decent Pokémon fighting game, the announcement of the internet sensation Rocket League coming to the Switch, and brand new entries into their long running series such as Kirby, Yoshi, and surprisingly Metroid with Metroid Prime 4.

Goal by Squishy Muffinz 😍⚽🔥 I found this 🎥 on @iloverocketleague

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The big money ticket of their lineup was undoubtedly Super Mario Odyssey with its impressively catchy theme song, familiar open world platforming gameplay, and beautiful environments, which comes out later this year on October 27th.

Of course, as much happened off the main stages as on them. It’s nearly impossible to document the amazing things that were on display, but E3 never fails to reignite that familiar feeling of exhilarating fun, and passion for digital experiences.