Blockchain-based gaming is perhaps one of the most exciting, up-and-coming ventures in the digital asset ecosystem. It is proving to be a highly sought-after and increasingly fascinating vertical in the space.
Since 2018, players have reportedly spent more than $100 billion on virtual in-game assets, such as unique character skins, items and exclusive, unlockable content. Thus, sooner or later, it was perhaps only natural to witness the development of a symbiotic relationship and an ultimate convergence between the majorly lucrative traditional gaming industry and the disruptive, leading-edge infrastructure provided by blockchain technology.
Ultimately, the golden formula of blockchain gaming is relatively straightforward. It revolves around the fast-growing synergy between traditional gamers and advanced, NFT-powered in-game economies and their set of tradable assets. Thus, a plethora of blockchain gaming protocols, referred to as GameFi by some, have emerged in recent times.
However, one entity captivating the imagination of many across multiple industries is Big Time Studios.
Disclaimer: Big Time has concluded its sale of SPACE NFTs. Both Coin Bureau and the writer have invested in SPACE tokens
So, without further ado, let us dive straight into Big Time’s structure, team, in-game economy, and NFT assets and unravel exactly what this potentially transformative blockchain-based game is all about.
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Introducing Big Time Studios
However, before we do so, a brief introduction to the Big Time Studios company and its founding team is constructive and will allow for a more in-depth understanding of the studio’s ethos and broader, long-tail objectives.
Conceptualised in 2020 by Decentraland co-founder Ari Meilich, Big Time Studios is a gaming development company formed by industry veterans whose mission is to bring blockchain-based games to a mass audience and mainstream adoption.
To execute on its high-tier goals, Big Time Studios has recruited an all-star team of game developers from Epic Games, Blizzard, EA and Riot. These developers previously contributed to some of the best and most loved franchises in gaming history, including AAA games such as Fortnite, God of War, Call of Duty, and Overwatch.
The studio’s first title is called Big Time, and it aspires to be the very first AAA blockchain game. It also fundamentally embodies a demonstrational platform for other established gaming companies to integrate NFT technology into their economies.
About Big Time
At its core, Big Time is a Free-To-Play, multiplayer Role-Playing Game (RPG) fantasy adventure.
In Big Time, players travel through space and time to defend history itself and battle against a mysterious force that is progressively tearing apart the walls of history and time. Players will encounter distorted historical figures, characters, and events throughout the game. In addition, they will battle amongst six other warriors to kill monster-like entities that might earn them valuable loot as non-fungible tokens. Players will also be able to customise their characters with armours and clothes from various periods in history.
“Explore ancient mysteries and futuristic civilisations as you battle your way through history. Collect rare and legendary NFT items to decorate your avatar and personal time machine where you can hang out with your friends.” – BigTimeStudios
Aesthetically, the gameplay appears to be structured as a combination of fast action gameplay from God of War, merged with the co-op in-game mechanics typically found in other AAA games like World of Warcraft and Diablo.
Big Time’s In-Game Economy
Big Time’s in-game economy is based on the following elements and assets:
- Time Machines
- Time Keepers
- Hour Glasses
- SPACE NFTs
Thus, let’s briefly shed light on each one, shall we?
A Time Machine Acts As A Player’s Portal To Their Own Individual In-Game Metaverse. Image via BigTimeStudios
Players will earn their first Time Machine throughout the very early stages of the game, giving them access to a virtual home that they can decorate and a customisable pocket Metaverse of sorts where they can organise rendezvous and host meetings with other fellow gamers. In essence, a Time Machine, otherwise known as a Personal Metaverse, constitutes a player’s portal to their own individual universe within the game. It equates to a starter home where gamers can hang out with friends or showcase their NFTs and acquired loot. Time Machines can be additionally customised by leveraging SPACE NFTs.
SPACE, Big Time’s version of virtual land and in-game utility asset, is utilised as an expansion of a player’s Time Machine. There are 5 different rarity tiers for SPACE: Rare, Epic, Legendary, Mythic and Exalted, and 3 different sizes for SPACE, namely Small, Medium and Large. Now, SPACE is architected as a non-fungible token (NFT), which inherently enriches it with greater transferability functionalities, increased tradability elements due to its blockchain-backed value and limited asset supply of 600,000 NFTs. Currently, SPACE can be traded on the Big Time Marketplace or withdrawn outside the platform.
Technically speaking, the larger the SPACE, the more capacity it has to install and implement more in-game features. For instance, Time Keepers and Forges, which we will revert back to shortly, enable players to earn Big Time’s Token as they play, but the cosmetic qualities of SPACE scale up with its built-in rarity. This essentially means that either an increase in size or an increase in rarity will allow support for more Time Keepers and Forges.
In Big Time, Time Keepers are summoned into SPACE NFTs and may also be purchased in-game or through the Big Time Marketplace. The primary purpose and utility of Time Keepers is to either create Hourglass NFTs or fill them back up again.
Hourglass NFTs are needed within the game to unlock a player’s ability to collect Big Time Tokens as loot drops. Hourglasses will be the only way to acquire the Token, as there will not be any pre-sales, IDOs, or token grants to the development team.
Forges constitute a way for players to upgrade their NFTs to increase their rarity. These Forges are installed on SPACE NFTs and can upgrade any NFT-based in-game equipment to new and greater levels. But that’s definitely not all because, according to the Big Time Team, myriads of other utilities and in-game functionalities will be added to SPACE NFTs over time and as the game develops.
The Value Of SPACE NFTs
With a maximum supply of 600,000 tokens, SPACE operates as the primary in-game utility asset for Big Time and will be at the centre of this cross-AAA, NFT-focused game. SPACE NFTs will fundamentally act as virtual land upgrades that enable players’ ability to gather and trade Big Time’s very own Token.
Now, Big Time is designed to be a Free-To-Play blockchain-based game, which indicates a new and more desirable paradigm within the ecosystem compared to the often unattainable and, at times, incredibly cost-restrictive Play-To-Earn model spearheaded by games like Axie Infinity, for instance. Of course, players can earn their Time Machines early on in the game, but SPACE NFTs further unlock unique, experiential gameplay features and utilities such as additional portals, extra rooms, and even specialised crafting areas. On top of that, SPACE NFTs allow players to expand and personalise their Time Machines, enabling them to create and architect bespoke, in-game, specialised environments intricately correlated to their owners’ design preferences and aesthetic taste, real-world personalities and achievements.
In parallel with its built-in aesthetic value, SPACE add-ons furthermore allow for the exploration of new worlds and historical domains, the opportunity to battle against enemies from other dimensions and, more importantly, the ability to collect the Big Time Token during gameplay, as well as limited-edition NFTs in the form of loot.
Inherently, SPACE NFTs possess both in-game economic and cosmetic value. This is primarily because, firstly, SPACE enables the player to benefit from a more sophisticated and customisable gaming experience by upgrading their Time Machine. Secondly, SPACE ensures the ideation of a utility-rich in-game economy, enhancing a player’s ability to acquire assets throughout their gameplay which they can subsequently trade on for real-world economic value outside the native platform or effectively as cross-chain assets or via the Big Time Marketplace.
How Big Time’s Tech Works
For the great majority of AAA multiplayer games in existence today, such as Call of Duty and Fortnite, the most appealing elements driving their in-game economies revolved around skins and cosmetic items. However, these in-game cosmetic assets within AAA games tend to remain restricted to their very own, siloed, ‘Walled Garden’ gaming environment with no availability to, firstly, exchange those cosmetic assets for real-world economic value and, secondly, to transfer assets outside of the game itself.
@coinbureau Big Time gave us a sneak peek of their alpha gameplay. Here are our thoughts!Disclaimer: We hold some BigTime SPACE NFTs #bigtime #bigtimestudios #blockchaingames #nft #nftgaming #gamer #blockchain #crypto #cryptocurrency #cryptok #cryptotok ♬ original sound – Coin Bureau
However, according to Ari Meilich, what Big Time Studios is aspiring to incorporate is an in-game structure that enables players to enjoy greater asset scarcity and trade their gaming assets cross-world and in and out of the particular gaming ecosystem itself. Now, Big Time’s tech is built on top of Ethereum, which leverages smart contract implementation, programmability, good security and, more importantly, an advanced level of mainstream adoption.
Big Time’s Vault Technology
Additionally, perhaps one of the most ground-breaking components integrated within the game’s architecture is its patented Vault technology, which natively makes NFT-based gaming accessible to a mass audience, alleviating the need for external wallet management, self-custody of assets, and costly on-chain transactions. Thus, via its Vault, the studio will reportedly store records of items created or purchased in its own database and, technically, Big Time won’t automatically mint the NFTs on the blockchain to keep transaction costs low.
This Vault technology, patented by Big Time Studios, thus constitutes Ari Meilich’s highly-revered, long-tail objective of synergising traditional AAA gaming structures with the advanced economic principles fostered by the NFT-inspired proposition of on-chain asset ownership. Moreover, Big Time’s Vault was designed specifically for AAA titles so that they can seamlessly integrate NFTs into their respective ecosystems, enabling their players to entirely bypass hefty gas fees and accustom themselves to the series of benefits that non-fungible tokens can offer AAA gaming economies.
Technically speaking, via the Vault, players will be able to store their in-game items in an off-chain custody system designed and patented by the Studio. This essentially equates to a private database where both NFTs and regular items can coexist, enabling players to bring an asset from off-chain to on-chain at any point in time, which, as you can imagine, could prove to be a valuable proposition as it pertains to the adoption of NFT technology by AAA gaming protocols.
And in the long-term outlook, Meilich has also noted that if sufficient demand for Big Time materialises, the studio will architect new ways for players to withdraw their assets and move them to any desired blockchain, potentially implying that Big Time’s SPACE in-game NFTs could very well turn cross-chain in the near future.
Now, that’s innovation!
Blockchain-based gaming currently represents one of the most roaring and promising ventures in the digital asset realm. Given its expected growth trajectory over the next few years, its future potential, quite frankly, remains untapped.
With the newly-rediscovered match and symbiotic relationship between DeFi, NFTs and gaming, the proposition of blockchain-powered gaming projects seems to have taken the markets by storm in the last year, ushering in an entirely new set of financial paradigms and investment theses revolving around Metaverse worlds and interactive gameplay. But, one project that has garnered extensive amounts of attention as of late is the one and only Big Time by Big Time Studios.
At present, Big Time is yet to be a fully operational gaming protocol, which suggests that we’re inevitably still relatively early in measuring its overall success.
A portion of its SPACE NFTs are currently trading on the Big Time Marketplace, captivating the imagination of gaming enthusiasts intrigued by the game’s revised AAA-inspired, NFT-infused gameplay and investors, gaming guilds and non-fungible token collectors fascinated by Big Time’s in-game assets and their projected growth.
However, what must be noted here is that, while Big Time has received exceptional social traction, hype, and interest over the last year, its gameplay is currently only in the pre-alpha launch phase. So, naturally, this means that we are only limited to acting as spectators at the moment and not as active game players.
Thus, to properly ascertain whether Big Time and its parent company Big Time Studios, can effectively deliver on their highly-anticipated promises of evocative, AAA-style gameplay, intricate NFT economic models and advanced in-game mechanics, we are inevitably going to have to wait patiently and see whether this blockchain gaming Goliath actually proves to be what it claims it can be.