Lucid Sight, a blockchain gaming company, signed a deal with Major League Baseball (MLB) last year. Now, thanks to a Yahoo Finance interview, we know what they’ve been working on.
The company announced MLB Champions, a digital card collection game. The idea is that the company will issue a limited number of collectibles for each MLB season, and subscribers can collect these cards to use in games and to trade. CEO Randy Saaf explained it like this:
“Our game is a fantasy-esque type game, where you buy the collectibles, you buy a Bryce Harper or Mike Trout, you play them in the game, and if Mike Trout hits a home run to win the world series, that generates new rewards that can be kept scarce, powered by blockchain.”
They argue that because the game is based on blockchain technology, the cards are guaranteed to be genuine, and because only a limited number of each card will be issued, they’ll hold value. They cited some collectibles sold in 2018 for $5 are now worth $20, proving the business model of the game.
It’s a fun idea, and not too different from the business model of Triple A sports gaming on video game consoles. Electronic Arts (EA) FIFA series has developed its own economy around trading player cards, with one Ronaldo card going on sale at auction for the equivalent of $10,000.
The allure to both models is that you can ultimately play with the cards. The marketing is much different though, as the economy of trading FIFA cards is something players have championed, while the game publisher focuses on the game. Lucid’s marketing of their collectible cards has put the rarity and value of cards right at the forefront.
That could be a mistake. One of the primary draws of collecting something like baseball cards are that they are fragile, and maintaining a card in peak condition maintains its value. Cards can be valuable for being rare, of course, but cards increase in value because so many of its counterparts get lost to time. With a blockchain, cards will never fall apart, and the economy seems questionable. Even in the case of the above Ronaldo card, it has become more valuable specifically because EA stopped issuing the card, and the current FIFA game will no longer be playable once the next iteration comes out.
A blockchain based system for a trading card game is still valuable, of course. If the cards are good, and the game is fun, they will have a strong business model to go ahead with. Marketing the game to the right audience, and focusing on the aspect that suits the game’s strengths, will be important.
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