Its gravel courts are famous worldwide, but this week Roland-Garros is not the only tournament that counts on the planet Tennis. The virtual matches hosted by champion Stanislas Wawrinka also keep her spellbound. “Stan the Man” has actually recently spilled into what is called Web3, by launching a game supported by NFTs of digital tennis players. Despite these scary acronyms for the layman, the operation of this game called Ballman Project is very simple to understand.
When they buy an NFT, Internet users receive a digital certificate of ownership, which is attached to a Panini card. They then discover the name of their virtual player and especially its properties. Technical level, power, mental …, each tennis player shows a unique combination of parameters. Some cards are stronger than others, but nothing is carved in stone: Training your foal helps him move forward. No major effort to ensure this, please note: just connect to the site and click on the suggested sessions (backhand or forehand, thirty minutes or two hours, etc.).
Diligent coaches will see their protégés develop faster than those who only log on every other day. But be careful not to overload the tennis player’s days, otherwise his “form” will decrease, reducing his chances of victory. Random variables, however, retain the excitement: even a player with a poor rating retains a low probability of winning. A concept that appealed to many tennis enthusiasts: 6,200 NFT Ballman sold as hot bread, while their starting price was 0.1 to 0.3 ether (from 200 to 575 euros).
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And this is no surprise, because the Ballman project has some obvious limitations. While recent video games show breathtaking graphic realism, the “Stan” project currently offers no animated sequences. So do not expect to admire angry exchanges of balls: you must be satisfied during “matches” to see the results updated in the ranking tables. Suffice it to say that we are currently closer to the Excel presentation than to Zuckerberg’s metaverse dream.
The beautiful rewards of virtual tournaments
Despite their rudimentary features, Ballman Project and other Web3 games arouse curiosity because they offer a different model than traditional games. Here, customers no longer buy a copy, but components of the game itself (characters, plots …). “And we consult them a lot to take a stand on the future development of the game,” emphasizes Prosper Masquelier, CEO of Gameback, who was responsible for the technical development of the Ballman game.
While a Nintendo would never let its Mario and Zelda flirt with the snipers and orcas of an Activision, the creators of Web3 games dream of getting their characters to interact with them in neighboring games. Their economic approach is also innovative. In a classic game, you can buy virtual bonuses (swords, potions, etc.), but rarely convert them back to cold hard cash. In Web3, it is possible to resell your character after improving it, or to make money thanks to your achievements. The Ballman winners of the virtual tournaments, which will be launched from the end of June, will thus receive rewards of up to 50 ethers. It’s called a game play to earn (play to win).
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However, you need to keep a cool head in this virtual wild west: Not all projects are solid or even honest. It’s not because Filipinos occasionally threw more money into the Web3 game Axie Infinity that by working on that crowds of internet users tomorrow will earn a living by killing digital dragons. Especially at this time when the crypto and NFT markets are going through a very difficult time. “You should not buy character NFTs to make money, but to have a fun experience,” confirms Jean-Christophe Liaubet, partner at Fabernovel. Wawrinka’s game allows you to dream of becoming a tennis champion without sweating. And it’s not that bad.