NFTs are booming now more than ever, and though they are most commonly associated with art, they are increasingly being utilized in the film and gaming industries. NFTs have the potential to completely reshape and reform these industries. The potential is truly limitless, and we are just beginning to see what NFTs can do to film and gaming.
Film studios have been awkwardly transitioning into the age of streaming for years, but they haven’t been able to fully adapt to that change. Streaming has upended the entire system by giving consumers access to more content than ever for less than the cost of a single movie ticket or TV subscription. This is great for consumers, but it has negatively impacted the business model of those entertainment companies that rely on theater sales and TV subscriptions. However, NFTs might be just what the film industry needs to thrive in the age of streaming.
NFTs (or DTC) open up a multitude of potential revenue streams for the film industry, large companies, and indie outfits alike. Filmmaker Trevor Hawkins financed his debut film, Lotawana, the old fashioned way with a loan, but he used NFTs to sell it. He minted 1,000 NFTs that cost $1,000, and even more $100 NFTs which gave owners access to the movie’s online premiere. The $1,000 NFTs represent ownership shares in the film and give the owner profit sharing. This allowed him to make a profit from the movie faster and more efficiently than the traditional model of waiting for ticket sales, streaming numbers, and DVD sales. But this is only one way that NFTs can be used in film.
The uses of NFT in the film industry are near endless. For example, NFTs could be used to initially finance a film. NFTs could be issued that give the owner a share in the movie and a part of its profits. That would allow investors and dedicated supporters to directly help a movie come to life. NFTs could be issued that give owners access to unique promotional materials and collectibles (like the materials in a DVD boxset). This usage in particular is very promising because a market already exists for this—media collectors. There was and still is a massive market surrounding collectible TV and film merchandise. However, this market has struggled to convert to the digital world and often sticks to the realm of physical collectibles. These collectors could be brought into the world of NFTs through their favorite films and TV shows. This market potential goes beyond the world of film and TV into the world of gaming.
Just like film and TV, there’s a large collector’s market in the gaming community. Since the 2000s, many games have featured rare and collectible items, characters, and more. Players have bought, sold, and traded these items as long as they have existed, but oftentimes these markets are unofficial, leaving collectors open to more risk. Blockchain NFT marketplaces for these authentic collectibles, such as DTC digital trading cards, can serve to make this market more safe, fair, and user-friendly. Blockchain technology can prevent these items from being counterfeited and sold as originals.
The benefits of an NFT gaming collectible market are incredible compared to the markets normally used for gaming collectibles. However, the benefits of NFTs go beyond the collectible market.
In the same way that NFTs helped Trevor Hawkins debut his first film—despite not being a well-established filmmaker with a large company to back him up—NFTs can help indie game makers create and sell their games. Similar to most industries in the US, the gaming industry is dominated by large companies who get in the way of smaller creators. NFTs serve as a direct way to help small developers get their games made and sold. NFTs could be sold that give players access to beta versions of the game, which would simultaneously help the creators financially while allowing fans the opportunity to help create the game. NFTs could be sold that give players a portion of ownership in the game and includes profit sharing. NFTs could be sold that give players access to exclusive items, maps, missions, art, abilities, and more. Ultimately though, the success of NFTs in gaming or film lies in the marketing.
Marketing can make or break an NFT. It’s often the difference between an NFT you’ve seen or heard of and one you haven’t. Marketing to the wrong group or in the wrong way can be disastrous. After introducing NFTs for the movie Dune without addressing the environmental concerns, Warner Brothers and Legendary received so much backlash they pulled the collection altogether. On the other hand, Nike introduced NFTs called CryptoKicks to their shoes marketed as a way to combat counterfeiting, and the community seems to be embracing this. It’s the marketing that can make the difference between an NFT being perceived as tone-deaf greed and an NFT being successful.
NFTs will fundamentally change the worlds of film and gaming. Though we can try to anticipate the changes, no one knows how far NFTs will go and how quickly. But if companies and creators continue to innovate and press on with NFTs, that future will be here sooner than we expect.