Demand-side Player Liquidity
Gaming guilds have been around since the mid-1990s, forming online communities for games like Quake, where players would form teams and play together online. In fact, The Syndicate holds the record for the longest continuous operation of a gaming guild at 24.9 years [⇗]. These online groups exist due to their common interest and as a way to coordinate efforts in their chosen games.
In crypto gaming, these guilds have taken on a whole new level of importance to the community and the games themselves. The yield-generating aspect of NFT gaming is known as “play-to-earn” and has become an important financial opportunity for gamers in emerging markets. The rising popularity has also caused the value of the NFT assets to increase, which threatened to exclude many of these gamers.
Yield Guild Games formalized the guild scholarship model whereby the guild purchases the required gaming assets and loans them out to individuals (or “scholars”), and the rewards are shared, with 70% going directly to the player. There are now well over 10,000 blockchain-gaming guilds providing assets to over 317,000 players[⇗], especially in emerging markets, in order to mint the game-specific tokens through playing. These tokens may then be used for breeding or be traded for cash.
Not every guild member is a scholar, however, and the membership base on these guilds exceeds 3.8 million players. With over 1,300 blockchain games having recently launched[⇗], these gaming guilds have become an essential distribution channel for new games due to their ability to point their player base at new titles to create instant demand. This is known as “player liquidity” and is essential in determining the likely success of a new game.
The figures above are current as of January 2022 and do not take into account the growing popularity of the play-to-earn gaming space, which sees the guild membership growing at a rate of 287% month-on-month.
A more important figure to watch out for is the utilization rate of guild scholars which currently stands at an average of 9.61%. We see this utilization rate increasing as the number of guild funding grows, more new games with healthy in-game economies are developed, and players' skill level and play-to-earn (P2E) literacy and awareness increases. This means that even though the total number of guild members plateaus in the future, there remains a significant untapped potential for the rest of the 90.39% of the guild members.