Its clay courts are famous all over the world, but this week Roland-Garros is not the only tournament on the planet Tennis. The virtual matches organized by champion Stanislas Wawrinka also keep her fascinated. “Stan the Man” has recently fallen into what is called Web3, launching an NFT-backed game of digital tennis players. Despite these intimidating acronyms for the layman, the operation of this game called Ballman Project is very easy to understand.
When they buy an NFT, Internet users receive a digital certificate of ownership linked, here, to a kind of Panini card. Then they discover the name of their virtual player and especially their characteristics. Technical level, power, mental …, each tennis player shows a unique combination of parameters. Some cards are more powerful than others, but nothing is in stone: training your foal helps you progress. There’s not much effort to do this, note: just log in to the site and click on the suggested sessions (reverse or right, thirty minutes or two hours, etc.).
Diligent coaches will see their protégé progress faster than those who only sign up every two days, but be careful not to overload the tennis player’s days, but his “form” will plummet, reducing his chances of victory. Random variables, however, keep the suspense going: even a poorly valued player maintains a low probability of winning. A concept that many tennis fans liked: the 6,200 NFT Ballman was sold as hot cakes, while its starting price was 0.1 to 0.3 ether (200 to 575 euros).
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And that’s no surprise because the Ballman Project has some obvious limitations. While recent video games show impressive graphic realism, the “Stan” project currently offers no animated sequences. So don’t expect to admire angry ball exchanges – you should be happy during “games” to see updated results on the leaderboards. Suffice it to say that at the moment we are closer to the presentation of Excel than to Zuckerberg’s dream metavers.
The beautiful rewards of virtual tournaments
Despite its rudimentary pitfalls, the Ballman Project and other Web3 games arouse curiosity because they offer a different model from traditional games. Here, customers no longer buy a copy, but components of the game itself (characters, plots …). “And we consulted a lot with them to decide on the future developments of the game,” said Prosper Masquelier, CEO of Gameback, who was in charge of the technical development of the Ballman game.
While a Nintendo would never let its Mario and Zelda flirt with the snipers and killer whales of an Activision, the creators of the Web3 games dream of having their characters interact with those of the neighboring games. Its economic approach is also innovative. In a classic game, you can buy virtual bonuses (sword, potion, etc.), but you rarely turn them back into cash. In Web3, it’s possible to resell your character after you’ve improved it, or make money from your exploits. Thus, Ballman winners of the virtual tournaments that will be launched from the end of June will receive rewards of up to 50 ethers. It’s called a game play to win (play to win).
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However, you have to keep a cool head in this virtual wild west – not all projects are solid, not even honest. It’s not because Filipinos occasionally pocketed more money in the Web3 game Axie Infinity that working that crowds of netizens tomorrow will make a living killing digital dragons. Especially at this time when the crypto and NFT markets are going through a very difficult time. “You shouldn’t buy character NFTs to make money, but to have a fun experience,” confirms Jean-Christophe Liaubet, Fabernovel’s partner. The Wawrinka game allows you to dream of being a tennis champion without sweating. And it’s not that bad.