There’s an abundance of avatar NFT projects on the market, and we want to highlight those that have some utility in virtual worlds or gaming environments. Perhaps gaming utility has been introduced already, or maybe it’s on the roadmap. Nonetheless, these NFT avatar projects are looking to become more than just your Twitter profile picture.
Arguably CryptoPunks were the first NFT avatars, while Hashmasks initiated the trend. Ultimately Bored Ape Yacht Club were the ones to bring things more mainstream, onboarding celebrities like Alexis Ohanian, Mike Shinoda and Stephen Curry. However, we want to flex our NFTs in gaming worlds. That’s where these NFT avatar projects come into play.
Do you know another project we would need to add? Send @playtoearn a message on Twitter, or reach out on Discord. — We will update this article regularly to showcase new additions and update the descriptions.
From the design tables of metaverse fashion company RTFKT comes Clone X, an avatar project that launches with various utilities. Those able to claim or buy a Clone X character NFT, will also receive utility in the wider metaverse. Each of the 20.000 NFT avatars will be fully 3D, custom modeled, ready to be used in a variety of virtual worlds. Details aren’t finalized yet, but judging by RTFKT’s history with Decentraland and the full avatar support of Somnium Space, we can fill in the dots. Of course VR Chat, Webaverse and other virtual environments would also work. Clone X isn’t here yet, but this is one to keep your eyes on for sure.
Bored Ape Yacht Club
One of the most talked about NFT projects of the moment is Bored Ape Yacht Club. Owning a Bored Ape makes you part of an inclusive community of innovators and investors. But we aren’t hear to wear Bored Ape sweaters in the real world, as we’re looking for those gaming opportunities. BAYC recently revealed their roadmap for both the Bored Apes and Mutant Apes, and guess what? There will be 3D models for every NFT holder, there will be a BAYC VX Apes world in The Sandbox, and a team works on a top secret blockchain game. Right now a Bored Ape is an entry pass into a community, soon these will become representations in virtual environments.
We’ve written about Voxies before, and that’s not without reason. These voxel characters might look like cuties from The Sandbox, but that’s not correct. Voxies are collectible NFTs, which could serve as your profile picture. However, it’s much more important to look at their metadata and see how they will perform in-game. Because Voxies will become game characters in the upcoming game Voxie Tactics. In the tactical turn-based RPG players use their Voxies to battle enemies and outsmart their opponents. Good positioning and tactical execution will set players and their Voxies up for victory. A Voxies NFT avatar was always supposed to become part of a bigger gaming product.
Fluf World is a collection of 10.000 NFTs that has been sailing under the radar for quite some time, until they received backing from Outlier Ventures. These NFT avatars combine music with their visual design. No wonder that Fluf World NFTs will become tickets for physical and virtual concerts, festival and experiences. NFT owners can soon download their 3D models, ready to user in supporting virtual environments. In addition Flufs will gain AI, will have their own virtual world, and they will receive their own token: Mycelium. Breeding is the first step of Fluf World play-to-earn economy, but things won’t stop there. Characters owners have full commercial rights to the NFT as well, opening the ecosystem up for new business relationships.
Gala Games has been working on a variety of games, including Town Star and Mirandus. In addition they have a variety of third-party developers working on for example Spider Tanks and Echoes of Empire. However, we’re here to talk about Vox. These voxel characters have their own virtual world, which is currently only used for socializing. Each Vox NFT has their own look, job and personality. Owning the NFT gives users access to the FBX files as well, allowing integration in other worlds. Placing the Vox NFT avatar into Town Star will generate TOWN tokens while gaming, adding a bit of DeFi yield farm utility as well.
While everybody’s talking about adding tokens to an NFT collection, Aavegotchi has been doing this for almost one year already. Their pixel ghosts are filled with tokens, wear NFT clothes that have value, and generate GHST in Rarity Farming events. To add even more complexity to the project, the team now works on Gotchiverse. This virtual world will allow NFT owners to use their Gotchi avatars for gaming. Ultimately these passive pixelated wallets will now become virtual characters in a massively multiplayer online role playing game.
Twenty years ago Habbo Hotel was one of the pioneers by creating a social virtual space where lots of teens connected. Now two decades later they launched Habbo Avatars, unique NFT avatars that will become usable in the virtual world of Habbo. In addition NFT owners will be eligible for rewards, airdrops and special events. Those are plans for this year. Habbo wants to move into the play-to-earn space. The developers want to integrate play-to-earn mechanics into Habbo and Hotel Hideaway, so we can expects more utility for the early Habbo Avatar supporters in 2022. Habbo Avatars clearly uses NFT avatars to open up their gaming world to a new economy.
The Metakrew are 9750 randomly generated NFT avatars that come with direct utility in the metaverse. The project will launch in November, and it will feature some licensed brand traits as well. Every 2D avatar comes with a 3D characters generated from the same metadata. These 3D Metakrew characters will be compatible with an upcoming debut game, scheduled for release in 2022. In addition the characters will become compatible with other virtual worlds. Next year the team, which is led by Matty a.k.a. DCLBlogger, will launch a pet project as well.
At the beginning of 2021 Hashmasks launched as a new NFT art project, and it quickly made headlines thanks to the hype. Arguably this was the start of the NFT avatar hype cycle we’re still experiencing. In August the Hashmasks team announced to move the project into gaming and virtual worlds. The team will commission the development of a video game, which uses either the original artworks or the airdropped NFT avatars based on the NFT art pieces. Even though further details around this game have not been revealed yet (likely development didn’t even really start), the developers did noted that it will feature play-to-earn mechanics.
In May 2021 every CryptoPunk owner received a free Meebit NFT, while others could acquire a Meebit through a 2.5 ETH Dutch auction. Even though Meebits have been a bit forgotten, the NFT collection from Larva Labs did introduce a special feature: utility as a 3D avatar in a virtual world. NFT owners can use an OBJ file to import their Meebit into for example VR Chat, Somnium Space or other VR environments. Being one of the first 3D avatars, or arguably the first, Meebits do have some historical significance. Now imagine you can run around any games, using a Meebit. That’s pretty cool!
Very likely there aren’t all NFT avatar collections that also step into the gaming space. If you know about a cool collection, please reach out to @playtoearn on Twitter or find us on Discord. Keep in mind that we are looking for project that allow you to use your exact NFT character in a virtual world of gaming environment. So owning a Bored Ape and being allowing to play as a random Ape in a certain game, that doesn’t count.
Robert Hoogendoorn is a gamer and blockchain enthusiast. He got in touch with crypto in 2014, but the fire really lit in 2017. Professionally he’s a content optimization expert and worked for press agencies and video production companies, always with a focus on the video games & tech industry. He’s a content manager and creator at heart, working on Play to Earn. He’s also Head of Content for DappRadar.