CMON LTD wants to create a NFT marketplace for collectors to exchange digital artwork of their line of IPs, and thus the platform and company Monsoon Digital is ready to take shape! Amongst the first wave of collectibles is licensed artwork from Zombicide. Although trading is limited at the moment, the idea to grow this product depends on whether gamers will embrace this “new fad” or not. Wizards of the Coast had their own idea to turn Magic the Gathering into that, but when there was an unofficial product being made, they shut that down fast.
As for how that can work in the real world depends on what one can do with a digital product that doesn’t have a real world counterpart. The platform is now open as a public beta at https://www.mon.sn/collections and what I’m seeing barely scratches the surface. I’ll be keeping my eyes on it though, since it’d be nice to have some kind of “ownership” over customised material for a game. I see this practise at comic book conventions, where a collector asks their favourite artist to draw a character or planeswalker they love (Chandra for example) to use as a proxy card over using the official one. The concept for digital is no different.
For now, fans of the Zombicide board game can exchange digital assets to adjust what their favourite characters can wear. In order to survive, what they hold as their wares matters a lot more. That is, people can fuse a bunch of cards together to improve the artwork. Currently, these upgrades are pre-defined rather than user-created, and what’s featured online have a bit of animation on them. They won’t interact with you, but it’s a cute touch to give life to the character cards. The only problem I see here is that you can’t bring this into the board game. I suspect that if the idea takes off, CMON might be open to allowing it into their games.
Here, users don’t have much to do since this marketplace is all about buying and selling digital art. I was hoping there’d be an online trading card game component too, but alas, no. It might be in the works, but I can’t guess what these two companies have in mind since partnering up. That might be part of the “challenges” feature under the “my cards” screen, which is still in development, but I feel that’s unlikely.
To combine an online CCG with NFT is more of a game-changer since it can increase the value of a card. I’ve played the game during conventions, and recognise the digital version isn’t too different from the physical product. The backgrounds have changed, and that’s easy to alter when the file may be a photoshop file–just change the layer. But in terms of mechanics, by altering some an ability or damage bonus can make or break an encounter. Alternatively, activation costs can be changed so that it’s cheaper to play.
Instead, all we get are achievements, which are unlocked by those collectors willing to spend lots of money to either buy packs in hopes what’s obtained is enough, or trading with others. It’s almost like playing the stock market, but the only difference is that you’re not losing your shirt over any loss. People with money to burn loves the gamble.
But what I find with these types of products is that unless owners can flaunt the product in the real world–like as a screensaver–not everyone will know what you own. NFTs that are artwork are sometimes put on display, and one would need a digital screen to flaunt this type of collectable.
Currently, the beta release doesn’t offer a means to convert the digital collectible to real currency should a buyer decide to cash in. One feature that I can’t find is how much money I have left in the wallet and a spreadsheet listing the values of all the cards in one easy to look at chart. I can imagine down the road the possibility of trading money in for an actual CMON product, so that gamers have something tangible than imaginary to hold.
CMON employs terrific artists to design their games. But as for convincing the masses to get on board the NFT train, it’s going to be an uphill battle. Not everyone believes in it. For now, this marketplace is about Zombicide. But once more commodities are added, I’m certain Monsoon’s platform will gain more traction. In the works are Cthulhu: Death May Die (check out my unboxing video) and Night of the Living Dead, subject to licensor approval.
If it happens, It’d be cool to have a way to trade in everything for something physical from CMON’s catalogue of games if they don’t like giving up money. I’m just waiting for the vaults of ANKH: Gods of Egypt to open. By then, I may invest. Honestly, CMON is more about what you can play, than hide away.