Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are at the heart of Merit Circle, a rising star in the crypto industry. NFTs enable the play & earn economy that Merit Circle focuses on, in which gamers buy and earn NFTs that they can sell and trade. For this, Merit Circle asked DEPT® to develop an NFT marketplace that distinguishes with an experience that is devoted to both gamers and game developers.
By gamers, for gamers
Merit Circle is all about games. Investing, playing, building and now the trading of the assets that power the play & earn economy with an NFT marketplace. For Merit Circle, it’s the final piece in their portfolio that closes the circle. While most NFTs are being bought and sold for their aesthetic and speculative properties, gaming NFTs add a new layer by enhancing the gaming experience. Instead of just displaying your shiny item, you can also use it in a gaming metaverse to slay that terrifying dragon. This allows for its own niche in the crypto industry, one that Merit Circle is set on conquering.
With a massive market share, OpenSea is currently the most dominant NFT marketplace by far. Still, new players with a heavy focus on the gaming industry such as Fractal, are popping up every day. However, what better company to build an NFT marketplace than a community owned gaming DAO, which is already fully tailored towards helping gamers succeed in this space. And on top of that, Merit Circle has another advantage that most competitors lack: the actual content. It has the benefit of being able to leverage a rich network of games, each bringing its own gaming community. To accommodate this expected growth, we built a gaming community platform from scratch that makes onboarding and interacting more user-friendly. At the same time, we developed the NFT marketplace for this community to trade their gaming NFTs.
Upgrading the gaming NFT marketplace experience
At OpenSea, NFTs for gaming are treated like any other NFTs and every profile looks the same. Creators have few options to display the usage of an NFT in a game, or to tell the larger story behind it, which is essential for the world-building on which games rely. Without these two essential properties, gaming NFTs are mostly considered for their financial history and possible value gain. In a nothing about us, without us approach, we held a series of 1-on-1 interviews with game studios, gamers and investors. In three explorative design sprints, we listened to user experiences, complaints and wishes, and discussed prototypes and new solutions. This way, we learned what would be needed to upgrade the current experience of trading NFTs for gaming. At the same time, we also aspire to address the general issues with NFT trading that we currently see.
Anyone who has taken a dive into the world of crypto, wallets, NFTs and gas fees, can tell you how incredibly difficult it can be to truly get in to the crypto industry. Especially if you are not tech-savvy. The UI is often lacking, and sometimes it’s unclear what is happening or how to get engaged. We decided to meet this challenge head-on with contextual education in an approach called just-in-time learning. Instead of referring users to support forums and FAQ repositories in which they have to find their own way, we provide short explanations and next steps. By applying proven design patterns that users will know from webshops, the user experience becomes smoother. Transparency was another key factor, for which we ensured the fees and value of the NFT are clearly visible. We also worked with Game Development Studios from the very start of the project, which allowed us to lower the threshold for creators and Game Developing Studios to create their own marketplace. The Merit Circle Marketplace will be giving them a good deal of options to customise their own landing pages, enabling them to create a unique environment that fits their identity and needs.
Wider appeal to the masses
Together with Merit Circle, we firmly believe that a better user experience is essential for Web 3.0 to break through to the masses. With the launch of an NFT marketplace for and by gamers, we aim to move the needle and make the trading of NFTs for gaming more accessible for everyone. Authentic to the Merit Circle brand, and with a clear focus on creating value and improving the gaming experience. Merit Circle has the clear ambition to lead the play & earn industry, and with the addition of this NFT marketplace to its ecosystem, Merit Circle is one step closer to minting that role.
Jochem van Rossem