Thousands of titles, all of them marketed to within an inch of their lives. But which ones are crap, and which the real deal? Aussie NFT gaming guru Balthazar has launched a new review system to help inform the market, as transparently as possible.

The NFT space is baffling in a lot of ways – even more as developers and the community at large find new and interesting ways for NFTs to be pressed into some form of practical use.

Which is how NFTs have found their way into the gaming space, first at a trickle but now as a flood of new titles fill the ecosystem with a dizzying array of NFT-related options, whether it’s as decorative player avatars or useful, unique items within the gameplay itself.

That flood means there’s now more than 1400 identifiable NFT gaming titles vying for the small-but-growing market, which is clearly an overwhelming number to choose from, given that for the most part, the only real source of information about each title has been generated by the marketing team behind each one.

That volume of options – and the preponderance of intensely slick marketing material for each one – means that getting into an NFT game is pretty much a lucky dip.

The gloriously cinematic launch videos and hyperbolic sales pitches for each one can – and often do – hide deeply flawed game mechanics, or downplay the fact that the average gamer is going to end up grinding for pennies until they die of old age.

In an effort to bring some sort of order to the chaos, Australian NFT specialist Balthazar has assembled a team of gaming experts, armed them with a carefully mapped list of scorable attributes and let them loose on a selection of pre-release games.

The aim of it all is to provide a working, trustworthy rubric for scoring NFT games, helping Web3 gamers to find the options they would most like to sink their most valuable commodity – time – into playing.

Justifiably proud at launch

John Stefanidis, CEO and Co-founder of Balthazar, said he is proud of the Balthazar Game Score.

“The Balthazar Game Score is an exciting development for NFT gaming because it will help to sift through more than 1,400 games in the space,” Stefanidis says.

“Our Alpha team led by Nicholas Korsgård has created an incredibly helpful resource for the industry that will not only help developers create better games but also help gamers choose where to spend their time.”

Korsgård, currently Chief Gaming Officer (!) at Balthazar, is no slouch in the gaming and esports world. He’s been a highly competitive League of Legends player, moving into full-time high coaching in 2015 to work with some of the biggest names in the sport.

As Korsgård explains it, the objective for the Game Scores is to summarise the research reports into an overall score and to create a benchmark for high quality NFT games.

“Balthazar’s Game Score is extremely important for the NFT gaming industry because it encourages games to be more transparent, higher quality, and gives credibility and validation to well-made games,” he said.

“For Web2 gamers taking the leap into Web3 games, they want AAA quality games. Through our comprehensive research and scoring, it will be very clear which games show the most potential in the space.”

Who’s leading the ladder so far?

Balthazar has tested its game score system on 10 games so far, and is looking to start building out that list over the course of the next few months, with the aim of becoming a go-to resource for anyone interested in getting into NFT gaming, or just looking for something new to play.

Among the 10 pre-release games that it’s had its judging panel look into, Parallel scored the highest, with a near perfect 9.5 out of 10 for its gameplay, structure and the way in which it combines traditional card games with modern technology, including NFTs and digital assets.

The game ​​is “set in a dystopian future where humankind diverged into five paths following a cataclysmic event on Earth”, according to Balthazar’s website. “Thousands of years later, the five Parallels now converge again on Earth with conflicting interests.”

It’s a recipe where the idea of unique items, play-to-earn mechanics and a back-end monetisation ecosystem make a lot of sense – consumers are crying out for engaging ways to play, which have a genuine stake in their core to add more excitement to the experience.

It’s an edge that other players in the gaming space are trying to capture through different means, such as Zebedee, which launched special servers for Valve’s online shooter, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO).

Zebedee’s tilt: its servers allow players to wager small sums on the outcome of matches that they’re playing in – a case of putting your money where your mouth is when you’re being called “absolute trash” by some screaming 10-year-old who wants to 1-v-1 you to exact revenge after you’ve blown them off the map for the 8th time in a hour..

Where to from here?

There’s no doubt that Balthazar’s attempt to get in early and lock itself in as an early (but solid) presence in the game-ranking space is a smart one – and given both the transparency of its scoring system and the big names it has working on rating the games, it’s in a pretty good spot to be the go-to for gamers who are looking for the Next Big Thing in the NFT gaming space.

But with 10 games rated so far, and another 1,390 (and growing) left to cover, there’s some long afternoons of gaming ahead for the judging panel.