Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows: It’s “crazy” what we pay for items in games like Fortnite

Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows: It’s “crazy” what we pay for items in games like Fortnite

Matt Sanders (aka M. Shadows) is the lead vocalist for the heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold. But he’s much more than just a famous metalhead: he’s also a gamer, a CryptoPunk, and one of the minds behind the band’s 2014 dungeon crawler RPG called Hail to the King: Deathbat.

On the last episode of Decrypthis gm podcast, Sanders shared his perspective on video games leveraging crypto and NFTs – and took a strong stance against so-called “experts” facing Web3 technology.

“I’m a gamer, so I understand digital goods,” he said of his early affinity for purely virtual assets. “I understand there is a lack of it.”

Sanders was a relative early adopter of crypto, saying he bought Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin around 2016. But he was also early adopter of NFTs, falling in love with the early CryptoPunks community.

“This was a very sophisticated, forward-thinking group of people,” he said of the CryptoPunks Discord server. “I honestly learned a lot from them. And I became friends with many of them in real life.”

Sanders has immersed himself in crypto and gaming – and sees the two as a natural fit. Like many NFT advocates, he is not content to pay big bucks for digital items in the closed, “walled garden” ecosystems of traditional online video games.

“It’s crazy that we pay the money we pay for the skins,” he said of cosmetic items in non-crypto games such as battle royale shooter Fortnite.

In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), cosmetic weapon skins can sell for anywhere from hundreds of dollars to six-figure sums on the secondary market – but they only work in CS:GO. And in many games, such as Fortnite, the purchased items can only be resold in so-called “grey markets” which may violate the game publisher’s terms of use.

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Like many gamers open to the possibilities of NFTs and crypto in video games, Sanders believes that making such valuable items easily tradable and transferable takes the stakes of gaming to the next level. He raised the possibility that someone could try to exploit such economies, but predicts that technological solutions will be developed.

“It could be terrifyingly cool,” he said of a possible high-stakes blockchain game, “or it could just be what our kids do.”

He echoed a sentiment shared by top crypto game industry players like Gala Games, Solana and Magic Eden: The next generation of tokenized games actually need to be fun, and no amount of crypto rewards or incentives can make a bad game good.

“You have to have a good match first. It can’t be, ‘Oh, we’re an NFT game, and here’s our game,'” Sanders said. “It has to be, ‘This is a great game and everyone wants to play.’

He’s also not the biggest fan of crypto jargon like “Web3 gaming,” arguing that such terms can create confusion and branding issues. Instead, the singer wants to see content and utility brought to the fore. Still, he didn’t mince words when asked about the broader backlash against NFTs in gaming.

“There’s just pushback everywhere,” he said, adding that the mainstream media has harpooned all crypto with “experts” who don’t actually understand the technology.

“People are storytelling, narrative-based things, right? They need a story, they need to have a narrative, they rally behind things, and they’re very tribal,” Sanders argued. “What’s happening now is that everything works against this narrative of “This might help you.” And so it has become so strong that it just has to be some very nice utility items.”

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