Microsoft has launched a browser game that rewards players with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for use inside Minecraft, one of the world’s most popular games.
According to a press release shared to CoinDesk on Thursday, Azure Space Mystery is a text-based interactive and educational puzzle game set aboard the International Space Station.
There, players encounter prominent female scientists, including German astronomer Caroline Herschel and Scottish scientist Mary Somerville, the first two women to join the Royal Astronomical Society; Alexandrian philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician Hypatia; and French pilot Raymonde de Laroche, world’s first licensed female pilot.
NFTs acquired by playing the game will allow players to unlock a new “quest” inside the MyMetaverse Minecraft server. Users can then spawn Microsoft Azure heroes via the EnjinCraft plugin into the popular game.
“Education is key to empowering the next generation of innovators. Enjin is proud to work alongside Microsoft to generate innovative opportunities for merging virtual worlds, bringing digital communities closer together and celebrating powerful women in science and tech,” said Bryana Kortendick, VP of Operations & Communications at Enjin.
Microsoft says the new initiative demonstrates a viable interoperability between multiple platforms, applications and games.
“Enjin’s platform powers innovative projects across the gaming and wider blockchain ecosystem,” said Sherry List, Azure developer engagement lead at Microsoft.
List added the collaboration between Microsoft and Enjin has allowed her department to integrate “cutting-edge technology” with educational tools while simultaneously recognizing developer communities.
Minecraft + NFTs: How it works
On the first leg of the journey, a user embarks on a quest to explore and repair a failing international space station – the text-based part of the quest.
Upon successful completion, the user is then forwarded to a web page where they are asked to scan a QR code. The code provides an NFT that drops automatically into a user’s Enjin wallet, from there they can link their wallet to cross-platform gaming network MyMetaVerse.
NFTs are digital assets that represent a wide variety of physical goods as well as intangible assets, in the case of Microsoft’s initiative, digital badges.
Key characteristics of an NFT include the fact they are non-interoperable, indivisible, indestructible and verifiable.
Built on Ethereum’s ERC-721 and ERC-1155 token standards, they contain information that makes them distinct from other NFTs. Because they are easily verifiable, no two are the same and are unable to be traded with each other, differing from typical cryptocurrency standards.
It’s important to gamers because they can access forms of value that unlock perks and benefits across multiple platforms, games and apps, creating integrated experiences that can potentially travel with them across the internet.
On the final leg, a user needs to link up MyMetaVerse to Minecraft enabling access to Microsoft’s NFTs within the blocky 3D world.
Once inside Minecraft a user can type a directive /wallet that will spawn collectible “companions” who follow the user around the server and protect them.
“NFTs are important because they provide irrefutable proof of digital scarcity,” said Simon Kertonegoro, vice-president of developer success at Enjin. “With over 126 million users, the ability to spawn blockchain assets inside a Minecraft server is a huge step towards NFT adoption,”
Finally, completing the quest in Minecraft will enable players to unlock fungible tokens that provide benefits in Telegram and Discord. The “XX & XY Certified Equal” token can be used to unlock exclusive chat groups in the popular social messaging apps.
The Azure Space Mystery challenge is currently free to join and is accessible via Microsoft’s website from Feb. 11 through to March 11, 2021, according to the release.