Dragon Ball Z footprints in NFT markets and Metaverse
Animated TV series have always had a lot of fans around the world. Japanese animations with their unique style have always had a special place among fans of animated series. Dragon Ball Z is the most well-known animated TV series among the Dragon Ball media franchise. It has been around for more than two decades. The series aired in Japan from 1989 to 1996 and was later dubbed for broadcast in at least 81 countries worldwide. Therefore, it has a huge fan base, from teens who have just started watching the series to adults who have been with the series from 20 years ago.
The series was so popular that several giant video game developers such as Atari and Nintendo released their own games based on the TV series. Currently, more than 50 video games are bearing the Dragon Ball Z name across a range of platforms from the Nintendo Entertainment System to the current generation consoles.
Other than video games, Dragon Ball Z toys, action figures, and even card games have also been very successful.
The recent rise in the popularity of Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) suggests that there’s room for Dragon Ball Z NFTs in this newfound market. Up until now, although there have been no official limited edition Dragon Ball Z NFTs, however, there are a lot of fan-created NFTs in NFT marketplaces. At the moment, there are Dragon Ball Z NFT collections on sale on OpenSea.io and Rarible.com. Based on OpenSea.io data, DBZ NFTs created by fans are usually priced around 0.001 Ethereum and their trading volume is usually low. However, Sheefy McFly's NFT collection based on Dragon Ball Z, the "DBZ Smash Up", sold out in minutes. These limited-edition digital drawings each sold for 0.69 Ethereum. He mashed DBZ characters into one digital drawing to create his NFT.
Sheefy McFly's "DBZ Smash Up" NFT collection
Although Sheefy McFly is a legendary visual artist, however, his NFT collection is still considered fan art. Obviously, if the TV series producer, Toei Animation, or the original characters designer, Akira Toriyama, create an NFT collection it would be way more valuable and expensive. Therefore, there is still a lot of potential for launching an official NFT collection. To show you the big picture, according to Bloomberg, the NFTs market cap surpassed 40 billion dollars in 2021. Moreover, rare NFTs can have a lot higher prices. For example, XCopy’s “A Coin for the Ferryman” NFT was created in 2018 but actually sold for over 6 million dollars on November 4, 2021. Also, in another case, CryptoPunk #5822 NFT has been sold for 8,000 ETH and the whole CryptoPunk NFT project trading value has been around $2.6 billion so far.
Although, most people see NFTs as just limited edition pictures with limited capabilities, actually, NFTs can do a lot more than that. NFTs are unique decentralized smart contracts that can carry different functions within themselves. So, instead of just having them as collectible, it is possible to have Dragon Ball Z NFT card games, for example. It is also possible to turn Dragon Ball Z existing games into NFT games, so players could buy or trade game items as NFTs. NFTs can even be used to send account information and provide special services to players who own them. NFTs can also motivate players financially, and many professional gamers can make money from NFTs. NFT game items do not rely on banks and other conventional financial systems and are tradable directly between users. NFT games such as Axie Infinity are very popular these days, and they have attracted the attention of many players and even investors. According to Coinmrketcap.com, Axie Infinity’s fully diluted market cap is around 12.6 billion dollars, and it has shown phenomenal growth in the past year (around 828% market cap growth from March 11, 2021, to March 11, 2022). So, even though DBZ-based games have been very successful so far, using NFTs in them can provide them with more growth potential. In recent years, even rumors of companies using blockchain-based technologies have boosted their market value. Of course, the NFT market, like the cryptocurrency market, is very volatile, and it has experienced a lot of turmoil, especially in the last year, however, its growth potential has been so attractive that many investors have accepted the risky nature of this market. On the other hand, one of the drawbacks of the NFT transactions is the high gas fees of the Ethereum smart chain, but now new smart chains such as Immutable X have been developed that have reduced the gas fee to zero.
But wait, there is more! The benefits that blockchain technology can bring to the Dragon Ball Z TV series can be even greater. Although many potentials can be realized by converting game items to NFTs, this is not the end of the road. You must remember the storm that Facebook created by changing its name to Meta and entering the Metaverse. NFTs are also used in the metaverse, but not every game is metaverse. By Metaverse, we mean living in a virtual world. This virtual world could be a game that we live in or a concert that we are attending or any virtual space that you could imagine. For example, investment banks, sporting goods producers like Nike, and even car manufacturers like Ferrari have also opened their virtual shops, showrooms, and offices. Metaverse existed before the development of NFTs, but the use of NFTs in it also sparked investors' interest.
Now imagine living in the Dragon Ball Z world. Metaverse will allow Dragon Ball Z fans to really feel like they are living in that world. Metaverse will allow you to play, cosplay, and socialize in the Dragon Ball Z world. This is more than just a game. Therefore, being in the Dragon Ball Z metaverse will be a new and exciting experience for the fans. The use of NFTs in metaverse will also give fans a financial incentive to participate in this virtual world, and will generally justify the creation of such a virtual world economically.
The market cap of Decentraland, one of the most famous metaverses in the world, is currently close to 4 billion dollars. If we want to compare the popularity of Decentraland with Dragon Ball Z, Decentraland's official Twitter account (@decentraland) has 561 thousand followers, while Dragon's official account (@dragonballz) has 161 thousand followers. This shows how attractive metaverse is. As a result, we can say that by entering into the metaverse, Dragon Ball Z can attract many users and investors.
At the time of writing this paper, there is no official Dragon Ball Z metaverse yet, however, the producers of Dragon Ball Z games and toys have announced their interest and plans on creating such a virtual world. According to the media “Bandai Namco, the Japanese video game publishing giant has now revealed that it is working on a new development project, one that could see characters and settings from Dark Souls, Dragon Ball Z, and Elden Ring all collide in the metaverse, in a bid to allow fans to interact across its different IPs through a shared interface. The Tokyo-based publisher has stated that it will invest $130 million on the project, labeled "IP Metaverse", as part of the company's new midterm plan, which outlines its three-year vision.” Tamashii Nations is also launching its metaverse, which also includes Dragon Ball Z characters. Bandai is the parent company of Tamashii Nations.
It is funny the title "Dragon Ball Z" was chosen by Akira Toriyama because Z is the last letter of the alphabet and he wanted to finish the series; however, the series has been alive more than ever in the gaming world. And from now on, it seems that by using NFTs and entering the virtual world, it can continue to live. Moreover, Due to the fact that a long time has passed since the production of this TV series, its old graphics may not be so attractive for the new generation, therefore, the use of new technologies such as metaverse in attracting the attention of the young people seems necessary.
To sum up, popular animated TV series like Dragon Ball Z, which have a lot of fans all over the world, also have a high potential to enter the field of blockchain. Using NFTs and entering into the virtual world can create a lot of value for them, and that is why their producers have many plans to enter this field. This can add value to the series itself and also make the entire NFT market more attractive. Therefore, we are facing a win-win situation here.