Over 50 years ago, the first video game launched, allowing people to take their minds off a hard day’s job. Today, the emergence of blockchain technology has led to the creation of new video games that reward participants with crypto.
Popularly known as play-to-earn (P2E), these blockchain-based games allow gamers to earn while doing what they love most. To learn more about P2E games, keep reading this guide.
Understanding Play-to-Earn Games
While most traditional gamers have welcomed P2E games as they reward them for doing something they did for free in the past, some are quite displeased with these games, claiming that they are exposing them to crypto scams.
All in all, play-to-earn games are on the rise. But what are they? As mentioned earlier, these games run on blockchain networks. They also use NFTs, which are unique digital assets that prove ownership of certain content like music or images. In P2E games, NFTs allow gamers to own in-game assets such as plots of land and virtual clothes.
Unlike in traditional games, where game studios retain ownership of the in-game items bought by gamers, blockchain-powered games give participants total control over the unique items they buy. Gamers can choose to transfer those assets from the game to an external NFT marketplace, where they can sell them for real money.
The Rise of P2E Model
As of September 2023, the biggest P2E game is Axie Infinity. The monster-battling NFT-driven game debuted in 2018. Sky Mavis is the game studio behind Axie Infinity. In the game, participants collect NFTs called Axies (cartoon creatures). Every Axie comes with its weaknesses and unique strengths. To earn the SLP (Smooth Love Portion) tokens, you must battle with other players’ Axies. Note that you can convert your earned SLP to AXS tokens if you wish to participate in the Axie Infinity governance.
The P2E game currently receives 2.8 million users daily. Over the past five years, it has generated $3.7 billion in trading volume. Recent reports show that gamers in Asian countries like Indonesia and the Philippines have made gaming in Axie Infinity their full-time job in an effort to provide for their families.
Play-to-earn games are playing a huge role in promoting crypto adoption, according to Aleksander Leonard, the co-founder of Axie Infinity. He argues that most gamers were not interested in crypto until the emergence of P2E games.
However, Leonard acknowledges the cost of playing blockchain games is hindering mass adoption. To participate in Axie Infinity, for example, you need three Axies, which may cost you a couple of dollars. Leonard says his firm will soon launch free starter Axie NFTs to onboard everyone to blockchain gaming regardless of their financial status.
Besides Axie Infinity, there is Aavegotchi, a P2E game backed by popular decentralized finance protocol Aave. Here, gamers stake their Aave aTokens inside Aavegotchi NFTs to generate yield on the Aave platform.
Web2 Game Studios Embracing Blockchain Gaming
It’s not just crypto-native companies that are interested in play-to-earn games. Several traditional game studios, like Ubisoft, have already launched their P2E projects. Ubisoft recently launched Quartz, a Tezos-based platform that allows players to buy and earn NFTs.
However, the entry of Web2 game studios into blockchain gaming has not sat well with some traditional gamers. A few months ago, GSC Game World, the developer behind popular video game S.T.A.L.K.E.R, was forced to cancel its plans to integrate NFTs in its future games following massive backlash from a section of gamers.
Despite the criticism, some game studios, including Square Enix, Nexon, Krafton, NCsoft, and Com2us, have decided to continue pursuing their blockchain gaming ambitions. And with several prominent investors like Andreessen Horowitz and Amonica Brands pouring funds into the nascent space, it appears that P2E games are here to stay.
Although P2E games are still in the early stages, we can tell that they are already revolutionizing the video gaming space. Today, gamers across the world have the chance to make a living by simply playing games they love.
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