May 25, 2022
Although people think that playing to earn games is a new concept, it is not at all. Many mobile games try to get their players as addicted as possible to their game, to the point where they will be willing to spend real money in order to purchase in-game assets. The first major occurrence of this happening was with World of Warcraft, where although the company Blizzard itself was not promoting it, people could still buy in-game gold from gold farmers in exchange for real money on the “black market”.
This made it possible for players to become successful in the game with two different strategies: either through playing the game, leveling up, and earning gold, or through simply paying someone on the black market for some in-game gold. Blizzard did not like this and even wanted to ban this practice, as they wanted a pure gaming experience and disapproved of selling in-game items for money.
Other people saw this as an incredible untapped opportunity. Many mobile games started out free, but to upgrade one’s ranks quickly one would have to pay for in-game assets. Overall, blockchain play-to-earn games share the same concept: people could earn the best in-game assets by playing the game often, or can earn the same assets by paying for it.
Users are rewarded with in-game tokens for playing the game, completing certain missions, and participating in certain battles. These tokens tend to not be worth much, but as demand for the game increases and the supply of the tokens is scarce some games have had their tokens absolutely explode in value.
In case you missed it: Does Crypto pay dividends?
What makes play-to-earn (P2E) games interesting is that they reward all types of players: the casual gamers who are willing to pay a little bit in order to level up fast, as well as the hardcore gamers willing to spend multiple hours a day earning every reward possible. This helps in creating an active community that rewards its users, and can bring even more players (and therefore money) to the game!
Contrary to popular belief, P2E games do not need to be blockchain-based, or even integrated into a blockchain at all. Some very simple mobile games like Candy Crush are technically P2E, as players receive ‘candy’ when they win a game. With enough candy, bonuses can be unlocked, and players can always opt to purchase this ‘candy’ instead of playing in order to receive it. The only big difference here is that the in-game currency’s price is set by the company that made the game, and is not governed by the free market.
In case you missed it: Metaverse companies to keep an eye on in 2022
Blockchain-based P2E games allow the players to decide the price of the assets and the value of the coins. This creates a game where players can be rewarded exponentially, as long as enough players join and play the game. Early adopters might get rewarded the most, as they can accumulate coins that could increase in value in the future. Of course, the coins could also have no value.
Blockchain-based P2E games have another advantage in that they can sometimes be governed by the community. Some P2E games have a DAO, which allows any player to create a proposal and allow other players to vote on that proposal. This way, the game grows organically with the community, instead of a centralized growth led by a single company or game studio.
Overall, people play games because they are fun. P2E games are considered the next iteration of this, as they allow a lower barrier to entry (usually no need for a console or a good PC for most P2E games) and reward their players with in-game assets that can be exchanged for money. The bigger issue for P2E is that it is so new, and no big-name game studios have adopted it yet. There is no AAA game that is P2E yet, and so far there are no plans to make one.
P2E is interesting in its own way and definitely does have its own place in the gaming ecosystem. The best part about P2E is that it will help the mainstream audience start diving into the exciting world of crypto: the people playing P2E games will need to open a crypto wallet, sell their earned crypto for stablecoins, etc. However, we are a long way from P2E taking over the traditional gaming space.
The traditional gaming space has its own dedicated user base, and will not be going away anytime soon. We will need the traditional gaming space to start adopting P2E before any significant changes happen, and the big game studios have no intention of doing that. Big game studios want complete control and freedom over their game, and may not want to give that same freedom to their users like we see in P2E games. Therefore, P2E is great, but definitely has a long way to go before becoming the norm for gaming.