The gaming industry is expanding rapidly, and the emerging play-to-earn model, combined with blockchain and the Metaverse, is the way of the future.
The gaming industry, which has always been associated with entertainment, has grown massively in recent years, and a lot of money is now mentioned when gaming is mentioned. The industry has grown tremendously since the introduction of Web 3.0. According to reports, the global gaming market was worth $152 billion at the end of 2019. Because of this growth, there has been a consistent rate at which Web 3.0 games have grown and gained increased adoption since the introduction of Web 3.0. There is a lot of money being made, which has attracted a lot of new developers to the space.
In the past, gaming has always been a one-sided relationship in which only the developers or owners of a game profited financially while players were left to have fun and keep spending. A new economic model has now been introduced, but players have spent a lot of money on gaming in the years leading up to it. Customers will spend $143 billion on mobile applications in 2020, according to the industry. A whopping $100 billion of that total was taken up by gaming apps. This meant that gaming apps took a hefty 70% of every dollar spent on the Google Play Store (for Android devices) and the App Store (for Apple devices). Despite the introduction of a new gaming model, it is estimated that over $120 billion will be spent on mobile games in 2021. This represents a 20% increase over the figures for 2020.
The play-to-earn gaming model, which I’ve mentioned twice now, is a new gaming model. It is no exaggeration to say that the global COVID-19 pandemic sparked interest in play-to-earn games. The same can be said for the virtual worlds, or “metaverses,” in which these games are hosted.
What exactly is the Metaverse?
The term “metaverse” is derived from the prefix “meta,” which means “beyond,” and the word “universe.” As a result, the Metaverse is a world that exists outside of the universe. So to speak, an otherworldly setting. Virtual lands, avatars, and even buildings can be purchased and sold in the Metaverse. This is most commonly done with cryptocurrencies. People can move around freely with their friends in these virtual environments, attend events, and buy goods and services — basically, they can do everything they can do in the real world.
The global pandemic’s lockdowns pushed people to investigate the potential of the online world, and they discovered that they could still do business and have fun at the same time, using their devices from anywhere in the world. Many of today’s metaverses are powered by blockchain technology, and in order to transact in these virtual worlds, a user would need cryptocurrency or nonfungible tokens (NFTs). Many of today’s play-to-earn games have their own metaverses with native cryptocurrencies that are used for transactions as well as receiving in-game assets and rewards.
What exactly are play-to-earn games?
The play-to-earn gaming model embraces the concept of an open economy and financially rewards every user who adds value to the gaming ecosystem by playing and spending time in it. Previously, games were thought to be nothing more than a way to have fun. That perception is changing as a new type of game emerges. These games are not only entertaining, but also lucrative investment opportunities. When it comes to investments, big venture capital firms have recently poured money into the industry. In the 18 months leading up to 2019, the global gaming industry received $9.6 billion in investment, with 24 blockchain-based gaming companies receiving $476 million in the first half of 2021 alone.
Play-to-earn games such as Axie Infinity and The Sandbox have recently gained popularity, and one thing they all have in common is their economic system. Consider the traditional game The Sims, in which a player can purchase in-game assets with in-game currency — but both the currency and the assets have no real-world value. This is because there was no liquidity infrastructure in the game. World of Warcraft, another traditional game, does have a marketplace where players can buy in-game assets and trade characters, but it is disorganized. All of these issues have been resolved by combining blockchain technology with the play-to-earn model.
How do earn-to-play games work?
To explain how play-to-earn games work, I’ll use Axie Infinity as an example. Sky Mavis, a Vietnamese developer, created Axie Infinity, a blockchain game inspired by Pokémon. It currently has over a million active daily users, and the cute in-game creatures known as Axies are what have drawn such a large number of people to it. These Axies can be bred, purchased, and trained by users. The Axies are also used to complete tasks and fight battles. The game’s objective is to obtain an in-game token known as Smooth Love Potion (SLP). Players can breed their Axies with SLP, giving them the advantage of earning more.
Another reason players want to accumulate as much SLP as possible is that SLP is a cryptocurrency that can be purchased and sold on cryptocurrency exchanges. The best players are said to earn up to 1,500 SLPs per day. At the time of writing, this was around $250 (due to volatility, which causes the exchange rate to fluctuate constantly). The Axie creatures themselves can be purchased as NFTs on the open market. NFTs can also be used to sell in-game assets such as real estate and flowers. So, in Axie Infinity’s play-to-earn economy, players are rewarded for their time by earning SLP, which can be sold on crypto exchanges, as well as acquiring Axies and other in-game assets, which can be sold in open marketplaces.
Other earn-to-play games
Aside from Axie Infinity, I see potential in other play-to-earn games and platforms that are about to or have already launched.
Bloktopia, backed by Polygon, is a decentralized metaverse that will provide the crypto community with an unprecedented virtual reality experience. The Metaverse serves as a link between the virtual and physical worlds within the decentralized and open-source worlds. Protocols to manage the digital value of real estate and digital art will emerge, and NFTs on the Polygon network will act as facilitators due to their low cost and speed of transactions.
OneTo11 is a fantasy sports mobile application that aims to give users a new way to put their sports knowledge to use for their general enjoyment and benefit. OneTo11 envisions a future in which sports fans, bettors, and gamers can do what they love on a revolutionary platform. They get to interact socially as well as compete against one another in a transparent and decentralized manner. This is a platform that allows users to earn money by participating in fantasy sports and other games on its platform.
OneTo11 rewards its customers’ loyalty by providing each player with the same chance and opportunity to prove and showcase their skills. Players on the OneTo11 platform can earn money even if they do not participate in paid contests. This game is distinct from other play-to-earn games in that users can earn money in three ways:
Winnings from contests: Players create fantasy teams to enter contests, and they win money simply by finishing in the top 75%. Network commission: Using a unique code, players can refer other smartphone users to the OneTo11 platform. When their referrals enter paid contests, the players receive 1.5 percent of the contest fee. Referral income: OneTo11 platform users can earn money from the referrals of their referrals. OneTo11 rewards its users in the network with up to 11 levels of referrals.
The goal of Nakamoto Games is to provide anyone with a crypto wallet with access to a wide range of play-to-earn games on the platform. They can earn substantial and long-term incomes with this access. The company will launch an in-house suite of games in which players from all over the world will compete for weekly prize pools and earn lucrative rewards.
Developers will also be able to build and deploy play-to-earn games on the platform, while maintaining control over the monetization aspect of their games. This is similar to how apps are launched on Google Play or Apple’s App Store.
Immortal Games is a platform created by a talented group of game developers who are working on incredible gaming projects. They’ve created trading card games (TCGs) and collectible card game engines, and are currently working on American Gothic, a fresh take on classic TCGs. In this game, players control four races in an American Gothic setting, with several unique game modes available, including “Arena,” “Tournaments,” “Lands,” and “Multiplayer.” Another game in development on the platform is Fantasy Defense, which is an interpretation of the classic tower defense genre with a larger multiplayer field.
Immortal Games believes that the gaming industry is undergoing a revolution in terms of true ownership of in-game assets, and they are working to that end.
TryHards is an NFT-based shooter game powered by the Polygon blockchain. By simply playing Tryhards, players can stake, fight, craft, and upgrade their characters and weapons. These characters, dubbed Fanatics, and their weapons are all based on NFT. Players must collect as many Fanatics as possible in order to increase their gaming power, and because this is a play-to-earn game, there is a monetary incentive to stake the platform’s native $TRY tokens and continue playing.
Finally, some thoughts
Even though play-to-earn games are still in their infancy, they appear to be here to stay and enjoy widespread popularity. Players can create new digital assets, trade them using the game’s infrastructures, and earn virtual in-game currencies that can be easily converted into other cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies.
Many games have previously supported the dynamics of an online community, but by adding the ability to generate a financial income, play-to-earn games are making communities much more active. Because the niche is still in its early stages, it may be worthwhile to keep an eye on these play-to-earn projects, as they may be beneficial in the long run.