Move over pay to win – you have a new challenger on the horizon

Move over pay to win – you have a new challenger on the horizon

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Some in-game items are worth hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, and many are beginning to see the genuine value behind P2E games. (Photos: Decrypt and Railey)
Throughout the history of home video gaming, games served as a fun diversion. Now, the new generation of video games is employing blockchain technology such as NFTs to reward players with bitcoin. These play-to-earn games are already allowing gamers to make a living by playing video games, and in some countries, scholarship programs and academies are working to help players navigate this brave new world.اضافة اعلان

While some have welcomed the introduction of play-to-earn games, saying that they allow players to earn incentives for doing something they would have done for free before, many gamers have voiced concern about the unwelcome incursion of commerce into the escapist world of gaming.

What exactly is play-to-earn? 

Simply put, play-to-earn games are video games where players can earn real-world benefits.

While many have been earning money using video games for many years through gold farming — the practice of playing a massively multiplayer online game and acquiring in-game currency to later sell for real-world money — and unauthorized marketplaces for in-game items, the advent of blockchain technology and NFTs has essentially transformed the nature of gaming.

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are cryptographically distinct tokens that can be used to establish ownership of material such as photographs or music. In blockchain games, they allow players to assume ownership of in-game assets such as virtual apparel or plots of land.

Unlike traditional games where in-game objects are kept on closed data networks and are controlled by the corporations who produced the game, NFTs allow users to own the unique assets that they acquire. Furthermore, if you possess the NFT, you may freely sell it outside of the platform on which it was developed, which is not feasible with traditional games. This is because such NFTs are in short supply, so they have real-world value.

Fun should be the main reason to play normal games because the monetary benefit is one-sided. You pay for the game, and you cannot monetize your playtime unless you are a professional e-sports player or a streamer with a large following.

With blockchain gaming, gamers can earn actual money. Players may transfer value and be paid to play regardless of who they are or where they are in the globe since blockchain technology allows users to make transactions wherever they are.

Not just a gold farmer: The rise of the play-to-earn paradigm

Axie Infinity, a Pokémon-style monster-battling game released in 2018 by independent studio Sky Mavis, is the most popular play-to-earn game. Players gather cartoon creatures called Axies — represented by NFTs in the game — each Axie has distinct abilities and weaknesses. Players can adventure, combat, and breed their Axies as they play.

Players get crypto tokens as rewards for winning in combat. In Axie Infinity Shard, or AXS, tokens are utilized to vote on future development decisions.

Axie Infinity has become one of the main play-to-earn games, with 2.8 million daily users and a total trade volume of $3.8 billion. In countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia, some individuals play Axie to support their families.

Axie scholarships, such as those given by Yield Guild Games, have also popped up, allowing Axie owners to loan their NFTs to other players.

Play-to-earn gaming is also promoting crypto adoption; according to Axie Infinity co-founder Aleksander Leonard Larsen, half of the game's players had never used a cryptocurrency before. However, there are charges associated with playing the game, and you must first acquire three Axie NFTs, each of which can cost hundreds of dollars.

Larsen recognized the difficulties in bringing new players into the game, adding, “it’s pretty hard to start playing Axie right now". To solve this issue, Axie intends to provide free beginning Axies with limited earning potential to introduce new players to the game.

Other play-to-earn solutions combine NFT gaming with decentralized financial instruments (DeFi). Aavegotchi, an experimental startup funded by DeFi money market Aave, allows players to stake Aave's aTokens inside cartoon creatures represented by NFTs, implying that each Aavegotchi generates Aave yield.

The potential of NFTs and play-to-earn has also piqued the interest of the mainstream gaming industry. French video game company Ubisoft has already revealed plans for Ubisoft Quartz, a platform that allows players to earn and purchase NFTs based on the Tezos blockchain.

Other publishers who have dabbled in NFTs have faced a heated response from gamers, with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 developer GSC Game World canceling plans to put NFTs in the game after a player-led Twitter campaign.

Some gamers — already irritated by publishers' monetization of games through "pay-to-win" models and loot boxes — see play-to-earn as a step too far, arguing that introducing real-world economic models and incentives will transform gaming from escapism into a blatantly capitalist "investo-tainment" sector.

However, with investment firms such as FTX and Andreesen Horowitz pouring capital into the play-to-earn industry, it shows no indications of abating anytime soon.

Delving into the metaverse 

The metaverse, a shared virtual environment in which users engage as avatars to meet up, work together, and play games, is emerging concurrently with play-to-earn gaming.

Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and NFTs play a significant role in metaverse ideas, with NFTs representing virtual items and land parcels.

Metaverse platforms like The Sandbox, Decentraland, and CryptoVoxels are already integrating NFTs into the shared virtual world. At the same time, mainstream firms like Facebook (recently renamed Meta, as an indication of its ambitions), Adidas, and Samsung have staked out their claims in the metaverse.

Even though we are only in the early phases of imagining what the metaverse may be, we are already seeing live concerts and meet-ups. Gaming will undoubtedly follow, and with the promise of an interconnected world and NFTs allowing in-game objects to transfer between metaverse platforms, it might work as a potent spur for play-to-earn gaming.

Finally, there is no denying the power of play to earn, which allows anybody, from anywhere, to earn a career just by playing games they like.

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