The rise of the blockchain has given birth to an exciting new era in gaming, the era of play-to-earn (P2E) games. The question is: how does this exciting new mechanism in gaming work?
First, let’s think about the video games industry. The success of video games is built upon the fun and fulfillment of playing, acquiring cool things to play with, and enjoying the process of ‘completing’ the game.
We’ve all spent hours, days, weeks, and months crafting characters or teams to play within games. Indeed, some of us may have spent our hard-earned money on ‘skins’ or in-game items which are purely cosmetic and have no actual utility – other than making us feel good.
It’s all part of the pleasure of gaming. Our money goes into the pockets of the game developers and that’s widely accepted as perfectly fine, because we’re in a capitalist world, after all.
This is why the global gaming market is projected to reach $256 billion by 2025. Simply put, games have universal appeal because they’re immersive, allow us to escape the outside world and we’re willing to pay for this experience.
Now, the gaming industry has been turned on its head with the emergence of blockchain technology, which makes digital transactions public and transparent. Suddenly, we’re seeing the emergence of player-driven economies and gamers have been empowered as owners in the P2E business model.
Transfer of power in P2E gaming
In the P2E business model gamers are empowered as owners, as well as creators.
In games like ‘The Sandbox’, an open-world metaverse where you build plots of land, you’re empowered to create your own, personalized virtual worlds and monetize your experience.
For example, you could charge people to come and enjoy the unique experiences you’ve created. Indeed, should you spend enough time developing your land and it has enough value for the metaverse to enjoy, you could potentially sell your virtual land for a profit.
In Axie Infinity, there are 90,000 plots of land called ‘Terra’ in its own metaverse ‘Lunacia’. One of these plots of land was sold for $2.4 million last year by one savvy landowner.
Equally, as a gamer who owns an NFT – you’re truly an owner now. Before you acquired items in games and you didn’t really have ownership over them – you just played with them. Maybe you even purchased a skin, which added some value to your gaming experience.
Now, this skin you’ve purchased could be an NFT, which means you own a digital asset, which you may trade or sell for crypto at any point on an NFT marketplace. In turn, your crypto can then be converted into ‘fiat’ – real-world currency.
Similarly, this area is an opportunity for gaming companies. Those who are willing to adopt blockchain technology may have to relinquish some power, but they can still earn a percentage of the profits from digital assets – NFTs – sold on the marketplace.
How people are making money playing P2E games:
Yes, we’re in an incredibly exciting new era, where your time, dedication, and skill in playing a game can actually pay off. Indeed, there are essentially two ways you can make money on the P2E business model.
- Earn crypto through gameplay (for example, SLP tokens on Axie Infinity).
- Earn NFTs and sell them on the market.
Dedicated gamers now have the opportunity to make a supplementary income on certain games, which have established a strong system of ‘tokenomics’.
Games like Axie Infinity have paved the way for a bright future where games can be a source of income for many who are willing to put the time and effort into the game.
Generally speaking, by completing tasks on a daily basis, you can earn the tokens which comprise a game’s currency. With these tokens, you can purchase items in the game and improve your chances of being successful and earning financial rewards in the game.
Axie Infinity is incredibly popular in developing countries like the Philippines and Venezuela, and there are players who have been able to earn $500 – $1,000 per month consistently in this game, through dedicated gameplay.
The Power of NFTs and the blockchain
NFTs have changed the game and helped people earn money during a challenging worldwide pandemic. We can buy or earn NFTs – in-game assets – and these can be sold for handsome profits on the NFT marketplace.
For example, Sorare is an NFT football card game, where you collect NFT player cards and use them to compete in fantasy football tournaments.
Players’ performances in real-life impact the points you acquire in this game and you can win rewards by winning tournaments. Alternatively, you can sell your NFTs for profit on the secondary market if they have appreciated in value. Furthermore, Sorare is a free-to-play game so there’s no barrier to entry, although to win rewards in the form of crypto, you will likely need to invest in a strong team of cards.
Remember, this is all thanks to blockchain technology, where there exists countless markets where we can buy, sell and trade the digital assets we’ve acquired in games. The value of the assets we hold could appreciate or depreciate in value, depending on the system of tokenomics and whether the game is sustainable in the long run.
For instance, the aforementioned Sorare was valued at $4.3 billion dollars last September and they received $680 million dollars in investment, which says a lot for the game’s future prospects! Sorare is also backed by high-profile investors like players Rio Ferdinand, Gerard Pique, and Antoine Griezmann and this certainly helps the public believe in the product, which is a crucial factor in sustaining its value.
What’s the catch with P2E gaming?
Although there are free-to-play games that exist and you can earn money from these games, the reality is, you may well need to invest your crypto to earn meaningful financial rewards.
Conversely, many P2E games require investment to begin with, making the barrier to entry high. For instance, in Axie Infinity, the goal is to fight with a team of three Axies and slowly build a formidable combat team. In order to get into the game, you need to buy three Axie NFTs, which have risen in value considerably since the game exploded last year. The cheapest Axie out there is around $20-30 at the time of writing – rising to $300.
The newest P2E sensation Blockchain Brawlers by WAX Studios requires you to purchase a brawler and other items such as rings and weapons. If you wanted to play the game today, you would need to spend a minimum of $900 on brawlers and the prices rise to a staggering $100k for brawlers on the WAX secondary market.
On the flip side, some BCB players have been earning staggering sums of money, which pay back the initial investment very quickly.
Hence, there are a few moving parts here. It certainly pays to get into a game early if you’re good at trading and recognizing the potential of a project.
Secondly, it’s well worth doing some research into the project if you want to invest your hard-earned cash in a game. You don’t want to be in a position where you invest in a project whose economy is not sustainable and eventually crashes.
Renting and loaning NFTs
As I’ve mentioned, we’re in an exciting new era and this P2E gaming space has a lot of room for growth.
In reality, we’ve barely scraped the surface of possibilities in this realm. One feature, which is going to be transformative, will be renting an NFT.
The Axie Infinity community invented the system called ‘Axie Scholarships’, where Axie managers lend out their Axies to players and earn a cut of the SLP tokens earned.
This not only empowers the managers to earn passive income, but lowers the barrier to entry for those who perhaps can’t afford to pay for three Axies, but are willing to put the time and effort in to earn the rewards.
Similarly, Blockchain Brawlers will soon introduce their ‘Rent a Brawler’ facility, which WAX CEO William Quigley said has enormous potential as an earner.
He recently said in an interview with CNBC: “You will be able to borrow a brawler from someone else, like leasing a car, and the rate you lease it is determined by the holder.”
“If you have a brawler and you’re holding on as a collectible, you’re missing out on some earnings. You could lend this to another player and you would receive an interest rate or maybe the lenders will get a percentage of the earnings, it’s exciting to see how it’s going to unfold.”
“By allowing people to lend their brawlers, it will lead to more people playing and a lot more people being able to participate in the P2E economy. It will lead to a lot more trading which is good for the blockchain. There’s a lot of things that are valuable and helpful when you can borrow.”
A breath of fresh air in gaming
In summary, the P2E gaming space is handing ownership back to the players. Although P2E is still in its experimental phase, make no mistake – there’s huge potential to earn there right now.
You could try a free-to-play game like Sorare, The Sandbox, Splinterlands, or Gods Unchained, there is a plethora of play-to-earn games out there that are free to play. You might get lucky and earn sizable rewards through sheer will and creative skill.
Always do your research before investing your money and check out the project’s background, supply, demand, investment, and social media presence, all of which are crucial to its success.
As Web3 constantly evolves, we’re going to see exciting new features emerge which improve our options as owners. Indeed, we will be able to sell, trade, rent, loan, and even gift our digital assets in this bright new world of decentralized gaming and finance.