Play to Earn, has the Teenage Fantasy Come True ?
Updated: Mar 2, 2022
What makes a game fun ? Is it the art, the style of play, the multiplayer, the community ? Up until the advent of P2E or P2W, all these characteristics were integral to the success of a game. Gaming markets have come a long way from the early NES days, where a title had just 1 hurtle to pass, selling out their initial manufacturing cycle. A small fanbase around a B-movie title was usually enough to get cash rolling into a project. But none the less, the designer integrity was a bad step away from never being trusted again 8bit graphics. Even in casino gaming, where the user is hooked by their reptilian brain loop of anticipatory adrenaline, the game needs to make relative sense or blink lights fast enough for them to stay put and keep playing.
Since 2018 the newest billionaires on the gaming block innovated specifically the sales mechanics of the industry and grew their niche into a blue ocean market. Freemium games revolutionized in game value mechanics and demonstrated that the players experience with a hurtled game play is worth more than costing out creativity and adding a margin per unit sold. Nothing novel if you think about it, MMORPG’s since Diablo have had underground eBay markets for user experience boosts ( weapons and +999 armors). But Freemium games had that proper marketing where the games would be time based and on a phone so naturally digging into the users anxieties. Now if that's not psychological warfare I don't know what is.
Today, rather than simply increasing UX, play to earn on the blockchain is attempting to revolutionize the relationship between ownership and usership. Outside of the obscene meme games and fraudulent metaverses, the P2E principle integrates governance protocols relative to the a users interaction and use of the game. Having a seamless economic network integrate into a digital gamified universe is simply put…Huge. Far beyond a game, the developers behind these titles are creating something much bigger than get rich quick schemes and much more complex than what a small group of amateur gamers can muster.
In today’s article we will be looking at how play to earn can change gaming forever, it’s challenges, and its upcoming releases for 2022.
Play to earn and how it works
Two key characteristic can be identified in any play to earn title. One is a central governance token, that allocates ownership rights to the players. The second, a currency token that manages the economy in collaboration with an internal market and a parallel blockchain exchange. The players get on the network, grind and play to collect their share of the economy. With every advancement a player makes, they have the capacity to exchange their winnings on or off the games main portal and have access to a form of voting mechanic. The latter, allows for the players, as a community, to modify, omit and bypass rules inside the game. I know what your thinking, it would be great to change the rules every time things aren’t working out, but that's not exactly how it works.
The large majority of p2e games are built on the Ethereum blockchain, the tokens are usually erc-721 and there is a combination of either NFT unique items or ETH exchangeable in-game collectibles that drive the value of playing the game. The beauty is that the blockchain governance structure allows for all of these things to work in a hermetic network attached to a global community. By virtue of having wallets, interoperability is a huge element of this entire eco-system as a gamer can essentially swap items between games by swapping in and out of ETH. Hell, players can even stake some items to earn interest. A brave new world indeed.
At its very basic level, this is what play to earn aims to offer users, which is in itself a big deal. The principle of decentralized fan generated game is genius, as the management of the project and development is being done by those that understand and play it best. The gamble the industry is making here is can the genre, mechanics and style of play stand the test of time, long enough to make the economy sustainable outside of the modern speculative chase. After all, every game goes through its adoption curve and phases out into either a legendary status, complete with conventions and celebrities, or fades away and bundles into a CD-ROM package in Walmart's 5$ bin.
How P2E can change the world of gaming:
Governance for in game development is a huge step forward. For development companies as a whole, creating a game hand in hand with your players would have been a much cheaper exploit than assuming and studying through classical market research. It gives a natural flow to a game where players, as they get bored or as they get more interested, will want to create personalized initiatives in the game and offer them up to the community to interact with. Rather than having a licensed DLC that must be approved by a centralized bureau, the basic principle of a DAO assures that a wider view is considered and the interaction between developer and user is frictionless when it comes to adding to the network.
Even voting mechanics are being tested in unique sociological conditions almost never seen in our history before. MMR voting mechanics are the idea that a players performance will determine his capacity to make fundamental change. Imagine if your democratic vote had a coefficient that multiplied your vote depending on how many people you help by being doing your thing. By contributing to the game, by playing the game, by engaging the network, the P2E game rewards the responsible player, and almost implements this moral paradigm to interactions. This is key in the industries effort to break away from predatory speculation and price scheming because it allows the network to implement economic parity through the medium of a digital game.
Profit sharing is also a major element of this equation. Although developers are well payed compared to other labor classes in society, they have a similar relative salary ratio to most big business types of industries. The actual capital that is generated from the title is drastically higher than what the artists received. However the art of a game, being a central part represents a much higher value to the overall than an hourly wage. These types of equity mechanics will be a huge improvement to the existing climate in some game companies, which have had their fare share of bad press.
In my opinion, the tech was a what was missing from the fundraising indy game trend that happend between 2008–2014, soo many games could have used this type of network to build there systems instead of spending time and resources on 3rd party fundraising platforms like Indiegogo. Which for their own merit worked well enough, but had a lot of smoke around the mechanics of how it actually broadcasted your project, you still had to do the same kind of work you would normally do while fundraising and ran a risk of having too big of an order to deliver and needing to return the money. With blockchain, people are prepared to lose, money is liquidate and frictionless, and the development of the project can be followed to the T by virtue of its integration to one blockchain or another.
Critics of the games that have been released to date are quite understandable, being type-creative in games is difficult with such a vast market already well established. Novelty outside of what the blockchain offers at the fundamental level of the game, is seldom found. And as it is in the classical buyers market, the majority of the people entangled with these titles, are not participating at the fullest level of their capabilities. Most are in it for a quick buck, play for a bit and drop the account. The drive is still embryonic, the industry is still new, and considering many gamers stay at a superficial level of gameplay for most of their entertainment experience, the appeal of powerful community mechanics is just not that significant for most people. thankfully you can make a buck. But if people keep signing in to the waiting line for that 1 person to have a good idea, it is going to take a lot longer and a lot more people to create a sustainable cycle for these networks and for them to achieve their point of maturity.
Value in the game:
For value to exist within the game, the company needs to juggle three financial pendulums, the fiat value of the token to create a base value for items in the game that players purchase. Second the value of the token in relation to ETH and how that token performs on the public market. and Finally but not least, the cost of exchanges between the tokens. that's a tall order for game developers. Like AXIE who started with a huge injection to build the network, and took full advantage of ETH bull runs, their capital is being staked across platforms and is locked into thousands of smart contracts. They have been able to create a financial web that can sustain experimental networks, governance structures and other fundamental infrastructure. But how long will they maintain player interest until bots begin to over run the servers, like they do in every major mmo. How long before virtual players outnumber the real players and the investor integrity is compromised? Are these genres economically viable on the long term , should we change the definition of what long term is perceived as ?
P2E Releases in 2022:
Most of these have some promising stuff, some of them look like fanfare smoke, lets take bets on which ones will actually make it to the end of the year. I have compiled this list from different sources across the net, and were the ones that sounded more interesting than not as an idea.
Legend of Pandonia- Legend of Pandonia
Liberty Gaming Guild-Liberty Gaming Guild
Yield Guild Games (YGG)-YGG
League of Kingdoms-League of Kingdoms
Coin Hunt World — CHW
web 3 gamming world innovates by handing over these decisions back to players. For the most part, this solution works wonders but like any democratic system, a 1 to 1 vote will always tilt favoritism towards what is simpler to accomplish rather than what is favorable. The more experienced players will be left behind for the mass of less experienced players to decide on the best approach to the game, which by default is more likely to make poor decisions as they lack the internalized experience of the games mechanics.
But at the same time, many of the titles currently available are embryonic at best in their scalability, and offer only a dimension of the entirety of what they can be. Relying on the will of a community has not always payed off, but this sphere is unique, wherein it has an army of crypto zealots at its helm. Growth is correlative, so long as the speculative value of their coin network grows along side usership, the game will be able to innovate and perpetuate its creative appeal. If the economy falters, and the creative appeal lacks the fundamentals of a good cult classic, the tech will die no matter the marvel and wonder of its achievements.
Thank you again everyone, don’t forget to comment and argue !