How many times did your mother yell at you to get off of the video games? Whether you started with Oregon Trail on a glowing green screen Macintosh, or you rocked Sonic on a Sega Genesis, it is likely you have heard more than once the phrase: “You’ll never make a living playing video games.”
For those that always prayed that’d change, you may be in luck. With new blockchain technology advancements, one new way of earning cryptocurrency revolves around that very concept. People are getting paid to play video games.
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A New Way to Earn in the Gaming World
After years of being told video games are wasting their time, gamers may in fact have a way to prove them all wrong. The decentralized blockchain has created yet another unique way to play games and make money. The models are called “Play-to-Earn” games or P2E.
In short, these games allow players to game and also earn crypto while they do so.
Play Game: Earn Crypto
The concept is rather simple to understand. Players play and are rewarded for accomplishments in the game. In other words, the players earn crypto for success in the game. The more successful they are, the higher-earning potentials there will be for that player.
For example, gamers are incentivized for completing missions and maximizing gameplay. While the concept is still in its infancy stages, like much of the cryptocurrency world, it is turning heads in the traditional gaming circles.
Play to Earn NFTs
Each game and its established network operate as blockchain games. Players earn money in different forms. For example, an NFT Game, short for a non-fungible token game, earns as the name implies non-fungible tokens as a reward for successful players. Players can then exchange the NFTs on established marketplaces for crypto or other investing tokens.
As NFTs rose in popularity, and their value became recognized as a valued commodity, the gaming industry was viewed as a potential way to get that work accomplished. In this business model, platforms assumed that games would be played regardless, and a major complaint of the NFT and blockchain technology is the use of power.
Combining the two: players already using electricity and focused energy of their own, alongside an industry that needs miners to compute complex mathematical problems (albeit in this case in the form of a game), and presto: there was a built-in solution to a crypto problem. This combination of the two created P2E gaming.
An Increased Popularity of Play-to-Earn Games
As the value of NFTs was more and more recognized, more and more players were finding out about the new way to earn. Play to earn was a growing market and stands to grow much more in the coming years.
Forecasts on the video gaming industry estimate that the global gaming market will soon amount to $268.8 billion U.S. dollars annually, all by 2025. This increased value would bring it up from the $178 billion U.S. dollars it marked in 2021.
The play-to-earn ecosystem stands to grow alongside these numbers, as a small part of the global gaming market.
Overall Growth Online
Just like NFTs, the increased use of online gaming has also aided in the formation of the P2E ecosystem. The use and popularity of online gaming have grown vastly across the years, with some now playing professionally. Schools have recognized “E-Sports” (electronic sports) teams, and have created competitive leagues and meets.
In 2015, a professional League of Legends (LoL) Championship was held, with a winning team taking away a staggering $1 million in prize money. Advances such as these have not only brought gaming into the mainstream world but have caused investors’ ears to perk up, as well.
Traditional Online Games
Players have enjoyed online gaming for years, with popular titles like LoL, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy, or New World not just providing a recreational outlet for its players, but has established a way for gamers to become absorbed in a new world. These players buy, sell, and trade game items. They have truly created their own universe and often interact there as they would in the real world.
The gaming world likes to call this universe the Metaverse. It is a fictional, and completely digital world, where characters “play” in an entirely unique ecosystem. They may be buying or selling online entities, but they are using real-world dollars, which was another inspiration for the cryptocurrency world to take notice.
An Entire Globe of Gaming
It was estimated in 2021 that a whopping 3.24 billion gamers were plugged into their entertainment. Now, those same “games” might be earning the players some money. As games improve, technology advances and more and more gamers are tuning in, the possibilities for the Play-to-Earn industry grow right along with them.
The Play-to-Earn Process
There are already a variety of games on the P2E marketplace. Most utilize a system that rewards their players. They do so with crypto. Not only does this incentivize the adoption of the commodity, but it also gives players a way to earn for their efforts. Just like a real-world, commission-based job might earn workers more money for more successful work, the player can earn more crypto-based on how well they perform in the game.
A Volatile Market
While gamers were excited to earn while playing, there was still a lot of hesitation when it came to being rewarded in crypto. As many know, the value of cryptocurrency suffers from highly volatile markets swinging values way, way up, then plummet way, way down, all within a very short period of time. Being paid is great, but if the payment is constantly fluctuating, it can cause less interest in the program.
To adjust to the crazy market, many play-to-earn models allow users to earn digital assets by completing tasks. Once assets are earned, they can then “spend” those assets or convert them into other cryptocurrencies.
This option for trading gave users a new way to earn without working that the value of their tokens was skyrocketing and plummeting through the day. This reassurance increased the security of the P2E games, and thusly increased the number interested in playing.
Products like the sustainable coin, which has value are derived from another underlying asset, may be a way to stabilize players’ payments, too. As the coin is symbolically representing a truly valued asset, it may have a future in the P2E seen.
Why They’re Willing to Pay
Some skeptics wonder why, besides saving energy usage which has not previously been a big interest in the crypto industry, would game developers care to reward players at all? After all, with billions already playing, why start paying them to do so?
By taking part in the crypto games, players are building an in-game economy. In other words, players create value for other players in the ecosystem and for the developers.
In turn for their role in this growth and development, players receive a reward in the form of digital assets. The concept is that these assets are potentially appreciating in-game assets. They can be absolutely anything ranging from character additions or features, unlocking unique levels, or tradability with a certain type of cryptocurrency.
If you have ever played online, invested or traded online, or even been in a chat room or comment section, you have likely realized that the online world is not filled with the nicest and sweetest people with the purest of intentions. Just like the real world, some folks are just out there to wreak havoc and cause problems. Others aim directly to not only be a nuisance but also steal from you.
Because the play-to-earn system relies on a blockchain, which is itself a peer-to-peer network without the structure of a single authority like a bank or government, there is a lot of room for problems.
Since the entire web provides a faceless and nameless world, users seem to be all the crueler since they can hide behind a keyboard and are seldom truly held personally accountable.
Critics of the Future
The future of the play-to-earn game industry is as unknown as any other. Critics say that, until the behavior of all on the blockchain can be monitored and good behavior incentivized, the long-term growth of the P2E industry will not work.
If all actors on the blockchain align the protocol (i.e. behave themselves), this ultimately creates trust within the blockchain, which in turn generates rising values within the blockchain.
A lack of this ability is said to hinder the Play-to-Earn projects from long-term growth.
Pay to Play or Free?
It should be noted, games that are P2E can be paid games or free. These options are truly left to the developer, and each is making this choice on their own. But, once in the game and playing in its metaverse, players can begin earning.
Current Crypto Games Using P2E
Developers are creating new crypto games each day. The market is so new, it is always updating and changing. However, there are a few top names already establishing a spot for themselves in the play to earn gaming space.
One of the early successes in the play to earn crypto gaming circles is the game, Sandbox. This is a blockchain-created universe making it an entire decentralized universe. It allows players to enjoy the game and be paid while doing so.
Offering you a free NFT at the start, Sandbox offers a chance for players to get into the action directly. They can build, own, and monetize their own worlds. A game focused on creativity, while simultaneously earning crypto, the Sandbox has seen early success in blockchain gaming.
Here the currency of the land is called $SAND. Obtaining these funds allows players to buy and sell lands and assets in the game’s metaverse.
Currently one of the most popular games in the P2E circles is Axie Infinity. This game is based on gameplay from already popular titles like Pokémon.
Players collect, breed, raise, battle, and even trade token-based creatures called “Axies.” With 500 optional body parts, players earn Axies that fall into four different rarity scales, including common, rare, ultra-rare, and legendary.
Axie Infinity calls itself a “digital nation to battle, collect, and earn.” This virtual land allows users to access earnings in the form of AXS, or the Axie Infinity Shards. These tokens are ERC-20 tokens. Players can also use these to direct the future of the game, showing developers where they want improvements, what upgrades are needed, and what future additions they’d like to see. To do so, players need AXS, earned by playing the game itself.
Another popular option for P2E is the game, Decentraland. This game is another virtual world platform, operating as an open-source 3-D space.
Users may buy virtual plots of land in the platform as NFTs. Players in this blockchain are operating with the MANA cryptocurrency. Beginners link a digital wallet to the game and can begin attempting to acquire more LAND and earn.