Understand Play-To-Earn in just 3 minutes

Play-to-Earn tends to revolutionize the world of video games. The player is no longer present only for entertainment, but participates in a new form of economy called GameFi (combination of “Game” and “Finance”).

The player is now at the center of the experience by being encouraged to earn cryptocurrencies and spend them on exchanges or in the game itself. A new world where NFTs integrate perfectly and fully play their roles.

What is it concretely?

Play-to-Earn (P2E) games are video games based on blockchain technology. The goal is to encourage the player to participate as much as possible in the video game experience. This incentive therefore requires the implementation of rewards in various forms (cryptocurrency, NFT, improvement, bonus, etc.).

These Play-to-Earns can take different forms. They can be “autonomous” like Axie Infinity, that is to say that they are linked to their own game universe. Either, they rely on a virtual universe in the form of Metaverse like Runiverse.

How does Play-To-Earn work?

The economic model of Play-To-Earn is to reward players who bring value to the gaming ecosystem. To do so, the game is initially free (freemium). It is no longer a question of buying a game or paying for a subscription, but rather of investing time in the game with earnings in return.

It is up to the participant to pay to add new features, improve a character, recover content or equipment or simply progress faster in the game.

What are the main Play-To-Earn platforms?

A multitude of Play-To-Earn are emerging in recent months. The main ones are:

  • Sister : a game built on the blockchain Ethereum. The main objective is to collect virtual cards of footballers to participate in competitions. These cards are NFTs that can go up or down in value depending on the footballer’s performance in real life.
  • Axie Infinity : the most famous NFT game where you buy creatures to evolve to participate in fights.
  • My neighbor Alice : the player is on a farm and must grow vegetables, raise animals, go fishing, develop his map.

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Artwork from the video game Axie Infinity

The strengths and weaknesses of Play-To-Earn

This game mode has many advantages by now incorporating a transactional notion into the game experience.

  • Thanks to the authenticity granted by NFTs, the player benefits from all the advantages offered by blockchain technologies: Security, authenticity and decentralization.
  • The very concept is to offer a rewarding gaming experience for the player in the form of rewards in cryptocurrencies.

However, Play-To-Earn is not without risk and also shows some limits:

  • To generate returns, it is still necessary to commit substantial investments beforehand (purchase of cards, artefacts, equipment, characters, etc.).
  • The security is not guaranteed within these blockchain games. The most famous Play-To-Earn Axie Infinity has been hacked for damages estimated at more than 600 million dollars.
  • These games are often suspected to be pyramid schemes. A system that must feed new users to fuel the income of previous players. Thus, if players convert their winnings quickly and leave the game, the system is no longer efficient.

Conclusion: what future for these games?

If these games are a real opportunity to make money and consume the world of video games differently, they are still too few and still lack maturity.

These games will only last over time with a recurring addition of new features, new uses for NFTs, to keep players in the game. As such, the development of Metaverses may be the solution.

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