What is the Play to earn concept?

Blockchain is breeding a new gameplay mechanic that has been long ignored. Non-fungible tokens are fueling the economic powers “play-to-earn”.

besancia ·  · 07/09/19 ·  4 min

There are two universes that have been merging since 2017 to create a new gameplay concept: “Play to earn“.

In this article I will not explain how to win $800 in three weeks thanks to a secret method (sorry!), but rather point the obsolescence of the “pay-to-win” model which allows the players to win more easily by buying better equipment. I’m going to promote a new model proposed by the universe of crypto: the “play-to-earn” or how to make money by playing video games. 

I wanted to tell you a story which takes place between video games and the blockchain. The story of a world that will allow the acceptance of another one.

State of play

Today, if we want to play a video game from a major player in the sector, we must pay to download it on a dedicated platform or buy a physical copy in-store.

In theory, this is enough to play, in practice, all the games that come out today are not finished. By saying “not finished”, I mean that some parts of the game will be accessible only through the purchase of a DLC (“Downloadable Content”, an extension), adding additional fees for games that are already expensive.

Buying a game will cost from $50 to $100, and then you will have to pay $5 to $30 to access areas that are initially inaccessible by having only the “basic” version. And that’s without counting the purchase of various other content such as weapons or costumes that you can only acquire through the online store.

Of course, there are other models such as Free To Play but the progression is strongly hampered if you do not spend money… So, we can say that this type of game is free but, it is also the one that generates the most money.

As mentioned above, money spent in Free to play is used to get items or costumes to unlock whole areas in the game. Except, you do not actually own your purchases because they are stored on the publishers’ servers. You are therefore dependent on a trusted third party who according to their moods can very well close your account overnight, as we’ve seen on countless occasions with games such as Second Life and World of Warcraft.

This is where “Cryptoland” comes in offering a great alternative for players in the world: the power to own and exchange all types of content that can be found in a video game – without the influence or hindrance from the game publishers.

Here is a small list of content that can be kept warm in your crypto wallet thanks to the technology of the Non Fungible Tokens:

  • Grounds (Virtual Land)
  • Vehicles
  • Facilities
  • Minions
  • Consumables
  • Buildings
  • In-game Currency
  • Planets
  • Characters

In 2018, there was the equivalent of 366, 120 ETH in NFT trading on the market by Cryptoland players for plots of land, CryptoKitties or game cards among other assets. 

Not only does this prove that this technology works but that it has found an audience that actively uses it!

To give you an idea, here is a table of the different projects already existing (the list is not exhaustive of course!):

Recall that the technology “non-fungible token” was only popularized in 2017 and standardized on Ethereum early 2018, so it is normal if the quality required by the players is not yet mature…

Complementary worlds

We thus have two worlds sharing the same sector but with two operations that seem opposite: one is dominant and centralized, the other is challenger but is decentralized day by day.

If you see this as a new war, you will be the big loser of this story because, in the end, these two worlds will merge with time without you even realizing it! You just have to imagine in the near future, when you play your favorite game, all the exchangeable content you will see will be NFT. Each weapon, field, familiar will be tokens stored on the blockchain of which you will be the sole owner. And each of these tokens will be puzzle pieces on a much bigger board.

So what does it change to a Steam account transaction since Ebay? For all that will be behind the click that will validate your transaction, basically the removal of all intermediaries or trusted third parties.

For you, several things:

  • The creation of your account will go through other steps such as saving your private key and a digital signature to be recognized by the blockchain. This allows later to be recognized by the game through your public key.
  • The backup of your data will exist as long as the blockchain exists. Even if the game server stops, it will be enough for any team to take over code so that you can interact with your obtained objects again.
  • Research on the teams that develop the projects. The advantage of a trusted third is that it pre-chews the research work for you to offer you something “safe”. By deleting it you are solely responsible for your transactions…

And who knows? Maybe in the near future, the games will be directly coded in the blockchain and as long as a player will be online the game will exist.

What you need to remember if you are a player: for now, you will have to be interested in the crypto-wallet mechanics if you want to trade your NFTs. If you are a trader, you will need to be interested in the gameplay mechanics of the game you are interested in to know the value of the NFTs you want to speculate on.

This early concept will evolve

Once the UX / UI of the next blockchain games is improved, the universe brought by the gameplay of the “Play to earn” model will greatly facilitate the exchange of NFTs between users.

The “Free To Play” model that we know today will be the first to become obsolete and will be replaced by a model based on the blockchain. Then paid games and then MMO will follow so that eventually everyone can find their account, whether on the side of players, publishers or even traders.

And you, what do you think of being the owner of your assets stored on the blockchain? Is it a limit or liberation in your eyes? And above all, how do you think this universe will continue to evolve?


#Blockchain Gaming
#NFT Adoption
#NFT Education
#Play to Earn

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