Play-to-Earn and ‘Play and Earn’ are not the same

In all NFT applications, one thing has remained constant: they are a demonstration of the incalculable potential of blockchain technology. In the early days of cryptocurrencies, most early adopters were drawn to the idea of ​​blockchains due to their disruptive potential in the world of finance. But with NFTs, that disruption is taking place across a wide variety of industries.

NFTs have gradually gained traction among savvy Internet users who have used the technology to launch careers in a host of creative industries, namely music and art. However, one sector that seems to be a perfect match for blockchain technology has seen its market resist the idea of ​​incorporating blockchain elements into its products: games.

And that it is a blockchain game?

In a nutshell, blockchain games, also commonly known as crypto games and NFT games, are video games that feature integration with blockchain technologies such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

Okay. But how do blockchain games work?

Typically, these integrations come from having players in-game assets minted as NFTs or usable as cryptocurrency. The earning potential that comes with it has led some to refer to blockchain-based games as play-to-win (P2E) experiences.

An image of cryptokitties
Cryptokittens. Source: Zen Axiom

The idea of ​​hosting in-game assets on the blockchain started with CryptoKitties in 2017, which focused on the mechanics of being able to trade and collect virtual cats bred even outside of the crypto game client. In particular, one of the earliest fans of this game was Trung Nguyen, who went on to create Axie Infinity, a current leader in the space, after months of obsessing over the virtual cat NFT game.

More ambitious projects like Decentraland and The Sandbox offer blockchain integrations beyond tokenization of in-game assets. These games give users tools to create their own assets, from wearable items to full metaverse experiences.

What not to do when making a blockchain game

While today’s top NFT games often feature obvious P2E gameplay mechanics, the long-term future of blockchain integration in the gaming industry may need to tone down this message significantly.

For example, while P2E gaming has gained a lot of support online, large segments of the larger gaming community remain skeptical (if not downright hateful) of new developments taking place on the Internet thanks to blockchain technology, also known as Web3. . If you’re not up to speed on all this vitriol, a cursory search for the term “NFT” in a widely read gaming publication Kotaku tells you everything you need to know. So where does all this hate come from?

Much of it comes down to what happens when blockchain game developers create games in the most cynical way possible. When Brazilian game developer Mark Venturelli gave an impassioned talk about how P2E games could threaten the integrity of the gaming industry as a whole, these kinds of games were what he had in mind.

So what are they? Are there developers trying to tokenize Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing? Or looking for a way to reward players with cryptocurrency every time the player character drops an F-bomb on warrior rogue? (Wait, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea in hindsight…)

far from there At worst, blockchain gaming, particularly P2E gaming, can essentially function as a second job for a large subset of its users. The pursuit of in-game currency and rewards suddenly takes on a much more dystopian twist when in-game performance can determine whether or not there is food on the table. With these kinds of potential bets on how a game rewards you, then you pervert what Venturelli described as the escapist fantasy essential to a pleasurable gaming experience.

Directly setting priorities

Blockchain game developers have started to pick up on these concerns from both angry gamers and traditional game developers. Upcoming titles from various blockchain game development studios are now billed as games. Y win experiences, markedly different from its P2E gaming ancestors.

For example, after two decades in the video game industry, South Korean game developer Wemade recently set its sights on blockchain gaming with the release of Mir 4, a full MMO experience with blockchain integration. block chain. As part of its plans to build a complete blockchain gaming platform, Wemade intends to use upcoming releases to enhance the perception of P2E gaming.

A character in the middle of some serious mining in Mir 4. Source: Mir 4

“You will not get rich playing games on board the Wemix platform. The reason we emphasize playing AND winning, not playing TO win, is that the financial reward is only a small part of the whole experience,” said Wemade CEO Henry Chang in an interview with nft now. “The games we offer are well-made games that are fun to play. The financial reward is not the only reason why you should play the games on the Wemix platform. It’s there to make playing even more exciting,” he said.

Are P2E games really that simple?

Okay, if the correct approach when creating a blockchain game is to create a really fun game instead of systems that bring out the user’s potential to win in the game, then why don’t developers do this to prove all the haters wrong? ?

The short answer is: because game development is really, Really hard.

It’s so difficult that instead of creating their own game from scratch, the NFT Worlds team relied on a team of experienced Minecraft modders to help create a possible competitor to the world’s Decentralands and Sandboxes. As such, they hosted their entire ecosystem on Minecraft servers, which goes against the spirit of using blockchain technology in the first place.

With Minecraft banning NFT and any blockchain technology on all of its servers, NFT Worlds now needs to finally get the job done and make its own game. Here’s hoping that at least the game is fun.

Leave a Comment