Few sectors are escaping the cryptocurrency craze, but many game developers have truly embraced it. Many gaming-related collectibles can now be claimed as NFTs, but some so-called “play to win” games have gone even further and have crypto and NFTs as stakes.
P2E Games Play For Keeps
Play to win games, also called P2E games or even crypto games, are games that have cryptocurrency Y NFT as an integral part of the game. Often, instead of buying the game, you buy things within the game, like characters or weapons or, well, just about anything.
This is not entirely unique, many games use a similar model, especially so called free to play (F2P) games. These games allow you to play for free and even allow you to earn items through gameplay, but the good stuff is usually kept behind a paywall, or maybe a time-consuming grind.
However, what makes the game to win different from the free game is that you can trade and sell your assets to other players. This is because many of these assets are or can be converted into NFTs.
To illustrate this, it is probably best to use the system used by axie infinityone of the longest running P2E games (and also one that recently lost more than $600 million dollars.) The idea of the game is simple: players control “axes”, small fantasy creatures, and fight against other players’ axes. It’s reminiscent of Pokemon, but in a highly monetized way.
Players can obtain axes by buying them ready to use from the in-game store or by breeding them themselves. Replay involves AXS, the game’s currency combined with what’s called a “little love potion” or SLP. Both AXS and SLP can be obtained by playing the game (battling other players, competing in tournaments, etc.) or purchased from the store.
However, what it does axie infinity interesting thing is that you are not only spending money, you are also doing it. If you breed a rare axie, you can put it up for sale on the market, for example, and you can also sell its surplus resources. While in F2P games all the money flows in one direction, towards the developer, P2E games also see a return flow. Some people even earn a living out of playing the game.
The P2E business model
However, it does not return as much as one might think. In an environment where everything costs money, the people who control that environment have ways of adjusting things in such a way that they always win. After all, if they didn’t, there wouldn’t be much business left.
As a result, everything in axie infinity It costs money. Getting an axie will cost you a few Ether, the cryptocurrency the game runs on: SLPs cost Ether, and AXS costs Ether. Many of these resources are technically obtainable in-game, but they are often set on timers, so the amount you can earn is reduced unless you spend some money in the real world.
On paper, you could play the game with minimal investment: buy the starting axes and then move them around until you get enough AXS and SLP to get new creatures and continue from there. However, P2E games have taken a leaf out of the game book. psychological tricks used by F2P games and prepare players to be even more involved in the game.
For example, there is such a wide variety of axes and traits for them, that you are always tempted to get more of them; Anyone who has collected anything knows the frenzy you can get into. These traits translate to gameplay as well, and paying players in-game will generally have better traits for their axes.
As a result, paying players often beat free players to the dust. This, in turn, drives free players away from the game or causes them to increase their spending to stay competitive. It is a cycle that is difficult to get out of and can be the beginning of an addiction.
Other P2E games
To be clear, we are only using axie infinity as an example, other P2E games like gods unchained or planned deluge use the same tactics, just in slightly different ways.
Technically, gods unchainedwhich is a card based battle game like Magic: The Gathering, is a free game. Your cards are collectible, but you actually need to take a special action to turn them into tradable NFTs. Until then, they are just game assets. However, to get good cards, you have to spend some money to speed up the process.
delugewhich is also about allowing fantasy beasts to fight each other, rips the veil completely and announces that it will host bets on fights between players, as well as allowing you to trade fighters with other players.
Do you really own your in-game assets?
It’s not just the structure of P2E games that should catch your eye, it’s also what it promises. The idea is that you play or pay and that you own your assets: axes, cards or whatever the game offers. After all, they are NFTs, and you are the owner, not the game company. gods unchained makes a big deal of this on his website.
However, reality shows that it is not that simple. There is a big problem with NFTs, namely that if the server the logs are on crashes, your NFTs vanish into thin air. This has also happened, and recently.
For example, F1 Delta Time was a game that let you race cars, which were your own tiles. Recently, He went bankrupt, and all associated NFTs are now worthless. Considering some people paid the equivalent of the cost of a house for some of their cars, that’s a lot of money.
There are also more conventional risks, such as theft. axie infinityfor example, was famously the victim of a security breach that saw $600 million stolen in March 2022. Considering how much wealth is held in online accounts, they are a juicy target for criminals looking for a big score.
So yes, you own your spindles or cards or whatever else these games are selling, but only as long as the servers remain active and secure. When you play P2E games, you’re not just betting on the outcome of your game, you’re betting on the success of the company, and we’re not sure if we like those odds.
As with everything related to cryptocurrencies, we recommend that you be careful if you are going to get involved in them.