How the play-to-earn model is opening new doors for blockchain gaming
Following a meteoric rise at the beginning of the year, crypto prices returned to earth during the summer months, with bitcoin prices getting as low as $30,000 in mid-July. In the weeks since, we have seen a considerable rebound for crypto markets, with bitcoin hovering around $50,000 at the time of writing.
Of all the factors contributing to the bullish period of the past month and change, blockchain-based play-to-earn games have been among the most impactful.
Here is a closer look at what play-to-earn games are, why they are so popular, and a few examples of some of the most buzzworthy games to date.
What is play-to-earn gaming?
The play-to-earn model of gaming aims to give players control and real-life ownership of in-game assets, allowing them to increase the value of these assets simply by playing the game. Players create value for developers and for other players by participating in the in-game economy. As a reward for this participation, players are given assets ranging from in-game resources (e.g., tools and weapons) to other assets that can be tokenized on the blockchain and sold as NFTs.
Why is play-to-earn gaming so popular?
The abundance of DeFi-based NFT games operating on the play-to-earn model has coincided with record-highs for many of these platforms, and there are a couple of good reasons for that.
First, the games are fun. And it is no secret that fun games garner more popularity by providing an enjoyable experience.
Second – and arguably more importantly – players can earn the aforementioned rewards while playing these games that can then be exchanged for fiat currency to be spent in real life.
This combination of enjoyment among gamers and the ability to earn real-world funds has catapulted blockchain-based play-to-earn platforms into the forefront of the ever-expanding gaming industry.
Examples of popular play-to-earn games?
The number of play-to-earn games on the marketplace is growing every day, and each one seems to offer something a little different to players. Here is a look at three of the more popular games users have been flocking to over the past several months.
When players play Axie Infinity, they earn the native token Small Love Potions (SLP), which are needed for players to breed new Axies. Players can sell SLP tokens to other players on the open marketplace if they decide to cash out. There is also a 4.25% fee charged for buying and selling Axies on the platform.
Axie has more than 350,000 daily players and a total revenue that closed toward $120 million in July. This highly lucrative nature has led people in developing countries to go so far as to quit their day jobs to focus on playing Axie – and for many, it has been working.
Splinterlands is a trading card game built on the blockchain that allows players to compete for a limited number of the native token Dark Energy Crystals (DEC) and other rare NFTs. Created in 2020 and set in a fantasy world made up of six powerful kingdoms battling for control of Splinterland, the game has gained a strong following in the play-to-earn space. It is considered one of the best play-to-earn games at the moment because its algorithm prevents the results of battles from being tampered with.
Zed Run is a digital horse racing platform that has several races taking place every hour, seven days a week. Owners pay entry fees – usually between $2 and $15 for lower classes and upwards of $500 for top races – to run their horses against others for prize money. The horses, however, are NFTs. But they are not like most other NFTs we are used to.
Zed Run’s creators call the game’s horses “breathing NFTs,” in that they have their own unique DNA. They can breathe, they have a bloodline, and they can even pass on genes. This opposes NFTs as we have come to know them, which are primarily in the form of images, gifs, and videos. The popularity and profitability of Zed Run are tough to deny, with horses selling on the platform for upwards of $100,000 in some instances.
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Not only is the play-to-earn model of gaming working, but it is also helping change lives and has helped thousands of people make ends meet during the pandemic. Now is an ideal time to get involved in the future of this world-changing technology.
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