Why gaming’s future lies in crypto
Updated: Mar 28
Collecting coins in a video game is nothing new. In the ever-popular Nintendo’s Super Mario bros. video game series, coins can be found in every level, and the player can collect them as they spawn from blocks or as they float in the air. The coins' worth varies, as their collection can grant the game characters extra lives. In other versions, they simply increase the player’s score, speed, and recovery times, or can be used to purchase items.
But coin collection took an interesting turn in recent times, as stated in Alexis Ohanian's words. Reddit co-founder predicted that the "Play-to-earn" model would soon lead within the gaming world, as companies keep fighting for “gaming stickiness” and players’ loyalty. Gaming companies, using this model, would reward players for their time and effort with “earned benefits” such as NFTs.
But will the new “reward model” work well with players and help them stick to a video game more? And how would players comment about it? Tracking the new trend is going to be very interesting, as seen from the players’ viewpoint. Data analysis of such player feedback can help companies evaluate just how this new model is doing and make actionable insights, for example, about determining what NFT benefits to offer for which stages in their games.
Current system for players: pay for more features
Players’ payments for video games range from the “free to play” types to games charging extras for points, tokens, and additional features. Then there are hardware costs for those choosing to play in consoles and subscription fees for those players opting to enjoy a variety of games in an “all-in-one” package.
While all payment options remain intact, and the masses still have to pay for the attractive games out there in the market, there are now new ways for hard-core players to get money back. And sometimes, lots of money back.
The new payment system: play to earn
Players who devote their countless hours to playing are now offered new financial incentives to reward their time and devotion.
“Play to earn”, the new gaming/blockchain combination for players, lets them earn NFT properties that they can sell in the market for a profit. So now, the game gives them real-world value that they can later trade for. More and more players begin to understand what the value of Play to earn means, learn what they have to do to win these NFT rewards and how they can trade them in the market.
A “Play to earn” gaming example: Axie Infinity
Axie Infinity, an Nft-based video game where players earn Ethereum cryptocurrency coins, leads the way for the new payment system. Players collect and breed digitized NFT-creatures known as “Axies”. By February of 2022, Axie Infinity became the first non-fungible tokens (NFT) game series to exceed a total of $4 billion in sales.
In “Axie Infinity”, players who wish to participate in the new plan are required to initially pay for several NFTs, each worth a few hundred dollars. Then there are several ways by which to “breed” those NFTs and then sell them later in the real financial markets. The more a gamer plays, the greater are his chances of winning high-value NFTs, which are worth actual $$ in the real world. This is the way a player’s time and effort are rewarded.
Sky Mavis, the company behind “Axie Infinity”, and whose website homepage announces “Blockchain: Gamified”, enjoyed 2021 revenues of more than $1.5 billion. The most expensive Axie sold in the open market so far earned his owner $820,000. Currently, close to 3 million players are trying to “play to earn” too in Axie Infinity. So a true and real value is created to players within the game itself.
Other leading NFT games include Mobox, My neighbor Alice and Alien world. All of these games would feature in the planned metaverse, as gamers will play in these 3D spaces. NFTs would serve as the digital items used for buying and selling game items and much more, using such blockchain technology.
The challenges for the new payment model
As more games offer heavy users some very attractive NFT rewards, the new model carries with it some challenges and possible pitfalls too.
One criticism discusses the volatility of cryptocurrencies. Players collecting Ethereum and either trying to hold on to it or sell it in the market, witness huge price changes with unexpected ups and downs on a regular basis. There is no guarantee that if they made a profit one day, they would not suffer huge losses later. So the collection of such NFT rewards by no means guarantees actual financial gains to all.
Another criticism relates to the hiring of workers from developing countries to participate in the initiation and breeding of such NFTs. Apparently, 45% of all players participating in “Axis Infinity” worldwide come from Venezuela and the Philippines. These players are hired by special guides, such as YGG, in order to nurture NFTs in the game. Since they don’t have money to pay for entering the game, the guild does that for them, and then they can enter, play and earn NFTs for the guild.
On one hand, this is a positive development, meaning that even players from developing countries can play and earn an income, and participating in “Axis Infinity” did help many of these players earn a living during the pandemic. But on the other hand, there is fear that such guides would use the players to breed NFTs for the western countries’ players, thus maintaining non-equality between players and their chances to profit.
Affogata analyzes players’ feedback for NFT-based games
Gaming companies, whether already employing NFT rewards for their players or considering doing so, can learn a lot from what these consumers are saying. They need to analyze players’ comments and conversations from all over the open web and learn how their NFT rewards are working, whether the “play-to-earn” model is appealing to them and how they are managing to sell those currencies in the market.
If Mr. Ohanian’s words do come true, and in five years the NFT model would lead the gaming world, Affogata can help companies follow the process and join the learning curve. Should millions of players choose to play non-fungible tokens’ games, their opinions and comments would determine the market’s direction and future. Companies evaluating Affogata’s AI-powered player feedback data analysis will be able to check trends, improve their game’s performance and rewards, learn to fix technical bugs quickly as well as improve their overall brand sentiment.
Such data analysis would enable companies to learn what their competitors are doing, also based on online mentions from many different web platforms. Such competitors’ data will help them stay ahead in this tough and crowded market.