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How PlayToEarn Has Changed Since Blockchain Games Boom

PlayToEarn was revolutionary in the field of blockchain gaming, but the narrative change has led to a focus on ownership and gameplay

PlayToEarn, PlayAndEArn, PlayAndOwn, PlayToOwn

PlayToEarn has evolved since becoming the term most associated with the 2021 blockchain gaming boom driven by the popular Web3 game, Axie Infinity.

The blockchain gaming prototype featured a token that players earned while playing the game, hence the term PlayToEarn. The idea was revolutionary in the sense that casual gamers can now make a living by playing a game without being a content creator or professional gamer. During $ SLP Farming During its prototype, Axie Infinity was able to give players in some countries an income that was, at some point, above the minimum wage.

However, this model proved to be a bit short-lived as it was exhaustively abstracted for the game’s economy. Value must enter the economy in order to extract value. When Axie Infinity became popular in 2021, value entered its economy through new players. But when the supply of utility token exceeded its demand, prices began to move south as economic laws took hold.

This was not an isolated case. All games with a similar model had the same problem. Pegaxy, a horse simulator on Polygon, has seen an influx of players, most of whom have come from the Axie ecosystem. The price of NFTs and tokens has risen rapidly, but it has also fallen just as fast. Web3 game characters became critical of the PlayToEarn model, and soon after, the games started creating a new storyline.

Run and earn

Narration shifted from PlayToEarn to PlayAndEarn to try and shift the focus of the project from financial gain to fun gameplay. The potential to earn from playing the game is still there and players can still own their assets. The main difference is that developers are now focusing more on creating a fun game, rather than on a project that can generate monetary rewards.

Apart from the narrative shift, projects are starting to invest more in developing their games. The added value game, rather than simply interacting with the protocol, was the priority when motivating players. The competitive nature of games is one aspect that developers are looking to focus incentives on as more projects attempt to build a competitive eSports landscape to complement their core in-game economies.

PlayAndOwn / PlayToOwn

However, attaching the word “Earn” still indicates an extractive mindset that does not really help the economies of blockchain gaming, especially in its infancy. Profit is still equivalent to the old model where token profits are seen as salaries for players. From PlayToEarn to PlayToOwn, a new concept called PlayAndOwn or PlayToOwn has begun to form.

The shift in focus from gaining to owning removes that extractive mindset. This does not prevent players from being able to extract tokens from the ecosystem, but rather reorganizes the thought process to reinvest the tokens into the economy rather than taking them out and creates additional selling pressure for the token. Earnings through this combo come in the form of accumulating value through ownership of game assets Non-Fungible Token (NFTs).

Sunflower Land, the PlayAndOwn blockchain game on the Polygon Network, adheres to this narrative well. In their protocol, players win SFL Dollars, the base in-game currency that is also a token on the chain. However, instead of extracting $SFL from the ecosystem, the team built desirable and limited NFTs that can only be purchased with $SFL. Once all of those are sold, players looking to acquire the asset will have to do so in the secondary market.

PlayToEarn was a revolutionary start to the blockchain gaming philosophy. There is still debate as to whether changes to the narrative really affect players’ extraction decisions. But one thing is for sure, the ideologies around PlayToEarn have changed since the blockchain gaming boom of 2021.


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