The gaming industry is expected to report revenue figures in the region of $200 billion for 2022, rising to $300 billion in 2026. The industry is immensely important and the impact of new technology and trends cannot be overstated. That, in a nutshell, is why businesses across the industry are getting so hot under the collar about P2E.
The possibilities of blockchain’s influence on gaming and the potential of the metaverse have long been understood. But P2E is the first solid evidence of possibilities and potential becoming solid realities in the here and now.
Play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity and Decentraland are essentially games that reward successful players with in-game tokens. Now fundamentally, the idea of playing a game and being rewarded with something tangible – or at least fungible – is a compelling one. The games are entertaining, engaging and, quite literally, rewarding. It’s a compelling mix and one that has understandable appeal.
Another blockchain white elephant?
At this point, cynics might argue they have heard it all before. Crypto games like Cryptokitties have piqued interest in the past, but have blown out as quickly as they came in. The whole NFT craze shows signs of going in the same direction.
In fact, the only crypto gaming to have shown genuine sustainability so far has been in the iGaming niche. Blockchain poker and other crypto casino games deliver tangible benefits, especially to US poker and casino players. These include the ability to sidestep banking restrictions, better security, and frictionless transactions.
The reason Bitcoin casinos and poker succeed is that they are providing a solution to known pain points. That is in harsh contrast to Bitcoin games of the past that nobody has asked for or expressed a need for.
Does P2E overcome this problem? Early indications are that it does. Players want to be rewarded for skillful play. Even more important, though, the games themselves are fun and playable. Whether their popularity will prove to be sustainable is a different question and one that will be fully answered over the months ahead.
Show me the money
The commonality across all P2E games is that they derive and deliver value through in-game currency. The exact mechanisms and models they use vary dramatically, however. For example, some have native tokens for in-game purchases and trading between players. The ensuing marketplace sees virtual assets traded at appreciating prices and value is thereby injected into the game’s internal economy.
Of course, this sort of model relies on continuing demand. If that dries up, the token value collapses. It is really a microcosm of existing real world economies.
Is P2E sustainable?
That is the biggest question of all. Success relies on sustaining interest and that means ensuring the game keeps its appeal. What’s more, the continuous trading of in-game assets that the model requires demands a steady inflow of new players.
There are still more questions than answers surrounding P2E. But one thing is certain – it is a gaming model that will continue to be big news throughout 2023 – and maybe beyond.