The runaway success of Axie Infinity and StepN has convinced a flurry of entrepreneurs that web3 gaming, where the ownership of in-game assets is in the hands of users via blockchain adoption rather than a centralized platform, is the future.

Gaming vets promise to make blockchain games fun and sustainable

Blockchain games , Some of the biggest hits in the space to date reward users with tokens that can be cashed out in what’s known as the “play-to-earn” model. While P2E games have attracted millions of players and billions of dollars from investors, veterans of the gaming industry argue that they are fundamentally unsustainable. These games are the brainchild of financial engineers aiming to get rich quickly rather than experienced developers building time-honored works, they say Axie Inifity’s dramatic rise and fall is telling. After peaking at $754 million in November when bitcoin hit all-time high, the game’s monthly sales volume plummeted to $4.5 million in July.

“Most GameFi developers are not game developers,” says Maciej Burno, who’s spearheading the new metaverse business of Polish gaming studio Reality. Burno is among a spate of blockchain-believing gaming veterans around the world trying to take blockchain games to the mainstream. Their vision is to counter the public impression that web3 games, popularized by P2E, are all scammy and trashy. Instead, they want to build games that are both fun and sustainable, while introducing cryptocurrencies as a novel way to incentivize gamers as well as creators. The problem with P2E, as seen by See Wan Toong, a former senior technical director at Electronic Arts and CTO of web3 gaming startup Red Door Digital, is that users have to spend money upfront to start playing.

In Axie Infinity, users buy and breed cute blob-like creatures called Axies in the form of non-fungible tokens that are authenticated on the blockchain games. Sales from the NFTs then go towards funding rewards for those who earn tokens by playing, and the tokens, the game’s native cryptocurrency, can in turn be cashed out. That means for the game to be sustainable, it must have a constant influx of new users or it loses its financing source. That’s why critics compare P2E games to pyramid schemes. Many of the P2E titles aren’t really games by strict definition, Toong argues. They are more akin to decentralized finance, or DeFi, products with gamified features. Hardcore gamers dismiss Axie Infinity as “simple” or even “boring”, not unlike the free-to-play, mindless mobile games that they have opposed for years.

But for those living in developing countries, the prospect of making several hundred dollars per month by clicking on a computer screen can be tempting. That’s largely why Axie Infinity took off in countries like the Philippines during the pandemic when many people lost jobs. To them, the game is more like work than fun. “I think there is a bit of elitism in it,” Simon Davis, CEO of Mighty Bear Games, a Singapore-based web3 gaming studio that just raised $10 million in a token sale, says of Axie Infinity critics.

“There is a tendency in Western countries to dismiss things that are popular in other parts of the world and not be as respectful as you should be. If you look especially in Southeast Asia and Latin America, and countries where incomes are probably less high, people don’t buy high-end gaming rigs and consoles. It’s interesting to provide people not just with entertainment but also with potential economic upside.” “I don’t like the term play to earn,” continues Davis, formerly a design manager at Ubisoft. “I don’t think it should be a primary motivation because you’re playing a game to have fun. But someone can then decide they don’t want to play the game anymore and get some of their investment back then. I don’t see how that’s a bad thing.”

Source: This news is originally published by techcrunch

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