Exploring the Play-to-Earn Phenomenon: What You Need to Know

exploring the play to earn phenomenon what you need to know
exploring the play to earn phenomenon what you need to know

The performance of the video games sector continues to improve. The market is valued at $200 billion in 2024 according to VentureBeat and this hobby occupies a major place in the existence of many people.

A big trend has been the rise of “  play to earn  ” games. To put it simply, we could say that traditionally, you had to pay to play. In play to earn mode , theequationis reversed: it is the player who is rewarded for his performance in the game. In reality, the difference is not so clear because certain play to earn games sometimes require a significant initial investment.


A little history

Being able to resell items acquired in a game is not new, but in the past, this practice was rather poorly received by publishers. Thus, the online game World of Warcraft saw the development of “  gold farms ”, or pharmacies in which for a pitiful salary, little hands were busy harvesting virtual World of Warcraft (WoW)  gold . They settled in a remote location in Azeroth and dedicated themselves to killing monsters for 12 hours a day. At the same time, a New York site,IGE.com, bought back items and statuses that certain players were willing to give up and resold them at double the negotiated price – for example, a level 70 was commonly sold for around two hundred euros. Gold farmers  appeared to be a nuisance to regular players who criticized them for not “socializing” with them. Furthermore, such a practice appeared to be contrary to the publisher’s regulations.Blizzardwho began deleting tens of thousands of accounts. In spring 2007, a game patch appeared to combat gold farming  and Blizzard even filed a lawsuit against the organization that managed IGE.com – this site has not existed for a long time.

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Subsequently, games like Zynga’s Farmville took up the concept in a more open way: the games were free, but players lacking time and eager to progress were offered the possibility of purchasing virtual goods.

Likewise, the multiplayer game Eve Oline gradually developed a vast internal trade in objects between its participants and saw this activity spill over into reality: some players spent tens of thousands of dollars to acquire highly prized objects or devices.

The market was therefore ripe for such an activity but a framework was missing and this was provided by theNFT.

The “play to earn” principle

A game that appeared in 2017 changed the situation. Dapper Labs, launched CryptoKitties , aapplicationbuying and selling virtual kittens, with the possibility of mating them. Each of these kittens has the equivalent of aDNAunique. Theircouplingcan lead to billions of possibilities.  CryptoKitties has enjoyed immense success, going so far as to cause saturation of theblockchainEthereum – on which it was based – for many days. Some CryptoKitties, due to their rarity, have gained value – on November 4, 2018, Kitty No. 896775, (nicknamed Dragon) was even sold for the sum of 600 Ethers, the equivalent of $172,794. ‘era. The game thus gave birth to NFTs, but also gave a first idea of ​​what a play to earn could be.

In fact, the success of CryptoKitties led several game publishers to understand that any element of a game could be represented by an NFT: equipment, territory, weapon, etc. And to the extent that an NFT makes that item unique, it can acquire value.

“ Play to earn ” games are games based on blockchain technology, and more specifically on NFTs. Thus, in Decentraland, a metaverse which hosts play to earn type activities , the slightest plot of land, the slightest object, the slightest resource can be considered as an NFT and therefore be sold to the highest bidder, whether from the game itself or on a trading platform. In April 2022, a creature from Axie Infinity (Dragon Axie) found a buyer at the price of 750 ETH or 2 million euros.

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