Building a More Sustainable Model of Blockchain Gaming
Blockchain gaming has a unique value proposition to gamers around the world, never has a niche in the gaming industry offered such unrestricted in-game asset ownership to players, giving them the chance to monetise their countless hours spent in game. Despite this, there is fundamental issues with the products currently on the market, as well as many of the projects currently in development. The crux of the industry’s problems lies in the prioritisation of in-game economies over the Gameplay itself. Ask yourself (if you are a gamer) what makes you play games, and what value do you extract from this hobby, I am confident in saying that 99% of gamers asked would respond simply and obviously, that they play games for entertainment. This is hardly a revelation, but it has clearly been overlooked by most of the blockchain games currently on the market. They fail to realise that the value of all games lies within the gameplay, by prioritising the profit incentive, rather than the value derived from the gameplay itself, the very in-game economies they choose to prioritise become de facto Ponzi schemes.
Play to Earn is a term popularised by Axie Infinity, while their innovation cannot be called into question, the model they popularised is inherently flawed. Referring to my previous point about why gamers game, they do it for fun, if a game markets itself on being profitable to play, they attract purely profit seekers. The problem this creates is simple yet unsurmountable. If the entire player base of a game is playing in pursuit of profit, there is an absence of injections into the economy which is entirely unsustainable. One method being used to try and counter this is creating barriers to entry for players to access games, such as the need to purchase a team of Axies to play Axie infinity. This is unworkable in the long run, a team of Axies was comfortably above $1000 in Axies peak, nobody was paying that to play Axie Infinity, obviously they were pursuing profit and saw it as an investment. Going forward, blockchain games must grow organically based on the value of their gameplay, as games have been doing for decades, rather than trying to grow on an unsustainable dream of universal profit. For players to consistently withdraw from an in-game economy, there must be other players injecting into it regularly, otherwise it’s simply not feasible. Whether it be through in-game currencies, cosmetics, or any other method of monetising, blockchain games must find a way to create a DAU base that is injecting into the in-game economy. This is an impossible task if your DAUs are only playing in pursuit of profit, without a fundamentally strong game, injections will always be insufficient. Looking at gaming classics over the last 30 years, the best in-game economies have been primarily made up of in-game assets, and the demand for rarer items among the player base.