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The advent of cryptocurrency-based game economies has many people excited. However, striking a balance between emissions and supply reductions is crucial. ICE Poker recently introduced a core change that excites players and shows why play-to-earn games aren't the best model.
ICE Poker Pivots From Play-to-Earn
Nearly all blockchain games on the market today embrace(d) the play-to-earn model. It is an excellent way to illustrate the power of true digital ownership. Giving players an option to convert in-game assets to real money is appealing but also raises many uncomfortable questions. ICE Poker was a play-to-earn game until very recently, but Decentral Games decided to take things in a different direction.
Rather than sustain ongoing reward emissions, the team introduced new incentives for long-term players. A title like Axie Infinity will offer virtually limitless rewards to players in currency or NFTs. However, when a player doesn't need those rewards, they will dump them on the secondary market. With more players opting for this route, prices of NFTs and currencies have gone down the drain. Additionally, there isn't sufficient demand to push values much higher.
Decentral Games deemed it time to ensure ICE Poker wouldn't have a similar fate. Their recent change removes direct ICE rewards for delegated players. A delegated player doesn't buy the NFTs directly to play the game but rents them from another player. Those users represent 90% of all ICE Poker players, yet most of them sold ICE rewards as soon as they came in. The result was an unsustainable game economy that had to change.
Play-and-Own vs. Play-to-earn
Instead of focusing more on earnings, Decentral Games wants ICE Poker to be more player-owner-based. They removed the ICE rewards for delegated players and replaced them with "banked" ICE. These "banked tokens" aim to move players to upgrade their avatar through wearables and shine rather than cash out tokens. Those wearables and Shine are required to participate in the ecosystem's poker tournaments.
Contrary to what one may think, players can still convert "banked" ICE to real ICE tokens. Doing so comes at a 70% penalty and has a threshold of at least 6,666 tokens. As a result, the game now has effective token sinks to generate value for long-term holders. Moreover, the token burns will outpace emissions, sustaining a balanced player economy.
Decentral Games CMO Matthew Howells-Barby commented on the play-and-own change:
"The existing play-to-earn model is broken. While offering limitless rewards to those that have invested nothing can be incredible for bootstrapping player liquidity, they are unsustainable. We've seen this with nearly every major GameFi project that kept this model. We're taking a different approach. Our focus is on the long term and it centers on enabling our players to own in-game assets through their gameplay while managing the token emissions we create so that the player base can scale without issue. This is what's going to set us apart over the next 12-18 months."
A Successful Start Paves The Way
A drastic change in rewards or 90% of players can have disastrous consequences. However, ICE Poker community members welcome this change and want more initiatives like this. They acknowledge the changes are needed for the long-term survival of the game. Super Shine Friday, the first event featuring these mechanics, saw almost 480,000 ICE burned by players adding Shine to their wearables. Furthermore, players spent another 880,000 tokens on upgrades.
As the change also lowers emissions, the burn-to-earn ratio hit 1.06. That means more tokens were burned than earned, reducing the ICE supply without negatively impacting gameplay or player enjoyment. It is a positive outcome confirming the viability of play-and-own models rather than sticking to play-and-earn.
In addition, Decentral Games buys back ICE tokens from the secondary market. It uses revenue from its Polygon Validator node and secondary sale royalties. So far, these mechanics seem to work rather well, with even higher ICE burns occurring through subsequent ICE Poker events. Especially the All Access Wearables see many player upgrades, and players remain eager to burn tokens to access ICE Poker Flex Tournament Mode.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other adviceInvestment Disclaimer