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The games industry is growing rapidly, with data from Statista showing that it will likely be worth $268 billion a year in 2025, up from more than $197 billion this year. Behind this surge is a rapid rise in the number of new layers, with one estimate putting the total number of gamers worldwide at a staggering 2.6 billion people.
Looking at what’s behind this growth, it seems that entertainment is no longer the only driving force in the video games industry. Rather, the industry is evolving to the point where many games actually give back to their communities in the form of real-life rewards. This is thanks to the convergence of video games with new technologies like blockchain and non-fungible tokens, giving rise to the nascent idea of play-to-earn games.
Blockchain-based games have rapidly won over a new generation of video game players with the tantalizing prospect of being able to transform the time they invest into games into a profit. Players can win cryptocurrency rewards, and items won or bought can be represented as NFTs, meaning they can be resold to other players. Because every transaction is recorded on an immutable blockchain, no purchase can be altered or deleted by any third-party.
Just as important is that blockchain games are transparent. To successfully complete missions, players might be required to purchase various in-game items, such as weapons or vehicles. With P2E games, everyone can see exactly how rare and powerful such an item really is, with the community of players then left to determine its value through simple supply and demand.
These concepts have helped the P2E gaming industry to grow rapidly in the last couple of years, with headlines around the emerging sector reaching a crescendo during the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when many players were stuck at home and out of work. By providing players with an alternative way to make a living, games like Axie Infinity quickly became world-famous.
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The P2E sector has evolved rapidly from those early days. One of the major criticisms of Axie Infinity and other P2E games released around the same time was that the actual gameplay left a lot to be desired. With its overly simple game mechanics and stale daily challenges, it meant that the prospect of earning rewards was the only motivating factor for many Axie players.
However, developers have been receptive to those critics, and the current generation of P2E games are responding with efforts to build a much longer-lasting legacy that’s not just focused on making a profit.
The focus is clearly on the longevity of gameplay in Apeiron, an exciting new blockchain-based “god game” where players take on the role of gods of planets that are populated by alien “Doods”.
Players will be able to alter the atmosphere of their planets from above before descending down to the earth where they can explore the surface through an avatar and attempt to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos. With inspiration from legendary god games such as Populous, the basic premise of Apeiron is that players must grow their planets and civilizations to the point where it cannot get any more advanced. Then, they’ll need to reset their planetary cycle to enable continuous advancement in the game and open up more rewarding player-vs-environment and player-vs-player challenges. To progress, players must use their supernatural abilities to solve the most pressing problems faced by the inhabitants of their planets, the Doods, by conjuring up natural elements such as air, water, earth, and fire.
One of the key differences is that, while Apeiron is focused on exhilarating gameplay first of all, players get to keep whatever assets they control, such as planets, as NFTs. These can then be sold or used in the wider Apeiron metaverse to open up new challenges and opportunities for rewards.
Other games meanwhile are focused on providing more than just financial rewards, instead encouraging health benefits too. Walken, for instance, is pioneering a new “move-to-earn” concept that relies on gamified exercise and unique CAThlete NFT characters. With Walken, users daily steps are converted into Gems, motivating people to become more active. Players can use these Gems can be used to power up their CAThletes and make them stronger, before participating in contests with other players, where they can earn WLKN cryptocurrency tokens as rewards.
Unlike with other crypto games, Walken is focused on bringing regular folks on board, even those who know nothing about how blockchain works. It’s designed to be easy to use, with a simple user interface and cute characters that will appeal to every kind of audience. Within minutes, it helps players to set up their Walken wallet and provide them with their first CAThlete NFT free of charge, so they can begin their walk-to-earn journey. It’s an idea that has already taken off rapidly, with Walken saying in September that it has already grown to more than 1.11 million users, despite only launching earlier in the year. Moreover, that figure is expected to grow to more than two million by the end of the fourth quarter, with the game adding around 9,000 new users per day at its current expansion rate. .
It’s not only fitness freaks who’re taking notice of the P2E gaming genre. Indeed, it’s not just about the players. On the contrary, Belgian second division football club KMSK Deinze is looking at the space as a solid investment that can help it to develop new revenue streams outside of its sporting activities.
To that end, KMSK Deinze recently announced it’s investing funds from its sponsors to purchase in-game NFTs and other digital assets from Digital Entertainment Asset’s PlayMining gaming platform. PlayMining is host to a selection of P2E games that have attracted big audiences in Singapore and Southeast Asia, and KMSK Deinze believes that the assets of these games will be extremely sought after as the popularity of those titles grows.
KMSK Deinze’s plan is to create what’s known as a “gaming guild”, which are organizations that invest in NFTs for P2E games then rent them out to promising players who have the time and motivation to play those games for rewards. In this way, not only does the club generate a new revenue stream, but it can also support new job creation in the emerging Web3 economy.
Further business opportunities in the P2E arena stem from Snook’s creation of Big Boys Table (BBT) Themed rooms for ecosystem partners. In this way, Snook’s partners can create or participate in their own, themed Snook games within a dedicated arena, promoting their brands to their fan bases and offering prizes at the same time.
Last but not least, we should mention how the NFT gaming space is cleaning up its act by moving beyond the Ethereum blockchain, known for its slow transaction speeds and expensive gas prices. These days, most new titles are not built on Ethereum but rather on alternative blockchain networks, such as Tezos.
Tezos is an environmentally-friendly blockchain that’s known for its “clean NFTs”, which can be created at minimal cost to the environment thanks to its novel proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, which eliminates the need for the energy-hogging mining that powers traditional blockchains.
Networks like Tezos will likely inspire more developers to think about creating games with P2E elements as they eliminate environmental concerns around blockchain. One of the most promising new games to live on Tezos will be Blockxer, an old-skool beat ‘em up game where every player, in-game item, fight backdrop and weapon will be represented as a Tezos NFT. What’s more, the community is encouraged to play a big part in the development of the game, with players given the opportunity to create future NFT-based levels, characters, weapons and more.
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 advice