Play-to-Earn: A Win or Loss for Gamers?

Over the past decade, gaming has become the largest entertainment industry in the world.

Gone are the days of a few friends crowding around an Atari at the local arcade —  gaming has now become a site of global connectivity as people play with and against other players all around the world in real-time. Gaming evolves alongside the technology that supports it, from arcades and home consoles to the rise of online and mobile games, gaming is often at the frontier of technological advancements. But with the popularisation of virtual reality and the blockchain gaming market estimated to hit $435 billion by 2028, what does the next era of gaming look like?

It seems that games hosted on the blockchain are fuelling an emerging play-to-earn economy, which will define the new era of gaming.

There’s already a lot of money in gaming, but most is reserved for development companies and a few elite players who compete at the professional level, with the top earners in e-sports taking home upwards of $7 million per year. But blockchain gaming could decentralise profitability in the gaming space, creating a new profit structure entirely.

In-game assets including skins, characters or accessories can be represented by NFTs, which are hosted on the blockchain and can be transferred outside the games and exchanged for real money. The concept is a far cry from traditional in-game assets stored on centralised servers and controlled by game developers.

Games must now invest time and resources into their profiles for real-world financial returns. For instance, in the Ethereum-based game CryptoKitties, gamers can play challenges to earn rewards, collect rare assets, and ‘breed’ kitties to strengthen their profile. All of which can be sold beyond the gamescape in exchange for cryptocurrencies or fiat currencies (legal tender like GBP/USD).

But of course, most people play games for enjoyment. Games have always had rewards built in, but do they need to be extrinsic and financial? Does a play-to-earn economy blur the line between leisure and work too much? Or is it an opportunity and a return for gamers and their skills?

Let us know what you think below.

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