Play to Own vs Play to Earn
Over the last year or two, the world of gaming has been slowly transforming right under our noses. With the rise of blockchain technology and smart contracts, web3 gaming is taking over and has opened up a gateway to the next generation of online gaming. Web3 gaming has seen huge amounts of support; in 2022 alone, funding in the space reached around $7B, with games such as BLOCKLORDS and studios like CCP receiving backing from gaming and web3’s most seasoned investors.
Up until now, games have opted to use the Play to Earn model, which encompasses another key element of Web3, DeFi. These games reward players with coin tokens or NFTs, which they can then sell on the secondary market for a profit. However, recently there has been a shift in which framework games are opting for, with the rise of Play to Own.
Brief History of Web3 Gaming
The journey of web3 gaming began with Hunter Coin back in 2014. Though not a traditional game, Hunter Coin aimed to push the limits of multiplayer interactions on the blockchain, even coining the term “human mineable currency.” Players earned coins through gameplay, and the project was a success! A few years later, CryptoKitties burst onto the scene, giving rise to the Play to Earn revolution, and the rest is history.
What is Play to Earn?
Play to Earn paved the way for web3 games, garnering visibility and popularity. By combining DeFi and gaming, players worldwide could earn money by playing games, a privilege previously reserved for the top 0.01% of gamers. From an economic standpoint, this model is a win-win: players in less affluent countries can improve their quality of life, and it showcases a practical application of crypto outside of finance. However, the model isn’t perfect. The introduction of easily accessible financial incentives shifts the dynamics of the game, with players focusing on farming coins rather than enjoying the game itself. To overcome this, developers must take the time to create well-balanced in-game economics and tokenomics that prevent the game from burning out after a few weeks.
What is Play to Own?
Play to Own, a web3 gaming model, shifts the focus back to what gamers genuinely care about – fun. By utilizing smart contracts, in-game assets become more dynamic, with stats and characteristics evolving as players progress through the game. This discourages players from flipping assets for a quick profit and creates a sense of connection with the game and its assets. Players value the time and effort they invest in obtaining these assets.
Focusing on fun, Play to Own games offer a familiar experience for gamers, unburdened by the heavy presence of financial incentives. Players can enjoy the game as intended, making memories with friends, and having a great time!
Thanks to blockchain technology, dynamic assets not only enhance gameplay but also give players real ownership. All the experiences that went into obtaining these assets are owned by the player, giving tangible value to their hard work.
What’s the difference between Play to Own and Play to Earn?
The key differentiating factor between Play to Earn and Play to Own is intent. Play to Earn games emphasize the financial gain available through blockchain technology. While economically beneficial, this approach alters the gaming experience, turning it from leisurely fun to an endless grind. For die-hard gamers, this shift doesn’t align with their ideal experience, potentially deterring them from playing.
Play to Own, on the other hand, better aligns with what gamers want – an enjoyable experience that lasts. Developers aiming to create a game that stands the test of time can rely on the Play to Own model, as
its focus on fun rivals that of traditional video games. While assets can still be sold in Play to Own games, the core motive for playing isn’t financial gain.
The Play to Own approach is the best way to create a gaming experience centered around ownership and enjoyment. Financial incentives are essential to some, but games are primarily meant for fun. Play to Own is the perfect way for gamers to make lasting memories and build a connection with their in-game assets.
As gaming continues to evolve alongside technology, the possibilities are endless, and it’s likely that more web3 gaming models will emerge in the future. For now, understanding Play to Earn and Play to Own will help you grasp the current landscape and the benefits of web3 technology within the gaming industry. Power to the gamers!