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Explained: Play-to-earn games in metaverse and how they work


Video games, like mobile phones, saw some major transformations over the past few years—from portable palm-sized ones to computer games to wireless consoles. Gaming enthusiasts also transitioned from plain vanilla games to games like Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and Assassin’s Creed where they spent hundreds of dollars on in-game items like skins and weapons to flaunt them to their friends and competitors.

So far, however, only the developers of these games made financial gains while the gamers only spent money to enjoy. But the new breed of gamers wanted a change. They sought incentives for the number of hours spent in the virtual gaming worlds, and the advent of the metaverse made this possible. It led to the rise of the play-to-earn model.

How are play-to-earn models in metaverse different from mobile games?

Most video games so far had a centralised economic model where developers and publishers had the rights to all in-game economy items and the right to distribute the in-game assets as they saw fit. For example, if you owned skins or any in-game items, the developers had the authority to allow you to own them. But if they chose to shut down the game or strip any features of the game that affected the item you owned, you would have no recourse, and the item or skin would be lost.

With the arrival of the ‘play-to-earn’ model, all the digital assets you own within the game are empirically yours, and you can do whatever you want with them. You can even sell them on other marketplaces.

How do the play-to-earn model and ownership work?

Play-to-earn games rely on blockchain technology, as you can earn items while playing the games in the form of crypto tokens, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and through a process known as staking. Many of these games will reward you time by offering you one of the digital assets above.

For example, in the game world of Axie Infinity, you earn tokens called SLPs, which you can sell on exchanges for fiat or stablecoins.

You can also sell and trade digital assets like land and weapons in the form of NFTs to other players in a dedicated marketplace. As these items would be tokenised, they are unique assets that cannot be replicated, and the token for these items is stored securely in a distributed ledger.

In a game called Decentraland, you can sell and buy virtual plots. Recently, a piece of virtual land on Decentraland was sold for $1.3 million.

These assets are stored on a blockchain, so you do not worry about their security. And these assets would be wholly owned by you. The publisher or the developer would not have any right of ownership.

It should be noted that no games are truly ‘decentralised’ as they still require the authority of the publisher to define, issue, and constrain the asset that eventually is traded as an NFT.

A step-by-step guide on play-to-earn games:

This guide will discuss what you need to do to start play-to-earn games. As the processes for different games are different, we will discuss the two most popular games, Axie Infinity, and Decentraland.

Axie Infinity

  • You will first need to get an ethereum-based wallet to store cryptocurrencies. Metamask is a good and easy-to-navigate wallet.
  • Then you need to set up a ronin wallet. It’s the wallet to store in-game items and assets on the ronin blockchain. You can download it on the chrome web store.
  • After setting up your ronin wallet, go to the Axie marketplace and log in with your ronin wallet to create an account.
  • After setting up your account, you must connect to your ethereum-based wallet from your account’s ‘account settings’.
  • You will need to buy three Axies (monsters within the game) from the Axie marketplace to start playing the game. The price of Axies has risen due to the rising popularity and is around 0.15 ether (ETH) or roughly $300. Alternatively, you can participate in a scholarship programme. These are programmes started by other Axie owners who lend their Axies in return for a portion of SLP earnings.
  • Once you have activated your Axie account and got the necessary number of Axies, you just need to download the game and start playing.
  • Decentraland

  • Open your web browser and head to the main website. When you open the page, you will see the options to play using your wallet or play as a guest. It is recommended to play with a digital wallet as it gives you the whole game experience.
  • If you choose the ‘play with digital wallet’ option, you have to connect the wallet of your preference to the game.
  • After connecting your wallet, you will get a request to log in. You will be redirected to the avatar customisation page.
  • On the avatar customisation page, you will have the option to customise your avatars head, body, top, bottom, shoes, and accessories.
  • After customising your character, choose a name for your character.
  • Now you are set to explore the world of decentraland.
  • You can walk with your character to other’s properties and land and explore, or you can choose to buy any available plot of land in the game.
  • The play-to-earn game model in the metaverse is an emerging market where players can monetise the amount of time they spend playing video games. The model is still in its infancy, so it is hard to speculate how profitable this gaming model will be for the players in the future.

     

    (Edited by : Vijay Anand)

    First Published: Dec 23, 2021, 08:05 AM IST


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