On average, global gaming enthusiasts will spend
Enter play-to-earn, or P2E, an approach that promised to claw back some of the value of time spent gaming. This model performed brilliantly and briefly, proving unsustainable for two chief reasons. One was that the games pushed for an earnings-first approach, which turned the game itself into an endless grind. And second, the payouts were lower than expected, in the end discouraging users. Now, blockchain games are trying to repair their balance and come up with a better mix between fun, engaging games and real, monetizable payouts for achievements.
The core of Web2 activity ended up being optimized for traffic. While this approach definitely produced value, it also streamlined anything from opinion to aesthetics, bowing down to the need of grinding out just the right activity to fit the algorithms.
The users of
Games are the ultimate personal pleasure, tailored for stimulation and fun, so it was thrilling to expect an industry that would manage a double feat - a fun, connected experience that was also personalized.
Unfortunately, no such thing happened and players ended up obeying an even more restrictive demand. P2E games were optimized for playing at scale, quickly ditching the whole idea of putting the gamer first.
A P2E game is, on the surface, a wonderful idea. Spend some idle time on your phone, accruing rewards that for some regions make up a neat monthly salary. That was possible for a while, courtesy of
Axie Infinity still exists and evolves, but has reverted to a free-to-play mode and put its P2E balance back on the drawing board. Now, Sky Mavis has learned a lesson - the game grind was growing tiresome, and even exploitative. Instead of a vast network of small-scale players and their Axie teams, the game was strip-mined to secure earnings for a collection of big owners.
Those that had the capital to build
To solve the problem of the P2E race to the bottom of boredom, games must bring play to the forefront, and add crypto earnings only after securing a thriving game environment. Gaming that feels like a chore, with a preset requirement to participate in races for instance, will certainly make players hate the game. Initially, that hate may be mitigated by the payout, but P2E games already face problems with keeping up their token value.
A better approach is a casual game that can be taken up and dropped at any moment, while offering satisfying progress. Incentives take the form of achievements and quests or battles, with no minimum requirement to earn tokens
TimeShuffle is one of the upcoming games that watched at the sidelines as the P2E model faced the biggest challenges of retaining players and ensuring robust earnings. This game aims to put fun first, creating a no-pressure environment. When players advance, however, their levels and achievements are kept forever, and can be fed back into the game economy, actually helping for even more advancements and new features.
Time Shuffle will offer an entry point as a free-to-play game, where gamers will feel a sense of familiarity and will be gradually introduced to the NFT and token features.
For TimeShuffle, fun and personalized achievement is the game’s core and primary goal. Earnings will come second, when the player builds up achievements and generates unique playable characters. With entertainment as the primary function, the player will also have the option to tokenize their progress and mint valuable NFTs.
TimeShuffle solves the problem of having a productive in-game economy, which can give value for a play-and-earn model, without running the game into the ground. Traditional players need not be skeptical of blockchain games. The mission of TimeShuffle is to invite players to also join the crypto space with the lowest possible risk and with improved ease of use. TimeShuffle aims to speed up the integration of traditional gaming experience and tokenized value on the blockchain.
Move-to-earn apps are a new model aiming to tap the physical world for the basic game mechanic that engages the player, but also creates a hard-to-fake input. Building on the success of fitness tracking,
Genopets goes a step beyond fitness tracking, and ties up movement to a mixed quest, spanning the real and the digital. The game builds treasure hunt mechanics and habitats, similar to the Pokemon Go geotagging. To increase the appeal and build a sense of achievement, Genopets is a progressive game, again locking in personal achievement for each player.
Genopets, the game’s main monster characters, aso reflect this progress. Like Pokemon, the creatures go through a series of evolutions, with four stages (baby, young, adult and Mystic) reflecting their capabilities and upgrading potential. The game will also require time commitment and an element of surprise and rarity to produce value.
Having a fun, appealing game is a sign that the project team is not abusing blockchain technology. Working on an appealing product with complex lore and mechanics is a sign that this game will not be another thinly veiled get-rich-quick scheme or even a Ponzi, with a bare-bones game as an afterthought.
Game-first projects also have a more conservative approach to NFT creation. For some games, the NFT sale is a big event, and then early investors get stuck for months, holding an image or a promise of a playable pet with no game in sight. Building the game and allowing players to first craft a character, ensure it is valuable and has use cases, and then mint an NFT if they want to preserve their character’s history on the blockchain.
Essentially, Web3 ideas want to put the decision power and value back in the hands of the end player. Game achievements and rewards are for the player, with no way to give unfair advantage to early buyers. The initial P2E model only took months to show it is not viable, and that the player base does not want to be optimized to support what amounts to a Ponzi structure.
With those lessons learned, blockchain games can now move closer to the Web3 idea and help create fun and the opportunity to exchange value without coercion.