"Play-To-Earn" is a Daydream That Will Never Workby@martinsevon
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"Play-To-Earn" is a Daydream That Will Never Work

by SevonBlogJune 15th, 2022
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Play-to-earn games are bound to fail due to scalability. They're the perfect breeding ground for bots which will grind the price of any asset to the ground. Making it worthless for a player to actually bother playing the game.

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Play-To-Earn (P2E) is a horrible model and it’s about time people stopped worshipping this false idea.

As much as I’d love to earn money playing video games myself, this model that all of these blockchain games have adopted is unrealistic and only puts a bad name on crypto.

Anyone who actually played a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO) in their life understands why this concept just doesn’t work. Unfortunately, the mass majority creating and playing these games aren’t actual gamers, which is why they don’t understand.

So, why can’t it work? After all the idea is pretty simple right? You play the game, earn whatever their native token or virtual material there is, sell it on an exchange and there’s your profit!

On paper, this idea works completely fine—but only in the short term…. All these P2E games are doomed from the get-go. Says who? Saysthe economy.

AI and Robots Are Destined To Destroy The World

Although the idea of dystopian AI is a worry for another day (in our real world), in video game universes it’s the problem of the present.

Bots have been for years! And that’s excluding blockchain games, which heavily restrict real-world trading (RMT). Even there they manage to annihilate the experience.

In the case of the P2E model, no economy also means no world altogether. If a game’s existence is centered solely around the market then this is inevitable.

If you’ve played an MMO, you’ll recognize that P2E games utilize the “grindy” or “farming” aspect of video games. These refer to monotonous gathering tasks that are very simple but require lots of reactive effort and time as opposed to skill (almost like your average job :P).

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Might be a bit boring but hey… you do you. The major issue though, is that you as a player will be easily replaced by bots.

You’ve seen them. On Twitter, Facebook, RuneScape, World of Warcraft, and basically any social community. The botting and AI technology is just too advanced to stop within virtual worlds.

If multi-billion dollar companies like Twitter or Blizzard can’t handle it, what chances do you think a small indie developer has? These bots will quite literally take your job.

And since you can’t stop them you cannot possibly outperform them. They do not sleep, they do not tire. They don’t require food or even a water break. They’re simply unstoppable and willing to work for a fraction of whatever you expected.

How exactly do bots ruin the economy?

An army of bots will do 2 things:

  • Grind every commodity into worthlessness
  • Drive away the majority of the player base

Every market works on supply and demand and virtual games aren’t an exception. Bots will ‘farm‘ out all of the tokens, items, collectibles, and basically anything that’s worth something.

This will create a massive disparity between supply and demand, which will of course force all of the different bot operators to compete with each other. They’ll constantly undercut each other’s prices and inevitably, drive the value into the ground.

An average player will need to compensate each day for the plummeting prices with hours of extra “play time”, which will consequently feel more and more like work each day.

In the end, it’ll be pure slavery with only the people at the top making money. Starting with the developers descending into different bot operators in an almost pyramid-like manner. Sound familiar?

The Iceberg Goes Deeper

At the end of the day, P2E games function similarly to malicious crypto miners. Not the kind that makes crypto for you but the kind that’s secretly injected into programs and you unknowingly download. These programs mine crypto and send it to someone else at your computing expense.

This used to be what people were scared of and what they avoided. Nowadays though, not only are people downloading them willingly but they even help it in the guise of earning money themselves.

Because that’s what P2E games are. Little programs that ultimately make money for the big fish with the illusion of looking out for the little guy.

So is earning while gaming impossible?

Of course not. Anything is possible. I’ve made quite a bit of money playing a wide range of games myself, including centralized titles.

The blockchain does make it much easier too. However, the main point is that most of the focus in blockchain gaming is on P2E games, which is, as you might have guessed, a very faulty model in my opinion. Borderline predatory in most cases.

Not all of them are obviously like that. Axie Infinity or even some of the upcoming ones like Ember Sword do seem like very genuine projects. But this “chasing the dragon” styled gameplay is just not it. That’s for sure.