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Play-to-Earn vs Play and Earn: The Evolution of Crypto Gamingby@bensoncrypto
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1,336 reads

Play-to-Earn vs Play and Earn: The Evolution of Crypto Gaming

by Isaac BensonNovember 16th, 2022
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As part of the evolution of crypto gaming, we are seeing a shift from Play-to-Earn, to Play and Earn gaming. Play and Earn gaming is similar to Play-to-Earn gaming since players can earn NFTs and in-game crypto tokens. However, Play and Earn gaming focuses more on gameplay and player experience, with their earnings being a bonus to a well-made game.
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The blockchain industry is constantly evolving alongside the new innovations and sub-industries that were birthed under it. Blockchain gaming is one sub-industry that is constantly changing. Starting with 2D collectible games like CryptoKitties and moving onto Play-to-Earn titles like Axie Infinity, crypto gaming is now on its way to AAA gaming status, with full HD games currently in the works.

However, the crypto gaming industry hasn't seen a completely smooth transition. Some people have seen Play-to-Earn (P2E) games as having prohibitive entry costs. For example, to get started with Axie Infinity, a player needs to buy 3 Axie NFTs for their team. At the bull market's peak, Axies were selling for over $300 a piece on average. This made the entry cost over $900, which is 15x the price of a brand new console of PC games which typically retail for $60. 

Additional concerns include grindy and repetitive gameplay experiences, with P2E gaming feeling more like a job than an enjoyable experience. In response, blockchain gaming studios seem to be taking a gameplay-first approach to development. This includes improving the gameplay, graphics, and narratives to match the quality of traditional AAA console and PC games. 

As part of the evolution of crypto gaming, we are also seeing a shift from Play-to-Earn, to Play and Earn gaming. Play and Earn gaming is similar to Play-to-Earn gaming since players can earn NFTs and in-game crypto tokens. However, Play and Earn gaming focuses more on gameplay and player experience, with their earnings being a bonus to a well-made game.

Many early Play-to-Earn games seemed to focus more on the players earning in-game assets, with very simple gameplay and graphics. While players can earn an income this way, it quickly becomes boring, essentially acting as a job for the player. There are also inherent risks due to the volatility of the in-game cryptocurrencies that players can earn. So if a player (especially in a developing country) were to use P2E games as their main source of income, they could lose their earnings during a crash or bear market.

On the other hand, Play and Earn puts the gaming experience first, usually with no entry requirements. For example, some Play and Earn games give new players non-NFT characters they can use until they earn or buy an NFT character in-game. This will help boost the adoption of blockchain gaming since it has a much lower barrier to entry. Improved graphics, gameplay, and storylines will also make Play and Earn games more attractive to traditional gamers.

Gamification of other sectors is another benefit of Play and Earn gaming. For example, sports betting can be gamified, with players predicting the outcome of a sports match and earning rewards if they are correct. Other sectors ripe for gamification include the metaverse and DeFi (gamified staking, for example). 

Regarding the sports prediction sector, Pooky, a gamified Web3 sports prediction platform released its free-to-play version in public beta on November 16th, 2022. 

The free-to-play beta launch of the game will be available in time for the FIFA World Cup, which kicks off a few days later on November 20th, and will run throughout the tournament. In addition, players participating in the public beta will receive a whitelist spot to mint an exclusive Genesis Pookyball (NFT) during the project's private sale in January 2023. 

The prediction game centers around Pookyball NFTs. Each Pookyball gives its holder the right to enter the prediction game, where they predict results from the major football leagues and tournaments on Earth, including the FIFA World Cup, English Premier League, Italian Serie A, and Spanish La Liga. 

Players never risk losing their NFT; it's theirs to keep forever. The model encourages social interaction around the world's most popular sport with none of the downsides associated with traditional gambling. Players get to enjoy the thrill of having something riding on a game without the risk of addiction or the financial worries that accompany it.   

Players guessing the outcome of football games receive points for predicting winners, the number of goals, and exact scores. They're ranked on a leaderboard, and top players can win crypto and rare Pookyballs. The points scored matter — even for players not topping the leaderboards. Points scored will be converted into Experience Points (PXP), which are necessary to upgrade Pookyballs increasing chances to score more points in the next prediction round and therefore maximize players' in-game rewards.

Unlike play-to-earn titles that suffer from rampant token supply inflation, Pooky does not award tokens for simply playing. Instead, gamers must demonstrate the skill to top leaderboards rankings to maximize rewards. Spending tokens on upgrades increases their chances of receiving rewards and burns a percentage of the amount spent, providing further value to the players. The result is a long-term, sustainable circular token economy absent in many of today's play-to-earn efforts. The game is built on a "Play-and-Earn" model focusing mostly on gameplay and entertainment rather than just the earning side.    

The initial public beta will enable players to play the game's free version and can start unlocking rewards. Slightly different from the play-and-earn version described above, players receive two free Rookyballs, and PXP rewards will be lower than in the full, NFT-driven version.

Conclusion

Gaming shouldn't feel like work, and developers should focus on creating games that entertain players instead. Unfortunately, aside from the high entry costs and grindy gaming experiences, older P2E games also suffer from the volatility of blockchain-based assets in-game. 

The best way to combat volatility is by making earnings an addition to the game rather than the main component. This way, if an in-game token or NFT declines or rises in value, the core gaming experience isn't affected.