The Evolution of P2E Games by@henrywilliams

The Evolution of P2E Games

Over the past few years, software has transferred all-important life processes to the digital environment, which helps to solve problems in various industries efficiently and quickly. Now, most developers don't just think about writing code but try to create practical applications to help people, animals, and the planet. To understand how digital technology has changed our lives, it is necessary to become familiar with real-world problems being solved with software.
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Henry Williams

Crypto enthusiast

The play-to-earn gaming industry has emerged as one of the most explosively successful applications of blockchain technology, growing from a relatively small niche of spearheaded projects such as 2017’s Cryptokitties into a massive global market expected to reach over $250 billion in value by 2025.

Play-to-earn, or P2E games, now account for a significant portion of the overall blockchain and cryptocurrency market. Data published by DappRadar reveals that 49 percent of all blockchain wallet activity is driven by P2E games, with over 750,000 individual P2E gaming wallets active on a daily basis since Q4 2021.

Despite the extreme success of play-to-earn games such as Axie Infinity, the play-to-earn gaming ecosystem is still under active development and is therefore highly fractured — games operating on different blockchains with different token standards preclude the creation of interoperable gaming ecosystems equivalent to contemporary gaming market distribution platforms such as Steam.

The P2E Game Development Bottleneck

Developing and launching a play-to-earn game within the current P2E market demands extensive multidisciplinary talent — in order to ideate, design, and develop a robust play-to-earn game, it’s necessary to combine elements of both traditional game design and blockchain design.

The P2E gaming market, as it exists today, is largely driven by in-browser blockchain games that are limited in scope when compared to the traditional gaming market. Unlike blockchain projects, which can typically be assembled in a relatively short time frame, blockchain-based games require a broad spectrum of assets, development, testing, and tokenomic design.

Play-to-earn games provide players with the ability to earn blockchain-based assets or tokens during play, which can be exchanged or traded on in-game marketplaces or external cryptocurrency exchanges for profit. This aspect of P2E gaming is the most important difference between traditional games and P2E games, offering players the ability to translate in-game effort into real-world cash.

The economic systems present within play-to-earn games, however, present P2E game developers with unique obstacles. Inefficient token economics, for example, can lead to early adopters of a play-to-earn game amassing large amounts of game tokens, which are subsequently dumped on newer players as a game becomes popular.

Tokenomic Design Limitations Impede P2E Game Studio Scale

Designing robust tokenomic structures to support the long-term scalability of a blockchain-based game is a difficult process that demands an extensive understanding of both game theory and blockchain engineering, and one that can place significant stress on game development teams and consume resources that would otherwise be directed toward game features.

The technically complex nature of P2E game development and distribution has created a P2E gaming market in which games are far more limited than the games available within traditional mainstream or indie gaming markets.

While direct blockchain integrations with game engines such as Unity or Unreal Engine 5 exist and are in use by many P2E projects, blockchain-based games commonly fail to take advantage of the full potential of these platforms.

The decentralized nature of blockchain-based games should present developers with the ability to respond directly to market demands, creating new opportunities for decentralized game funding through NFT game assets and land pre-sales or incorporating decentralized governance functionality to include player voices in the development process.

Limitations placed on developers by the complexity of blockchain-based game design and the demand for short development windows within the greater blockchain community, however, restrict the scope of games — building a blockchain-based P2E Diablo: Immortal, for example, is a virtually insurmountable task for most blockchain development teams.

Creating an Interoperable P2E Gaming Ecosystem

As the play-to-earn gaming market consolidates, however, a new type of blockchain service is emerging that provides P2E game developers with the tools required to create complete blockchain-based P2E token ecosystems “out of the box.”

Platforms such as Ruby Play Net provide blockchain-based games with a complete tokenized solution for play-to-earn gameplay, delivering instant P2E functionality to existing games or providing developers with the ability to use the Ruby framework to create their own P2E game ecosystems.

A new wave of blockchain gaming accelerators and incubator platforms now provide blockchain game development studios with access to marketing tools, development tools, and existing player communities that streamline the process of bringing new games to market, allowing developers to focus on enhancing gameplay loops and features rather than blockchain development and marketing.

As the blockchain gaming and P2E ecosystem mature, play-to-earn games are moving beyond siloed, standalone games and into Web3 ecosystems that establish interconnected networks of games that use interoperable digital currencies to facilitate cross-platform and cross-game value transfer.

The rise of the P2E model has seen both gamers and blockchain enthusiasts presented with the opportunity to earn real money through play. The consolidation of the P2E gaming ecosystem into a coherent, interoperable marketplace in which game studios are able to launch and market games at scale is the next step in challenging the highly centralized traditional gaming ecosystem, capturing mainstream gaming industry audiences and opening the doors to a higher level of P2E game quality and scale.

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