May 17, 2023

Hardcore Gamers vs. Play-to-Earn Games

Hardcore Gamers vs. Play-to-Earn Games

In the ever-evolving landscape of gaming, play-to-earn (P2E) games have emerged as a new frontier, offering players the chance to earn real-world value while immersed in their favorite virtual worlds. However, a divide persists between hardcore gamers and the concept of play-to-earn. To bridge this gap, it is crucial to delve into the mindset of hardcore gamers and comprehend their reluctance to fully embrace the play-to-earn model.

Hardcore gamers are no strangers to the competitive scene, where games like Fortnite and Apex Legends offer weekly cash prizes to players who excel and rank higher based on their in-game performance. These titles emphasize skill and competition, fostering an environment where success is determined by individual performance. Consequently, hardcore gamers may view play-to-earn games as lacking the same level of competitiveness and skill-based rewards.

One fundamental aspect that sets play-to-earn games apart is their ability to enable players and investors to benefit from the success of the game. Unlike traditional gaming models that primarily generate profits for developers and publishers, play-to-earn games provide an opportunity for players to monetize their gameplay experience. It is important to note that play-to-earn does not promise to replace one's job or future career dependent on gaming skills or e-sports popularity, but rather offers an additional avenue for financial gain.

In this case, the question is, why would traditional gamers be so opposed to playing P2E games?

The play-to-earn model has faced skepticism due to certain challenges and pitfalls. For instance, the hype surrounding Axie Infinity in Southeast Asia resulted in players earning substantial profits. Yet, this success was largely driven by market speculation, leading to inflated asset values. When news of the Ronin wallet hack and subsequent loss of $640 million broke, the value of these assets plummeted, exposing the potential risks associated with play-to-earn games.

Play-to-earn games differ from traditional MMOs or online games, where players can earn in-game currency to enhance their gameplay experience. The key distinction lies in the option to sell virtual currency or items on the secondary market, ideally for profit. This opens up new economic possibilities, transforming gaming into an activity that can generate real-world value, instead of just being a “time-waster”.

However, the current model of play-to-earn games faces challenges related to marketing pay-to-win assets and yield farming, which can undermine the integrity of fair competition and skill-based progression. For play-to-earn games to gain wider acceptance, developers must prioritize solid gameplay experiences and direct ownership of virtual assets, integrating blockchain technology to enhance value without compromising gameplay quality, like developers from cyberpunk survival game, Decimated.

Steam's inclusion of "play to earn" elements in games like CS:GO, where cosmetic items can be acquired and traded, demonstrates a sustainable approach. Since these elements are purely cosmetic and do not impact gameplay, the play-to-earn model aligns with players' expectations without creating concerns about fairness or balance.

Privacy and security remain key concerns for gamers, especially in play-to-earn games where cryptocurrencies are involved. Worries persist that such games might secretly mine cryptocurrencies using players' hardware without their consent. We, as developers, must prioritize transparency and reassure gamers that their privacy and security are safeguarded and it will never be sold without their consent.

One psychological aspect of gaming addiction is the allure of scarcity and achievement. By creating servers in games like World of Warcraft where scarcity is eliminated, players may quickly realize the futility of the experience when they can obtain anything they desire instantly. This approach can help individuals break free from excessive gaming habits.

Some companies' attempts to integrate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into gaming experiences have been met with backlash. Ubisoft's introduction of NFTs for Ghost Recon Breakpoint resulted in selling only three NFTs before facing community outrage and subsequently issuing refunds. Such incidents highlight the need for developers to consider player sentiment and community engagement prior to incorporating novel monetization strategies.

Hardcore gamers have been conditioned to approach new monetization strategies with caution, as they often fear being exploited or manipulated for financial gain. The gaming industry must address this skepticism by fostering trust, providing transparent value propositions, and ensuring fair gameplay experiences.

For play-to-earn games to gain widespread acceptance, developers must streamline the user experience. Gamers don't want the hassle of installing separate software wallets or purchasing additional cryptocurrencies for transaction fees. The process should be frictionless, enabling seamless integration of blockchain elements into gameplay. For example, Decimated plans to introduce the fiat gateway on their website that will enable players to purchase DIO, the in-game currency, simply by using their credit/debit card.

The high entry price associated with play-to-earn games is another concern for gamers. Whales, who purchase and resell assets or rent them out, can inflate prices and create barriers for players. Developers must implement measures to prevent excessive speculation and maintain accessibility for all players.

Moreover, the requirement to connect wallets and pay transaction fees can be off-putting for gamers. Many players prefer a seamless and straightforward gaming experience without the need for additional financial transactions or complex setups.

The recent case of Battlefield 2042 illustrates the negative consequences of monetization practices. Review-bombed on Steam, the game received mostly negative user reviews partly due to the sale of in-game currency to buy virtual items, even after players had already purchased the game and additional DLCs. This exemplifies the need for developers to strike a balance between monetization and player satisfaction.

One of the significant challenges of using tokens in play-to-earn games lies in their volatility and the influence of external markets on token prices. While utility and staking systems can increase demand, the profit-oriented mentality of players can result in constant token price fluctuations. Developers have limited control over these external market factors, making it essential to find ways to stabilize token prices for a sustainable play-to-earn ecosystem.

Let's explore this topic further, with a special focus on the Decimated game as an example of a play-to-earn game. The game stands as an example of a play-to-earn game aiming to overcome the skepticism of hardcore gamers. Decimated's immersive gameplay based in a persistent online world, coupled with the opportunity to earn real-world value through a robust economic system, showcases the potential of future play-to-earn games. However, for broader acceptance, developers must address concerns around usability, fairness, and economic stability.

To summarise, understanding the mindset of hardcore gamers and their reluctance to embrace play-to-earn games is crucial for bridging the gap between traditional gaming models and the evolving landscape of gaming experiences. By addressing concerns related to gameplay integrity, transparency, security, and fairness, play-to-earn games can break the stereotypes and provide immersive experiences that benefit both players and developers. The inclusion of play-to-earn elements, such as in the Decimated game, offers a glimpse into the potential future of gaming, where players can engage in captivating experiences while reaping real-world rewards.

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