Written by Jonny Fry
Writers linkdin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonnyfry/

One of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is that many traditional jobs were at best suspended, and many have been lost. However, what was created was an ideal back drop for those with time on their hands and an internet connection to look for other ways to fill their days and earn money, whereby helping to explain the phenomenal rise in popularity of Play to Earn. Arguably, Axie Infinity has led the way, having risen in price from $4.47 on 7th June 2021, to over $74 now

Axie Infinity

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Source: Axie Infinity.com

Axie Infinity describes itself as a "digital pet universe on the blockchain" where players look after their digital pets. However, in order to start playing, small digital animals called Axies need to be purchased. Ironically, the game (which was developed in Vietnam) has been dominated by people in the Philippines who make up 40% of the players. Now the Philippine government is also looking to profit as it seeks to levy tax on the gains its citizens are making. Due to the popularity of Axie, the price of Axies has risen immensely - meaning for those who cannot afford the initial purchase price, they are able to enrol for Axie scholarships at Axie Universities. A ‘scholarship’ in Axie Infinity is when an owner of Axies gives free Axies to someone, resulting in the original owner/donor earning a % of the players’ income. These types of scholarships are a helpful way for those people new to cryptos to learn how to use digital wallets and how to cash in the ‘Secret Love Points’ that one earns while playing Axie Infinity. Depending on the scholarship terms, the profit share can vary between having to pay away 30% to 40% of the income generated.

Another Play to Earn on-line game is Blankos Block Party, from Mithical games. Its developers also worked on highly successful video games including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Guitar Hero. When playing ‘Blankos, one can earn Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) which can be traded on marketplaces. Rudy Koch, a co-founder of Blankos, has said: “What NFTs allow us to do is to bring the player into the economy so they can participate in the value that they bring to the game. Through the items that they earn, through the levels that they build, through the customizations that they make - they own the NFTs. They own the items, for the first time. And they can play with them, they can sell them.” Whilst the idea of buying and selling items you have won/earnt from playing on-line games is not new, the ownership and transparency that comes with Blockchain technology is. Burberry, the fashion designer and retailer has its Non-Fungible Token (NFT) collection on the Blankos Block Party. Rod Manley, chief marketing officer at Burberry, has stated: “That pushing boundaries through experimentation is at the heart of what the company does and it is excited to unlock genuine value for the gaming community by encouraging players to interact with the brand in an environment that celebrates art, design and exploration”.

Burberry’s collaboration with Block Party demonstrates how traditional global brands are engaging further with Digital Assets as a means in which to raise their profile among a new and growing audience which is paid to play.

For readers who are looking for more information about other pay to play games, including update of new games due to be launched, there is now an on-line publication called Play to Earn on-line.  But remember, these games afford no guarantees and players can lose as well as win; on-line gaming can be very addictive and consume huge amounts of time. Whilst the use of Blockchain technology and creation of NFTs that can be traded to generate a return one needs to remember that the value of these NFTs is, in essence, what the next person is prepared to pay for them. The game that some NFTs rely on needs to hold a real attraction as opposed to being reliant on the fact that it may use NFTs and Blockchain technology. For example we are now seeing NFTs being traded based on a game that has not even yet been built. According to  Dappradar.com NFT collection stats Loot had $194.82 million in terms of trades with 3,201 traders/gamers swapping almost 6,000 items in a week.