When the hype surrounding play-for-profit (P2E) games and platforms began to wane in early 2022, Web3 participants began emphasizing the need for games to be more “fun” and less fund-oriented. In the latest episode of NFT Steez, Alyssa Exposito and Ray Salmond spoke with Aaron Berchmidt, CEO of Laguna Games and founder of Crypto Unicorns, about the sustainability of P2E-focused blockchain gaming.
For Beierschmitt, the evolution from the play-and-earn model to the play-and-earn model suggests that there are still experiences and maturity to be seen in these games. “Nothing has changed in terms of making games,” says Berchmidt, but with blockchain technology, crypto-citizens and gamers are now able to play, own and possibly monetize these gaming and profit models. The bigger question is, is it sustainable?
The paradigm and emotional transformation of P2E games
Regarding the shift in sentiment around P2E and how Crypto Unicorns is approaching it, Beierschmitt said it is “charting a path to sustainability through a combination of economic farming simulation” along with real-time “skill-based gaming episodes” to attract more users into its ecosystem . Not only do these gaming rings need a semblance of form and function, they also need to be fun and engaging for players, according to Berschmidt.
However, he also acknowledged that blockchain-based games are not for everyone and that Crypto Unicorns are aimed at a demographic more aligned with those who are native to cryptocurrency.
According to Berschmidt, there is a lack of “incentive alignment for free play,” as developers maximize value extraction from the minority of players who spend in free games. This asymmetry creates a “model mismatch,” as Web3 games allow players to reach a new level of autonomy and ownership when it comes to in-game items, assets, and skills.
For Beierschmitt, this is what makes the “compelling” play and earn model, where players can earn along the way while playing their favorite game. Berchmidt said that Web3 not only enables player source and ownership, but with governance models, players and participants are now empowered to “take ownership of the game’s direction, ecosystem, and intellectual property (intellectual property)”.
In-game economies are a work in progress
In-game economies have proven to be a sticking point for most play and win games. When discussing the factors necessary for in-game economies to be sustainable in the long run, Berschmidt explained that one of the contributing factors is the dynamic between passive and active players. Passive players are those who invest in active players to advance in the game.
However, Berchmidt emphasized that for the dynamic to be sustainable, “skill-based gaming loops” and “token pools” must be implemented as this puts the player back into the economy and ecosystem. As Berchmidt said, most play-and-earn games still spawn their transition from a “growth phase” to a “maturity phase,” but he firmly believes there is a “bright future in the days ahead!”
For more on the discussion with Aron Beierschmitt, listen to the full episode of NFT Steez. Set reminders and tune into the NFT Steez Twitter expanses that air every Friday at 12 PM ET!
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