In recent years, the blockchain gaming sector has experienced distinct growth, with over $4 billion invested in the sector in 2022 and $7 billion in transactions within the same timeframe.
The next generation of AAA web3 games, including Delysium, BLOCKLORDS, and Champions: Ascension, are driving innovation in the space.
A noteworthy development has been the emergence of various gaming frameworks. Occasionally, a new gaming model gains traction and then vanishes, joining other short-lived trends. However, Play to Own (P2O) has emerged as a strong contender to GameFi/Play to Earn.
Before delving into the concept of P2O, let's take a brief look at the early days of web3 games.
A Decade of Progress: Tracing the Origins of Blockchain Gaming to Huntercoin
Huntercoin, the first recorded GameFi project, emerged in 2014 as a PvP game that introduced the concept of "Human Mining." This framework emphasized human efforts in coin creation instead of mathematical computation. Huntercoin remains one of the most decentralized games and stands as a seemingly successful experiment.
This project opened a world of possibilities that, a decade later, has led to the growing landscape of next-generation gaming.
The Era of Gaming Powered by Blockchain Technology and Financial Incentives
Play to Earn, also known as GameFi, represents the fusion of two major industries, gaming and finance, through blockchain technology. GameFi enables players to earn various tokens while playing, including NFTs, game native coins, or even network native coins for the fortunate ones. This breakthrough is significant because, traditionally, only the top 0.001% of gamers could earn a living from gaming due to the centralized nature of gaming organizations.
In the traditional landscape, gamers had to either a) excel as top players winning multiple championships with major teams or b) be high-tier streamers to earn income. With early Play to Earn and GameFi games, gamers only needed an internet connection, which attracted the attention of the World Economic Forum!
As the popularity of Play to Earn waned, it's important to recognize two key factors: its earning potential has diminished, and true gamers were not the primary target audience or demographic engaging with these games.
Highly recognized Play to Earn games such as Axie Infinity made significant strides in the industry. As we witness a shift towards widespread adoption of blockchain technology in gaming, the focus on financial incentives, while beneficial, has led to an intriguing gaming dynamic.
This change somewhat detracts from the primary motivation of playing video games, which is where Play to Own enters the scene.
Play to Own's Unique Appeal to Gamers Seeking Authentic Gaming Experiences
Play to Own, or P2O, is a blockchain gaming model that prioritizes sustainable fun over earnings. P2O leverages blockchain technology and smart contracts to craft gaming environments that focus on delivering enjoyable experiences rather than financial rewards.
But how does it work? Smart contracts create dynamic in-game assets that evolve as players progress through the game, offering additional utility beyond aesthetic changes, such as stat boosts. This approach encourages players to hold onto their digital assets, fostering unique experiences for each individual.
Not only does P2O foster a stronger connection between players and games, but it also adds tangible value to players' time and efforts. With each player enjoying a distinct experience that cannot be taken away, P2O empowers gamers to truly own their gaming journey, a feature not found in traditional online gaming. This development is a victory for gamers worldwide and seems to have the possibility of making games stickier in terms of retention.
As exciting Play to Own games like BLOCKLORDS, an upcoming medieval grand strategy game, and Skyweaver, a trading card game from another dimension, emerge on the horizon, the (web3) gaming community has much to look forward to.
Choosing Play to Own: The Rise of a More Authentic Gaming Model
The critical distinction between GameFi and Play to Own lies in the gaming intent. Players who engage in GameFi and Play to Earn are primarily motivated by earning returns for their time, and the model has successfully demonstrated its viability. However, for those seeking to immerse themselves in new worlds and enjoy games for their original purpose—fun—Play to Own games offer the ideal experience.
Both models employ blockchain technology in innovative ways, but the primary difference lies in the intentions behind the games. Ultimately, it's up to the players to decide which gaming experience best aligns with their preferences and goals.
Play to Own Rising: A Promising Alternative to Play to Earn in Web3 Gaming
It's difficult to declare a definitive winner between Play to Own and Play to Earn, as both models hold unique positions within the web3 gaming landscape. GameFi and Play to Earn have opened doors to economic opportunities for early folks, especiallt those in certain geolocations, allowing them to earn based on their time, effort, and skill—a concept previously unimaginable.
On the other hand, Play to Own delivers an unparalleled gaming experience for gamers, enabling player to truly own their journey. Gone are the days of grinding through seasons only to be left empty-handed. With Play to Own, in-game assets belong to the players, and the focus returns to playing for fun.
Both Play to Earn and Play to Own have carved out their niches in the blockchain gaming industry, catering to distinct needs. As the sector continues to evolve, we can expect the development of new models and the creation of even more groundbreaking games.
The Future of (Web3 and Blockchain) Gaming: A New Era of Adoption
As web3 and blockchain gaming advance towards larger adoption, we anticipate enhancements in both the Play to Earn and Play to Own models, ultimately attracting more gamers and games to the space. The emergence of blockchain gaming offers a fairer, more transparent, and above all, hopefully quite an enjoyable experience for players, regardless of their preferred web3 gaming style or technical acumen.
This evolution in the gaming industry signifies the dawn of a new era that will revolutionize how we play and interact with games.