June 10, 2022

The “Play-to-Earn” model is spoiling the gaming experience — here’s why:

by | June 10, 2022 | 0 comments

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TL;DR

The recent emergence of NFT Gaming in mainstream media has created a debate among the gaming and tech community regarding its sustainability. The current landscape offers little to no variety when it comes to the gameplay, turning video games into money-making schemes. And very few, if not non-existent at all, are passionately working to produce an NFT game that would harmoniously fuse entertainment, technology and shared economy. DRDC aims to solve this as it believes that technology and design should seamlessly coexist.

If I get a dollar every time somebody told me that I should start playing Axie Infinity to earn money, I think I would be able to buy the game itself. That was an exaggeration but with the amount of flack that this concept is receiving, it does feel quite intimidating to even dip your toes into the endless ocean that is the world of blockchain.

NFTs or non-fungible tokens are just some magic words that have recently emerged in the mainstream media, or dare I say, popular culture. If you’re a Twitter user, there is a big chance that you’ve seen at least one hexagon-shaped profile picture, showing a particular artwork. These digital assets are tokens that hold a certain value because they are unique and finite. Now, what about these games? The short explanation is that NFT Games are revolutionary in a way that players get ownership over their in-game assets such as characters, skins, and other items. Of course, as these in-game assets hold value, this opens up an opportunity to earn money in addition to the allure of earning cryptocurrencies as game rewards. These claims sound like a good deal, however, one would argue that they are simply too good to be true.

Although it is true that NFT gaming is an amazing feat, it has created a debate among gamers and blockchain enthusiasts alike as these play-to-earn models become less sustainable. As more and more players join the game, potential income would drastically depreciate. This creates a bigger risk to lose more money than they are earning. There is an aspect of ownership and profit to the games, however this can be a little misleading as these in-game assets are still heavily restricted by a smart contract. Yes, the code exists in a decentralized server, but ultimately there are limits as to where these representations can be moved to and from. This means that the digital assets can only be moved into spaces that are compatible.

Talking about the profitability of these games, you would have to be one of pioneer players to earn big profit. If not, you would have to play the game every day, for a certain amount of hours, and win multiple games. Truthfully, this would not be a problem if these play-to-earn games provide the same level of excitement and thrill to its players, but alas. Gaming has become a money-making machinery for investors, leaving the player experience neglected and forgotten. Instead of NFTs being made to work around a game, games are being made to work around NFTs. So, how would players enjoy a game that feels like a lackluster job?

NFT and Gaming: A Love/Hate Relationship

Let’s first talk about what traditional gaming has already been offering way before NFT gaming. Reward systems are nothing extraordinary within the gaming landscape. In fact, collection of in-game assets already existed even without blockchain technology. There are already numerous marketplaces dedicated to selling in-game items where rare skins would sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is undeniable that blockchain technology offers multiple advantages such as a secure platform to store and trade digital assets, safer transactions, and more. But the question remains for our readers and fellow tech enthusiasts; is this enough to justify the use of blockchain technology when there are already pre-existing and widely used alternatives available?

Secondly, just the overall player experience in traditional gaming has already been on a steady incline. One good example would be Riot’s Valorant. The game has been taking the community by storm for its competitive, complex, and action-filled gameplay. Although the game does not give the opportunity to earn money as reward, we can observe that players actually stay to play it. Valorant already brings excitement even without potential profit. Why? Because the game mechanics have been nailed down to a T from the very beginning.

We have seen plenty of game developers and studios forgo the NFT space, further proving the general skepticism around the concept. Even AAA game companies like Epic Games have decided to not to enter the space at presentEA’s CEO Andrew Wilson says the company is open to evaluate NFTs overtime, however it’s not something EA is “driving hard against.” No one can blame these developers from opting out of NFTs, after the reported backlash on Ubisoft’s NFT initiative Quartz, it is probably best for companies to really understand the technology and community before jumping on the bandwagon.

The problem arises when NFT games focus too much on the “NFT” part that the “game” aspect ends up being neglected. NFT Games are just. Not. That. Fun. At least not right now. If investors want to successfully break through the gaming industry, they need to take the extra mile by really understanding what the community wants to see in their games. They want action, they want excitement, and they want a fun way to destress. Traditional games already provide these qualities and they don’t use as much energy to maintain. Did I mention that NFTs consume so much energy that it’s starting to affect our climate?

So, is NFT Gaming good or bad?

With the current world order, absolutes no longer exist. NFT Gaming is neither absolutely good nor bad. We have to understand that NFTs are fairly new and like all technologies, while there is immense potential, it takes time to fully optimize a concept. Any kind of production will consume energy, and that is why engineers and scientists alike are on a mission to find sustainable solutions for NFT’s climate impact. There are also murmurs on transitioning to renewable energy in the future, but while that’s still on the works, some blockchains are transitioning to a system called Proof-of-Stake (PoS). As PoS systems do not need extensive computing power, less energy is being consumed.

As of the moment, traditional users have their reservations on NFT gaming, but the future is not all bleak. Game developers and publishers understand the need to elevate the current scene. DRDC is not an exception and is committed to deliver an NFT game that is well thought out and exciting. The organization collaborates with the community and is careful not to overlook the intricacies of the game as it builds a sustainable reward system around it.

Spirits of Aporia (SoA), DRDC’s first project, will let players acquire, raise and breed their own mortal creatures called ANIMA akin to Tecmo’s Monster Rancher; and just like the Tamagotchi we used to spoil and pamper for 3 weeks until we eventually misplace it and forget we even had it — except ANIMAs are NFTs, which means that it would be very hard to “misplace” your ANIMA — -it’ll be fun. The game characters’ value depends on how they would be “raised” or “trained” by their players, but it doesn’t stop there. What would truly make the players fall in love and attached to the game is the progression of their companions; having their own strategies and training regiments until their ANIMAs become the king of battle arenas; SoA is just the tip of the iceberg, it’s just the key to unlocking the whole Aporia metaverse. The in-game currency vDRDC can be earned through winning battles and swapped to a spendable DRDC token. DRDC token is currently deployed in BNB Smart Chain (BEP-20) which employs a delegated proof of stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism.

NFT gaming being a good or bad thing is absolutely a call you have to make yourself. At the end of the day, gamers just want to bring back the joy in their gaming experience. That is what gaming is about: leisure. Games are made to entertain; to help people relieve some stress from the daily activities; and to stay in their own little world for a while. This is why DRDC is working passionately to bring this concept into fruition — to fully maximize the benefits that blockchain technology offers and incorporate it into a well-made game play, and earning would just be the sprinkles on top of an already delicious banana split.

This article was put together by DRDC intern, Yana R. She is an educator, digital marketer, and a creative.

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At DRDC, we believe that technology and design should seamlessly coexist.

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