- Play-and-earn gives players the entertainment they want while also providing earnings and ownership
- “Play-to-earn is basically a job. It’s not fun. You do something, and you get rewards. Then people cash out their earnings, over and over.”
The initial iteration of blockchain gaming in the form of a play-to-earn model has garnered a lot of attention. However, a new paradigm is emerging in the space; The play-and-earn approach refactors priorities and seeks an expanded audience with a more lasting effect.
Axie Infinity was the first blockchain-based game to put down a marker, with the Ethereum-oriented NFT game reaching $1 billion in sales last August, according to data from Cryptoslam! — rising to $4 billion by February.
From play-to-earn to play-AND-earn
Following the initial success of Axie, there has been a scramble to get similar games onto the market. However, while the play-to-earn gaming model is innovative, it loses sight of the core motivators behind gaming — playability and fun. Pivoting to a play-and-earn model seeks to address that, and it is this approach that is necessary to bring blockchain-based gaming to the mass market.
The play-to-earn and Axie hype was evident all through 2021 and continues into 2022. However, the hype and interest will hold only as long as the profits do. If the playability of a play-to-earn game is not of a high enough standard to attract and engage gamers organically without such financial incentive, it’s not likely to come anywhere close to matching the popularity of games produced by AAA games publishers.
In contrast, play-and-earn gives players what they want while also providing earnings and ownership. It’s an evolution of gaming rather than a complexification of investing. As Mirko Basil, founder and CEO of UniX Gaming, put it, “It’s never been play-to-earn, it’s always been play-and-earn. We’re adding crypto as an earning vehicle to gaming.”
The importance of community
UniX Gaming is very much seizing the initiative in terms of pursuing a play-and-earn approach. Basil said:
“Play-to-earn is basically a job. It’s not fun. You do something, and you get rewards. Then people cash out their earnings, over and over. They don’t contribute to the community, they’re just doing their tasks and getting paid. Play-and-earn is fun and rewarding. People spend hours, days and months playing and getting better, competing and collaborating and building a really incredible community.”
The emphasis doesn’t stop at a consideration of game playability: “Gaming is not only playing; It’s owning, building, sharing, chatting and more”, he explains. “In gaming and in crypto, the most important focus is community. The greatest feats of both industries are creating attractive and impactful communities.”
With a nod to the importance of community, UniX has established itself from the outset as a gaming guild — a gathering of gamers that play together, which has evolved to include business and social projects. This aspect of the evolution from play-to-earn to play-and-earn also has implications for other community participants such as streamers, game developers and investors.
With play-and-earn, guilds become organizations capable of great innovation and social change. Leading by example, UniX has organized itself as a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), becoming itself just one group within a large symbiotic ecosystem it creates in gaming communities.
Gamers are empowered to use their voices and resources together with regard to what they want the landscape of play-and-earn to be. In recent weeks, UniX has been adding AAA titles to its ecosystem via its Initial Gaming Offering (IGO) Launchpad, and players have been forming investment guilds, development guilds, competitive guilds and more.
With early adopters in the blockchain gaming space such as UniX leading the way, it’s clear that this evolution in gaming is ongoing with the likelihood of mass gaming adoption in the not too distant future.
DAOs were said to be the evolution of the governance and organizational structure, and gaming guilds are the evolution of DAOs.