The gaming sector thrives on innovation. Most gamers actively seek out novel and exciting experiences, that feel different from the games that they’ve played before. So, when the first introductions of cryptocurrency and gaming came about, people were instantly enthralled. Since the two worlds collided there have been all kinds of breakthroughs and innovations that have made crypto gaming more interesting than ever before. However, some of the technology that’s involved in getting these games to work, as well as the expense of getting started with them, has made some gamers a little cautious about starting to play. We’re going to take a look at a little gaming history, as well as what these barriers mean for the average gamer.
The Pioneers of Crypto Gaming
As is often the case, the online casino industry was the first to figure out some of the gaming potential of cryptocurrency. They began to introduce the idea of wagering using crypto, or depositing in crypto, having it converted to fiat currency, and wagering with that. Nowadays it’s easy to find a casino with bitcoin possibility, whether you want to wager in it, have it converted, or snag a pretty generous sign-up bonus.
Casinos tend to be a safe entry point into crypto gaming because the barriers to entry are very low. You can generally get started with as little as $25 at a crypto casino, which as anyone who has a bit of crypto will know is a tiny fraction of most single coins. With this, you can wager on slot games, for example, as little as $0.10, meaning your first few dollars should last you a while and help you to feel comfortable gaming with crypto. Of course, there’s also the possibility that you might actually win, making this a pretty affordable choice for most new players.
Play to Earn Games
The next type of crypto game to emerge came about around the same time as NFTs. If you’ve not heard of these before, then don’t worry, but it’s essential to understand what they are before you can really grasp how play-to-earn games work. NFT stands for non-fungible token. These tokens are online property that are able to work using blockchain technology. The fact that they’re non-fungible means that they can’t be broken down into smaller elements, nor can they be tampered with or replicated. This in turn means that they can be traded from person to person, maintaining their value along the way.
Play to Earn games utilize these NFTs as a way for players to earn cryptocurrency in their games. A good example is Axie Infinity. This game allows players to buy an Axie (NFT) with a set amount of cryptocurrency. With this Axie, they can battle against other Axies, or pay a small fee to breed with another Axie, to create one more of this type of NFT. Axie Infinity then provides players with a marketplace where they can buy and sell Axies, in order to make cryptocurrency to withdraw from the game, or to further invest in the Axie universe. In this way, if you wisely breed and trade Axies, then there is the potential to actually earn money from the game, but the initial cost is quite high. To acquire the Axies that you need to get started, you’ll currently need to invest around $1500 in cryptocurrency. This can put off prospective gamers, which leads developers to create another type of crypto/NFT game, the free-to-earn model.
The Emergence of Free-to-Earn Games
This model of gaming allows players to earn cryptocurrency without an initial investment. They will generally complete tasks within the game to earn them a game-based cryptocurrency which they can use to trade with. Within these games, it is often also possible to buy the in-game currency for real money, to allow players to accelerate their growth. Alongside this, there is usually paid advertising to help cover server and staff costs. The economy is more complex in these games and therefore it’s more prone to fractures. Between players who have the means to buy in-game currency outright and kickstart their success and those who have to work their way up from the bottom, there’s a vast discrepancy.
These games do offer an interesting insight into what is possible using blockchain technology, but they actually tend to offer less earning potential than the play-to-earn models. Whilst not everybody can afford a buy-in fee of more than $1000, once that fee is settled, there’s a far better chance of earning money in those sorts of games, as everybody starts on a level playing field. If some people are paying nothing to get started and some are still choosing to invest $1000, it can become almost impossible to catch up. For those looking to experience crypto gaming without spending any money, free-to-earn games are a good choice, but for those looking to make their millions, they might not be so perfect.