Crypto Gaming in 2023: Prioritizing Fun Over Earning

By Anna Savenko
Posted January 19, 2023

NFT-based gaming and play-to-earn gaming were all the rage in 2021 and 2022, but ultimately, they failed to live up to the hype that we are all hoping for and expecting. One of the most pressing problems with these games was that they placed too much emphasis on the financial aspect of things, and not enough on the actual fun and enjoyment of the game. This led to a situation where users would hop from one game to the next as soon as the incentives ran out or didn’t materialize. It’s important to remember that there is a difference between gaming and gambling, and for NFT-based games to truly be successful, they need to focus on the fun as the primary aspect and the earning as the secondary.

Gambling Vs. Gaming: Is There a Difference?

It’s worth noting that gambling can be successful in the ‘crypto gaming’ industry; pay-to-play-to-earn gaming should not be overlooked. However, to reach a gaming audience, these types of games shouldn’t require players to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars upfront on various NFTs in order to participate. Instead, if game developers want to reach the traditional gaming sphere, they should focus on creating games that offer a low barrier to entry and still allow players to earn rewards as they play. This way, players can try the game out without having to make a significant financial commitment, and if they enjoy it, they can continue to play and earn rewards.

One way to potentially achieve this is by creating games that use a freemium model, a tried and true traditional gaming model. In this model, players can download and play the game for free, but can also purchase in-game items or other upgrades to improve their experience. This allows players to try the game out without having to spend a lot of money initially, and if they enjoy it, they can continue to play and make in-game purchases. This model also allows players to earn cryptocurrency or other rewards by completing in-game tasks or reaching certain milestones, which is one of the main focal points of crypto gaming.

Another way to reach a mainstream gaming audience is by creating games that use a play-to-earn model, but don’t require players to purchase NFTs to partake. Instead, developers can create games that use in-game assets that gamers can earn via gameplay. This allows players to earn rewards and advance in the game without spending too much money upfront. With a high financial barrier to entry, even if it is the most amazing game ever created, the incentive model for the average casual gamer is not there. Additionally, by using in-game assets that can be earned through gameplay, developers can create a more transparent and fair in-game economy, which will help prevent players from feeling like they are being taken advantage of.

While gambling and play-to-earn gaming can be successful in the crypto gaming industry, to reach a mainstream gaming audience, games should not require players to spend hundreds of dollars. Instead, game developers should focus on creating games that offer easy access to players while still earning rewards as they play.

Is NFT Gaming All About the Money?

Many players found that these incumbent NFT games were more focused on the financial aspect than the overall gaming experience. Players would often find themselves spending more time managing their in-game assets and trying to maximize their earnings, rather than actually playing the game and having fun. This led to a lack of engagement and ultimately caused many players to lose interest and move on to other games (both inside and outside the crypto ecosystem).

 Beyond the infrastructural problems of these games, the volatility of the cryptocurrency market also played a role in the failure of these games. Many players found themselves in a situation where they had invested a significant amount of money into a game, only to find that the value of their in-game assets had decreased significantly due to market fluctuations. This caused a lot of frustration and disappointment among players, and ultimately led to a loss of trust in the crypto gaming industry.

However, the failure of NFT-based gaming and play-to-earn gaming in 2021 and 2022 does not mean the end of the crypto gaming industry. In 2023, we are likely to see a lot more play-AND-earn games that are much more in-tune with traditional gaming. This is what the gaming side of the crypto industry needs to focus on to be successful and reach mass adoption. These games will offer players the chance to earn cryptocurrency or other rewards, while still providing the same level of fun and enjoyment that traditional games offer. The key is to strike the right balance between earning and playing, and to make sure that the financial aspect doesn’t detract from the overall gaming experience.

Furthermore, game developers and companies should also focus on providing a more stable and secure environment for players to manage their in-game assets. This can be achieved by using smart contracts and other decentralized and cryptographic technology to ensure that assets are properly tracked and protected. By creating a more transparent and fair in-game economy, players will no longer feel like they are being taken advantage of.

It’s important to remember that people play games to have fun, not just to earn money. For many, this is the only reason they game; for the experience. If the game is not enjoyable, people will not stick around once the earning opportunities have dried up. It’s crucial that game developers focus on creating engaging and entertaining experiences that are enjoyable for players of all skill levels. If they can get this right, the crypto gaming industry will have a bright future ahead.

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