The Evolution of Play-to-Earn | Pocket


Jeff Sue is GM Americas at Mintegral.

Today, the gaming market represents a $ 176 billion industry, with the potential to grow to $ 398 billion by 2026.

We can distribute the gaming market in a few segments; console / PC and mobile.

But it hasn’t always been that way, we’ve come a long way since the 1950s when video games were first introduced into commercial distribution.

The industry has grown so much that 42% of Americans are gamers and four in five American households have a console.

Today, there is no longer any distinction between the players, they can be up to 5 years old and up to 80 years old. If you don’t believe us, just ask your mom, dad, or grandparents if they know what Angry Birds or Candy is. The crush is.

Console games

The first big evolution of the game was the introduction of game consoles such as the Atari, but the real technological advancements came with the release of the Sega Dreamcast, the first game console with true internet capabilities, giving birth to a brand new spectrum of games.

The very first idea of ​​gaming consoles was to bring friends and family together for a fun time. But with the introduction of online games, players could compete against each other from all over the world for hours, raising the level of competition, and with this some of the first esports leagues were born.

Even with making games online, there are still limits to this genre, people still have to buy consoles and games to register, and let’s not forget that some games are only compatible with certain consoles. , like the Halo franchise only launched for Microsoft’s Xbox.

In Play-to-Earn games, players can earn money by playing games through the use of blockchain.

Today, the console video game market is expected to grow from $ 41 billion in 2020 to $ 42 billion in 2021. The main driver of this growth is the increase in the number of gamers worldwide due to the pandemic .

Many people have turned to gambling as a method of entertainment and hobby due to social distancing. There were 2.2 billion gamers globally and that number is expected to grow to 2.7 billion by 2021. Esports viewers will also contribute significantly to the growth of the console gaming business, with 557 million players. people who watch esports in 2021.

Mobile games

With the introduction of smartphones, the console and PC gaming industry suffered a serious downturn.

The convenience of using a cell phone for most of our daily tasks has resulted in the widespread use of cell phones for games without the need to sit in front of a TV or monitor, as one would with a computer. console or a PC.

The boom in mobile technology has revolutionized the industry; mobile gaming in 2021 will represent 52% of the global gaming market.

With the revolution, new forms of gambling, business models and a range of gamers were born. There are those who play mobile games on their commute, lunch break, multitasking at home, traveling, or whatever free time they have throughout the day, we call them hyper gamers. casual.

They are not what the players used to be. Today, a third of players are over 45 and 55% are women. They choose to play hyper casual free games, they are straightforward games with a very minimalist user interface that can be played for an infinite amount of time which leads to their addictive nature.

This type of player does not spend any money to play these games, most of their rewards come from time spent playing the game or watching in-game reward advertisements.

Then there is the casual gamer. They exhibit some of the same characteristics as hypercasuals, killing time during a break in the office or during commuting.

They also choose to play free games and are not concerned with the genre as long as they are entertained. A basic puzzle game might work well one day, while a complicated strategy game might work well the next.

The main difference between the two could be that casual gamers could spend some of their money advancing in the game with in-app purchases.

And that brings us to hardcore gamers, these are gamers who take their game very seriously. They play much more complex games, with better design and better graphics. Most of the titles these players tend to play have a higher cost to play, they may need to pay to download the game or purchase in-game items, upgrades for their equipment, etc.

Companies like Yield Guild Games offer scholarships to new players, essentially allowing them to rent Axies from YGG and play the game.

Although all of the models mentioned above have many differences, they do have one thing in common. They are all played for the fun and joy that they bring to their user. Lately we’ve seen a new game concept, a concept that might not be played for the “enjoyment” of the game, but for the financial benefits it could bring.

Play to win; the next step

This brings us to the latest iteration of the game, the Play-to-Earn games, which combine gaming and blockchain.

In this model, players can earn money by playing games. This is in stark contrast to what many parents tell their children: why do you waste so much time playing video games?

The main example is Axie Infinity. The game itself is all about breeding, breeding, training, and fighting digital pets, called Axies. Each of the Axies, the main creatures in the game, have combinations of genes and rarity, which ultimately create uniqueness and value.

Users earn in-game currencies like Smooth Love Potions (SLP) and Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) as well as the Axies themselves, which are non-fungible tokens (NFT).

Selling in-game items, however, is not a new concept. Previous games like World of Warcraft allowed users to sell their in-game items in a marketplace.

The difference here is that the three main parts of Axie Infinity’s economy – Axies, SLP, and AXS – can rise (and have risen) in value and can be traded on the open market. This creates more cash for the Axie community and what makes playing Axie for a sustainable life – at least for now.

A good example of the benefit of this new lens is what happened in the Philippines. If a business tried to monetize free games through ads or in-app purchases, it wouldn’t have much success.

However, around 40% of Axie’s Infinity gamers are now based in the Philippines, due to its earning-to-play model, the game itself has helped many people hard hit by COVID find a way to bounce back and even kick back. prosper.

Players earn 2-3 times the minimum wage playing Axie Infinity. At the time of writing, Axie Infinity’s current market cap is over $ 7.6 billion ($ 34 billion fully diluted), which is very impressive for a company with a market cap of $ 30 million. dollars in early 2021.

There will definitely be more companies looking at Axie Infinity and applying their AAA game creation skills as well as their IP on this game model to win.

However, there are barriers to entry. First, players will need to purchase three Axies, which at the time of this writing, the lowest Axie price for the market was $ 132.

If you have the money and think the return on your investment will be there, you will also have to go through a long process to get started – buy ETH, sign up for MetaMask, sign up for Ronin wallet, transfer ETH, buy Axies on the market, etc.

The financial and technical barrier can be quite high for some and that is why companies like Yield Guild Games (YGG) are offering scholarships to new players, essentially allowing them to rent the Axies from YGG and play the game.

On top of that, the economy relies on bringing new players into the community to support the market and the game itself. Axie Infinity currently has over 2 million DAUs and is looking to continue to grow by adding more value to its roadmap.

The company intends to launch a consumer version of Axie Infinity on iOS / Android by the end of 2021, early 2022.

So will we see a mad rush of big game studios looking to step foot in the game to win?

There will definitely be more companies looking at Axie Infinity and applying their AAA game creation skills as well as their IP on this game model to win. It’s fair to think that crypto-native companies will have the edge and that the innovator’s dilemma could come into play for existing gaming giants.

There is room for all types of gaming models and any transition to gaming to win will leave plenty of time for many companies to participate.


The gaming market is constantly changing and will continue to develop new technologies, business models and economies.

Play-to-Earn is new for the most part and showing very positive signs with the success of Axie Infinity.

Many games already have online communities, but playing to win can create a very passionate and engaged community that is enticed to see the continued growth of the game.


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