As every day brings more news about massive fundraising rounds and eye-popping token valuations for blockchain games, it seems that crypto, NFTs, and play-to-earn are on every game dev’s lips. But is this a viable and sustainable business model or just a fad? As a company, should you be considering making your next game play-to-earn?
Getting an answer is tricky.
For starters, most of the current games in that space barely feature any gameplay or are in an early work-in-progress stage, while sometimes also making unreasonable promises to their backers. And it’s not uncommon to see some of these projects end up in a rug pull.
This makes observers wonder if there’s any real player interest in this. Or if most of the money comes from the initial sales, and then it’s just players selling those assets to successive waves of folks that are attracted by the promise of getting rich. A hot potato game where somebody will end up crying. A quintessential pyramid scheme.
On the other hand, there are those who believe that all of this will change dramatically over the next decade and we will one day reminisce about these early, wild-west days of crypto gaming. The days when 98% of projects went to zero. Just like during the dot-com bubble in early 2000.
And secondly, the complexity of the revenue generation systems of its games makes the earnings of the developer companies way harder (sometimes impossible) to estimate. How much of this “revenue” is non-liquid magic internet money that can’t be transformed easily into actual cash, and is subject to massive value fluctuations?
Thetan Arena merges F2P and P2E
Thetan Arena is an interesting case to study to shed light on these questions. It’s the play-to-earn version of a previously existing F2P game (Heroes Strike), which means that it has:
- Fully finished gameplay at market standard levels of quality.
- An IAP source of income that is unrelated to their blockchain revenue.
- A years-long history as a standard free-to-play game that can be used as a benchmark.
So I recently teamed up with Ethan Levy to dissect it and see what’s gold and what’s bronze in full skeptic mode and without trying to shill anything. You can check it out there:
Also, congratulations to Euler Tools!
This news not only makes me happy because it’s a great achievement for their incredible hard work; but also because I did the tokenomics design and early inception of the project, which made me have to master a whole new ecosystem and a bunch of concepts in record time, with high stakes on the table.
To this day I consider it has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve tackled professionally. Congrats, Eulerians!