Play-to-earn games struggle to retain interest

By Anh Thu   August 10, 2022 | 01:40 am PT
Plunging cryptocurrencies and increasing reports of fraud are chasing people away from play-to-earn games as they abandon their dreams of getting rich quick.

"I am tired of this game. Its token value is plunging and there is no sign of recovery," said Tuan Anh, an Axie Infinity player in Ho Chi Minh City.

Smooth Love Potion (SLP), the in-game digital currency of the popular blockchain game Axie Infinity, has fallen nearly 97% from its peak in May 2021 to $0.004989.

Questions about whether to hold or sell SLP have been popping up recently on Axie Infinity player groups in Vietnam.

"I left the game two months ago. I still have some SLP left and was wondering whether to sell now at a cheap price or hold on until it recovers," one former player posted.

Axie Infinty, a global blockchain project developed by a Vietnamese studio, had 2.7 million monthly active players in January, but the figure had dropped 72% since to 766,800 in July, according to game data platform ActivePlayer.

The move-to-earn game StepN, which rewards players with cryptocurrency tokens when they run or walk outdoors, has seen a 75% plunge in the number of players since May to 170,000.

The game’s token GMT has fallen 79% to $0.9.

Huy Hau, who considers himself one of the early players of the play-to-earn and move-to-earn projects, said: "The time of play-to-win games has ended. Winter is sweeping through the cryptocurrency market, and people are no longer interested in GameFI."

GameFi refers to blockchain-based games that enable users to gain real-world financial benefits.

A report by Arcane Research in July shows that popular play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity, The Sandbox and Decentraland have seen player numbers plunge 96% from November.

Investment in GameFi projects dropped by 57.7% from June, it added.

In June, 89% of cryptocurrency investors said they have lost 50% of profits in the last six months, according to a report by Chainplay. 15% of investors said the GameFi bubble could burst, it added.

The "idea that every single player can earn is flawed," game consultant Devin Becker told financial media platform Blockworks.

Players earn from other players, so some have to pay if a play-to-earn economy is going to be sustainable in the long run, he added.

Other experts said the loss of trust, triggered by the hack of Axie Infinity in March, has made many players abandon play-to-earn games.

The recent attack on blockchain app Solana, which compromised at least 8,000 wallets, only increased distrust in the blockchain world.

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