Vietnamese becoming wary of play-to-earn games

By Bao Lam   May 24, 2022 | 05:04 pm PT
Vietnamese becoming wary of play-to-earn games
A screenshot of blockchain-based game Axie Infinity. Photo courtesy of Axie Infinity
People are increasingly reluctant to invest time and money in play-to-earn games after the value of many in-game currencies has nosedived.

Van Thanh of Can Tho City said he invested US$2,000 in five accounts in Axie Infinity, a play-to-earn game with a goal of winning smooth love potions (SLP), an in-game currency that can be exchanged for real money.

"SLP traded at around 0.02 a token. With five accounts, I could earn 800-1,200 SLP a day, or around $15-25. I expected to break even after two months."

But by May the price of SLP had fallen sharply, and a token is now worth around $0.0056, a steep decline from the peak of $0.4 it reached last July.

"Now I earn the same amount of SLP, but only make $3-5 a day. I want to quit because what I earn is not worth the effort.

"But I will keep the SLPs I have earned and hope prices rise later so that I can sell them and recover my losses."

Nguyen Mai of the southern Binh Duong Province spent $1,000 on a play-to-earn game named BombCrypto last December. Its currency, Bcoin, traded at $4 a token, but has dived to around $0.04 now.

"I haven’t logged into the game for two months, and I consider that money lost."

Many investors share similar stories on social media groups, saying they have lost interest in play-to-earn games whose currencies have dropped to their lowest in years.

These games started to gain popularity in mid-2021 after the global phenomenon of Axie Infinity.

Players in Malaysia and the Philippines could pocket thousands of dollars a month playing the game for eight hours a day, data site Coingecko reported last September.

But three months later, game consultancy Naavik said, Philippine players earned less than the country’s minimum wage.

Many experts warn of the unsustainability of play-to-earn games’ monetization model.

"These [games] feature an infinite supply of in-game currencies that will depreciate over time", The Vi, an investor with five years of experience, said.

Most blockchain games only profit first movers, he added.

Initially token prices are low and players can start playing with a minimal investment, but within a few months, or even days, those games can become popular, driving up prices of in-game items and thus initial investment.

Quoc Khanh, a game developer in HCMC, said investors should carefully research games before investing in them.

"The lifespans of most blockchain games are short, and so players should only invest a fixed amount of money and be prepared to lose it at any time."

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