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Make money playing games online

Posted by
Robert Hoogendoorn

Do what you love and make money doing it!

The internet opened up all kinds of opportunities for gamers to make money playing games online and do what they love most. Nowadays there are professional gamers and content creators earning millions while there are plenty of stories of community members being hired by major game developers.

However, the majority of the gamers will never earn a penny and will just spend money on their favorite hobby. Blockchain gaming has the powerful ability to change this and bring more power to the gamer.

Since the mainstream introduction of smartphones roughly a decade ago, consumers have gotten used to microtransactions for all kinds of digital items and services. In 2019 a major game publisher like Activision Blizzard made 3.36 billion dollars on microtransactions alone.

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On Steam games like Warframe, Counter-Strike, Dota 2, Path of Exile and Team Fortress 2 are among the twenty top-grossing games of last year, even though these games are fully playable for free. The move towards free-to-play games is even stronger on mobile platforms, as mobile games are responsible for 74 percent of all the free-to-play revenue.

These free games generated 64.4 billion dollars in 2019 and research firm SuperData expects more growth in 2020. 

A new way to play

In free-to-play games, five percent of the users are generating all the revenue from in-app purchases, according to recent research by AppFlyer. That’s the lion share of all revenue, even though the non-paying users will probably still see advertisements.

Research firm DeltaDNA noted that the percentage of paying users for free-to-play titles has been increasing with one percent from 2016 to 2018. The rise of Fortnite probably increased that percentage even more.

However, in the end, users are only spending money on free-to-play games without ever getting something back. The play-to-earn business model changes this and opens up opportunities for gamers to make money playing games online.

What is play-to-earn?

Thanks to blockchain technology and the tokenization of game assets, game designers are now capable of assigning a certain asset to a certain player. With the tokens for these items in their wallet, players use, sell or trade any way they want. The more time they spend in a game, the more valuable their acquired resources might become. 

In essence, a play-to-earn game is distributed freely, just like a free-to-play game. However, in the current blockchain gaming market, there are plenty of games that require an initial investment. In addition, there are games that are available freely, but basically require users to invest before they are really capable of generating value. 

The purest form of the play-to-earn business model allows every player to experience the full game and generate value by doing so. The more time is invested, the more value can be created. Every player is an integral part of the open in-game economy, selling and buying items to their own likening. 

However, there are some different variations to this business model. I’ve been able to identify three different versions of play-to-earn, alongside the purest form described above: 

Pay-to-Earn

Players first need to buy assets before they are able to play and earn. For example at the moment players first need to buy three Axies before they can start playing Axie Infinity. At the current market rate players first need to pay 10 dollars worth of ETH before they can do anything in Axie Infinity.

In addition, it’s likely they will need a few more Axies to overcome certain challenges. Read more about Axie Infinity’s play-to-earn business model here. Other games that require players to first invest before they’re able to play, are for example F1 Delta Time and Drakons.io.

Invest-to-Earn

There are plenty of games offering a free glimpse of the game, after which players are basically made to invest. Often the freely distributed items are limited in their functionality, for example, because of their level cap or limited amount of power. Take for example Sorare, which distributes plain fantasy football cards for free. However, these cards can’t be traded and are weak compared with the paid ones. The same can be said about the free characters in Brave Frontier Heroes.

Both these games are designed in such a way that players can get a glimpse of the game, but really need to invest money before they can increase the value of their assets or earn more items for potential trade activity.

Pay-to-Mint

Games offering a pay-to-mint mechanic don’t have a limited supply of items. This means that the market is a risk of being overrun by the same items. We are seeing something like this with Knight Story. In this mobile idle RPG players need to obtain resources to create weapons. These weapons can be tokenized and sold on for example OpenSea.

However, tokenizing weapons requires players to buy in-game items. As a result, every minted item costs approximately 35 cents. Because everybody is minting items, prices drop fast. Currently, the most rare items are selling for 0.01 ETH or just 1.75 USD at the current rates.

Mainstream users and blockchain games

With a couple of thousand users per day the current blockchain gaming market isn’t mature yet. We’re only in its infancy. In 2010 mobile gaming apps on iOS and Android generated only 816 million dollars. Last year the total revenue of mobile games exceeded 49 billion dollars, and their dominance is growing. The blockchain gaming market is just a small guppy in the 120 billion dollar pond of video game entertainment. 

Currently, the blockchain gaming market has to overcome all kinds of challenges in order to attract mainstream users. For many people obtaining any cryptocurrency is already quite a challenge, not to mention that users first need to identify themselves at an exchange before they can buy any cryptocurrency.

It’s quite a hassle to deal with private keys and wallet addresses. And then there’s the issue with fluctuating gas prices, which can be frustrating and confusing. In addition, there’s a lack of brand recognition, the quality of games is relatively low and blockchain gaming doesn’t have its killer app yet. Besides, it needs proper marketing as well.

Gaming reimagined 

However, there’s serious potential. Blockchain-powered applications or dapps create valuable player-owned items, which users can sell for their own profit on any public marketplace. That’s an interesting proposition on its own. This means that users can move at least parts of their financial investment from the old and into their next game. 

In addition, gamers playing blockchain games are generally more invested, shown by the high retention rate. According to our earlier research games generally have a 60 percent retention rate, while the best performing games pump this number to 75 percent.

According to AppsFlyer the monthly retention on mobile apps in general is only 4.5 percent at best. Underlining the potential of blockchain games in attracting and maintaining an audience.

You can make money online playing games too

Even though the blockchain gaming market isn’t matured yet, it’s an interesting one to dive into. You don’t have to be a gaming pro to make money playing video games. Blockchain gaming is the proof of that. You need to get a cryptocurrency wallet, like for example Metamask for desktop browsers, and top the wallet up with some ETH. Ten dollars will be enough to get started in most games. 

Now don’t expect to make thousands of dollars. In most cases, you’ll earn a few dollars per month. Invest enough time and the amounts of money you’re able to generate can increase significantly, of course depending on the game.

For every game that’s gaining popularity, there are others that lose their momentum. Because we’re talking about a market of a few thousand people per game, a drop in users can have quite some impact.

As always, this is not financial advice, but an eye-opener to a new business model that will greatly benefit consumers.

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Play-to-Earn: Axie Infinity

Play-to-earn isn’t just buying game items, nor buying characters low and selling high. In this situation we are still acting as an investor/trader who buys something, holds it and resells for more.
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