Pay-to-Play VS Pay-to-Earn Games

Gaming will never go out of fashion. No matter what we do, we all like to occasionally play a game on our smartphones or with friends. The nature of games might change, as we now have a huge variety of console games and computer titles. Not to mention the uptrend in casino gaming with an ever-increasing number of top casinos online which cater both to male and female audience. Whatever your cup of team may be, the point remains – games will always be around.

However, recent changes in the technology industry inspired a change in the way we play our games. So far, we have had the pay-to-play model which revolved around in-game payments that allowed us extra perks, and the basic free-to-play model which means you don’t have to pay a thing to enjoy the game. But what is the pay-to-earn gaming model? Let’s see.

Pay-to-Play Model & Free-to-Play

To explain the pay-to-earn model, we first need to understand the basic model for modern gaming. What is pay-to-play gaming?

Pay-to-play (P2P) is a policy of paying a fee for playing a game. For years, this has been the go-to model for many MMORPGs such as the World of Warcraft or League of Legends. Users pay a certain fee to maintain their accounts and occasionally make in-game purchases. The famous examples are skins and weapons that players acquired in WoW and LoL games.

However, the model is not restricted to MMORPGs only. Various online games, including casual mobile games and some online casino games, use the P2P model.

The advantages of such a model include a plethora of benefits for users that pay the money. Many gamers choose to avoid extra fees because they either don’t want to pay or cannot afford the extra fees.

On the other side are free-to-play games. Players can download/install these games and play them for free. However, most free-to-play games nowadays include certain fees for players who want extra perks. But it’s important to note that fees are not necessary. In most cases, players get to enjoy the game using only base materials, and they are never required to purchase an item to advance in the game.

But are these models a good choice for gamers? Or is there something better on the horizon?

Pay-to-Earn Model

In the past few years, a new model of business has appeared in online gaming. The so-called Pay-to-Earn model (P2E) is a brand-new model which allows users a chance to earn money through the game. It’s not the same as gambling, as online casino sites have clear rules, so they don’t fall into the category of pay-to-earn games.

The pay-to-earn concept became popular with the introduction of virtual universes and blockchain games. In games that have this model, in-game assets are represented as NFTs or non-fungible tokens.

In case you haven’t heard about NFTs, they are tokens used as unique tokens stored on the blockchain. Most of these tokens are actually proof of the authenticity of a certain digital asset. Not to bore you with the details, but NFTs are typically used as digital guarantees of ownership of an asset – and they are becoming more and more popular in the crypto world. The pay-to-earn model is the product of the efforts to connect NFTs with gaming.

How does this model work? Well, the concept includes a game in which players would purchase and trade NFTs for other NFTs or sell for money. One example is the Axie Infinity game in which ‘Axies’ are the NFTs. Players can purchase potions to breed their Axies, and the potions are cryptocurrencies. If they collect more potions than they need or they wish to sell their Axies, players can exchange the potions (cryptocurrencies) for other currencies and get money for their Axies.

Play or Earn: Which Is Better?

Pay-to-play games are what the customers are used to, so in a sense, they know what they are getting if they sign up for that kind of game. On the other hand, the pay-to-earn model could shake the throne and steal the customers as the prospect of earning real money while playing could be a powerful incentive for the players. By taking something stored in the game and transforming it into a real-life reward is a big move – and one that can attract many players in the future.

However, the only drawback is that they are closely tied to cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, and NFTs. Crypto gaming is becoming more and more popular, but it hasn’t reached the broad audience regular pay-to-play and free-to-play games have. Hence, the logistics of the model make it a great potential choice for players worldwide, as soon as it becomes more accessible to users. Until then, we will have to rely on the free and paid games on our PCs and smartphones.


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