Several non-fungible token (NFT) gaming guilds and associations have developed to educate the public and boost memberships as the play-to-earn phenomenon grows.
A great example is Yield Guild Games (YGG), which was founded by Gabriel Dizon, Beryl Li and Owl of Moistness, a pseudonym of another individual. It offers member communities the chance to earn income by investing in NFTs in games. In mid-June, they reported that 1,000 scholars have earned about $1.9 million worth of in-game tokens called Small Love Potions (SLPs) by playing the Pokemon-inspired Axie Infinity game.
Through YGG’s recent $4-million Series A investment, a network of NFT assets will be purchased and lent out.
BITKRAFT Ventures, a venture capital firm focusing on gaming, esports, and interactive media, made the investment. Jens Hilgers, YGG’s founding partner, praised the company’s efforts to foster the transition towards player-owned economies in a statement.
Apart from investing in Axie Infinity, YGG is also the partner behind Splinterlands, a blockchain-based trading card game that members of guilds are eligible for first access. Play-to-earn games have great potential, and this one is among them.
“YGG is a play-to-earn gaming community at its core,” said Mr. Dizon in a statement on their recently completed investment. “Think of it as a massively multiplayer online guild (MMO) but operating in multiple games, investing in yield-generating NFTs from those games, then lending out those in-game assets and inventory to our players.”
“Games and virtual worlds are increasingly becoming hubs of real economic activity, enabled and accelerated by blockchain technology,” he said.
Exactly what is NFT Gaming?
As the term “play-to-earn” suggests, players in NFT games can earn rewards that can later be exchanged for real cash. Despite being around for a number of years, cryptocurrencies like this one reached greater heights during the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. With subsequent lockdowns, millions of jobs were lost as well as opportunities to make money through gaming.
The NFT game Axie Infinity enjoyed massive popularity in the Philippines, where unemployment continues to fluctuate. Sky Mavis, the Vietnamese developer of the game, reported that 69,000 downloads of the game came from the Philippines in April 2007.
“At first, I was not convinced this game (would allow you to earn by playing), but I gave it a try. I bought three Axies for only $4 to $5 out of curiosity,” recalled Arthur “Art Art” C. Lapina, one of the first players in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, where an active community now supports themselves by playing the game.
Axies were the in-game pets that Mr. Lapina purchased at a cost of SLPs. He would fight players to earn SLPs, which he would then exchange for cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and convert to pesos via Coins.ph.
NFT gaming movement – understanding it
Depending on their nature, NFTs can take a variety of forms, including memes, animated GIFs, or in-game assets. A blockchain-based digital ledger stores an NFT’s record of ownership, so that it is owned by players – not game developers. Mr. Lapina uses the public market to turn his SLP into cash, so that NFT items in blockchain-based games can be sold or traded.
Axie Infinity has recently become a popular gaming site in the Philippines thanks to a well-known company called BitPinas, which recently interviewed Mr. Lapina about his first cash out of P1,000 after 15 days of gaming. The movement quickly spread via word-of-mouth in Cabanatuan City after the value of SLPs increased in July 2020. The pay eventually reached P14,000 and beyond.
Despite its popularity, Axie Infinity has become difficult and expensive to play because of its popularity. Teaming up three Axies, which cost about $5 a year ago, fetches pricey prices of about $1,000 now.
“Our main focus at the moment is to provide scholarships, (where) we offer players Axie teams (so they can) play and actually earn for themselves,” said John Emmanuel “Pot” Dela Peña in the documentary. In order to address the problem of cost, he created the Axie University program (AxU).
Scholars who can’t invest money upfront are able to rent Axies from managers. The “scholars” earn their income by training and using NFTs to obtain tokens. Scholars, NFT owners, and community managers share earnings.
Howard A. Garancho, 22, a college graduate who cannot find a job, is one scholar who takes the game very seriously. “On the wall were sticky notes containing reminders about games, as shown in the Play-to-Earn documentary. It is a job for me because I have to commit myself if I am going to achieve results in that game. Mr. Garancho advised playing it daily and hard.”