Bitcoin is the original Play-to-Earn blockchain game. It’s a digital treasure hunt, where players solve puzzles using computer power and mine coins. The more participants, the harder the game gets and the greater the rewards. You can use the coins that you earn to trade or buy items with other players.

Bitcoin is addictive and infuriating. It is competitive and rule-based. It keeps score, and it’s a lot of fun. Smart contracts have made crypto appear even more “real” than before, as builders added new features to the blockchain’s financial rails. These include playable characters (in the form of NFTs) and peer-topeer battles that produce immutable results.

Crypto games are now a step above the rest, with immersive experiences, worldbuilding, lore and next-generation graphics. This has spawned a new category of crypto games and gaming that attracts funding, talent and new users.

Since the crypto industry had been struggling to attract new users for years, it was a great surprise when millions of people flocked into Web3 through games like and Axie Infinity. They were lured in by the promise of making internet money by simply playing video games. Anyone who has followed the trend knows that it was not that simple. The first version of Axie’s P2E model proved to be flawed and ultimately, the economy collapsed. For many people, however, the idea of being able to combine playtime and earning an income was a dream.

The traditional gaming community was less enthusiastic. The idea of mixing finances and fun was a source of outrage among industry veterans, who chanted slogans like ” Make money at your Job, Spend money on your Hobbies“. P2E supporters were accused of being heartless profit seekers hell-bent on stealing virtual economies and sucking out all intrinsic enjoyment from games.

These detractors are often motivated by personal preferences, such as the guy who admitted he did not understand P2E. He just wanted to be left alone so he could buy his two copies of Zelda. He can still do this, whether or not P2E is available.

It’s pointless to have this endless discussion about “what a video game should be”. What’s fun to one person may not be fun to another. The video game industry has grown from $60 billion to $165 trillion in just 40 years. It is projected to be valued at <a href="https://blog.bccresearch.com/video-games-industry-is-still-growing-but-why#:~:text=The%20video%20gaming%20industry%20is,whopping%20%24473.7%20billion%20by%202027. By 2027, the industry is expected to be worth $474 billion.

The industry grew by appealing to new audiences, not just by selling more consoles or more copies of Zelda. When the games industry realized that Candy Crush fans were looking for something else than Call of Duty players or Wii Sports, it expanded.

The industry is notorious for its resistance to innovation. The developers of AAA full-priced games hated F2P games, which had zero-cost entry. Hardcore gamers mocked the simplicity of casual games and hyper-casual ones. When mobile was introduced, console and PC devotees criticized it.

In each of these cases, today the last are the cornerstones of their respective industries because they have discovered — or some would even say created — new market segments that grew the pie instead of slicing existing revenues. P2E can follow a similar route by catering to an underserved segment of the market — that is players who play for money.

From Chinese gold farmers in World Of Warcraft (WoW) to Venezuelans in Old School Runescape, financially-motivated players have been villainized by more conventional gamers in multiplayer online games — tarred as unwelcome outsiders, accused of undermining, hacking and cheating, and blamed for causing instability within virtual economies.

These players, also known as gold farmers, speculators and extractors, have led to other players taking on the role of virtual pest control, and going to great lengths to locate and eliminate them. The game publishers also strictly ban and prohibit players who sell their assets outside of the walled garden.

These extractors continue to play games such as WoW, Runescape and EVE Online. They sell their gold and other resources in-game on the black market, living in fear of being banned for breaking the terms and conditions. Many extractors who have built a career around their profession have been banned many times. They come back and start over every time.

These players were criticized even in Web3, a place where earning would seem to be widely accepted. They are blamed for the rapid rise of P2E titles from the previous cycle, and their eventual demise. Web3 developers rebranded play TO earn into play AND earn in an attempt to distance themselves. They lowered the earning component so that it was equal to or less than the fun-first mantra which is promoted throughout the traditional video games industry.

This has been a great benefit to the Web3 community, since builders have worked on improving their games in all areas except financialization. With the recent release of titles like Pixels, Parallel, and Nifty island, many complaints about Web3 games have been dispelled.

Web3 developers will have to work hard to ensure that their virtual economies are as stable and healthy as the Swiss economy, in order for P2E players to be welcomed back rather than excluded.

We can either think of P2E players as value-draining, game-ruining scumbags or as highly-engaged, strategic players. By performing valuable tasks within the game, extractors can be a vital part of a thriving virtual economy. These tasks usually require a lot of time and a certain level of expertise to complete. Time-poor gamers are willing to pay to avoid having to perform these tasks themselves.

No one has yet designed a game that can fully legitimize an open market exchange, and make sure it doesn’t throw the economy out of balance. After all, it wasn’t possible for Web2 games to do this as it would have Contradicted the terms of service. Web3 is the first opportunity to integrate secondary market to show that game economies don’t need to be closed or centralized in order to survive, thrive and stabilize.