Axie Infinity and Cryptoitties are two of the most successful play-to-earn blockchain games to date. However, despite their similarities, there are many differences between the two. Moreover, these projects have paved the way for modern concepts like gaming guilds.
The Success of Axie Infinity And CryptoKitties
The concept of play-to-earn gaming has gained tremendous momentum in 2021 and early 2022. Many people contribute to the success of Axie Infinity, a game that allows people in some developing countries to make a living. However, one can’t forget the P2E concept existed well before 2017 when CryptoKitties was launched, as it dates back to 2013. CryptoKitties has had a very successful run and continues to thrive several years later.
The CryptoKitties blockchain game revolves around collecting and breeding virtual cats. Its initial success triggered massive Ethereum network congestion in late 2017, indicating people were flocking to the blockchain game. Besides purchasing, breeding, and virtual trading cats, CryptoKitties has little to offer in gameplay content. However, every cat can be a matron or sire when breeding, which is rather unusual. Furthermore, the game has no specific “goal” to speak of.
Axie Infinity also has a collection and breeding aspect, but it goes several steps further. The concept of Axie Infinity is to build teams of Axies and battle through the PvE and PvP content to become stronger, unlock better rewards, etc. Due to its competitive nature and a strong focus on player-vs-player combat, there is a need for in-game assets.
Both games are play-to-earn titles, but neither is free-to-play. One must own a CryptoKitty or a team of Axies to begin playing their respective games. Although the costs vary based on preference and overall approach, the upfront investment is necessary. Despite the requirement, CryptoKitties saw its sales drop off significantly to under $100,000 per month, whereas Axie Infinity hit nearly $32 million in sales last month.
The Scholarship Option
While CryptoKitties and Axie Infinity share a few similarities, they also have crucial differences. CryptoKitties requires users to buy one or two Kitties upfront, without alternative options. Axie Infinity offers a scholarship solution for those unable to make the upfront investment. Scholarships are a prominent trend in blockchain gaming, and it will continue to bring more people into the play-to-earn fold for years to come.
Through scholarships, players can borrow assets from investors and access the game without an upfront investment. In exchange for receiving this access, they will split the rewards with the original asset owner. The split can be set up in a 50/50 way or any other variant. Scholars, the players borrowing the assets, will continue to share rewards per a pre-existing agreement with the asset owner.
The concept of scholarships is a significant improvement for play-to-earn gaming. Investors can put their idle assets to work and monetise them by splitting rewards with scholars. Moreover, there is more liquidity for in-game assets necessary to play the game, ensuring the player base can grow over time. It is a win-win situation, even though older blockchain games like CryptoKitties may never integrate such an option.
One must also consider scholarship work for Axie Infinity because there is engaging gameplay content. CryptoKitties focuses solely on collecting and breeding, which doesn’t lend itself to scholarships in the traditional way. However, it is not unlikely there will be ways to make CryptoKitties more accessible in the future. There are still many opportunities to explore.
The Future of Play-to-earn Gaming
It is essential for blockchain game developers to look to the future. A game established in 2017 will need to grow, evolve, and transform to compete with solutions that are popular today. CryptoKitties has little to no gameplay elements today, which may be something for the developers to look into. Especially with the growing focus on the Metaverse, finding new use cases for CryptoKitties would be paramount.
As the game notes a gradual decline in interest, something needs to happen soon. If not, the project will peter out and disappear into obscurity despite the initial promise it once held. The Kittyverse is a step in the right direction. It solely relies on community members building new use cases and projects for the CryptoKitties ecosystem. Several projects exist under this banner, as the need for such solutions was hinted at in the 2019 interview below.
For Axie Infinity, the situation is not too different. Despite its PvE and PvP elements, the overall value of its native Smooth Love Potion asset has decreased rapidly in recent months. Moreover, the game notes an ongoing decline in revenue, confirming something will need to change. However, sustaining the initial growth curve is never without setbacks, and Sky Mavis CEO Trung Nguyen has some exciting ideas on the future of play-to-earn gaming.
Gaming Guilds Are A Big Thing
Most people will agree that gaming guilds will be essential to fuel play-to-earn industry growth. It is crucial to make games more accessible, particularly when they require an upfront investment. Various gaming guild entities have begun establishing themselves, making Axie Infinity, Splinterlands, and other titles accessible to thousands of new players. It is a prominent and promising industry trend that awards early investors and new players.
One gaming guild worth keeping an eye on is Balthazar. The project intends to become the most significant scholarship entity in the play-to-earn blockchain gaming segment. Its ranks have grown from a few hundred scholars to over 1,500, with over 50,000 players awaiting their turn. Despite dwindling revenue and asset prices, it confirms the appeal of modern P2E games like Axie Infinity.
Moreover, gaming guilds often maintain a multi-game approach. As a result, scholars can access various games, creating a compelling reason to explore blockchain gaming options. Joining a gaming guild like Balthazar is easy, as it is done through Discord or other social media channels. It is a risk-free way of entering blockchain games as a player and a risk-free solution for existing investors, as they can put idle assets to work for revenue generation.
A gaming guild is a community-oriented effort that transcends solutions like Kittyverse. While Kittyverse is a solid approach to extending the longevity of CryptoKitties, it only applies to that project. Gaming guilds can provide exposure to dozens of blockchain games, creating a more versatile outlook for the industry.
P2E gaming can only survive if the community remains strong and committed. Gaming guilds and community-led efforts are both valid and valuable. CryptoKitties and Axie Infinity continue to set the bar for the industry in that regard.