Online games start using cryptocurrencies and blockchain; know how it works

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The video game market has drawn the attention of investors, largely because of ‘play-to-earn’ games, in which players are paid – with cryptocurrencies – to play. And, most of these digital assets have appreciated hundreds, if not thousands, of times over the past few months.

Axie Inifiny, for example, uses crypto AXS which grew around 2,500%, from July until last Friday (19). This Monday, at 12:07 pm, Brasília time, altcoin was quoted at US$ 131.74, up 0.06%.

On the platform, the player buys axies (game characters) with the digital asset to assemble a team and put them to battle with other users or create new creatures. Each figure is unique, as they are NFTs, that is, they have unique tokens, and therefore individual appearances.

Thiago Seiji Takaki, 24, started playing Axie Infinity in the last week of June. To create its team of three axies, an investment of R$7.2 thousand was necessary. He plays about 2 hours a day, as the game doesn’t pay players who spend that time.

“My investment paid off in approximately 60 days, but my gain depends on the fluctuation of the real against the dollar and my ranking in the game,” says Seiji.

Seiji is between 1600th and 1700th in the game. And plans to raise more money to buy other characters and form a ‘little school’, a model that offers account rentals for those who do not have the capital for the necessary initial investment.

“The choice to pay [os jogadores] it’s about a way to attract more users, and allow them to [o jogo] be self-sustainable,” explains Allan Augusto, an analyst at the Mackenzie University Center for Economic Freedom. “In the short term, it is an interesting situation for those who play, and in the long term, it can ensure the continuity and development of the game.”

Axie Infinity surpassed 1.8 million players in October.

Business model

Even though the games seem like a mere diversion, investors are finding a form of investment in the market. Felippe Percigo, CMO at Liqi, an asset tokenization platform, explains that developers don’t create the game with the intention of paying those who play, but attracting those who want to play – this strategy is known as the “incentive mechanism”.

“As users spend more time on the platform, they receive cryptocurrencies, called ‘utility tokens’, which can be used to buy puppets, cross characters and generate armor, but which, in the end, in the real world, are worth money.” says Percigo.

The game CyrptoKitties, in which the user can create models of virtual cats, for example, uses the digital asset ether, which appreciated 434% in 2021, while Decentraland, similar to The Sims game, representing real life, uses crypto Mana, which grew 49 thousand times this year.

On Monday (22), at 12:22 pm, Brasília time, the first cost US$ 4,232, and the second cost US$ 3.87.

A survey by QR Asset Management pointed out that Mana was the second best performing cryptocurrency in October, with a 334.81% appreciation in the month, only behind critpo-meme Shiba Inu.

However, while Augusto believes that there is space within this universe for investors who just want to buy cryptocurrencies and not play games, Tatiana recommends that digital assets only be acquired by people who play games, “since they will fully understand where they are putting their money”.

Metaverse, blockchain and gameplay

Another strategy that has caught the attention of players is the metaverse, a term used to define a type of shared virtual reality. The Insper professor explains that the technology makes “interoperability” between games possible, that is, an artifact from game “A” can be used in game “B”. Programmers just need to adapt their games to receive a certain NFT.

This migration of avatars is made possible by the SDKs (Software Development Kit), a set of blockchain tools that create applications and games that interact with each other.

“Since it is carried out in this decentralized universe, there is no intermediary to approve the transactions”, explains Tatiana. “There are only miners or other consensus mechanisms that validate operations, but there is no centralized entity to accept all negotiations.”

Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg – whose fortune is estimated by Forbes at $124.8 billion – and CEO of Facebook further publicized the metaverse concept after changing the name of his holding company to Meta.

“The increase in the scope of the company [de Zuckerberg], which now has its own cryptoactive and is testing virtual reality, may fit in perfectly with the new name, but it will still have to wait to see if reality lives up to the bold name”, believes the Mackenzie analyst.

Scratchs

For experts, there are two big risks: the incentive mechanism is not well structured and the security that the games are developed by companies that actually use blockchains.

Creating a game in this universe is simple, just use the SDK. However, Tatiana argues that games need to be constantly optimizing for new users to enter the platform and buy their cryptocurrencies. “Because, otherwise, the yield of a certain digital asset may even grow, but it will soon fall, and every resource placed by the user may be devalued” – this adaptation in games is called “Token Economy”.

And while the blockchain is known as a difficult technology to hack, players put their cryptocurrencies into digital wallets, or cold wallets, a platform where investors often store cryptocurrencies and NFTs, “and that’s when hackers can break into the system and stealing tokens from players,” says Tatiana.

So, as a way out, experts recommend using one computer for personal tasks and another for games.

In June 2020, for example, in order to ensure more security for players, Decentraland and Samsung closed a partnership so that users can store Mana in the retailer’s blockchain.

Reference: CNN Brasil

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