Playing games to earn money isn't a new concept in gaming. In fact, before the digital age, earning money used to be an integral part of playing games. Today, it's the other way around – players are usually expected to pay for games, up front, via a subscription or through in-game purchases. But what if we turned that on its head and started offering players a way to actually earn a little bit of real money while playing? That's Play-and-Earn, and with ZEBEDEE tech, it's not only possible, we believe it will become the norm in gaming, as it keeps proving its efficiency, sustainability and attractiveness time and time again. After all, who wouldn't want to play a game that pays you real and immediately-usable money?
Why is everyone talking about Play-and-Earn now?
The idea of Play-and-Earn has been spreading fast these days, but the concept is older than Bitcoin itself. You’ve probably heard of WoW farmers, who’ve been mining gold in World of Warcraft for more than 15 years. But that's just a substitute for real money, and they can’t use it to directly buy anything in the real world (or other games). They have to go to a marketplace and sell their in-game gold for a currency they can use outside of WoW. Cryptocurrencies fix that. Well... some of them do.
Play-and-Earn basically means that you play games and earn money while doing it.
Different approaches to Play-and-Earn in crypto
The Play-and-Earn concept is now getting more popular with blockchain technology. When Bitcoin was created in 2009, it started a massive paradigm shift in what we can do with money. Cryptocurrencies are money native to the digital world. They can be integrated into games in a way that traditional money simply cannot. But not all cryptocurrencies are created equal.
There are currently three main approaches to Play-and-Earn with crypto:
- NFT powered
- Token powered
- Bitcoin powered
Of these three, NFTs have definitely gotten the most hype and media attention recently. But what's becoming more and more apparent is that NFTs are pretty hard to use for the average person and need to be sold on specialized marketplaces before you can extract their value. NFTs may have some use as digital items, but they are not money. So, when you play a game and earn NFTs, you've really only earned that item. It may turn out to be worth something, or it may not. Unfortunately, the stories of people making thousands or even millions selling NFTs have turned out to be rare at best. Most people end up holding a bag of worthless digital items.
Because NFTs are digital items, not money, many games that feature NFTs actually reward players with a different form of crypto – tokens. Axie Infinity, for example, rewards players with Smooth Love Potion (SLP) tokens. But tokens are often tied to the success of that one game and their price depends on more and more new players coming in, swelling demand. You can earn quite a bit with tokens, but you need to get in and out during the right parts of the market cycle. Get in early and cash out at the top.
The problem is, most people will get in late and never make significant returns on their tokens, or sometimes even cash out at a loss. It's possible to avoid that if you do proper research and stay on top of trends around tokens and Play-and-Earn games, but then you're not really playing a game. You're speculating on the market. Might as well just be a trader. What's more, you can't really spend tokens to buy goods and and pay for services. You need to send them to an exchange, trade them for Bitcoin or fiat money, then spend that. Until you do, you haven't really "earned" any money from the game, because you're not sure how much you'll be able to get for your tokens.
Then there's Bitcoin-powered Play-and-Earn gaming. This is different for two reasons:
- Bitcoin already is money – you can instantly spend it online or at a huge number of stores without converting it to another currency.
- Bitcoin's price is not tied to any one game, company, person or product. You can't exactly call Bitcoin's price stable, but you mostly know what you're going to get with it. The price moves all the time, but not as drastically as with smaller tokens and there's practically no chance of a total collapse. Basically, a token can potentially come with a high reward, but always comes with high risk. With Bitcoin, you won't get a sudden +1000% price increase, but you also won't see the price suddenly collapse to (almost) nothing.
The beauty of earning Bitcoin in games is that it's not directly tied to the game itself. When you earn Bitcoin by playing, you're not really speculating on the market like you are with tokens or NFTs. And you don't need to go through any steps to exchange it for other currencies before you can spend it online. And our favorite part – if different games pay you the same currency (Bitcoin), then you can just have one wallet where you accumulate your earnings from all the games. Then you can use that same wallet to buy stuff with what you earned by playing!
ZEBEDEE Developer Dashboard – How Bitcoin gets in games
ZEBEDEE is at the center of rewarded gaming. On one hand, we provide gamers with an app connecting all Bitcoin games, a large community of players, as well as a number options for shopping with your in-game winnings. On the other hand, we give game developers an easy way to plug into our network for rewarded gaming using a simple, but powerful, tool that allows any game to be infused with Bitcoin – that's the ZEBEDEE Developer Dashboard.
The aim for the ZBD Developer Dashboard is to provide an easy-to-use developer tool for managing your games that integrate Bitcoin. You can easily create new games, retrieve API access keys, and visualize transaction details and value flows within your game. Using the Dashboard (and the ZEBEDEE API) can be as easy as signing up for an API key and inserting a few lines of code into an existing game. You now have money flowing through your game!
The possibilities are immense and we’re just scratching the surface here. Implementing the API can be as easy as adding a simple paywall to an action or section of your game, or be as complex as an entire in-game economy.
Try out some Bitcoin-powered mobile games to see how your project, too, could benefit from real money flowing in its veins. You can sign up for the ZEBEDEE Developer Dashboard for free, or visit our website to learn more.