By now you will probably have heard of a little game called Axie Infinity. If you haven't then click that link and check it out but it's much less the game that we're interested but rather the way the game economy works. This is part of the new "play to earn" ecosystem that is becoming more and more prevalent in the world of DeFi.
First of all, let's understand how games usually work. A long time ago when I was younger and video games were my life, the way things work was that you would buy a video game from the store (EB Games anyone?) and play it. You'd play until the next game comes out the next year or after and that would be the cycle.
Next came the patches and add-on packs that you could get for these games but you would still have to buy them from a store. With online play coming in, some of these patches and add-ons were now available as downloads.
This led to the current state of gaming where developers like EA will publish a game and have a tonne of downloadable content to help you enhance the game. They monetise this so that the game might be cheap to begin with but, by the time you pay for all the extras you might want to be competitive, you end up paying a lot more. It's the current gaming economy and many gamers have been unhappy with this.
What we're now seeing in play to earn is that the tables are starting to turn, at least for a few games. It's interesting then to see that EA's boss, Andrew Wilson, sees play to earn as the future of gaming (NFTs and play-to-earn are future of gaming industry, says EA boss) as EA is often decried by gamers as a cause for concern due to what they've done to the gaming industry.
Being from the Philippines, it's been amazing to see what play to earn has done for my home country, especially as many areas have been hard hit by Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns. In this documentary by the group PLAY-TO-EARN, they show how communities have been transformed and mini economies have sprouted up that all centre around gaming. Whilst Axie Infinity is very similar to Pokemon type games, it's doing more than that for the people in the Philippines with people able to earn enough to put food on their tables and thrive despite the poverty that is around them.
Whilst DeFi is still quite a new thing and comes with its risks (like any new industry), its great to see how there is hope and how traditional systems can be transformed into something new. Will be interesting to see how this "plays" out, literally!