Helsinki, 22 April 2022 – In early 2022, play-to-earn was among the hottest buzzwords in the games industry. Play-to-earn (P2E) is predicted by some to be the long-awaited disruption of the game business after free-to-play (F2P) and pay-to-play (premium). This EGDF discussion paper aims to provide a general overview of this sometimes overhyped phenomenon and explore key challenges this emerging games industry sector is likely to face before becoming established.
P2E business model is based on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that are the beginning of the transition from games licensed to players to games partly, or even fully, owned by players. Significant regulatory uncertainty and valid and not valid scepticism from players, game developers, and platforms alike made the uptake of blockchain-based content (e.g. NFTs and cryptocurrencies) as in-game assets slower than expected in the late 2010s. Now, in 2022, a rapid investment boom in NFT based games is pushing play-to-earn business models rapidly towards major market adoption. The rising popularity of play-to-earn business models is also leading to major changes in game design and completely new regulatory challenges.
It is important to keep in mind that only those applications that combine P2E business model with interactive cultural artistic content and gameplay are games. Mere digital currency or NFT collectables alone should not be considered P2E games. P2E applications that constitute gambling are not P2E games.
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For any feedback on the paper, please do not hesitate to contact:
Jari-Pekka Kaleva, tel: +358 40 716 3640
Managing Director, European Games Developer Federation (EGDF)