In a recent Mint One podcast episode, I put forward an off-the-cuff comment when discussing some of the utterly absurd prices for beta passes to blockchain games. I said something along the lines of, “do you remember when testing games was a career?” Now it’s a paid privilege, both inside and outside of crypto. What irks me about blockchain game testing is studios have the audacity to set 4 figure price tags on an alpha or beta pass!
Admittedly the word “investment” skews the matter, but regardless, developers knowingly exploit gamers’ enthusiasm, not only getting their product tested, but making money off of it too. I made the comment in jest, but it has become something of a mind-worm ever since.
Then, coincidentally, I see the sci-fi game, Influence, is launching a test-to-earn event.
What Is Influence?
Influence is a sci-fi strategy MMO where players create the world they inhabit, colonizing asteroids, flying ships, building, and fighting in PvP. The game draws inspiration from the likes of Eve Online, Sim City, and Civilization, looking to capture a burgeoning and complex economy.
Asteroids act as the game’s land — NFTs that the players can own and then mine and build on. You can recruit a crew of five classes — Pilot, Merchant, Engineer, Miner, and Scientist — as well as secondary market crewmates that will allegedly be under $10 and not offer game-breaking benefits. Combat takes place in real-time, but no footage of that is available yet, at least that I could find at the time of writing this.
Below is the overview of the test event from the Influence Discord:
To join the test event on the Goerli Network, I recommend following the guide on their Discord. Once you’ve verified with the server using Captcha, click this link to go to the relevant channel.
Test-to-Earn is a new twist on Play-to-Earn and it’s one I want to see more of. For too long players have been working for large games studios to test their products for market and paying for the opportunity to do so. With tokenized economies in blockchain games, this can at the very least be incentivized with the game’s own token, rewarding players for taking the time to test the game.
I, like most gamers, have bought into as early as pre-alpha projects to test a game. I’ve done it outside of crypto, but inside blockchain gaming I am far looser with my requirements. There was a time when testing a game at such an early stage was a paid career, or at the very least, a deeply appreciated favor from community members; I would like to see us return to a state where developers value the time and attention of their playerbase.