The Play-to-Earn sub-sector of the gaming industry is so fresh-faced it’s hardly recognizable. However, behind its youthful good looks, there are familiar issues that gaming has been working on for years.
Token Gamer and NFT Insider have decided to combine forces to launch a weekly podcast, Mint One (formerly WAX Lyrical). John Nichols of NFT Insider and I will discuss a new topic every week, as well as feature special guests. If there’s a topic you’d like us to cover, make sure you let us know through the Token Gamer Discord or Twitter, or the NFT Insider Discord or Twitter.
In the last episode, we discussed whether the tribalism common within crypto is holding back the industry and its progression. This week we dive into the ethics of Play-to-Earn (P2E) and how it is growing.
Episode 21: The Ethics of Play-to-Earn Development
The games industry has gone through enormous change in the last few decades, and with its sharp rise, came issues that had to be addressed. In this episode, I raise the point that many of the problems that have occurred in traditional gaming have not only transferred over to blockchain games, but have been exacerbated.
The infamous example, which has seen regulatory reactions — and rightly so — is the issue of lootboxes. For the uninitiated, lootboxes are items you can buy in some games that have a chance to drop various in-game items when opened, from common to extremely rare fruits. This was eventually decided to be — and again, rightfully so — gambling, particularly when they are bought for real money. Many of the games that had lootboxes were also popular with under-18s, which is why the issue came to fruition.
This is happening all over again in blockchain gaming, a still almost entirely unregulated space, but is arguably worse. With traditional lootboxes, the items you receive were not (or at least shouldn’t be) worth anything outside of the game. With blockchain gaming, the pack openings we are seeing (and these really are the same breed as lootboxes in almost every way) yield NFTs, and thus usually have value attached. If you get a legendary NFT out of a pack opening for a popular blockchain game, you could probably turn a large profit.
Now, this isn’t to say I don’t like the pack openings and lootboxes or that I want them to be banned. It does, however, raise one of many issues over the ethics of gaming and how Play-to-Earn games must be more sensitive to the pitfalls of traditional gaming. Lootboxes is just one problem, and in this episode, John and I go through some others too.
We’d like to ask that if you listen to us on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify that you rate us five stars and leave us a review if you enjoy Mint One. This helps both our podcast and the blockchain gaming ecosystem as a whole!