Why play-to-earn gaming is a huge hit

Why play-to-earn gaming is a huge hit

The interview rooms at Token2049 in Singapore earlier this month had adjustable stools that sank lower the longer you sat on them. Thanks to tight security at the conference, I was late for the meeting. Aleks Larsen, the chairman of Sky Mavis Chair, was practically on the floor.

A better writer might be able to spin this into some sort of metaphor. A quip about the value of S' two tokens? Is there something about the sense of his slow decline over time into irrelevance?

The game publisher Sky Mavis, a Vietnam-based company, pioneered play-to-earn gaming, as it pioneered play-to-earn gaming. It attracted millions of players - some of whom played it for a living - then its token collapsed, it was hacked, and the industry dismissed it as little more than a scam.

Even so, Larsen, chairman and co-founder of Sky Mavis, says it's not done yet. As we attempt to stop our chairs from sinking, Axie says, this industry made this industry happen.

Web3 games aim to compete with their web2 rivals. Many projects promise graphics and gameplay on the same level as the industry's top AAA games, including big-budget studio games like and Think the production values of plus web3.

As web3 grows, Larsen is concerned about games failing to properly leverage the benefits of web3 technology, and those that call themselves AAA games.

re actually competing with the AAA games of web2 without the benefits of web3 in any real tangible way, he warns.

The AAA games brand, Larsen said, has devolved into a marketing gimmick. Teams are accountable for their work, instead of proving themselves by their work, by using metrics like NFT floor prices or the number of developers they employ.

And not every good game is AAA. In addition to the Steam ranking, check out some of the indie games available on the platform and you'll be able to see that many are well-respected.

Gamers are not a forgiving bunch. They used to prank players by posting about updates and not changing anything, and players would still complain about the new 'changes', said a former Steam employee. However, they will frequently opt for compelling lore, world building, and interesting premises over slick graphics.

Games such as and have traded insults over whether the other team is big or experienced enough to actually produce the game they promise. Too many cooks can spoil the brew, especially when they're seconded from other studios.

The initial versions of the product were incredibly low quality and very simple, he said.

But the industry is beset with delayed projects that under-deliver, and some are s' biggest contractors.

He views criticisms, especially from those who haven't produced tangible contributions, as harmful to the industry's collaborative growth.

At the height of hype, Philippine cuisine became a cultural phenomenon, particularly in areas like the Philippines. Gabby Dizon, founder of Yield Guild Games, told me several generations of his family played it. Dizon himself became one of the world's biggest breeders.

The company released a mobile app that gave people the ability to pay their utility bills using the app's Smooth Love Potion token.

The original game had a simple premise. To get started, players had to purchase three axies - think colourful, chubby axolotl-type creatures - to use in player-versus-player battles.

The different axis had different strengths and weaknesses. Who won the match would receive a token called Smooth Love Potion.

Two tokens were used: SLP and AXS. At their peak, they had a combined market cap of $11 billion.

Today, SLP has lost 97% of its value and SLP is down 99%. In March 2022, North Koreans hacked the chain it was built on, Ronin, into one of the biggest cyber-heists in the world. The defendants made a profit of more than $600 million.

It's rather exceptional that the damage has survived, he said. The gaming industry, and crypto writ large, forgot about the one-time juggernaut. The 270 employees at Sky Mavis have stayed on, quietly and consistently, he said.

Will crypto eventually surge back to something close to its zenith? Is it doomed to be a vestige of its former self for the foreseeable future?

Last week, I revisted the game to check out the gameplay.

It's one of only two web3 games I've played for weeks at a time and actually gotten into. My boyfriend couldn't stand my early 2022 phase. He'd roll his eyes when he heard the soundtrack coming from my laptop.

My original axies have vanished in a wallet that I can't remember, consigned to that part of my mind I try to repress, where my starving Neopet and abandoned Tamagotchi also live.

I acquired a few new ones and re-downloaded the Sky Mavis hub. It's still cute. And unlike a lot of its critics who make big promises that never happen, it actually exists.

The earlier version of this story mistakenly identified Mr. Aleks Larsen as the CEO of Sky Mavis. He is the co-founder and chair of the company.