Blockchain Gaming

Animoca To Rebuild Free-to-Play Games into Play-to-Earn

crazy defense heroes cards artwork

Animoca Brands is working on transforming their free-to-play titles, which make up a considerable part of their revenue, into blockchain-enabled play-to-earn games. They will start doing this with Crazy Defense Heroes and Crazy Kings, a franchise they have used last year for some NFT experiments as well.

Yat Sui, the founder of Animoca Brands, wrote in a blog how the company wants to create a system that attempts to maintain the balance in a free-to-play game, while introducing play-to-earn elements like NFTs, DeFi and player governance. They will use one of their most successful franchises: Crazy Kings.

The challenge here is that free-to-play and play-to-earn approach game economies in different ways. The supply of in-game gold and items is limitless in a free-to-play game in order the generate revenue. However, blockchain games and play-to-earn seek to create value through the scarcity of virtual assets.

Crazy Kings token

Animoca Brands will launch a new fungible crypto token for both Crazy Kings and Crazy Defense Heroes. This same token will ultimately also be used in a new and upcoming game in the franchise. Token holders will have governance and voting rights on the game’s direction. In addition these tokens will be part of decentralized finance initiatives, including staking. However, details still need to be revealed about that.

Token owners can use their money to mint new NFTs, which ultimately are in-game cards that can be traded among players. These cards have different powers, values and rarities. Last but not least, there will be tournaments with entry fees and which players can also win tokens.

As a first step, players of both Crazy Defense Heroes and Crazy Kings will soon be able to farm a special token through gameplay. There won’t be a token sale, and the only way to obtain these tokens is through gameplay.

Gaming x DeFi x Play-to-Earn

The rise of blockchain technology paves the way for new business models in gaming. Play-to-earn is the next evolution of free-to-play, changing consumers from cash machines into economy contributors. It’s not without reason that a project like Axie Infinity labels itself as a digital nation. In a play-to-earn game there can be different layers, where top level players rely on farming activities from smaller players.

Overall we’re seeing a merger between financial markets and gaming, as play-to-earn brings a game economy into the real world. Technically it would be possible to make a living from playing a game. However, philosophically you might wonder whether we would still call this a game.

At the same time we’re seeing financial products adding layers of gamification. Yield farming is an example of that. In addition the user interface of Sushi Swap, Doki Doki Finance and Cometh tap into gaming and geek culture. Companies like Seascape Network make it their business model to gamify decentralized finance.

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Robert Hoogendoorn is a gamer and blockchain enthusiast. He got in touch with crypto in 2014, but the fire really lit in 2017. Professionally he's a content optimization expert and worked for press agencies and video production companies, always with a focus on the video games & tech industry. He's a content manager and creator at heart, started the Play to Earn Online Magazine in early 2020.