Play To Earn 1.0 is Dead

Astro Space
3 min readMay 5, 2022


Like Dash in the movie The Incredibles believed, saying that everyone is special is “another way of saying no one is.” In this case, if everyone makes money, no one does — and that was the issue with the play-to-earn (P2E) 1.0 “everyone earns” framework. We know now who made and lost money playing P2E 1.0 games — the early players, team members, and long-term investors made huge gains, but the late joiners and short-term speculators who bought the top suffered substantial losses. Those who lost money learned a valuable lesson, though — show up late and become someone else’s exit liquidity.

As the concept implies, P2E’s focus centers on earning. This narrative was certainly compelling at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when players from emerging nations could earn more money by earning in-game currency in a game — like $SLP on Axie Infinity, $VIS on Pegaxy, or $THC on Thetan Arena — than from their actual daily wage. These games showed the world the immense possibility of blockchain gaming, which is precisely why we decided to chart new paths in this exciting frontier.

The hunt for up-and-coming P2E games has begun. Any P2E analysis blog has articles that point out the stark difference between traditional and P2E games. Traditional game blogs talk about level progression, gameplay strategy, gear selection, etc. P2E game blogs, on the other hand, are full of Excel files, return on investment (ROI) calculations, and breeding return calculations.

Let’s take a look at the definition of play. According to the Oxford Dictionary, playing is “[engaging] in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than [for] a serious or practical purpose.” A game is played for entertainment or fun. But fun is also inherently subjective and can be elusive. Because of our decade of experience in the gaming industry, we know it’s impossible to develop a winning formula for a fun game, as what constitutes fun evolves over time. People play games to climb up rankings, meet new friends, or even troll and disrupt gameplay for others. In a traditional game setting, a player spends time (and usually money) having fun. In most current P2E games, however, the fun element is missing; it’s been substituted with earn. We call this changeover the “earnification” of games, and it almost always leads to short-term profit seeking, eroding every kind of game retention/growth metric.

We are certain that all game developers in the P2E space right now are thinking of ways to bring fun back into their games and avoid earnification. One way is to randomize ROI to avoid a vanilla daily token reward calculation. Another way is to reimplement a competitive element so that players are incentivized to power up their characters with in-game tokens.

Our solution is to gamify the earning component with a concept we call “farm to steal.” We target a specific subset of gamers who want to compete and kill for as well as steal and win rewards from other players. The innovation lies in blending token emission with game rankings. The more advanced a game player is, the more they will benefit from token emission. Conversely, if a player does not engage enough with the game content, their rank will be lower, which may result in ineligibility for windfall token emission.

Our game is different from other current P2E games in that the differentiated token reward system is set into each player’s smart contract as soon as liquidity is provided to the DeFi Space liquidity pool. Token emission is inextricably tied to game score and is not subject to the whim of the protocol.

Next, we’ll go into more detail about our game’s proof of concept.