The play-to-earn (P2E) business model may not be dead, but game publishers and developers are exploring alternatives to replace it, according to a panel at the NFT.NYC 2023. The Cointelegraph team was on the ground in New York to bring exclusive insights from the NFT event. 

According to the CEO of gaming platform OP Games, Chase Freo, companies that branded themselves as P2E are shifting their strategy amid the crypto prices downturn. “It’s a model that is not sustainable at all,” he noted, citing Axie Infinity’s shift in some of its flagship titles as an example.

From left: Chase Freo, Minoru Yanai, Paul Flanagan and Paul-David Oosthuizen at the NFT.NYC 2023. Source: Cointelegraph

Minoru Yanai from Minto, a Japanese manga and anime design company, said that game companies are now “looking at play and fun, and sometimes earn or swap,” adding that players can still earn tokens and rewards, but publishers and developers are more focused on being sustainable and flexible.

Also speaking at the panel, Paul Flanagan, head of business development at Estonian mobile game developer CM Games, claimed the core problem with P2E models is that it is a “zero-sum.“ “As we all know, most of them are Ponzi schemes, so if you are putting branding sponsorship as a source of money, that might work, but we still need to see that happening,” he said.

Related: Play-to-Earn vs. Move-to-Earn explained

Alternatives flourishing in the industry include marketplaces and partnerships that allow players to return tokens to the game ecosystem instead of playing and liquidating them, the panelists noted. “More companies right now are trying to make sure that the game has a really good core loop that enables these players to put back whatever they earn into the game. That’s very challenging […]. I don’t think play-to-earn is ever going to come back, but there will be variations of how it’s going to look like in the future,” stated Freo.

Speakers on the panel also highlighted that the Web3 gaming industry is seeing more tangible products on the market following years of development. In East Asia, a better regulatory environment allows Web3 gaming companies to raise more funds and seek alternative business models and solutions to improve players’ experience.

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