While a small subset of gamers have earned a living from playing games, like YouTubers and esports players who have become celebrities in the gaming community, video games built on the blockchain has made it possible for every gamer, skilled or not, as long as they invest the time to play and learn, to earn cryptocurrency, supported by tools that allow them to cash out.
One example of a blockchain-based game is Axie Infinity, which popularized the play-to-earn model. Players play the game and if they win battles, they earn a cryptocurrency called Small Love Potions or SLP, which is worth Php 4 at one point last week. Axie Infinity players can easily accumulate 100 SLP every day by completing quests, which means they can earn Php 400 simply by playing the game for roughly two hours per day.
During the pandemic, it was documented how Axie Infinity players in the Philippines are earning money and have effectively survived the lockdown because of the SLP they earned in the game. BitPinas did the math and these players were earning more than the minimum basic salary in the Philippines.
Axie Infinity is not the only play-to-earn game on the blockchain. Games like Sandbox and League of Kingdoms have virtual real estates (Axie Infinity has them as well) or “virtual lands” that players can cultivate to earn cryptocurrency or items that can be turned to cryptocurrency then cash.
Recognizing this trend as a gamechanger not just in the crypto space but in the players’ lives, Yield Guild Games (YGG) is formed by Gabby Dizon, Beryl Li, and Owl of Moistness as a play-to-earn gaming guild.
“Yield Guild Games is a play-to-earn guild. It’s a gaming guild that gathers people from around the world so that they can earn crypto by playing games with blockchain-based economies.” – Gabby Dizon
Most of these blockchain games are on Ethereum. The increasing popularity of the Ethereum blockchain led to increased transaction fees. The increasing popularity of these blockchain games led to in-game assets and virtual lands to become more expensive by the day.
For that reason, Yield Guild Games acts like a cooperative. “We look for games with promising economics, we do the upfront investment but players come in to help develop the land because without them, we don’t get the rewards, and they get a share,” Gabby said in an interview on Bloomcast. In the case of Axie Infinity, YGG runs what is called an “Axie scholarship program” where the Guild lends Axies to the players who can’t afford to make their own Axie team. The Guild and the player will share in the SLP earned in the game.
Yield Guild Games purchased 88 plots of virtual land in Axie Infinity.
“Our goal at YGG is to convert the time spent in-game by players to the financial upside that these virtual economies offer. Instead of “wasting time” playing games, ownership of these assets will turn gamers into investors, helping secure their financial future in the long term through gameplay.”
YGG has so far been very successful in attracting gamers around the world. Its Discord group has 3,200 members and there’s a constant stream of players wanting to participate in the “scholarship program” that it is running. This writer is also a member of the Discord group and has observed instances of leaders of other blockchain games organizing “ask me anything (AMA)” sessions with the guild members, or even games giving incentives to players from YGG.
This success has attracted the attention of investors. YGG recently announced that it has raised $1.325 million from a seed round led by Delphi Digital. The funds will be used to invest in game assets and virtual lands and YGG, effectively acting as a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), will lend these game assets in virtual worlds to its players so they can earn income.
“Play-to-earn gaming is getting people to learn about crypto that we never would have thought otherwise. We really believe this will play a massive role in unlocking crypto adoption at a scale and we invested in YGG because their team has deep community roots and strong influence throughout the ecosystem,” Anil Lulla, co-founder and COO of Delphi Digital said in a press release.
Gabby Dizon is the co-founder of Altitude Games and has two decades of experience in video games. He was the former president of the Game Developers Association of the Philippines and is part of the team that released the first Filipino-made game in 2003. Beryl Li co-founded an asset token platform and part of the founding team at Coins.ph, a crypto exchange and a recognized brand in the Philippines. YGG’s Owl of Moistness is a technology co-founder and smart contract developer.
According to Linda Xie, Co-Founder of Scalar Capital, they invested in YGG because they believe the Guild will bring in a new wave of new people from all over the world to crypto through play-to-earn gaming. “YGG will enable games to become investors with the guild purchasing land and tokens in games that they actively participate in,” Linda said.
Apart from Delphi Digital and Scalar Capital, the seed round was also participated by Youbi Capital, BlockTower Capital, Ascensive Asset, gumi Cryptos, Seven X Ventures, Sfermion, FlamingoDAO, Dialectic, and Spark with strategic partners Animoca Brands and Polygon (formerly Matic), as well as several angel investors, Gabby said in a tweet.
The investment is also seen as a vote of confidence to the future of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are unique verifiable assets on the blockchain. Non-fungible tokens (non = not, fungible = interchangeable), made it possible for digital assets, including digital art, virtual real estates, and in-game items, to be collected and be bought and sold because the blockchain allows one to record who truly owns a particular digital item. Digital art and virtual lands are now being sold for millions of dollars as of late.
YGG is in the business of scouting which of the blockchain games have NFTs that can earn yield for players so that more people can participate in what it thinks is the future of work — jobs and participation in the “metaverse“, a shared virtual world similar to the virtual world seen in the film Ready Player One. There’s still a lot of room to grow in this shared metaverse and YGG is intending to take everyone from all walks of life in that ride.
“Everybody is talking about NFTs, but we’re demonstrating what you can actually do with them. In particular, the idea of play-to-earn gaming is giving people all over the world a chance to earn real money while doing what they enjoy,” Gabby remarked.
This article is first published in BitPinas: Yield Guild Games Raises Funding To Bring Gamers to the Metaverse