‘Play-to-earn’ games arise as an alternative pandemic livelihood

THE play-to-earn games are now making a disruption in the labor market as they continue to attract more people, whether employed or not, to push the button for their livelihood on regular or interim basis amid the ensuing health and economic crisis.

This is highly apparent in the inaugural of the Community Insights Report of non-fungible token (NFT) gaming platform Balthazar, which surveyed 1,103 participants (currently NFT gamers and not players yet)—98 percent of which were from the Philippines—from February 15 to March 7.

The study revealed that one in three respondents (32 percent) said they are inclined leave their jobs or consider quitting altogether if they could play NFT games full-time. A further 59 percent indicated their intention to play permanently and continue working other jobs.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on the growing demand for people to join NFT gaming platforms in scholarship programs like Balthazar. Some of our Wizards said they joined because they lost their jobs in the pandemic or have had trouble finding work,” Balthazar Chief Executive Officer (CEO) John Stefanidis told the BusinessMirror in an e-mail interview.

Greener pastures

ACROSS all industries, the search for the proverbial greener pastures is practically the main reason why so many employees call it quits. This holds true for career shifters who want to try their luck to the gaming-for-money sector.

Per the research of Balthazar, over two-thirds (65 percent) of participants said they would need to earn a minimum of $42 on average to consider quitting their job to become an NFT gamer full-time. More than half of which (55 percent) would have to make between $1 and $20 daily to afford leaving their current work to play. Out of those who are employed, they have a take home pay of $316 on average a month, or about $16 per workday.

The top executive of Balthazar was not surprised by these findings given the incredibly exciting future of the NFT gaming community. He said: “They love play-to-earn games and many are ready to quit their other jobs to play NFT games instead, as they could potentially be earning the same, if not more from playing NFT games.”

Preferred industry player

LAUNCHED in September 2021, Australian company Balthazar aims to become the largest decentralized autonomous organization in the play-to-earn space. Despite being a newbie, though, it’s now starting to realize this ambition given that there’s no stopping it to become a top choice among the players in the tough world of NFT gaming platforms.

Asked why they prefer it to its competitors, 70 percent of the respondents said it’s because of the opportunities it offers to them to earn more money. Many people in this gaming community rely on play-to-earn games as their primary source of income, as 69 percent of survey respondents are not working (many of which are students), 27 percent have one job, while 3 percent have two or more.

Based on Balthazar’s report, 63 percent of the participants shared that they support at least one other person financially, of which 5 percent said they are a provider for 6 to 10 people. When it comes to using their game earnings, more than half or 52 percent have spent them for basic necessities and personal needs such as food, housing and bills, while 19 percent have funded their education.

“I do NFT games full time because I don’t have a job right now. I play NFT games because it’s fun to play and of course because of the mechanics of play to earn. It is also a big thing because I have two children. It also helps to supplement the bills. Because of NFT games I help my partner with our needs,” shared unemployed-turned-Balthazar gamer Glyza Calambro, who also participated in the survey.

“I’m most excited about the redistribution of wealth from traditional gaming companies to people who need it most and into their economies. Gaming platforms like Balthazar are innovating in the metaverse, by not only creating token utility, but also building a self-sustaining ecosystem allowing more people access to crypto,” Stefanidis noted.

Game-changer

BALTHAZAR removes the barrier to entry for gamers to access play-to-earn games through its scholarship program with no upfront costs. To date, it has already deployed 1,100 scholars into several NFT games, including Axie Infinity, Splinterlands and Thetan Arena, with a further 30,000 people are on its waitlist and a community of more than 70,000 people in its Discord channel.

The company’s research bared that 85 percent of those who are Balthazar Wizards, or those who are signed up to its scholarship program, play in a guild because they love the community support and learning that is offered to them. 

“Joining our scholarship program has given many of them a lifeline of financial support as well as a supportive community that they are a part of,” the CEO said.

“I am very grateful to Balthazar Guild for the opportunity to be a scholar in the guild,” added Calambro.

Nearly one-third (32 percent) of those who joined in the survey find it’s more fun than playing on their own. Nearly three-fourths or 70 percent chose Balthazar due to the chance of earning more money, 63 percent opted this for the ongoing support, and 67 percent because it’s more engaging than other guilds.

While 69 percent unfortunately can’t afford to buy the NFT assets needed to play, the platform still makes it possible for them to enjoy the games as it allows them to rent from NFT holders. With its rent-to-earn model, not to mention the marketplace where people can buy and sell NFTs, a game launchpad, and NFT management service, among others, this gaming community only shows that it’s more than just a guild. 

“There is something special about Balthazar’s community, as we bring a unique experience unlike other guilds. We believe in creating a fun and nurturing community and we provide support and training as well as loads of fun initiatives,” he said.

Given the vast opportunities that NFT gaming provides not only to the industry itself and its stakeholders but also to the people, he is certain it will continue to flourish ahead. 

“We think this trend will definitely continue to grow,” Stefanidis stressed. “We believe that play-to-earn games will be the biggest disruptor in the crypto space this year, as well as the video game industry, as more gaming companies, crypto holders and traditional investors are investing in the space.”