At over 400 million, India has the largest number of mobile gamers in the world. And with blockchain and VR/AR technology ready to disrupt the global gaming industry, play-to-earn is a rising trend, spearheaded by the likes of Axie Infinity.
At GameCon 2021 — a platform by Kalaari Capital and Winzo Games to decode the future of India’s gaming ecosystem — Jeffrey Zirlin, Co-founder and Growth, Sky Mavis (which built Axie Infinity); Akhil Jindal, Co-founder at Proof of Game; and Ramkumar Subramanian, Co-founder and CEO, GuardianLink; joined moderator Dheeraj Shah, Host, Desi Crypto Show on a panel discussion to discuss the role of NFTs and crypto in play-to-earn, blockchain gaming.
“Axie Infinity was built to introduce the world to crypto in a fun manner. It is a play-to-earn game, where Axies are digital pets you can collect, battle and use to earn tokens. NFTs and crypto allow property rights to be bestowed on users in such digital economies,” said Jeffrey, adding:
“So far, although traditional gaming economies became more complex, there was a lack of tools to enable seamless transactions between users. Crypto has allowed the likes of Axie to do this. With Axie, play-to-earn works because its a fun game and has a fun community.”
With the rise in popularity of NFTs in 2021, play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity are bringing digital assets and identity into the player’s hands, riding on the push for decentralisation in the gaming industry.
Investors have taken notice of the trend, with Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) leading a $152 million Series B round in Sky Mavis in October 2021.
Building Web 3.0 and NFT use cases
While Axie Infinity sees over 1.8 million daily active users, it is the ecosystem around blockchain games and NFTs that empower and educate creators and builders in the space. Akhil Jindal, whose Proof of Game is a syndicate of users investing in NFTs for blockchain-based games like Axie, said:
“Our core competency lies in the scholarship model in Axie [a form of Axie-lending], and we see users experiencing crypto from a different perspective compared to those looking at whitepapers, crypto markets and use cases. We believe this can lead to the emergence of great builders in the space, as they are native Web 3.0 users.“
Proof of Game actively works to educate and enable gamers to become community designers, content creators, and Web 3.0 builders.
Axies — which can be considered NFTs — are an example of NFT use cases. For Ramkumar Subramanian, CEO and Co-founder of NFT ecosystem tech protocol, NFT use cases will only increase.
“Beyond the current hype of NFTs, we maintain they will find utility in media, entertainment, ecommerce, and other online avenues. Thus, we are focusing on working with Indian brands and influencers who want to get into NFTs. Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan is one of them,” he explained.