Play to Earn and nWayPlay — Interview with Taehoon Kim, CEO of nWay
Play to Earn. An interesting concept which has taken the web by storm — or somewhat, at least, over the last year or so. Providing players the opportunity to play games and earn rewards, it seems for any ardent gamer out there a dream come true. But given the rewards are generally NFTs — and titles could be open to abuse — the whole P2E universe and its benefits are not as clean-cut as it may seem. Only through careful industry stewardship and game moderation might we see the format well and truly take off.
To provide more insights into the Play to Earn market we spoke to Taehoon Kim, serial entrepreneur and current CEO of nPlay.
Ashley Hughes: Thanks for your time Taehoon. Firstly, could you explain the P2E concept, just in case our readers aren’t aware of the genre?
Taehoon Kim: Play-to-earn (P2E) is a way for gamers to truly own their in-game assets. In order to do this, game developers are minting these assets as NFTs. In-game assets can be anything from skins, weapons, characters, and in-game currency to something as complex as virtual land in the metaverse. Because Play-to-earn can be misleading – where it may sound like the players are only playing to earn – the industry is now using the phrase play-and-earn or just web3 games.
AH: When compared with traditional esports and casual gaming, what are the benefits of taking part in P2E games?
TK: With P2E games, users can take full ownership of their assets and in-game purchases. This is especially interesting for games that offer features that allow users to create content (UGC) or customise already existing game assets. The ability to custom create assets that the users can truly own is a powerful concept, and because they truly own their creations they are able to use it on other apps or games that may provide utility for those assets and also sell it on external marketplaces outside the game.
AH: Tell us a bit more about nWayPlay and the services it offers.
TK: nWayPlay is a publishing infrastructure, and platform for web3 games that we develop at nWay as well as 3rd party games that we publish. nWayPlay includes a user account system that allows for seamless transition of assets between game clients and the accompanying websites. It also includes a wallet system for both custodial and non-custodial wallets, marketplace, and both fiat and crypto on-ramp and off-ramp system. The users that create an account on nWayPlay can easily purchase or earn NFTs associated with our games, sell them on our marketplace, and move the proceeds to a separate bank account or wallet.
AH: Interestingly, we are also moving into the era of Feedback to Earn, given the recent Feed3 partnership with many of the largest P2E developers out there. Is this something nWayPlay could look to offer in the future?
TK: We currently do not have Feedback to Earn features on our nWayPlay platform, or the games we are publishing. However, this is something that we are currently looking at and we may offer this on our platform or game(s) in the future.
AH: Finally, given that regular video games have an initial cost of entry (generally), is it unfair to criticise P2E games since they require cash purchases at entry? FIFA’s Ultimate Team and loot box system could, in a sense, be considered under the same light — especially as the trade of FUT coins and player cards for cash is also prevalent.
TK: The current trend with the P2E or Play to Earn games is to not require NFT ownership to begin playing. It is important for the game to have both the web3 community as well as web2 (or F2P) gamers playing the game.
The right ratio between the gamers and web3 audience would be 80%+ gamers vs. 20%- web3. The F2P (free to play) gamers are not going to know how to (or want to) purchase NFTs in order to try the game before they decide they like the game and play the game long term.
Once they get into the game, the game may provide features, such as customization, and UGC features that require NFT ownership and convert many of the F2P gamers to become web3 users. The web3 audience doesn’t criticise games that require NFT ownership upfront, because they are coming in from an investor perspective and have already done the research. The ordinary gamers will complain and not want to try the game if they need to invest in purchasing NFTs in order to even start playing the game.