A number of blockchain games are fast adopting the free to play gaming model. They are employing this model alongside the play to earn model. The question becomes, why are blockchain games asking players to come play blockchain games for free?
To better understand the free to play model, there is a need to examine how blockchain games work. Blockchain games of NFT games are games that allow players to own digital assets. Considering that players own this asset, they also need to HAVE it before they can begin playing the game.
Using Revv Racing as an example, players need to have a driver and a car. Unlike regular games, many blockchain games require players to purchase in-game assets before they start. Considering that players own these in-game assets, it is not surprising that players often have to buy them. Without buying them, there will be nothing to play with.
What is the free to play model?
However, a new trend is emerging amongst NFT games. This is a term that allows a player to play games without having to purchase digital assets from the start. It is called the free-to-play model. There are a number of variations to this model. It can either be that users can play the game for free, but will not be able to earn while playing the game.
Should they decide to earn, they will have to switch accounts and probably start afresh. The reason is that the free version of the game is not built on blockchain technology. Or, players can still switch from playing for free to laying to earn by simply purchasing a proper GameFi NFT. In this case, they still get to maintain their level of progress in the game.
Blockchain Games Using the Free to Play Model
There are a number of blockchain games that are currently using the free to play model. Below are some of these games:
Gods Unchained is arguably the most popular blockchain game using the free to play model. At the start of playing this game, players receive 70 individual cards or 140 total cards for free. Users also get an allotment of core cards that they can use to edit decks. As you continue playing, you will unlock even more cards. Unlocking more card will enable you to expand and customize your deck.
As always, there is a catch. The free cards are not stored on the Immutable X blockchain. Therefore, they are not NFTs and you cannot trade them for the Ethereum Coin (ETH). To be able to trade them for ETH, you will have to mint them for a fee on Immutable X. For the records, Immutable X is the official Blockchain of Gods Unchained.
Splinterlands is a free to play card-based blockchain game that runs on the Hive blockchain. At the beginning of gameplay, users can access the game for free. They get free cards to start playing with. However, they will have to pay $10 for a summoners handbook. This handbook is crucial towards unlocking daily quests, seasonal rewards and cards. Also, you will only be able to trade your cards and earn $SPS token when you get the handbook
Since its launch, Dragonary has strictly been a play to earn game. For you to participate in the course of gameplay, you will have to buy dragon NFTs. Recently, it finalized plans to create virtual accounts. Unlike NFT accounts, these virtual accounts will not be hosted on blockchain technology.
Unlike most other free to play games, Virtual Dragonary Games are hosted separately. Furthermore, players can enjoy the complete gaming experience without having to buy NFTs. Should players decide they want to lay to earn, they can simply create a NFT gaming account.
Coin Hunt World
This is an explorer and collector based blockchain games. Over the course of gameplay, players will explore their real-world, searching for blue keys. With these blue keys, they can open blue vaults. When you open a vault, you will be asked a trivia question. Answering the question correctly will earn you Bitcoin or Ethereum. You can also earn in-game items like Cubies and Resources.
At the beginning of the game, users will have to sign up and build their headquarters. Upon signing up, players will get two mystery boxes. Additionally, users who build their headquarters close to their homes will get the opportunity of collecting a free Mystery Box every 8 hours. One major downside is that Coin Hunt World is only available to players in: UK, Canada, US and El Salvador.
The blockchain games listed above are already using this model in the course of gameplay. However, it is worthy to note that there are some upcoming games that also plan to employ this model. They include the following:
- Guild of Guardians
How the Free to Play Model Will Boost the Blockchain Gaming Industry
The free to play model holds a lot of potentials for the blockchain gaming industry. This model can help boost the industry through the following means:
Serve as a Means of Testing a Game
One of the major actors stopping prospective players from trying out a play-to-earn game is the fact that they see it as a gamble. Not everyone is open to trying new things. As such, asking them to pay money may be a bit too much for them. This is where free to play comes in.
Using the Dragonary virtual account as an example, other games can use this approach. Create a similar edition where layers can enjoy the full gameplay experience. Haven tried out the game, they will be more willing to put their money into it.
Creating Awareness for New or Existing Projects
Another major benefit of giving users an opportunity to test the game is that you are creating awareness about the game in the process. There are tons of blockchain games out there, but people hardly know of them. One major reason is that players have to buy NFTs before playing the game.
If players try the game for free and like it, they will also tell others about it. If the gameplay is awesome, sponsors will most likely purchase in game assets and lend them out to gamers to play with.
At the moment, only card and simulation games are operating the free to lay model. With time, more genres of blockchain games will begin to explore this model. Particularly action, adventure and eSports games. Their approaches will most likely be similar to Gods Unchained. Players can get in-game assets for free at the beginning. However, they will have to mint them as NFTs to be able to sell them.