I don’t know about metaverse/play-to-earn games enough to have any idea on how these two will compete. I took a quick crash course on what it is and how it works but that shouldn’t be enough for a proper discussion, all I can do is drop some concerns related to the whole idea.
The first thing that comes to my mind is that this sort of philosophy may be used to create scarcity on demand behind the curtains. If item rarity is an important feature it can also be used to shut down any method to generate a certain item, which ensures players can buy and sell exclusives and get the devs a fat cut. Of course these could be fair and, maybe, tied to the overall player population, but even this metric parameter can fail as it can be artificially inflated (more on that soon™). It’s also concerning on how would direct cash items be traded between two players, it is scenario where devs will always earn less than a direct sale, yet preventing that to happen goes against the pay-to-earn philosophy (and P2P systems aren’t inclusive, which is vital for online games).
Along that, pay-to-earn games and bots are a perfect match. Bots only exist for two reasons, the game demands too much from players for them to work for the rewards and the associated task is too simple and/or repetitive for an average person. They could use IDs and/or phone numbers as validation mechanisms but that can be easily bypassed by taking some elder ID that wouldn’t ever touch that game and buy a new mobile line. Surely, it can be completely busted by increasing the combat complexity, yet that is less friendly for non-dedicated players, which are the ones more likely to buy the rares. It’s just silly to think people won’t ever try to cheat on the system, I’d even dare to say they’d try adapting to any combat system developed to get a real income.
Now on a stingier side… Capitalism. It ain’t proving itself to be as great as people thought it was, specially in the past 2 years, and people think pushing it to the virtual sphere is a good idea. Sure it can help low income people to have some “easier” alternative, but it can be more of a gamble depending on how the system is implemented (if botting were indeed impossible), which makes the real world side just worse (I won’t even get to the idea of having multiple country regulations involved…). It’s sounds crazy to implement a 1:1 version of capitalism right when it’s showing its cracks. If the system eventually fails in the physical world, it will certainly fail in games as well.
In the end, it shouldn’t matter. It’s just like that Reggie quote/meme, “if games aren’t fun, why bother?”. MMOs is a dying genre because it is mostly stagnated since it reached its peak, but we moved from dial internet to streaming. It ignores that everybody on the internet has access to unlimited content across multiple media, be it by free to play games in other genres, youtube, netflix, etc. Games have to offer a valuable experience to players or else they’ll die, even if it isn’t shut down completely. It won’t matter if the game is play-to-earn or not if (or when) it is terminated.
Personally, it looks like a time bomb that isn’t worth engaging (maybe if it gets an amazing game…).
At last, here are two (of many) outcomes to think about that are terrifying.
1 - This kind of philosophy will cause a boom of low quality games with the sole purpose of printing easy money for everybody, which will quickly collapse and bury the idea forever.
2 - Traditional MMOs will stay stagnated and play-to-earn just offer the same, but with the monetary benefits, dealing the final blow to the older variant. Then, the play-to-earn model collapses on its own due physical world implications and/or regulations that prevent it from operating as intended and it kills MMOs for good.
Again, that’s just a bunch of possibilities and issues it may (or not) happen, it can all be bs from an ignorant fool.