One announcement seemingly doomed an entire ecosystem. Launched in late 2021, the Critterz platform ushered NFTs and crypto into Minecraft via a play-to-earn (P2E) model.
Minecraft and Mojang Studios dropped a bombshell in July 2022, announcing they would not support NFT integration. Critterz users soon saw the collapse of their digital empire before their eyes. NFT prices plummeted, made even worse amid 2022’s rocky year for crypto prices overall, leading to their eventual downfall.
Rest Of World author Nerin Gray Desai, who covered the Critterz downfall in early September, noted his purchase of a Critterz NFT in January 2022 for more than $5,000. According to him, this same NFT was worth $150 in early September. As a result, his six blocks of land within the Critterz universe rose significantly in value. Their values began at just under $3,000 in February 2022, dropping to under $30 by September.
What makes the rise and fall of Critterz so noteworthy? For starters, the platform is an example of the P2E gaming model, which advocates claim will upend traditional gaming and bring more power back to the players.
Many Gamers Argue For The NFT Ban Within Minecraft and the Likes
Bringing Economic Empowerment Or Setting Players Up To Fail?
The idea behind P2E is to reward gamers with real-world value, like crypto, for their participation. Others argue that P2E enables users to take ownership over in-game items, like digital plots of land or virtual clothing, to buy, sell, or trade.
NFT technology means players directly own unique assets, unlike many traditional games where digital items are owned by game conglomerates and stored on centralized data networks.
P2E gaming’s gained steam as many players worldwide claim they can make a living just from gaming. Some Critterz players said they earned more than $100 a day playing. In fact, many users from the Philippines joined ‘guilds’ where players organized to stay online as much as possible to earn the native $BLOCK in-game crypto.
19-year-old student Charles Franzis from the Philippines explained he collected a “windfall” $1,100 payment for his work in March 2022. “I used the money to help my family on paying utilities and buying stuffs for our house,” he explained, along with investing in a new PC setup.
Filipino gamers, and many from less economically influential nations, have turned to P2E games as an economic resource. One of the most popular platforms in the P2E space was Axie Infinity, where users bought cute ‘Axie’ cartoons and battled each other while collecting the native Smooth Love Potion (SLP) crypto.
Like with Critterz, many were able to turn Axie gaming into a full-time job. However, lucrative economic prospects with Axie soon turned south when the game was hacked and, due to 2022’s massive crypto slide, playing the game became a relatively worthless endeavor. In addition, according to Time Magazine, many Filipino players the outlet interviewed said the game was boring, stressful, and led to fatigue. (Yikes 😬)
Can P2E Platforms Be Improved On, Or Is The Model Itself Unsustainable?
The Critterz team indicated their platform was designed to be an improvement on Axie Infinity to where gamers could earn incentives from the game itself and the opportunity to collect crypto. In their eyes, turning an “existing game play-to-earn” was a sound strategy as Minecraft was already popular, well-established, and a game “people want to play.”
Yet the user base on Critterz remains gutted by the Minecraft announcement. On August 12th, just 8 players were on the platform’ server – a far cry from the 2,000+ who participated during Critterz’s heyday.
The rise and fall of games like Axie Infinity and Critterz have many worried and concerned about the P2E space. While some argue that players will always migrate to platforms where they can earn money, others disagree. Some claim that merging blockchain into traditional gaming is a looming disaster as developers risk everything at the hands of one announcement (like Critterz).
Others are sour on the economic potential of P2E. Arguments abound about the opportunities players with lesser incomes could have on popular P2E platforms to earn vastly more than local minimum wages.
Still, The collapse of Games Like Axie & Critterz Leaves Many Players In Dire Economic Straits…
According to Time Magazine, some Filipino Axie players owed hundreds or thousands of dollars to friends and families who helped bankroll initial investments into Axie NFTs. The current yearly minimum wage in the Asian nation is just over $2,000 per year.
Overall – blockchain based-gaming continues to remain popular as funding rounds spur platforms to build and innovate. Yet after the fall of Critterz, many worry about the future of P2E amid continued crypto price slides and the eventual collapse of well-known platforms like Axie.
The future remains uncertain.