The world of play-to-earn crypto games, where children and teenagers can earn cryptocurrencies while playing, is rapidly expanding. These games offer young players the opportunity to learn about cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and investing while having fun. However, the introduction of speculative digital assets into children’s games has raised concerns among health experts and parents.
Crypto games attracting a younger audience: In recent years, venture capitalists have invested millions into play-to-earn crypto games such as Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, and Gods Unchained. These games often mirror popular classics like Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Roblox but with a crypto twist. Investors like Andreessen Horowitz’s Arianna Simpson believe that these games will help introduce the next generation of crypto users. Crypto games offer an approachable and engaging way for young people to learn about digital currencies and blockchain technology.
The rise of play-to-earn games in developing countries: Play-to-earn games initially emerged in developing countries like Brazil and the Philippines, where people affected by the pandemic’s economic impact started playing Axie Infinity to earn a living. Players use cryptocurrencies to purchase in-game characters (NFTs), which they can then use to battle other players. Successful players are rewarded with cryptocurrency tokens like Smooth Love Potion (SLP). At the height of SLP’s value, some players were making up to $2,000 a month.
Investments and concerns: While play-to-earn games have been met with enthusiasm from investors, they have also raised concerns among parents and health experts. These games introduce young people to highly speculative digital assets, sometimes before they understand the concept of investing. In addition, age restrictions on crypto games are often easy to bypass, allowing underaged players to participate.
Balancing benefits and risks: Despite concerns, play-to-earn games can be an engaging way to teach children about investing, blockchain technology, and cryptocurrencies. The key, according to therapist Lin Sternlicht, is moderation. Parents should familiarize themselves with the games their children are playing and help them manage their game time if necessary. Moreover, parents should ensure that their children understand the risks involved in investing in digital assets and securely store their crypto assets.
The future of play-to-earn games: Currently, many play-to-earn games lack the depth and sophistication of popular non-crypto games like Fortnite or Call of Duty. However, as more advanced blockchain games are developed, they may eventually replace traditional gaming for many young players. In the meantime, parents need to remain vigilant about their children’s involvement in play-to-earn games and help them navigate the world of digital assets safely and responsibly.