Having spend a decent amount of time in blockchain recently, and the rest of my life in games- wanted to share some thoughts as it relates to play-to-earn and blockchain x gaming:
Let's talk about play-to-earn. I believe the majority of play-to-earn games are not sustainable. If you took away the earn part, retention would drop to low levels. What happens when Axie Infinity players stop buying SLP? Race to the bottom. Axie has to innovate constantly.
When gameplay is tied to rewards, automation and botting will eventually outpace regular play, which will lead to unhealthy communities (i.e. see what happened to RuneScape). I don't think we will see skill-based play-to-earn games. Which, realistically, are the biggest titles.
Botting and automation will outpace regular play and outpace cheat-detection because the incentives will be too large for any game developer to combat single-handedly. There's a big need for a decentralized anti-cheat first, imo, which can move at 100x the pace to current devs.
Instead, I believe we will first see regular games that have simple NFT/Crypto elements implemented. Card games with real ownership (i.e. Pokémon cards) and skill-based games that are implementing NFTs skins, but where gameplay isn't tied to monetary rewards.
Second, on community-driven NFTs that have gaming communities building on them (i.e. loot): A lot seems to be hype-driven and engineered to create price movement. But I believe this has legs. If the right talent meets an existing community/distribution channel, magic can happen.
Problem is that market movements are influencing how reliably teams ship: Crypto is a double-edged sword. It's hard to focus when underlying incentive structure has ~10-40% price movements daily. Almost always creates short-term thinking and get-out-while-you-can mentality.
Some people get rich and start working less when the project moons. Others are v distracted. And others are fine under that pressure. This leads to slowdowns. From the outside it seems that crypto moves at lightning speed. But mass price movement causes mass churn. It's not great
Though when I believe these communities start funding knowledgeable game devs with a history of execution with an incentive structure that is strong and fairly stable, we'll see magic happen and some great products will emerge.
Trust and accountability is still a huge problem in crypto. There are rarely contracts. Most people are anon. Rugs and scams are everywhere. Many are playing short-term games. Which is why it feels like it's moving at lightning pace. Most are front-running execution with news.
I suspect the first mass success we'll see is a tier 1 game that implements with a MetaMask/Phantom login/sync and enables some sort of real-time skin-syncing servers for players that are also signed in with these services. I also think we'll see big success with collectibles.
Then I think we'll see a few more years are necessarily to innovate on the play-to-earn model in a way that can go mainstream without massive issues. And then we'll start seeing some major titles that have some sort of mechanics built in that enable player-owned economies.