GameFi evolved from DeFi and describes financial protocols with gamified mechanisms. Blockchain gaming is a game-first project with earning mechanisms.
GameFi vs. Blockchain Gaming
Gamified Finance, or GameFi, is a different concept from blockchain gaming altogether, but is mostly used interchangeably within the space.
GameFi has been the term mostly used in the crypto space to describe Web3 gaming since the industry boomed in 2021. The word evolved from the previous concept of Decentralized Finance, or DeFi, which describes financial protocols built on the blockchain, like exchanges, staking and lending protocols.
Since gaming protocols started to yield financial incentives thanks to the PlaytoEarn boom, the community started to call this new field GameFi. However, the PlayToEarn concept started to change to PlayAndOwn as the economic sustainability of the prior model was put into question. The change also meant that some members of the community don’t think that “GameFi,” as a term, captures the true essence of newer gaming projects.
One of these community members is Aleksander Larsen, Axie Infinity’s Co-Founder: He shared a video on Oct. 2 explaining the difference between the two concepts shortly before wrapping up his Singapore trip for Token 2049.
“A lot of these smart people they’re talking about GameFi and I don’t think it means what they think it means,” Larsen said in the video. “GameFi, as a definition, means gamified finance. Blockchain gaming means something totally different.”
According to Larsen, an example of GameFi is where users “level up” for each transaction they do on a particular protocol. That can be applicable to most financial products in the traditional and decentralized space.
Blockchain gaming, on the other hand, is the creation of a game-first protocol with a player-owned economy and backed by a community.
Gamified Finance is not a new concept introduced by Web3. Traditional finance, through the emergence of FinTech, has introduced the concept to its users as a way to engage them in a different way. It’s used to help promote financial literacy without having to explain the concepts through a class.
Examples of the gamification of finance are through banking apps that add progress bars to aid in a user’s saving goals, or a portfolio tracker that shows the “level” of your account based on the transactions you’ve done within their platform.
The best example of GameFi in the Web3 space is the DeFi Land protocol. Though the game has already introduced more in-game features, a fictional game wrapper is still added to its DeFi protocols. Staking comes in the form of crafting items or watering crops, while the marketplace is basically a Decentralized Exchange (DEX) protocol.
Alternatively, blockchain gaming projects basically build a game first, then add earning mechanisms and financial protocols to supplement the gaming experience. Projects like Thetan Arean, Axie Infinty and BigTime focus on a gaming experience that the community will enjoy and have a live economy that needs to be balanced.
In particular, the Axie Infinity team has done a good job in developing their game, creating a community around their project, and adding DeFi protocols to supplement the whole experience. The main game had several iterations since it launched, the current one being Axie Infinity: Origins.
They have also cultivated a loyal community that believes in the team’s vision by making sure the whole user experience is favorable to the gamers. Axie has also built staking and DEX protocols that help users manage their tokens.
What Is Axie Infinity:
Axie Infinity is a PlayAndEarn blockchain game where players breed, collect, and play with digital pets called Axies and earn from the interactions. It’s built on Ronin, an Ethereum-based side-chain developed by Vietnamese-based gaming studio Sky Mavis. The protocol put eyes on the PlayAndEarn gaming industry back in 2021. In addition, the team is building a digital nation where each community member comes together to play, earn, and live in Lunacia.
Where to find Axie Infinity:
Website | Twitter | Substack | Medium | Whitepaper |
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