Following the economic turmoil that ensued after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Filipinos in the city of Cabanatuan have devised ingenious ways to earn a living. One of these methods is playing play-to-earn games, such as Axie Infinity, a game developed by SkyMavis. Reportedly, this game allows players to earn income through non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrency, whenever they successfully breed, battle, and trade digital pets dubbed Axies.
According to a mini-documentary by Emfarsis, a crypto consulting firm, Filipinos for different age groups are playing the game. Among the interviewed players was a mother, three young entrepreneurs, a college graduate, a pedicab driver, an elderly couple, and one of the first people in Cabanatuan City to discover the play-to-earn game.
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Explaining why the game became prevalent in the Philippines at such a rapid rate, a gamer by the name Art Art said that while he was not convinced the game would pay, he tried it because the COVID-19 pandemic left most Filipinos without any means to make a living. Similar to Art Art, other Cabanatuan residents decided to try out the game to get their daily bread.
How the game works
Reportedly, Axie Infinity uses NFTs to symbolize each pet that a player purchases. The player is then tasked with nurturing the pets, a process that involves buying or farming small love potions (SLPs). After a pet grows to a certain level, a player can sell it for crypto. SLPs can also be traded for crypto before a player proceeds to convert the crypto into their preferred currency.
According to Jeffrey Zirlin, Axie’s Head of Growth more than 60,000 people are currently playing the game. He noted that all anyone needs to join the Axie ecosystem is a smartphone and an Internet connection.
At the moment, the payment system requires players to sync and swap their funds through Ethereum (ETH), which has been subject to a lot of volatility. While this has left most players worried, they are not ready to throw in the towel just yet. An example is an elderly married couple, which plays the game while running a store. The husband, Lolo, disclosed that he continues playing even after losing.
Offering some semblance of a light at the end of the tunnel, Zirlin noted that Axie is its own economy. He acknowledged that macro factors might see it swing just like any other emerging market. However, Zirlin believes that in the long term, the ecosystem will witness a high GDP growth, that will spur the creation of an in-game economy.