Crypto Game Owners, The Crazy Gamers They Exploited, Are Now Giving Up

Fanciful creatures fight to prove their intrinsic worth.

Picture: Sky Mavis

Axie Infinity is crypto-backed Pokemon clone in which cute little creatures that double as NFT fight for fun and profit. It is also a pyramid scheme that relies on cheap labor from countries like the Philippines to fuel its growth. However, fictitious inflation, combined with a historic crypto heist allegedly committed by North Korea, plunged the Axie the economy in chaos, and its big players panic as those below them give up on the scam.

Like all things crypto, the story of Axie Infinity is both very complicated and incredibly simple. Developed by Sky Mavis, the game revolves around collect, breed, and battle cartoon characters called Axies, which are NFTs that exist on the Ethereum blockchain. Players can use their Axies to mine a currency called Smooth Love Potion (SLP) which is used to breed and create more Axies. Axies and SLPs can be sold on the open market for real money.

Like Vice reports, the result is a heavily financialized community fueled by the promise of future riches and based on a constant influx of new players. Many of these new players cannot afford to buy Axies outright, so existing owners loan them out for a cut in future revenue. The Axie community charitably calls the bosses “managers”, the workers “scholars”, and the general arrangement a “guild”. Since many low-level players are working poor from the Philippines and elsewhere, others call this arrangement digital colonialism.

The set reminds old fashioned gold culture in MMOs like World of Warcraft. Like The edge pointed out, this has also been very profitable for Sky Mavis, but relies on maintaining the dream of future growth as there is little intrinsic value in the game itself. That dream recently started unraveling thanks to gameplay changes and SLP inflation, and then last month the game was hacked to the tune of over $600 million in one of the biggest heists in crypto in history. Axie InfinityThe fragile capitalist caste system has continued to deteriorate ever since.

“Axie Infinity developer mentions are full of pissed off digital owners that their ‘academics’ (Filipino employees paid in game certificates) are all quitting the game and not showing their weekly quotas,” YouTuber Dan Olson tweeted April 12. Like noted by GamesRadara quick search for Twitter and Reddit shows players complaining about the state of the game and the lack of cheap labor to support their investment.

“A busy day at work finally [ends] and it’s beautiful to see $SLP climb slowly, ” wrote a. “But a few scholars quit me last week, so it’s time to look for new axie scholars again, I guess.”

“I had a fish farm and a vegetable farm. And 10 scholars,” wrote another. “They have almost all stopped. My Axies are worth 10% of what it cost me to raise them. I learned a lot at Axie.

Screenshots of tweets from three anonymous Axie Infinity players appear in front of the Axie game artwork.

A sample of the latest Axie Infinity players’ tweets show growing dissatisfaction from ‘academics’ and ‘managers’.
Picture: Sky Mavis / Kotaku

Axie Infinity is, among other things, a live service game, and it turns out that even the crypto brethren have as much trouble balancing resource savings and character progressions as everyone else. The proliferation of Axies led to the breeding of more SLPs and as a result, the value of SLPs began to drop. Currently the only thing that removes SLP from the game is breeding Axies. To remedy this, Sky Mavis removed SLP farming from Adventure mode in February, but instead of providing SLP contracts, it kept going up. Players are now calling for new ways to “burn” SLP and stop runaway inflation.

Another big pain point was the implementation of player-owned playgrounds, also known as Project K. Sky Mavis started selling packages years ago, but the game mechanic is still under construction and the developer announced more delays this week. Originally slated to launch in early 2020, Project K was later pushed back to 2021 and now only has a generic release window of 2022.

“People who bought Land early basically locked their assets into a zero return situation when they could have done a lot of other things with that money, all because Sky Mavis kept telling us that the Q4 2021 was going to be the release date and now they seem to be treating current landowners as an afterthought,” wrote a gamer on the sub-reddit.

Other players are debating now whether to go out or hang on to see if Axie Infinitythe economy is rebounding. “Let’s be real for a second, we’re all here because of the earning potential,” one player wrote. “And discussing it any other way is a waste of time. I hold all my axes. I don’t care if it hits zero, but I won’t sell at those prices now. »

In the meantime, Sky Mavis is trying to plug the $600 million hole the hackers left in her pocket. According to the FBI, the North Korea-based Lazarus Group was responsible for the breach. The US Treasury added the blockchain address where the funds were deposited to the North Korea sanctions list on Thursday, but Bloomberg reports the funds could take years to recover, if recovered at all. That’s okay, a bunch of crypto and venture capital firms just announced they will give Sky Mavis an extra $150 million to help refund players and prevent them from looking for another scam.

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