Axie Infinity: a game of highs and lows

FEU Advocate
February 08, 2022 04:31

By Joaquin Luis E. Quesada and Aimerose C. Atienza

Who would’ve thought that you can earn just by playing a game? Enter Axie Infinity, a non-fungible token-based (NFT) play and earn game that was created by Sky Mavis – a Vietnamese-based video game developer studio back in March 2018. 

As people continued to face different challenges due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, these individuals sought their way to take their hobbies into something more valuable - Axie Infinity was one of the answers.

For the past two years, the digital game undeniably grew to be one of the most well-known online games among Filipinos, including the students of Far Eastern University (FEU).

Discovering Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity was released four years ago, however, it just became popular in 2020. According to Yahoo Finance, the NFT-based game has 8.3 million players at the end of 2021. In most instances, the players discovered the game through their peers, acquaintances, or through Facebook posts.

 “Nalaman ko lang sa kapitbahay ko, naghahanap siya ng pinagkakakitaan tapos sinuggest niya sa akin ito (I knew through my neighbor who was looking for an opportunity to earn income, then the game was suggested to me),” 4th-year BA Communication student Joren Aquino said.

CJay Catilo, a 2nd-year BS Medical Technology (MedTech) student, also added that it was his friends and their hobby of playing online games that encouraged them to play Axie Infinity.

This was the same case for the 2nd-year MedTech student, Gio Villegas, who is an Axie Infinity manager – an axie manager lends their axie collection to the scholars under their group or guild, and the manager has a share in the earnings of his scholars, for some, it is subject to negotiation.

 “Nagstart kami ng friend ko nung sinabihan niya ako na we can earn while playing games which is hobby namin, so nag-invest kami ng pera noon (My friend and I started when he told me that we can earn while playing games which is our hobby, so we invested money during that time,” Villegas shared.

Upon engaging in Axie Infinity, these players got a fair share of opportunities and challenges with the online game.

Earning real money

The COVID-19 pandemic was a major factor in the rise of the NFT gaming industry. Through this, netizens, especially in third-world countries, found a new source of extra income during the lockdown.

People were enticed by learning that they can earn real money just by playing Axie Infinity, the more time they spent playing, the more they find themselves enjoying playing Axie Infinity.

Unang-una dahil gusto ko kumita kasi may pera eh. Pero nung tumagal-tagal, naeexcite na rin ako maglaro parang normal game na sa akin like ML (Mobile Legends), Genshin [Impact], at Valorant (First of all, I wanted to earn because there’s money involved. However, as time passed by, I am now excited to play as it is like a normal game for me like ML, Genshin [Impact], and Valorant),” Aquino shared.

The idea of playing a play-to-earn game will raise some eyebrows, 4th-year BA Communication student Hageanne Ong shared that she found the concept of play-to-earn was “too good to be true.”

Low SLP Value

In Axie Infinity, the Small Love Potion (SLP) is one of the in-game currencies that you use to exchange for real-world money. SLP is earned by playing the three main game modes.

Those three main game modes are the arena, adventure, and daily quest. The players will earn if they achieved the maximum SLP rewards. In the arena, the player vs. player feature comes in as you will battle other players, and the SLP rewards here depend on the player’s matchmaking rating (MMR).

According to CoinGecko, back on December 1, 2021, the value of SLP was at Php 2.94. The crypto coin continuously dipped until it reached Php 0.57 on February 5, 2022, because the players are holding the 32 billion SLP and waiting for the pump of the token to cash it out. It was the lowest since July 2020, wherein the SLP’s value was at Php 0.16.

Earning SLP gave the players the motivation in playing Axie Infinity, when the regular dipped happened, it ruined their motivation to continue playing the NFT-based game.

Parang nawalan ako ng gana nung bumaba ‘yung SLP value, dati kasi parang ganado ako palagi maglaro, umaga pa lang naglalaro na ako (I feel like I’ve lost my desire when SLP’s value dipped, before, I have the desire to play, I am already playing it in the morning),” Aquino said.

Despite the current state of SLP, the players continue to mint the crypto coin while the value is still relatively low. They would hold their earnings, meaning they will not cash it out and wait patiently for the SLP to pump again, to have a significant return to their hard work. 

“I wanna be there [when the SLP’s value pumps up again], gusto ko makita fruits ng hirap ko (I want to see the fruits of my hard work),” Villegas said.

Back on February 4, Axie Infinity released economic balancing adjustments to the game to be implemented on the release of Season 20 which is days/weeks away. The economic balancing adjustments mainly focused on SLP, the developers removed the SLP rewards on the adventure and the daily quest to reduce the SLP as 40% of the token were created in these two modes.  

(Illustration by Mary Vel S. Custodio/FEU Advocate)