(SPOT.ph) Axie Infinity gamer Atryxiom invested the P1.5 million gift he got from his parents on the play-to-earn crypto game when it was at its peak. As earnings cool down with the hype, he is keeping his bet.
Atryxiom, who manages a group of players called Atry's Axies or AA, now earns P2,000 a month from P30,000 a month in 2021. During the pandemic Axie boom, he said players earned P700,000 to P1 million per week if they were lucky.
"Why am I still playing? Because I already invested. Right now it's just getting back at least something. I would rather keep my assets than sell them at a great loss," he said.
Marketing manager Third, who refused to disclose his full name, invested P800,000 of his savings to Axie Infinity after seeing his cousin earn money from playing the game. He refuses to exit the game now for fear of a huge loss.
"There's no way for me to back out kasi at the end of the day talo ako e if mag-back out ako," he said in an interview.
Playing Axie Infinity means shelling out an initial capital to get onboard and earn from it, said crypto entrepreneur Luis Buenaventura. Just like any investment in the volatile world of cryptocurrency, getting the money back plus earnings will require patience, Buenaventura said.
How is money earned from Axie?
Before players can enter the world of Axie Infinity, they have to purchase unique, non-fungible tokens called Axies. It's the Pokemon-like digital pets used in matches where winners get the in-game currency, Smooth Love Potions (SLPs), which players can convert to cash. Players can also breed Axies which can be sold on the Axie Marketplace to generate more income.
Players who own lots of Axies can choose to set up "scholarships", where managers like Atryxiom and Third lend their digital pets to scholars so these players can earn money without the upfront costs. In return, managers get portions of these scholars' profit.
"The idea is that quite a few people are very interested in this stuff and they're looking for alternative income opportunities but they don't have the initial personal capital that's required to get started. So we're the one fronting that capital for them," said Buenaventura, also the country manager of Filipino-led startup Yield Guild Games, which also offers scholarships.
Yield Guild Games has more than 20,000 players in eight countries playing Axie and other play-to-earn games, Buenaventura said. Axie remains the most popular game among their players, over half of which are Filipinos, he said.
"Until about 2020, not a lot of Filipinos have any knowledge about crypto. It was primarily because of Axie Infinity that a lot of Filipinos are suddenly crypto-aware because they had to learn crypto to take advantage of this income opportunity."
An SLP is equivalent to P0.21 as of November 7, according to cryptocurrency exchange Binance, from a high of P20, as per the recollection of Atryxiom and Third. The value started to depreciate as the hype subsided, followed by a $600 million cryptocurrency heist from Axie Infinity's Ronin Network, according to Bloomberg.
"What everybody says about crypto is it is volatile space, it is very risky so it is what it is," said Atryxiom.
While the market outlook seems "depressing", Third said he remains optimistic that Axie Infinity's developer Sky Mavis still has plans for investors.
Think of Axie as intro to the crypto world
To temper players' expectations on income and help broaden their investment goals, Third said he teaches his scholars the dynamics of the cryptocurrency economy.
"The more Filipinos are aware of how to navigate the crypto world, the better off everyone will be because I genuinely believe this stuff actually does create a lot of exciting alternative income opportunities but there's a learning curve" especially for first-timers, said YGG's Buenaventura.
It's difficult to motivate "financially-driven" players when the market is down, said Atryxiom, who has turned his attention to other crypto investments.
"For me, I don't put too much emphasis on I need to use Axie to recuperate my losses. I just like to think of Axie as a learning ground into crypto. I have learned the hard truths na hindi nag-TP (take profit)," he said.
While Axie Infinity remains the most prominent NFT-based game, its diminishing popularity paved way for players to explore other play-to-earn games, such as Fancy Birds, CyBall, and Thetan Arena, said Buenaventura.
Generally, crypto market has weakened with less hype and fewer investors, said Buenaventura. During this season dubbed crypto winter when assets are down, virgin investors can take advantage and buy crypto for less.
"It's affordable. It's kinda like discovering IKEA for the first time and you're in the middle of a big sale. If you've ever been interested in stuff like this, this is not the bad time to do it," he said.
The uninitiated has to understand that crypto is not a "get rich quick scheme" and that it requires patience, Buenaventura said. "It's actually a get rich slow scheme because it'll take time but you'll get there if you stick around long enough."