Play to Die: A new crypto game model brings the concept of death to the metaverse

Play-to-Die: What if death in crypto games could become permanent, just like it is in real life? This would “open up all new types of experiences and gameplay.” At least that’s what crypto researcher and investor Dave Stanton claims.

Dave Stanton has come up with what sounds like a crazy idea: the “play-to-die” concept. In fact, he wants to build a system that will allow a beloved character who dies in a game to disappear forever. The character is minted as a non-fungible token (NFT) that can be bought or sold on the open market.

So when the character dies, the NFT is burned.

“[Je] believe the value potential for characters in NFT is much greater than for traditional game characters,” Stanton wrote in a blog post. “So introducing a concept of loss by dying into the game is much more interesting and engaging than before.”

Play-to-Die: Dead, But Still Alive as NFT

Death is not a new concept in gaming; Therefore, play-to-die can be an easy transition. For example, characters in first-person shooters, or FPS, as well as those in role-playing games (RPGs), “die” already in the game. Players have a number of lives, which can be either limited or infinite.

However, the current idea of ​​death in games is nothing more than a “feedback mechanism that you played badly at some point in the game.” In real life, when you die, it’s “game over forever”. When you die in play-to-die mode, you die.

Dave Stanton believes that true death experience could be applied to crypto gaming. He hopes this will “unlock new gaming experiences, new revenue opportunities for players and potentially create some of the most engaging spectator experiences.”


His idea revolves around non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, which are immutable, unique units of data stored on the blockchain. NFTs can be used to represent things like photos, videos, audio files, and other types of digital files. And now they are also to be used for dead characters in the gaming metaverse.

“NFTs can be bought, sold, traded or used in other contexts outside of a single game,” he clarified. “These are important points…compared to previous gaming experiences. Instead of only being able to use the character in this game, a player can now buy and sell on the open market.”

Dave Stanton also talked about the growth of NFTs that can be shared and traded on different blockchains. “It means that the characters will have a lot more value (it’s not just monetary value, but emotional value for the player) because they’re not tied to a single game,” he said.

“This interoperability can manifest itself in many possible ways. The ability to use a character in multiple games is an obvious example. I think there could also be promotional partnerships, membership opportunities and much more that we are not able to to imagine right now,” Stanton added.

How does the play-to-die principle work?

Non-fungible tokens have opened up new possibilities for the preservation and circulation of art. They have particularly attracted the sympathy of celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, Paris Hilton and Madonna.

Considered by some as the Wild West of the blockchain industry, non-fungible tokens have also begun to attract criminals, where rug-pull fraud is common. Users have also lost thousands of NFTs worth millions of dollars in phishing attacks.

In his proposal, Dave Stanton theorizes how permadeath might work in crypto games. Thus, he imagines a first-person shooter or some other fighting or fighting game, and where the player character is an NFT.

As you win matches, you collect skills. But if you lose a match, your character dies and it burns the NFT. What does it mean then?

“If the game was hugely popular, any player could start from scratch and, through sheer merit, build themselves a very skilled character,” explained Stanton.

“Theoretically, extremely competent characters would be rare as many would constantly die in the game. They can then play with that character or sell it to someone looking for a competent fighter but not willing to spend the time to obtain that.”

Dave Stanton argued that this could create “winning opportunities for good players with little or no capital. Rarity is not random (as with current NFT attacks), but based on skill, effort and survivability.”

“I think there is also a possibility that skins or in-game items can only be unlocked by reaching certain levels or surviving a certain number of battles. This would create additional value for these characters beyond just in-game skills, ” he added.

die player

When players die in a game, they lose their character. According to Mr. Stanton allows players to “become even more engaged and attached to their characters by thinking more about their actions. This can lead to much more engaged players.”

Stanton’s plan means there is a possibility that “viewers will become more attached to very capable and enduring characters.”

He explained thus:

“Streaming matches/matches could attract many more viewers in-game and, more importantly, out-of-game. Just like the biggest sporting events in the world (such as the Super Bowl, World Cup, Olympics, etc.) are followed by fans of that sport, but also by many “non-athletes”. [Ce qui s’explique par l’ampleur de l’intérêt suscité par ces événements et leur impact sur la culture populaire. Comme les personnages vont “mourir” au sein du jeu s’ils perdent, cela suscite beaucoup plus d’émotion chez les spectateurs et pourrait être plus intéressant que les jeux actuels.”

Une proposition risquée

Cela dit, tout le monde n’est pas aussi emballé par l’idée de Save Stanton. Long Do, directeur de jeu chez Anomura, une plateforme de jeu play-to-earn de pixel art NFT, a déclaré à BeInCrypto que le concept de mort permanente dans les jeux crypto était faible.

“La faiblesse du modèle réside dans le fait que la plupart des investisseurs veulent des modèles qui présentent peu de risques et un énorme avantage”, a déclaré Long Do.

“Par exemple, des projets où il n’y a aucun coût de frappe pour les investisseurs, mais un énorme bénéfice si les ventes secondaires deviennent virales et que le prix plancher leur permet de tirer un profit. Ce type de modèle va à l’encontre de la pensée actuelle. Du point de vue de la gamification, il pourrait être intéressant pour ceux qui ont une plus grande tolérance au risque. Il existe un public pour cela, mais cela pourrait ne pas être très bien perçu par les investisseurs traditionnels du Web3.”

Dave Stanton a reconnu l’échec des expériences passées de mort permanente dans le monde du jeu.

Cependant, “si [ce modèle] is embraced in cryptogaming, we will see many new low-barrier-to-entry merit-based financial opportunities emerge for players.” In addition, there is a “potential [pour une] revolution in viewing games because they will feel more real and visceral to non-gaming viewers. A bit like sports fans who watch a game knowing that the athletes are committing their bodies and in some cases, as in motor sports and martial arts, their lives.”

Crypto games drive Web3 growth

According to DappRadar, the blockchain gaming industry continued to experience significant growth in the third quarter of 2022.

Month-on-month, the number of unique active wallets in the industry grew by 8% to 912,000, ensuring its Web3 share remained above 48% in Q3. Gameta was the most used dApp in September with over 1.33 million unique wallets.

According to the report, game projects of the “Move-to-earn” type are especially gaining popularity. The “Sweat Economy” has thus made it possible to break the record of 10,000 NFTs on the Near Protocol. Online NFT games Blanko’s Block Party and Star Atlas have become the first Web3 titles to be released on the Epic Games Store.

Gods Unchained entered the top five NFT collections by trading volume, registering over $18 million in sales in September. However, investment in blockchain-based games and metaverse projects fell in Q3 ($1.3 billion) compared to Q2, down 48%.

However, this is almost double the total amount raised in all of 2021. Indeed, in its Q3 report, DappRadar stated, “The future of blockchain gaming is bright, and it is on track to become the figurehead of Web3.”


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