Escaping Reality with Blockchain Games: Is Capitalism Our Fantasy?
The Revival of Escapism
Long before the NFT ‘boom’ and the growing popularity of blockchain-based video games, players were long enamoured with the mesmerizing notion of being in an alternative reality. To put it in the plainest of terms, there is something about losing hours in a fantasy setting that always gives us chills.
The psychological phenomenon of getting lost in an imaginary reality actually has a name, whether or not you’ll agree with it. The concept, known as escapism, has been described as a habitual distraction to an alternative reality or mere entertainment to escape reality. It has always existed and wasn’t only linked to video games, but the sudden expansion of new technologies made it more fascinating and easier. Just a click of a button and you’re in it.
A study conducted by Deleuze et al demonstrated that respondents had more positive attitudes toward pictures showing virtual environments than toward those showing real world matters. Participants highly engaged in gaming demonstrated an even more positive attitude toward digital reality. The study in question had its objective to contribute to a more refined understanding of the psychological processes underlying the concept of escapism.
At the most basic level, escapism is just a way to entertain yourself and cope with stress. There is always a line that separates normal escaping and coping with stress from next level behaviour that might sound problematic. On the other hand, higher degrees of escapism have been linked to our biological ‘fight or flight’ response, making escapism equivalent to the ‘flight’ response.
While not itself spelling out a new concept, modern escapism has been revived with the introduction of the Metaverse. The Metaverse’s definition, as we’ve often discussed, expressly includes the creation of an alternative reality, an escape through avatars that may acquire digital assets. It is something that we knew was coming all along, and as in all things in the universe, the big question is: “where will we draw the line?”.
Regardless of how one might choose to answer that, there are many bright sides to the metaverse as a huge leap in the way people communicate. To repeat perhaps overused terms: truly revolutionary and, at the very least, exciting.
Play-And-Earn: The Economical Booster
Well into its second decade, blockchain strengthens its case as a viable technology by the day but the introduction of NFTs made it possible for blockchain games to obtain mainstream prominence by putting an earnest spin on the economic incentive of making money by just playing. The circumstances surrounding the 2020 pandemic outbreak, along with the economic crisis, converged to bring people even closer to their computers, some even seeking new ways to make up for the loss of pre-pandemic livelihoods.
The play-to-earn feature attained popularity as a money-making prospect soon enough. A 2021 story by Wired about a woman that goes by the screen name Catdicax illustrates the power of having digital assets. The devoted Axie gamer described herself as being poor, but then she watched the value of her digital pets grow tremendously. In other words, Catdicax is not just a gamer anymore; she is an owner of digital assets. A Thailand-based Axie player shared a similar story, yet such games have been under critique — no less by ourselves — for blending entertainment with financial speculation to a degree that lessens the value of the game. The danger of having such large financial ecosystems in the mostly unregulated areas of crypto gaming can amount to privacy and security issues that shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, the popularity of such games tells us straightforwardly that we escape reality now even to earn money.
We’ve covered the way we believe the earning model should be done, focusing on the game rather than the economy to produce a “Play And Earn” model that eschews the poor quality of “Play-to-Earn” options. And this, we believe, could be a real option and a real booster of the economy.
Blockchain tech does its job properly by providing decentralised integrity and security of digital items and allowing them to be sold and bought freely on marketplaces. It has been demonstrated that a majority of blockchain games gained massive popularity in developing countries such as Venezuela and the Philippines. For players in the Global South, digital assets can offer more earnings than their local economy.
Interestingly, it has even been said that these blockchain games have been riding the wave of eager labour. The facts are that the NFT fever has been spreading throughout developing countries of South America, Asia and Africa, and that the number of players there has been constantly growing at a rapid pace. People in possession of adequate digital literacy choose to make money through blockchain video games connected to cryptocurrencies.
If we take a closer look at the phenomenon, it is clear that we see a revolution in redefining the many structures of work. Crypto gaming became a go-to in the midst of the pandemic for people looking for urgent solutions to secure earnings. The rise of blockchain tech changed the longstanding business model known as pay-to-play to the play-to-earn model (and hopefully, progressively to play-and-earn).
Anyone from anywhere in the world can participate, acquire digital assets, and enjoy earnings when exchanged for real-world money. In the middle of the economic crises in their developing countries, they have decided to monetise their hobby. Players have been escaping the real environment for such a long time, and now the tech has allowed them to escape right into the ample bosom of capitalism.
Not, perhaps, the politically correct way to say things these days, but capitalism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if done responsibly and sustainably. Clearly, the free economy policies in the Global South are their one fighting chance to become relevant in the global economy. And if crypto gaming is a gateway for the people, should we not foster that entrance?
Here at Cradles, we primarily think of the health of our token ecology, whether talking about activities, game development, or governance. Our White Paper transparently provides information on the token distribution as well. For instance, community incentives will be issued in batches in the form of activities, while developer and creator incentives will be issued based on milestones and workload. Furthermore, the token economics design is based on the Cradles Coin ($CRDS) as the main currency on the platform, with supplementary crystals as game world currency. We’re experimenting with diverse and totally new models for earning too (like our unique Staking-Into-NFTs or SIN system), always prioritising a community-based approach that combines features of both an exciting video game of prime escapism and an environment where you can monetise on your assets and creations.
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