Yield Guild Explains: Play-to-Earn and Scholarships
(Updated June 29, 2022)
To understand the decentralized digital economy that underpins all activities of Yield Guild Games (YGG), it is important to know how play-to-earn games work and how yield is generated from non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The role of “scholarships” in NFT games is also explained in this article.
What is Play-to-Earn?
Play-to-earn is a new business model where real money can be earned by playing video games that are centered upon cryptocurrency-based assets, known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). By actively participating in these virtual economies, players can earn rewards such as in-game assets and tokens, which can then be traded or sold on an open market, if the player chooses to do so.
This represents an important shift in the gaming world, because traditionally, in-game assets were confined to centralized protocols, and players were prohibited from trading or selling their digital assets external to the platform.
Play-to-earn games have been particularly popular in developing countries where local jobs and income-earning opportunities are limited but most people have access to a digital device and an internet connection.
The mini documentary “Play-to-Earn: NFT Gaming in the Philippines” tells the story of a rural community that played the NFT game, Axie Infinity, to earn money during the COVID-19 lockdowns. In September 2020, players reported that they were able to earn up to US$400 within their first few weeks of playing, an amount that is two to three times greater than the local minimum wage.
YGG’s goal is to accelerate the play-to-earn phenomenon and help more players earn real-world rewards from their time spent in-game, by acquiring NFTs that can be leased to guild members via scholarships.
What is a Scholarship?
The idea was originally introduced by the Axie Infinity player community. Owners of Axies, the NFT pets that are required to play the game, would loan their assets to new players who didn’t own any Axies of their own.
With the rising popularity of Axie Infinity, the price to buy the NFT pets needed to play the game has increased significantly. This has created a barrier to entry for some players, especially those who are new to play-to-earn. Understandably, not all people are willing or able to purchase their own NFTs upfront.
A scholarship is a popular pathway to onboard newcomers to NFT games. Yield Guild provides scholarships to new players as a rewards-sharing model, where the guild acquires NFT assets and rents them to new players so they can start playing and earning in-game tokens without spending any money.
The recipient of a scholarship is known as a scholar. The only upfront requirement of the scholar is their time spent playing the game, their enthusiasm and their willingness to learn.
The earnings of an Axie Infinity scholar are split between the scholar (70%), Yield Guild Games (10%), and the Scholarship Manager (20%). The Scholarship Manager is responsible for recruiting, training and mentoring the new player.
As of June 2022, the YGG network has provided over 30,000 scholarships across the world.
What does a Scholarship Manager do?
In addition to the NFT assets leased by YGG, scholars also receive training and guidance on how to play the game from Scholarship Managers.
Scholarship Managers are the “boots on the ground” that are key to the guild’s scalability and success around the world. They take YGG’s NFTs and distribute these assets to new players in their local network who have been identified as high-potential.
In this way, YGG does not manage any scholars directly, but rather, the guild seeks to work with reputable Scholarship Managers who can nurture up-and-coming talent and play a personal role in the player’s development.
The co-founders of a scholarship program called Axie University (AxU) were interviewed in the mini documentary “Play-to-Earn: NFT Gaming in the Philippines.” AxU is now a “sub-guild” of the overarching Yield Guild Games, and they play the role of Scholarship Managers who recruit, train and mentor YGG’s scholars.
This article published on BitPinas is an interview with Ken, Potz, and Spraky, the three founders of AxU.
Does YGG offer play-to-earn scholarships in games other than Axie Infinity?
YGG scholarships are not limited to Axie Infinity. As of June 2022, Yield Guild Games has formed partnerships with over 40 play-to-earn games. Besides Axie, scholarships are currently being offered in CyBall, Fancy Birds, VulcanVerse and Aavegotchi.
YGG also established subDAOs such as YGG SEA (Southeast Asia), IndiGG (India), Ola GG ( Hispanic communities), YGG Japan and BAYZ (Brazil) which are region-specific branches of YGG, that can offer localized support and onboarding strategies. These subDAOs can also partner with other games that their community wishes to play.
YGGLOK (YGG League of Kingdoms) and YGGSPL (YGG Splinterlands) are game-specific subDAOs made up of community members who are actively participating in those games. More information about the YGG DAO and its subDAOs can be found here.
The guild’s plan is to provide scholarship opportunities across all these games, and more, to lower the barriers to accessing these yield-generating NFTs and help onboard more people across the world to the play-to-earn revolution.