Everyone in the Crypto space right now is chanting about how GameFi will be the future of Crypto and about all of the great projects that totally exist right now that will revolutionize gaming. I'm going to setup my idea of the ideal GameFi game and by doing so, I think show a lot of gaping holes that currently exist within available crypto games. To start, I will talk about one of my favorite MMORPG games of all time, Conqueror's Blade. I no longer play it due to not having the time as well as having some issues with exactly how the server deals with Faction Wars related issues on a macro scale (jargon from someone who led a clan and was way too into it, shoutout to my Habibis). Despite this, I feel the 'model' of Conqueror's Blade could be perfectly adapted to create a masterpiece of GameFi.
This picture shows part of the world map of Conqueror's Blade and you can see that the map is split up into alliances. Essentially what happens is every Tuesday and Saturday in the afternoon, all of the settlements on the map open up to be claimed and clans can then fight for direct control of any settlement on the map. There are different sized settlements and clans can hold as many as they can defend from others attempting to conquest them. The actual gameplay is that of a strategy game where you play as a hero unit in the field while also commanding a contingent of units to siege/defend the area you desire. Having led a clan that could see up to 30 people show up per event, the battles were exciting and ruling over a settlement, or multiple was quite worth it. Not only did you get the prestige of being one of the few clans actually powerful enough to hold land but you were directly rewarded with yields from that land. The clan was given bonuses such as free resources produced by the land as well as discounts on anything available within the area and the ability to levy taxes within the fief that non-clan players would have to pay in fees when purchasing goods from the town/castle. In my opinion, this system would be absolutely perfect if the currency and taxes generated by the fief were in the form of a rewarded play cryptocurrency. The currency would have a necessary use case within the game of upgrading settlements, buying and selling items, buying gear, upgrading units, etc. Essentially, it would function as the premium currency within the game and thus have a built in demand from people desiring to solidify their hold on regions they already own as well as players without land desiring to use the currency to build up their power to gain the strength to take over a territory for their clan to hold. This gives the currency an inborn need to be used, a way in which it is minted through success in the game as well as partaking in the 'clan wars', and means of burning it to prevent supply overruns through 'taxation' on goods and services within the game. Essentially what this system would do is democratize premium currency within a game and allow players who wish to profit off of their success to do so.
The current closest game to this in terms of currency health would be EVE: Online in which for almost 20 years now their in game currency has been steadily inflating around 8-12% a year (which compared to actual crypto that you'll see is nothing) which is a surprising longevity from a pure in game currency on an MMORPG. The only thing stopping EVE from having a healthy transition to crypto is lack of developer desire to allow such a thing, despite the many EVE millionaires which could be created overnight.
Compared to what I was lining up as my GameFi pipedream, we have Axie Infinity here, long touted as the gold standards of play to earn games. You'll notice an extreme crash in value (much higher than the rest of the crypto market crash) ever since the game reached 'peak value'. This is due to the vast majority of people only playing the game to generate revenue rather than there being a healthy economic ecosystem and so essentially what people do is sell the currency as soon as they get it to realize a profit. This creates a huge downward pressure in pricing and leads to hyperinflation. It doesn't help that the game is barriered by purchasing or renting NFTs in which the only efficient NFTs to use are 'high-tiers' meaning that most NFT investments are just wasted money. To an average gamer, the concept of an NFT is almost toxic at this point due to both the amount of scam NFT projects as well as the amount of lazy NFT 'games' that exist primarily as currency extraction simulators rather than successful games with a healthy economy that gamers would actually want to play on their own.
Out of all of the crypto gaming projects I have ever seen, I've only actually enjoyed one for its actual merit as a game. You'll see, however, that Gods Unchained has somehow performed even worse than Axie Infinity. This is due to the game being more accessible (which is a good thing) and free form with its currency. However, if the currency is easy to obtain and its only use is to buy more in game cards, most people are only going to play the game to realize a profit which will create an extreme selling pressure and cause the price to tank rapidly. From $7 to 36 cents in less than a year and still tanking is not a good sign for a healthy ecosystem, crypto crash or not. People are creating games and applying crypto to them when in reality people need to create healthy economies within games and then apply crypto to them.
I know that my dream crypto game almost feels like a pipedream, but, until we see something akin to what I've supposed, every single crypto gaming project that will come out will simply be some sort of crypto cash grab that is doomed to fail within a year or two. No one seriously thinks that NFT idle gaming is a long term way to generate solid revenue except for the companies that make them and the scam coins that they're selling to you at $100-500 an NFT. Without a healthy economy with demand for the cryptocurrency from players who actually enjoy playing the game for fun, there will be no successful GameFi Projects. I'm not a financial advisor and this is just my opinion but until we see a change in the status quo of GameFi, I would avoid buying into any projects like the plague.
Also, you can just tell that the status quo is great when new projects will avoid showing 'gameplay' like the plague, it's because they don't have any gameplay and the real game to them is how to most easily get your money.