onsider the communities in which you have been genuinely excited to be a part of your entire life. These were most likely formed around common interests. That's because we feel a sense of belonging when we bond with others over something we care deeply about. For example, playing video games and never getting tired of discovering new ones or establishing communities where you can meet other gamers.

That's how we know the current GameFi space isn't a haven for gamers like myself and my enthusiastic peers: it's a haven for bots. And the main issue at hand is structural in nature.

A strong community signals the potential to venture capital (VC) funds, and GameFi projects are forced to raise funds at the community level before meeting with investors. As a result, they sell nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and other cryptocurrencies to jump through the initial-stage hoops and earn enough money to keep building. They have a better chance if they sell more. It's easy to see how this leaves builders vulnerable to the effects of a little hype: it can literally make or break a project.

So they take their incentive, embrace the challenge posed by the industry they adore, and, through no fault of their own, succumb to the allure of empty hype. They hire influencers to spread the word about their teaser trailer and how it will result in a $200 million film — even though it may only have cost $10,000 to make. They create fan communities and use them to their advantage. They distribute gaming assets through freebies in a system that resembles a multilevel marketing scheme and frequently promises unrealistically profitable returns that cannot be delivered.

This feeds into an influencer-driven, incentive-driven economy that only drives projects to boast numbers while failing to build groundbreaking products. 

Furthermore, when people gather for incentives rather than genuine interest, they fail to form real, strong communities. Look at 90% of Discord servers, and you'll find nothing but empty conversations and a distinct lack of genuine excitement. With over 100,000 members but only four people who speak up, it's clear that operators looking to project a positive image of a brand are hiring shills to make their communities appear more populated than they are.

This puts both builders and ecosystems on shaky ground, as everyone's participation is for sale in the absence of dependable fans. Offer an influencer a better deal than the one they're currently promoting, and they'll gladly switch sides. Builders are frequently ready to run as soon as the token price is raised to their liking. This exact scenario occurred when the Squid cryptocurrency, which was unrelated to the Netflix series but hoped to profit from the association, rose to $2,800 in value before plummeting to almost nothing after it was discovered to be a scam.

Scammers made off with $3.38 million, in this case, so you could make the argument that empty hype and incentive-based MLM-type strategies do work. But don't gamers deserve something better?

The psychological component of the dynamics at work is just as fascinating as the economic incentives. As humans, we are governed by emotions. The value system is made up of a hierarchy of emotional level-created sensations that rank what is important to us, which means that our brains are physiologically primed to seek emotional rewards more than financial ones. 

Consider the importance of entertainment, dependability, and a sense of belonging. If there is no emotional connection to a specific game other than cashing in and exiting, gamers will do just that. They will earn as much as they can through gameplay, then retract their native tokens and proceed to the next incentive.

Bots are particularly programmed to take benefit of incentive structures to extract value, harming the ecosystem, and they are a major roadblock to the widespread adoption of blockchain games. It's not difficult to estimate how many bots a particular game may attract, because data companies can simply link any wallets belonging to the very same person and cross-check the list. Jigger, an anti-botting company, used this method to analyze more than 60 games and services and discovered 200,000 bots.

As long as this state of affairs persists, the GameFi industry will be vulnerable to bots, scams, and overhyped incentives that fail to propel projects forward. And it will deter genuine, enthusiastic players like myself.

Do you think bots are only prevalent in crypto gaming because it's easier for developers to make money off of them? Drop your comments by sharing this article online.

Nov 29, 2022
Digital Lifestyle

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