Understanding the Downstream Consequences of “Play to Earn”

Beidi Hu, PhD Candidate, The Wharton School

Abstract: This project examines the downstream consequences, both intended and unintended, of the “play to earn” experience. As the global pandemic was ravaging jobs around the world, blockchain-based “play to earn” games offered people in developing countries the opportunity to earn extra income and even make a living from playing these games. Yet little is known about how the experience of “play to earn” affects people’s perception of money earned through this method (e.g., how they spend such money) and their perception of work tasks due to earning through this method (e.g., how they perceive earning through traditional sources). The proposal requests funding to investigate these and related questions. Broadly, the findings aim to shed light on the downstream consequences of “play to earn” models in general, including, for example, promotional games employed by retailers.