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MANILA, Philippines – We play games primarily to have fun, not to earn an income – unless, of course, you’re a streamer or a professional player.
But that could soon change with Gamer Points, a Philippine startup that wants you to passively earn real money as you play your favorite games, without needing to have any professional experience in the games industry.
Gamer Points is an ad-tech platform that runs ads during opportune moments in your gameplay – when there’s not much action happening – such as after beating a tough boss or wiping out all other players on the enemy team.
These ads are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, appearing as notification-like pop-ups on your screen, so that you’re not taken out of your gameplay experience. In exchange, you’re rewarded with GP, a virtual currency on the platform that you can cash out for real money.
The idea for the platform came to co-founder Johannes Cortez during the pandemic, when play-to-earn crypto games like Axie Infinity were becoming popular.
Cortez in an interview with Rappler said that while he did try dabbling into those sorts of games, they just couldn’t satisfy his standards as a hardcore gamer. That’s why he thought of a way to be able to similarly earn real money from playing the types of games he and others like him might enjoy.
“With Axie Infinity, you have to play that specific game to earn money. But with Gamer Points, you can play the game you actually want to play and still earn,” Cortez told Rappler.
He underscores how Gamer Points is positioning itself as a supplement to gamers’ gaming experiences, being a nice-to-have bonus, not something they’re forced to engage with.
In that light, he believes the platform no longer fits the description of “play-to-earn” and instead leans more towards “play-and-earn,” a model that puts fun gameplay experiences above the economics of maximizing earnings.
“Gamer Points makes an already fun hobby even more productive,” he added.
How it works
Cortez touted that Gamer Points is very easy to use, and every kind of gamer is welcome to use it. You simply download and install the client and run it in the background while you play. Ads would automatically be run during downtimes in your gameplay, granted that you’re playing a supported game.
Not all games work with the Gamer Points client, and if you play an unsupported game, you won’t see ads being run.
Currently, the client is in its beta phase and only supports two games: Dota 2 and CS:GO. By next month, however, more games are expected to be onboarded, including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Diablo 4, and Apex Legends, to name a few examples.
Cortez promises that the next version of the client would cover the most popular games in the Philippines, as well as new single-player games like Starfield.
He said that Gamer Points would be adding new games every month based on three categories: the most popular games, the most-requested games, and new releases. The plan is to have at least 5 new games that fit each category every month.
The client also has a request feature, where gamers can let the Gamer Points team know what games they want supported.
Games have to be supported because the client’s smart ad-injection system reads what’s happening in the game and runs ads at the right time.
Once an ad is run on your screen, you already earn GP. But you can stand to earn more if you choose to engage with the ad, whether that’s watching a video or converting a sale.
Verified streamers can also broadcast their gameplay, boosting their chances of engagement as viewers can interact with the ads shown through a specialized chatbot.
The earning mechanism within the ad system then determines how much you earn from each action. Although Cortez didn’t disclose the exact percentage breakdown, he emphasized that “the lion’s share” of the ad revenue goes to the gamers, then whatever’s left goes to Gamer Points.
There are also safeguards in place to protect the ad system from exploits, including a notoriety system that tracks gamers’ ad engagements. If an anomaly is detected, the system can automatically take the necessary actions.
The ads that are run come from two sources: third-party ad networks and advertisers that work directly with Gamer Points.
Within the platform, you can convert the GP that you earn into real world money that gets sent to your bank account.
Cortez notes that GP isn’t a crypto token but rather a virtual currency within the Gamer Points ecosystem that has an equivalent to real money – similar to Robux for Roblox, for instance.
Alternatively, you can exchange your GP for various gaming goodies in the soon-to-be-launched marketplace within the platform. These include games, vouchers, and merchandise from the brands that are working with Gamer Points.
What to expect
Apart from running ads, Gamer Points also envisions itself as a hub for content that gamers would find valuable, specifically tutorials and reviews of the latest and most popular games.
As part of the vision, the platform plans to soon launch a content submission feature, where gamers can share original content in exchange for GP.
“We’re banking on user-generated content,” said Cortez. “There’s no specific guidelines yet at the moment, but we’re looking for gamers who can create content and help other gamers.”
Cortez explains that many gamers tend to look up relevant information online about the games they’re playing, be it the solution to a puzzle they might be stuck on or an ideal stat build for the character they want to play as.
Instead of having them pull up a separate device to find such information, the goal is to bring it all into the Gamer Points platform.
“We expect the content to be high quality and helpful to the majority of our user base.”
Cortez adds that Gamer Points is currently only available for PC, but console and mobile versions of the client are already in the works.
Gamer Points is one of the 5 early-stage startups selected by Archipelago Labs, a Philippines-based startup accelerator, to receive up to P1 million in funding as part of the ALAB Incubation Program in 2023. – Rappler.com