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STEPN Review: Is It Still Worth It in 2022?

 Recently Reviewed   on 5 September 2022
Feature image for the blog post "STEPN Review: Is it still worth it in 2022?"

Are you looking for an honest STEPN review?

Maybe you’ve heard a lot of recent stories about how STEPN’s token price collapsed after an initial boom and now you’re unsure whether you should still give it a go?

Here at Tokenized, we’ve covered STEPN at great lengths, analyzing various different aspects of the game and now we are pouring all of that knowledge into this STEPN review.

In this review, you’ll learn everything you need to know about STEPN and what it has planned for the future.

Let’s dive right in!

Key Points (tl;dr)
  • STEPN is not only the leading Move-to-Earn game in the industry, it is the project that coined the term in the first place.
  • In our STEPN review, we look at the following key criteria in order to come to an overall assessment:
    • Barriers to Entry
    • Ease of Use
    • Impact on Fitness
    • Earnings & Rewards
  • Based on our holistic assessment and taking into consideration different types of primary motivations, we give STEPN a 4-star rating based on the current state of the game and its incentive system.
  • We believe that STEPN is still worth it in 2022, despite the collapse of the GST price. We’re convinced that GST was never meant to become a source of income and therefore the highs we saw earlier this year were an unexpected anomaly.
  • The true benefit of playing STEPN lies within the healthier lifestyle but also the ability to earn GMT as you progress through the game. GMT is the token that you should be aiming for!

For a detailed overview of all the criteria we used for this STEPN review, PLEASE READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

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What is STEPN?

STEPN is the world’s leading Move-to-Earn game, incentivizing people from all over the world to earn rewards for walking, running, and playing the STEPN game.

Infographic explaining what the STEPN NFT game is.
Infographic explaining what the STEPN NFT game is.

STEPN is widely considered to be the original inventor of the concept of Move-to-Earn.

In other words, STEPN took the already established idea of Play-to-Earn games and blended it with the most popular physical activities in the world: Walking and Running.

In STEPN, players compete in a virtual fitness contest where their own physical activity influences their progression in the game.

And it’s not just a simple matter of counting steps, like you may have seen in other projects such as Sweatcoin.

STEPN uses highly effective gamification elements to keep players motivated and constantly striving for more.

Of course, many of its users are also looking for ways to make money with STEPN, however, those who stick around are primarily there for the fun of it.

We’ve actually written a very extensive guide that goes into all of the important aspects of the game.

Our Assessment Criteria

Infographic listing the assessment criteria used for our STEPN review.
Infographic listing the assessment criteria used for our STEPN review.

Before we dive into all the details, let us quickly explain the methodology of our STEPN review.

We strive to be as transparent as possible about how we evaluate different projects so that you actually understand what you’re looking at.

While every project is obviously different, we like to classify projects into categories.

In this case, we are going to use the same logic as we’ve done previously with other Move-to-Earn projects.

For this STEPN review, we are going to look at 4 key criteria with different weightings.

  • Barriers to Entry (10%)
  • Ease of Use (20%)
  • Impact on Fitness (35%)
  • Earnings & Rewards (35%)

Let’s quickly summarize what each criterion represents and why we’ve chosen these specific weightings.

Barrier to Entry

“Barrier to Entry” looks at how difficult it is to get started with the app.

Things that would impact this are overly complicated registration processes or the need to spend money upfront.

While barriers to entry are generally not a good thing, they don’t really say much about whether something is worth the effort or not.

Ease of Use

“Ease of Use” is relatively important because it influences whether we are likely to stick with something or not.

The easier it is to use something, the less likely we are to give up, simply because it’s so easy to do and requires little effort.

Impact on Fitness

“Impact on Fitness” is arguably one of the most important factors for this type of program.

Of course, some people are more attracted by the financial incentives, but living a healthy lifestyle should generally be the primary objective of a fitness app.

And anything that helps you stay fit is usually worthwhile.

Earnings & Rewards

“Earnings & Rewards” usually shouldn’t be the primary motivator.

Nevertheless, we’re not oblivious to the fact that humans respond to financial incentives.

Therefore, the greater the incentives, the better for your health and that’s why it’s important.

The Official STEPN Review by Tokenized

This review was written on July 20th, 2022. It is based on the state of the STEPN game at the time of writing and does not take into account any developments past that point in time.

Getting Started with STEPN

STEPN Review – Infographic explaining how to get an activation code.
STEPN Review – Infographic explaining how to get an activation code.

When STEPN hit the scene, it quickly became a huge hit amongst runners and walkers alike.

Not only did people really enjoy the game itself, but the rewards were also so insanely high, that it inevitably attracted tons of more users.

However, the STEPN team did not anticipate such massive growth and quickly had to introduce a system of activation codes in order to slow down the onboarding process.

In other words, downloading the app itself wasn’t enough because you needed a code in order to activate your account.

This worked quite well because getting an activation code was incredibly challenging for some people.

Buying a Sneaker NFT

STEPN Review – Infographic showing different types of sneakers you can buy.
STEPN Review – Infographic showing different types of sneakers you can buy.

If you thought that getting an activation code was difficult, wait until you realize that you need to buy a sneaker NFT before you can even play.

That’s right, although you technically don’t need to buy the game, you still need a STEPN sneaker.

Sneakers are the core asset within STEPN and part of the game is to gradually improve them over time.

Now, the good thing about using NFTs as a ticket to a game is that once you no longer want to play, you can simply sell them on the marketplace.

So all the time, work, and money you invested into the game are not necessarily lost.

This is a huge advantage that NFT games have over traditional games that use microtransactions.

However, this also means that the barrier to entry can be quite high.

At its peak in late April 2022, the floor price of a simple sneaker NFT was close to $1,600.

Yes, that’s an insanely high price, particularly given that you can now buy a Sneaker for as little as $90.

It’ll teach you everything about how to pick the right sneaker for you and also explain how you can upgrade your shoe over time.

Game Modes & Strategy

STEPN Review – Infographic illustrating the complexity of sneaker strategy.
STEPN Review – Infographic illustrating the complexity of sneaker strategy.

STEPN currently has a single game mode which is called “Solo Mode” and that is what this STEPN review is primarily based on.

If you’re a runner, then this is basically what you already do anyway when you go for a run.

The official whitepaper mentions a “Marathon” game mode, however, exact details on how it will work are mostly unknown.

At its core, playing the game is as simple as opening the app, picking the right sneaker, and simply going for a walk or a run.

However, once you take a closer look, you quickly realize that there’s much more to it.

So, for example, not every Sneaker is made for the same speed and you only earn GST (STEPN’s native utility token) if you’re within the right speed range.

You also need to have sufficient energy in order to earn tokens and Energy is used up while you run.

Each attribute influences different aspects of the game, including your chances of finding a Mystery Box.

Mystery Boxes are in-game loot boxes that may contain valuable items that you can use for your shoes.

Anyway, as you can see, the game is far more complex than you might initially think.

While complexity can be an obstacle, it also keeps the intellectually challenging.

As you’ll see in our overall assessment in this STEPN review, we see this as both a PRO and a CON.

Tokenomics

STEPN Review – Infographic explaining the difference between GST and GMT.
STEPN Review – Infographic explaining the difference between GST and GMT.

STEPN uses a two-tiered approach for its tokenomics.

In this STEPN review, we don’t really have the time to go into all the technical details behind the game’s tokenomics.

But we at least want to give you a broad overview.

There are 2 different tokens within the game:

Here’s what each one of them is used for.

Green Satoshi Token (GST)

GST is effectively STEPN’s in-game utility token and it is also a token that everyone can earn when they initially get started with the game.

There is no limit on its supply, which makes sense for a game that wants to onboard as many people as possible.

GST is primarily used for a number of actions in the game:

  • Repairing sneakers
  • Leveling up your sneaker
  • Minting new shoes
  • Unlocking sockets
  • Upgrading gems

GST is also listed on major crypto exchanges and therefore can be traded freely.

In the early months of the game’s existence, the huge influx of new users helped drive the token’s price to unstainable levels of close to $10 per GST.

Given the uncapped supply and how easily you can earn GST within the game, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the price of GST collapsed as soon user growth slowed down.

We’ve seen this happen many times over with other projects and we truly believe that GST was never really meant to be a source of income anyway.

Green Metaverse Token (GMT)

GMT is STEPN’s governance token and is capped at a supply of 6 billion.

That in itself tells you a lot about the importance of GMT.

GMT can also be earned within the game, however, it requires you to upgrade your sneaker all the way up to Level 30 first.

They are also needed for certain actions within the game as you progress further, but their primary objective is governance.

Looking a the token distribution, it’s obvious that these are the tokens that are being handed out to investors and founders.

So if you really want to invest in STEPN, GMT is the token that you should be buying.

The Team

STEPN Review – Infographic showing the core team that is running STEPN.
STEPN Review – Infographic showing the core team that is running STEPN.

Alright, so let’s have a closer look at STEPN’s team as well as their credentials.

This STEPN review is not just about the game itself, it’s also about the longer-term viability of the project.

STEPN is run by Find Satoshi Lab Ltd, based out of Australia, just like the core members of the team.

The team has strong backing from well-known crypto Venture Capital funds as well notable advisors that include a VP ad Adidas.

That being said, it is obvious that the team has reached a point where it urgently requires more experienced leadership in several areas.

Project Roadmap

STEPN Review – Infographic showing STEPN's 2022 roadmap.
STEPN Review – Infographic showing STEPN’s 2022 roadmap.

The STEPN roadmap has gone through various iterations which absolutely normal given the rough waters it has to navigate.

According to the latest roadmap update from July 2022, STEPN’s priorities for the rest of the year are as follows:

  • July 2022: Launch of the Ethereum Realm & DEX Release
  • August 2022: NFT Marketplace & Launchpad Release
  • September 2022: Achievement Badge System
  • October 2022: Marathon Mode, FOMO
  • November 2022: STEPN Brand Expansion
  • December 2022: Social Features (Phase 1)

The Good & The Bad

No decent STEPN review would be complete without an overview of the pros and cons of the project.

And rest assured, it is good and it is bad, so let’s have a closer look.

The Good

STEPN is without a doubt a very compelling concept that the world is thirsting for.

As controversial as crypto and NFTs still are in the greater public debate, the massive interest in Move-to-Earn is a testament to the business opportunity at hand.

Gamifying physical activity and thus also a healthier lifestyle has the potential to massively revolutionize many different aspects of society.

We would not be surprised if STEPN develops a white-label solution that allows established brands (such as Adidas or Nike) to launch their own STEPN Realm.

The Bad

Any project that grows too quickly will ultimately run into problems.

This is arguably a good problem to have, however, it does result in disgruntled users.

The technical difficulties that STEPN has experienced with Solana definitely weren’t helpful and the fact that users have real money at stake does not make it any better.

Another considerable risk we see is the team itself.

The Co-Founders themselves do not seem to have the strongest experience in blockchain development and there isn’t even an official CTO.

The hiring of Jesse Duan as the strategy lead is an odd choice for a blockchain project as well.

The new CMO is the best decision they have made so far, at least on paper.

Overall, we see lots of gaps in the team and therefore consider it to be STEPN’s biggest risk.

Final Verdict

So here’s the final verdict for our official STEPN review.

We absolutely love the idea behind STEPN and so far we’ve also been positively surprised by the team execution.

Nevertheless, there clearly are some challenges ahead and there are a number of areas for improvement.

As with most blockchain-based games, the barrier to entry is still too high.

STEPN does a good job of supporting users along the way but when the market enters euphoria, Sneaker NFTs are simply too expensive.

We also believe that even though the app is easy to use, the game system is ultra-complex and has a very steep learning curve.

Early adopters may love it but it could turn into a problem for mass adoption.

At the same time, we clearly see that the gamification elements are working like a charm and people love playing games even when they’re barely earning anything.

So the impact on people’s physical activity is potentially significant.

Unfortunately, the collapse of the GST price has, for the time being, vastly reduced people’s ability to earn money with STEPN.

But perhaps it’s simply returned to a more realistic level?

  • Barriers to Entry: 3 stars
  • Ease of Use: 3 stars
  • Impact on Fitness: 5 stars
  • Earnings & Rewards: 4 stars

Overall STEPN Review Score

Overall STEPN Review Score
4 5 0 1
STEPN’s concept is phenomenal and we definitely see lots of value that users can get from playing the game. However, the team needs to find solutions that reduce barriers to entry and also simplify the gameplay for newly onboarded players.
STEPN’s concept is phenomenal and we definitely see lots of value that users can get from playing the game. However, the team needs to find solutions that reduce barriers to entry and also simplify the gameplay for newly onboarded players.
4.0 rating
4/5
Total Score iBased on our weighted assessment of 4 different criteria.
Good

Conclusion

STEPN’s success has spawned a boatload of me-too projects that are all trying to do more or less the same thing.

Although there is enough space in the market for multiple Move-to-Earn games, most people are unlikely to switch once they’ve found the right ecosystem for themselves.

We truly wish STEPN the best of luck and are confident that they can pull through as long as they work on setting realistic expectations amongst their userbase.

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