It seems like every play-to-earn game suffers from the same problems. In particular:
1. they feel more like work than fun
2. they don't sustainably generate revenue to pay their players
These are consistent for most X-to-earn dApps. Games are just the most common example. Fortunately, there's a simple fix that solves both problems...
Don't pay players!
Let me explain.
Crypto isn't a magic bullet. Blockchain is excellent at distributing rewards for performing valuable activities, but it doesn't undermine the actual definition of value. Traditional games don't pay their players because playing a game is its own reward. Not to mention that playing games doesn't create value on its own. This should be obvious when you consider that games need a way to make money and "get people to play" is only a small piece of that monetization plan.
If you're considering building a play-to-earn game, you can make it sustainable and fun by splitting players into two categories: producers and consumers.
Producers create value within the game. They make it more fun for everyone. Maybe they design new arenas, craft new cards, catch cheaters, help keep the game balanced, livestream game content, or any number of other activities. Traditional gaming companies would do all of these things in house with people they hire to do the job. They are the sole producer that builds and operates the game. Players of traditional games are strictly consumers.
Web3 games can reward players' ideas and effort to improve the game and keep it fun for everyone. Think of it like a gig economy job. Anyone can see a need and fill that need for the game without needing to be hired by the company. Have your dApp pay these people for producing value, not just playing the game.
P.S. Modern game consumers do still add value by being competitors and creating community within the game. You should still reward this with game assets that are truly owned on the blockchain. The emphasis should not be on earning an income. Selling off in-game assets for real-world money shouldn't be the primary objective, though some players will still do this.