Last Updated on February 5, 2023
Let’s face it, many of us have fantasized about earning a living through playing video games at some point in our lives. After all, making money from the comfort of your own home while playing games sounds like the stuff of dreams, doesn’t it? Well, believe it or not, this dream has now become a reality, thanks to blockchain and NFT technology.
Play-to-earn games are the next big thing to come out of the blockchain, with some of the biggest and best gaming studios getting involved in the space, creating a vast new ecosystem of digital economies that pay you to play their games. In this article, we will give you a full breakdown of what play-to-earn games are, as well as five of the very best games that you can try for yourself. Interested? Who wouldn’t be?
What is the play-to-earn model?
Simply put, play-to-earn (P2E) games are a type of video game in which players are rewarded with commodities that possess real-world value. In the traditional gaming world, players often advance through games by leveling up their character, obtaining in-game items, and advancing the story by accumulating experience points through quests, challenges, and missions.
However, none of these endeavors reward players with anything that could be converted into anything that has real-world value. Let’s take Grand Theft Auto, for example. The experience points and in-game items you acquire only hold value within the Grand Theft Auto game itself. In other words, the items are held on walled-off data networks and owned by the company that created the game, which in this case would be Rockstar.
This is where P2E games differ.
Rather than holding items in a closed environment, play-to-earn game players actually own the items they acquire and are free to do with them what they wish. Such is the beauty of blockchain gaming.
For this to make sense, it’s important to have a basic knowledge of NFTs and how they function. In short, an NFT is a non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a blockchain that can be transferred (and sold) to other people. Since NFTs are unique cryptographic tokens that cannot be replicated, it is easy to prove ownership of the token. This immutability is also what creates their scarcity and drives their value.
Therefore, any in-game items that players collect while playing P2E games will come in the form of NFTs that can be sold to other players via in-house trading platforms or secondary marketplaces.
On top of this, most P2E games reward players with native digital currencies that they can exchange for other cryptocurrencies on popular exchanges such as Binance, and Coinbase, upon which they can exchange for real-world currency if they wish. With all that said, let’s take a look at the top five play-to-earn games that you should try in 2022.
Top Play to Earn (P2E) Games in 2023
The first game on our list is Axie Infinity, which is easily one of the most popular in the P2E industry. Axie Infinity was created as an entertaining and educational way to expose people to blockchain technology, similar to Crypto Kitties in many respects.
Axie Infinity is a digital pet community loosely based on the enormously successful global phenomenon, Pokemon. In the game, users must purchase and gather creatures known as “Axies,” which they can then use to battle, explore, and breed with other Axies. While the game is rated 18+ (because of the ability to earn money), the graphics are designed to appeal to a younger audience.
When it comes to making money in the game, there are two options. The first step is to obtain SLP or Smooth Love Potions. These are tokens earned through participating in adventure games or arena matches and completing daily missions in a player vs. environment (PVE) scenario. The second option is the AXS token, the native in-game currency. AXS can be obtained by participating in and defeating other players in a player versus player (PVP) scenario. These tokens can be exchanged for fiat currency such as USD or GBP.
Amazingly, Axie Infinity has grown in popularity in many low-income countries around the world, including the Philippines, Argentina, and Venezuela, due to the fact that the earning potential in the game outweighs the earning potential in these real-world economies.
Gods Unchained is an online card strategy game founded by brothers James and Robbie Ferguson. The game is built on the Ethereum network and is completely free to play, which is one of the main reasons it has become one of the most popular P2E games in the world. For those of you that are familiar with Hearthstone, Gods Unchained functions similarly.
Players must construct a deck of cards that they will use to battle against other players in competitive online games. Each of the cards has unique stats that lend themselves to particular situations, which means that players can get creative by drafting decks that synergize well with each other and give them a greater chance of beating their opponents.
As you progress through the game and level up, you will be given packs containing unique cards. The cards are minted in NFTs as soon as you open the pack, which means they officially belong to you. The more you play, the more likely you will obtain a more powerful/rare card. You can then sell these cards to other players on the marketplace in return for Gods Tokens (which you can sell for fiat currency).
There are already over 13 million Gods Unchained NFTs globally, with over 65,000 distinct asset holders, and that number is expected to rise as the P2E market gains traction.
Sorare is a blockchain-based fantasy football (soccer) game where players buy, sell, trade, and manage a virtual team using digital player cards. As you probably guessed, the digital player cards come in the form of NFTs, which means that you fully own them and can trade them on the marketplace for real money.
To start playing Sorare, all you need to do is log onto the game using your cryptocurrency wallet, and you will be given free cards after completing the registration process. Once you have chosen your club’s name, logo, and three favorite clubs, you can construct your team. Once your team is built, you can compete in tournaments where you have the chance to win cash prizes and bonus player cards (which you can sell to other players). A threshold prize is also paid out to players who earn over a certain amount of points in a game week. Currently, this means that If you score over 205 points, you will earn a prize of 0.01 ETH, and over 250 will bag you 0.02 ETH.
Star Atlas is one of the more ambitious gaming projects based on the Solana blockchain, and once it is fully released in 2022, it has the potential to become the industry leader. The game will take place in a metaverse set in 2620 when three factions are fighting for resources, territory, and political control. ATLAS and POLIS will be the in-game currencies for Star Atlas. These currencies are governed by the metaverse’s economic and DeFi system, which will be used mostly to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions for ships, crew, components, land, and equipment.
The majority of in-game game items collected by players will be in the form of NFTs, which can be sold and traded with other players. You will also perform challenges and missions that will reward you with ATLAS, which you can then exchange for fiat currency. In terms of gameplay, users can build entire cities and micro-economies in the game or collaborate to form decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO) to administer specific territories.
Illuvium is another highly anticipated NFT based game that has already attracted a huge amount of interest and price speculation for their in-game currency ILV. At the time of writing, the market cap for the token is at a staggering $460 million.
Illuvium is an open-world RPG game where players collect creatures called Illuvials (NFTs), each of which has its unique class and affinity. In order to collect these Illuvials, players must travel across an immersive fantasy world, where they will face various challenges and missions that they can complete for rewards. These rewards come in in-game items (NFTs) and the native tokens ILV and sILV.
Once players have collected Illuvials, they can enter into battles against other players by entering into a matchmaking queue in the Ranked Arena. The winner is given more rewards and the chance to power up their Illuvials, giving them a better chance to rise the leaderboard and win even greater rewards.
A word on potential earnings
In the traditional gaming world, players are not given an incentive to play other than the pure entertainment value of the game. In most situations, players must pay a fee to play the game and will not earn an income unless they become a professional eSports player or streamer with a large following.
Blockchain gaming absolutely flips this scenario on its head by allowing gamers to make money while playing, which looks poised to fundamentally transform the entire gaming industry in the coming years. However, it is critical to have a realistic expectation of how much money you may earn when playing P2E games. After all, there is no such thing as “average” earnings for any financial asset, especially in the crypto world.
In many cases, unless you are willing to invest a large amount of money upfront, you will not earn a substantial income (which is the case with Axie Infinity). Furthermore, many games necessitate a time investment for you to understand the game and get things started, which means you won’t be making much during the initial stages of your playing. That being said, it is entirely possible to have fun while earning real-world rewards for your time as long as you are willing to do your homework and put in the hours with your P2E experience, but don’t expect to become a millionaire from playing them.
"Play to Earn" is a concept in the world of gaming where players can earn rewards in the form of cryptocurrency or other in-game assets by playing and participating in a game. This allows players to have a direct impact on their in-game earnings and can provide an additional source of income.
This article features several P2E games for that purpose, alongside the popular ones like Axie Infinity and The Sandbox.
The short answer is yes. You can make cryptocurrency playing "Play to Earn" games. You won't be rich by doing so. And not all games are legitimate, so do your due diligence and read every game's policies and guidelines to ensure you're up to speed.