Who wouldn’t like to earn money while having fun? That’s why play-to-earn games have been growing tremendously in recent years. Play-to-earn (P2E) games are a relatively new type of video game that allows players to earn rewards simply by playing.
Read on to learn more about how these games work, their history, as well as their positive and negative aspects.
The Definition of Play-To-Earn Games
For the longest time, video games were categorized as pay-to-play and free-to-play. Both of these feature games are meant for entertainment purposes only. Recently, a new type of video game has emerged that allows players to make money while playing. These are, of course, play-to-earn games.
So, what are play-to-earn games? This is a type of online game that allows players to earn rewards in the form of crypto and non-fungible tokens – NFTs. In this context, NFTs are virtual assets that players collect in the game. These can be characters, virtual land, weapons, and more.
In order to participate in these games, players need to have a crypto wallet to be able to make initial investments.
Traditional vs. Play-To-Earn Games
The main difference between play-to-earn and traditional games is the fact that the former earns you real money. The traditional gaming model typically has players unlock rewards within the game, but they can’t profit in the real world in any way. Unlike traditional games, which have high-quality graphics, play-to-earn games are not as sophisticated quite yet.
The History of Play-To-Earn Games
The very first play-to-earn game is called CryptoKitties. This game, which was released in 2017, had players purchase NFTs with cryptocurrency, specifically Ether. These NFTs were virtual cats that were used in gameplay. Players could also acquire more cats by breeding them or receiving them as a gift. The way to earn money was by selling the pets.
Shortly after the release of CryptoKitties, a number of other play-to-earn games were released. One such game that followed suit was Cryptobots. This game gives off a futuristic vibe and is set in space. The players collect bots, upgrade their spaceships, and battle other players.
The first-ever play-to-earn blockchain game available for mobile devices was Spells of Genesis, which was launched the same year as CryptoKitties and Cryptobots. In this game, players collect and trade digital cards, which can be used to battle other players or non-player characters. Like other play-to-earn games, this one also has an in-game economy, where players can buy and sell items using the game’s virtual currency.
How Do Play-To-Earn Games Work?
Play-to-earn games run on blockchain technology. The players collect in-game assets that can be exchanged for real money. Blockchain technology is being used to ensure the collectibility of these digital assets.
Some of these games are free, but many of them require an initial investment. For example, to play Axie Infinity, you require a minimum of three Axies, which are characters that need to be purchased.
The Examples of Play-To-Earn Games
The concept of play-to-earn games is still in its early stages, but there are already several popular examples on the market. Some of the best play-to-earn games include Axie Infinity, Alien Worlds, Tamadoge, and Spells of Genesis.
Axie Infinity is a well-known play-to-earn game that has been compared to Pokemon GO. The developers were inspired by CryptoKitties, but brought in some changes. They realized that the downside of the game was the fact that there wasn’t much else to the game other than collecting cats.
Axie Infinity features characters called Axies, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Players can battle with their Axies, and each character belongs to one of nine categories:
The battle works in the rock-paper-scissors fashion:
- Reptile, Dusk, and Plant beat Aquatic, Dawn, and Bird
- Dawn, Aquatic, and Bird beat Mech, Beast, and Bug
- Bug, Mech, and Beast beat, Plant, Dusk, and Reptile
This element makes the game more appealing and addictive than CryptoKitties, since there is a bit of strategy involved.
Alien Worlds is a play-to-earn crypto game that has a virtual world called Metaverse, where players can explore different planets, mine for resources, build structures, and battle other players. The goal of the game is to earn rewards in the form of cryptocurrency.
The game has its own virtual currency, called TLM. This currency can be used to buy assets in the game or exchanged for other cryptocurrencies. Players can also earn TLM by taking part in battles or completing quests.
Although there is no mobile app, the game has been optimized for mobile browsers, which further contributed to its popularity, given that, according to statistics, there were 2.6 billion mobile gamers in 2021.
Tamadoge is another one of the play-to-earn NFT games inspired by CryptoKitties. The player buys Tamagotchis, which are virtual pets that need to be taken care of. They need to feed them, play with them, and clean up after them. Just like in real life, if you don’t take care of your pet, it will get sick and might even die.
Like with other similar titles, adult pets can be used to battle other players, and an in-game currency called TAMA is used to make purchases.
How Secure Are Play-To-Earn Games?
As play-to-earn games gain popularity, it’s important to address their security. These games store player data and game assets on a decentralized network, which isn’t controlled by a single, central authority.
Since information is processed across a wide range of servers, even if one node is compromised, there will be no disruption, as other servers hold the information. This makes blockchain gaming less vulnerable to hacking than traditional centralized games.
The Positive Aspects of Play-To-Earn Games
Apart from the obvious earning potential, there are several other positive aspects of the play-to-earn model. For one, it can aid in the further development of the gaming community, as it draws in more players.
In addition, as the gaming industry is predicted to reach $204.6 billion in revenue by the end of 2023, P2E can help promote blockchain technology and contribute to more widespread implementation. As of 2022, over 80 million people have used the Blockchain cryptocurrency wallet, and with the rapid growth of P2E, that number could get much higher.
The Negative Aspects of Play-To-Earn Games
While play-to-earn games have the potential to be a major force in the gaming industry, there are also some negative aspects to these types of games.
A number of P2E releases have failed due to the very nature of this model. Namely, for players to receive their payouts, some income needs to be generated by the game.
The issue is that most of this income comes from new players who usually need to invest in characters or some other NFTs before they can start playing. Existing players earn NFTs by progressing through the game. Therefore, P2E isn’t sustainable if there aren’t enough new users.
These play-to-earn crypto games became especially popular in the Philippines during the global pandemic in 2020. The play-to-earn video game that was played the most was Axie Infinity. It was so prevalent that, in 2021, the Department of Finance stated that the income earned from Axie Infinity should be subjected to income tax.
Some have criticized the play-to-earn gaming model for the lack of quality in the games themselves. They think that the developers focus too much on the “earning” aspect rather than entertainment.
Additionally, there’s also the risk that play-to-earn games could become addictive and lead to players spending more time playing the game than they do interacting with the real world. This could have a negative impact on players’ mental and physical health.
However, this is a concern already linked to traditional games. Nevertheless, due to the aspect of P2E that resembles gambling, the risks are higher, not only in terms of addictiveness, but also given the fact that it could lead to financial trouble.
Despite these concerns, play-to-earn games continue to grow in popularity. As more games are released and more people learn about this new type of gaming, it’s likely that play-to-earn games will become a major competitor to traditional games.
What Does the Future Hold for Play-To-Earn Games?
The concept that allows users to play games to earn money has a lot of potential. With the rise in popularity of NFTs and decentralized applications, it’s only a matter of time before P2E games reach mass adoption. Several big companies, such as Samsung, have already started to invest in blockchain gaming. This shows that there is a lot of potential for this industry.
With the right game design and consistent player engagement, these games could become mainstream. As the industry matures, we can expect to see more sophisticated games that offer more diverse and elaborate gameplay, improved graphics, and more attractive rewards.
The Bottom Line
While play-to-earn games are still a relatively new concept, we are already seeing noticeable growth in popularity with gamers, and they have the potential to become a major force in the gaming industry.
With their ability to offer rewards with real-world value, play-to-earn games could one day become the go-to source of entertainment for many people and not just gaming enthusiasts. However, as we’ve discussed, there are also some drawbacks to this gaming model, which could inhibit its advancements in the future.
How do play-to-earn games work?
In order to participate in the play-to-earn portion of the game, players usually have to make an initial investment. For example, in the Axie Infinity game, you’re required to purchase three characters called Axies before you can start playing. In play-to-earn games, players can earn rewards such as cash, gift cards, or other items of value.
How to get started in play-to-earn gaming?
To get started in play-to-earn gaming, the first step you need to make is to do your research. There is a variety of games available, so it’s important to find one that suits your interests and gameplay style. Once you’ve chosen a game, the next step is to make an initial investment. This could involve purchasing in-game items or characters.
After you’ve made your investment, you can start playing the game and earning rewards. Rewards can be earned by completing tasks or earning achievements within the game.
Are play-to-earn games worth it?
Yes, play-to-earn games can be a great way to earn some cash while having fun. However, there are also some risks associated with these types of games, as they can be addictive and lead to substantial financial losses. Therefore, make sure to do your research and familiarize yourself with these types of games before you decide to play.
What are the best play-to-earn games?
Some of the best apps to play games and earn money include Spells of Genesis, Tamadoge, Battle Infinity, Axie Infinity, Silks, and Calvaria. These games offer a variety of ways for players to earn rewards and in-game currency, which can be exchanged for real money.