Get Paid to Play: An Introduction to Blockchain Gaming


Think of your favorite video games and what you gain from hours, weeks, and even years of playing. They certainly provide entertainment value, along with bragging rights and a sense of achievement when you complete a tricky mission or defeat a big boss. By the time you finish a game, you’ve probably amassed a fortune in that virtual realm, but those gold coins (or whatever in-game currency it may be) are useless once you switch off your PC or console. They’re not really yours and they have no value in the real world. 

This is what play-to-earn (P2E) games want to change. This relatively new phenomenon is disrupting the traditional gaming landscape by merging it with economic incentives that hold real-world value. Read on for a beginner-friendly guide to P2E games, along with examples of platforms eager crypto earners have gravitated to. 

What Are Play-to-Earn Games? 

Play-to-earn games enable players to collect in-game assets that can be traded or sold for real money. These platforms use blockchain technology, the same system that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Blockchain creates a secure and transparent database that tracks ownership of digital assets. In P2E games, these assets can take the form of in-game items, characters, or even virtual land, all represented by non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs are unique digital certificates that verify ownership and ensure the authenticity of these in-game assets. Players have real ownership of the NFTs, tokens, and cryptocurrency they collect in P2E games. They can trade or sell them on various online marketplaces and convert their virtual earnings into real-world profit. 

The core mechanism of P2E games involves rewarding players for their time and effort. Specific ways players earn in-game assets vary, but just like in old-school gaming, the most common mechanics include quests, challenges, and competitions. Players typically obtain NFTs or cryptocurrency for completing in-game tasks like defeating enemies, exploring environments, or gathering resources. You can nab rewards for competing against other users in player-versus-player (PvP) or battle royale mode. Some P2E games also allow players to own virtual land, buildings, characters, or other assets. These can be rented out to other players for income or even sold on secondary marketplaces for cryptocurrency. 

P2E games have advantages for players and developers alike. The financial rewards are arguably the top incentive for joining the P2E craze. For developers, P2E games provide a new revenue stream through transaction fees and the sale of in-game assets. This model encourages continuous engagement and retention, as players are motivated to invest time and resources into the game.

What Are Some Popular Play-to-Earn Games? 

Play-to-earn crypto games have been around since 2017. There are many titles that have gained significant traction, each offering unique gameplay experiences and earning opportunities. Below are some of the most notable examples. 

Axie Infinity 

Developed by Sky Mavis, Axie Infinity is a pioneering P2E crypto game that features Pokemon-like characters called Axies. Aside from collecting, breeding, and battling these creatures, players can build teams of Axies to compete against those of other users. Every Axie is an NFT, and there are limits and costs to breeding to control the supply. Axie Infinity players earn Small Love Potions (SLP) and Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) through gameplay, which can be sold or used within the game’s ecosystem. The platform has attracted millions of players, particularly in Southeast Asia. 

The Sandbox 

The Sandbox is a decentralized virtual world where players can build, own, and earn from their gaming experiences. With the platform’s native cryptocurrency, SAND, users purchase virtual land parcels and create various interactive experiences such as games and virtual events. Emulating the sandbox game genre (think Minecraft), this P2E platform features robust creator tools that let users design and trade in-game assets as NFTs. The Sandbox started as a popular mobile game in 2012 before Animoca Brands acquired it in 2018 and developed it into a user-driven metaverse. 

Gods Unchained 

Fans of Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering will find familiar elements in Gods Unchained, a blockchain-based trading card game that combines strategic gameplay with play-to-earn mechanics. Players collect and build decks of unique digital cards and earn rewards by winning tournaments. Each card is represented as an NFT that can be bought, sold, or traded on the game’s marketplace, with some rare cards fetching significant sums. Gods Unchained was introduced in 2018 by Immutable Games. 

P2E titles are available on various gaming platforms. If you want to try out some blockchain games on PC, a capable gaming laptop like the Acer Nitro 16 Gaming Laptop will give you the best experience. Its powerful processors and cutting-edge cooling system not only enable uninterrupted gameplay but also deliver high-level performance for your content creation and daily productivity needs. 

The Risks and Limitations of Play-to-Earn Games 

The P2E trend has yielded both success stories and cautionary tales. The potential to make money while playing games may heighten the appeal for newcomers and keep existing users hooked, but it’s also vital to consider the challenges and risks involved. Firstly, some P2E games require an initial investment, such as purchasing NFTs before you can start playing and earning. This can be a barrier to entry for some people. Players should also keep market volatility in mind. The value of cryptocurrencies and NFTs earned in P2E games can fluctuate dramatically, and there’s a risk that the in-game assets you earn might lose value before you can trade or sell them. The unstable crypto market can affect players’ earnings and the overall stability of any P2E game’s economy. 

Additionally, the intersection of gaming, finance, and blockchain technology raises several regulatory and legal concerns, such as consumer protection against scams or taxation issues around cryptocurrency earnings. Governments and regulators are still working to establish clear legal frameworks for this new landscape. 

The play-to-earn revolution is a fascinating new frontier that empowers players with novel income streams. The potential gains are exciting, but remember that P2E games are still evolving and regulations are playing catch-up. For gamers interested in exploring this space, informed and cautious participation will be key to maximizing rewards and minimizing risks. 

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About Micah Sulit: Micah is a writer and editor with a focus on lifestyle topics like tech, wellness, and travel. She loves writing while sipping an iced mocha in a cafe, preferably one in a foreign city. She's based in Manila, Philippines. 



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