It sounds like dreams do come true after all. Making real money from playing a game is finally in. Whether you’re a big fan or not,play-to-earn games are a revolution in the gaming scene. This is only the tip of the iceberg, and gamers around the world sit on edge toward what’s yet to come.
It’s natural to have a healthy amount of skepticism surrounding anything new. Especially things that look like fiction. However, be careful of prejudice. Before you make up your mind on whether P2E games are worth your time or not, know more about them. The hardest part is already done, all you have to do now is read on.
What is the “Play-to-Earn” Hype All About?
Earning money from video games is not entirely a new concept. Many gamers earn tons of money streaming on youtube for a fanbase. You may wonder what is this sudden hype on play-to-earn games all about. It’s not about “what” actually, it’s rather about HOW people make money from games nowadays. It’s an understatement to say that blockchain technology and NFTs flipped the whole gaming anatomy!
The phrase “play to earn”, which is often abbreviated with P2E, is self-explanatory. Yes, you guessed it right, you just log in to a game and play it to earn real money. It does sound like your wildest dream finally come true. All your time spent completing tasks, battling and grouping with other players, gathering weapons, acquiring skins, and progressing through game levels will have a real-world reward. You won’t just enjoy the pleasure and entertainment of gaming, but also the hard-earned money from your efforts!
Cryptocurrency made the worldwide transfer of money easier than ever. NFTs have also reiterated the way a digital crypto asset can be rewarding. Therefore, these play-to-earn games utilize rewards in the form of in-game assets like crypto tokens, virtual land, character skins, weapons, and other NFTs. What’s also catchy about P2E games is their decentralized nature, where players can buy, transfer and sell these in-game assets outside of the game’s virtual realm in exchange for real money.
How Do Traditional Games Differ from P2E Games?
Centralized Versus Decentralized Power
Traditional games we’re all used to playing on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC, have a centralized game ecosystem. It means that developers have all the power over the gaming experience in the grip of their hands. In simpler terms, all the time you spend playing the game collecting an assortment of assets like weapons, skins, powers, add-ons, gems, AND EVERYTHING is for the fun of it. The destiny of all your achievements is to stay in the game’s ecosystem. Locked away on walled-off data networks owned by those who created the game.
Play-to-earn games have a rather appealing decentralized ecosystem. The power over the game is bestowed upon the players, not the developers. This entitles you to physically gain rewards for your hard-earned achievements! As we mentioned earlier these rewards come in the form of non-fungible tokens. NFTs enable players to own the unique assets that they purchase. Let’s say for example a weapon or skin for your character. Once you own this unique NFT, the value doesn’t stop inside the game. This means that NFTs representing in-game items have scarcity and real-world value which enables them to be traded and sold on any NFT marketplace.
Incentive to Play: Enjoyment Versus Earning
The motivation for playing games is usually entertainment. Sometimes it’s even psychological, to achieve a sense of accomplishment even in a virtual sense. You associate gaming with an escape from the burdens of real life, and that’s all. You pay money for traditional games, and many times spend all your money on these games. Eventually, that’s it-a one-way profit relationship.
Unless you’re a professional player who streams on youtube for a big following, you will never be able to make real money out of gaming.
Play-to-earn games elevate the incentive to play. Not only are you playing for the pleasure of it all, but also to achieve a sense of accomplishment in a physical sense. Blockchain gaming offers players the opportunity to earn real money rather fast and without fanbase streams. It’s a really simple equation: The more you play, the more assets you are able to collect, hence the more money you make. At any moment, players can transfer in-game assets to the real world and sell them for cryptocurrency or real money on their own terms. Participating in the in-game economy, players generate value for other players as well as the developer. This makes the relationship between players and developers a two-way profit deal.
User Experience: Game Graphics
Most play-to-earn games don’t offer the same level of gameplay experience as well-established companies. For example, if you compare the graphics of most P2E with the latest game releases on a PlayStation or Xbox, you’ll notice the difference. To make it simple, some players prefer high-resolution game graphics like Fortnite and Uncharted over the graphics of P2E games like AxieInfinity and CryptoKitties. However, it doesn’t imply that this kind of graphic doesn’t have a charm on players. Old-school graphics are a big hit these days. Wanna know why? Check out our 8-bit NFT: A Trip to Nostalgia.
How are the terms P2E, Crypto, and NFT associated?
I think by now you have formed a cleaner image and can connect the dots easily. In order to collect real-world money, the earned rewards come in the form of digital assets. Who’s the main character in the digital-crypto-asset world? NFTs. Think of NFTs as a way to cash out the virtual money you make playing P2E games. Naturally Crypto comes into play because to own or purchase NFTs you need a cryptocurrency balance.
When it comes to the technical link of cryptocurrency with real-world money in play-to-earn games there are two main approaches developers can take:
- Native Cryptocurrency
Developers can create a game’s own native cryptocurrency in the form of tokens. Essentially, these tokens act similarly to typical in-game currencies with real-world value. Let’s take the most popular play-to-earn game AxieInfinity as an example. It has two native cryptocurrencies SLP and AXS that exist on the Ethereum blockchain. Just like any other cryptocurrency, the value of this native cryptocurrency can go up and down.
- Existing Cryptocurrencies
Another way developers can approach is to rely on existing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Cardano, and such. Fun fact, this is why a lot of games have the phrase “crypto” in them or the name of cryptocurrencies. For example, Bitcoin Tycoon, CryptoKitties, Crypto Dragons, etc. Despite the reward system of this method depending on the existing cryptocurrency, it will take a while to make a lot of money out of them.
How Are P2E Game Developers Making a Profit?
If the game developers pay me money to play, what’s in it for them? This question may have occurred to you the moment you heard about play-to-earn games. Probably this is where all your skepticism stems from. The thing about designing a play-to-earn economy, developers can’t just think about their short-term profits. They view their players as business partners, establishing a give-and-take relationship. And trust me, they do make a lot of money even if they pay you.
As a player, your role in the partnership is to hold valuable assets and distribute them by trading. This in turn brings more players to the game. As you make money trading and spreading the word, the demand for the game’s NFT collection grows. Consequently the developer profits generously. In a nutshell, developers make money in three ways:
NFT Game Collection
You need to purchase NFT to start playing the game. The risk here is not aimed at you as much as it is aimed at the creators of play-to-earn games. Essentially because producing NFTs comes with a cost. These NFT creation costs are often really high when it’s a big-scale project. Therefore, their NFT and whole P2E game experience better pay off.
Transaction Fee Cuts
Every time you trade the NFT earned in a P2E game, it means profit for you and the developer. Obviously, developers set a royalty fee on the game’s NFT collection. The original creator (the developer) will make money every time this NFT is sold to another player. Therefore, the developers should make sure to set a profitable fee while continuously encouraging players to transfer their assets.
What about games that don’t require an access fee, such as purchasing an NFT? The answer is quite classical. Almost every industry turns to advertisement revenue. Who of us is not a victim of endless pop-up ads in our favorite games? The developer’s plan is to play on time. The longer time players spend in these games to earn some crypto, the longer game developers run the ads and make money. It’s still a win-win situation if you think of it. You spend more time to earn more money, and they earn money as you spend more time.
How Much Money Can I Make From P2E Games?
Play-to-earn games sound appealing, but what amount of money are we looking to earn is fair speculation. You need to note something first. In-game earned NFTs are the players’ property. They don’t belong to the developers, the game, or anyone else but you. Even if the game shuts down in the future, these digital assets remain purchasable and of value. The answer may come as a surprise to you. Some gamers are earning up to 700$ per week.
If you are wondering how exactly are they doing it? That’s a whole other topic on its own. The short answer is, that they do a lot of research, and dedicate their time to gaming. So if you are ready to channel your antisocial self and are not committed to a relationship, this is a nice shot. It’s a serious full-commitment kind of thing.
Is It Free to Join Play-to-Earn Games?
You may be thinking there’s a catch here. Do I just log in freely to this P2E game and start making real money? Well, yes and no. It all comes down to the developers of the game. It is in their hands to determine whether the game has free access or not.
Some games like Axie Infinity require an upfront investment to start playing. Simply, you need to purchase one of their NFTs. NFT floor price for Axies was once $340 but now it sits at $6. That’s the thing with assets, they rise and fall.
Other games like Gods Unchained offer free entry into their gaming world. They still profit from their NFT collection that you can trade or battle with. Players can earn NFTs as rewards for simply playing the game. All it takes is some time and engagement.
Who Came Up With the P2E Game Concept?
Since play-to-earn games are associated with crypto, these two industries always intertwine. The success of P2E is highly dependent on the success of cryptocurrencies. Therefore, it only makes sense that the origin of the P2E concept is rooted in Bitcoin evolution throughout history.
Huntercoin – 2014
When bitcoin moved in 2013 from a total value of $13 all the way up to $1,100, the Xaya team felt encouraged to launch Huntercoin. It was released as an experiment in 2014 and this release marks the birth of the very first blockchain game. Huntercoin allowed players to collect coins on a global map where users find resources, go head-to-head in player vs. player combat, and dominate. It’s impressive to note how the nature of Bitcoin being a decentralized censorship-resistant system inspired a blockchain gaming revolution. Unlocking the potential of scalable P2E gaming, Xaya flipped the first domino piece. The play to earn industry owes them for creating the foundational pillars upon which many other companies started.
2017: The Year of P2E Game Boom
Due to 2017 being an incredibly successful year for Bitcoin, the play-to-earn game industry saw great leaps.
In February of 2017, CryptoBots went public, cementing itself as the first-ever P2E NFT game. This game posed as a merge between collectible RPG games and a grand space adventure strategy. The game was accompanied and propelled by the inclusion of 10,000 unique Crypto bots NFTs, with players being able to use their NFT characters in-game.
Following the release of CryptoBots, Spells of Genesis followed suit in April of the same year.
It is the world’s first mobile game that used blockchain assets. Definitely a milestone. Spells of Genesis is a fantasy tactical arcade game. Players have to collect and combine cards to create the strongest deck to fight their enemies in a series of battles.
As 2017 was coming to an end, CryptoKitties made the drop in late November. Dapper Labs earned a spot in history making it the first P2E game on the Ethereum Blockchain. Now, this is really cute in a weird virtual way. CryptoKitties is a cat-raising game in which you collect and breed NFT cat cards.
Is making a Living from NFT P2E Games Legit or a Scam?
In our modern age or let’s call it the virtual age, trust in cryptocurrency is at an all-time high despite its setbacks this year. Play-to-earn games obviously benefit highly from the trust in cryptocurrency. The rising popularity of NFTs significantly boosted the hype in P2E blockchain gaming.
It’s entirely up to you to decide. I know you’ve been reading on to find a verdict. However, anything crypto-related is never a certain thing. It’s a rollercoaster ride, you either enjoy the risk or avoid it all at once. It’s always a good idea to do intense research before investing in a play-to-earn game. Constantly check out guides on how to spot scam gaming projects.
Remember, the whole blockchain technology and web3 concepts are relatively uncharted waters. It’s not that old yet, therefore it is natural for mistakes to happen. You can always start out slow, and maybe try a game with free access. There’s not much to lose anyway as you slowly build knowledge and experience. Check out our pick of the top 7 P2E games in 2022, I’m sure you’ll find at least one to your liking. Until next time, keep it up for your Chainwitcher.