The Rise of P2E Games

The gaming industry is now one of the most profitable sectors today, with consumer spending reaching $60.4 billion in revenue in the United States alone. It generated $180.3 billion in 2021 worldwide with key contributors to these numbers coming from play-to-earn blockchain-based games.

To better understand play-to-earn games, how it is different from traditional games, examples of these game models, and why it has become the hot topic in blockchain enthusiast’s forums and group chats, proceed reading the article below.

What are play-to-earn games?

Play-to-earn games are a growing trend in the gaming industry in the past year. In these types of games, players earn in-game currencies by playing and use that to buy items from the game’s store or marketplace. Earning currencies can also be achieved by completing tasks or participating in events and/or tournaments.

Basically, play-to-earn games are online games that let players earn rewards with real-world value. These rewards come in the form of in-game assets like crypto tokens, virtual land, as well as skins, weapons and other NFTs. Due to its decentralized nature, players can buy, transfer and sell these in-game assets outside of the game’s virtual world in exchange for real money.

How do play-to-earn games compare to classical free-to-play titles?

Play-to-earn (P2E) games are more engaging than classical free-to-play (F2P) games.

With F2P games’ in-app purchases, players buy items and gain access to new content using their hard-earned money. However, this model is not sustainable because players who have played hundreds, or maybe thousands, of hours for a specific title will eventually run out of money. When playing F2P games, only the players’ excitement will be fed while their funds are slowly depleting.

For play-to-earn games, this is not the case. Players who sign up and play earn rewards such as NFTs and cryptocurrencies which can be exchanged for real-world money. As they progress through the game, more rewards are at stake which also means more money to earn, making the gaming model a fulfilling one to spend time with.

You will notice the trend nowadays that more players from F2P games are now switching to P2E each day. It speaks how engaging the game is and that people are now becoming wiser of their time and money — given the current situation of the world’s economy.

Why are play-to-earn games growing so fast?

The popularity of play-to-earn games is a result of the global trend in gaming. The industry has been growing at an explosive rate, and consumers are looking for ways to get involved in this lucrative market. Play-to-earn games provide a way for players to earn rewards without having to spend their money, at least only during the registration phase when connecting wallets.

This means that even those who are unemployed or seeking side hustles have the chance to earn decent income and be able to provide for their families, all while leisurely playing video games at the comfort of their homes. In this model, it is easy for others to follow suit and participate in the game’s ecosystem!

Play-to-earn games can also benefit businesses because they don’t require much investment from companies before profitability begins — all they need is an internet connection and an ample and cozy space to work. In fact, many companies now offer “free” versions for their customers who want quick access but don’t want any financial investment either.

Examples of play-to-earn games

In the last few years, we’ve seen a number of games that use the play-to-earn model and garnered millions of followers and dollars in profit, of course! Here are some examples:

  • CryptoKitties
    Considered as the pioneer of blockchain gaming and play-to-earn games. It was a huge success way back in 2017 that it sparked the NFT revolution, drawing the interest of media outlets all over the world. It uses collectible card-game-like mechanics with digital cats as the primary characters, which can be sold on the platform or traded with other players. Players earn rewards when they breed, trade, sell, or participate in in-game events.
  • Axie Infinity
    A P2E game that takes its lead from Pokémon and CryptoKitties where players buy and breed cute little creatures called Axies while battling other players in PvP mode, or the game’s AI in PvE. To get started, players need to buy a minimum of three Axies. Like CryptoKitties, players need to shell out money first before playing, but with time and effort spent on the game, it can obviously net a return more than what was initially invested for the three Axies. Small Love Potions or SLPs, the game’s native token, are rewarded to players which can be converted to real-world money.
  • The Sandbox
    The virtual world platform has been around since 2012 as a regular iOS, Android and Windows game, but pivoted towards blockchain when bought by Animoca Brands in 2018. The game is all about the creativity of its users and the content they generate all contributes to the ever-expanding Sandbox metaverse. It takes inspiration from games like Minecraft and Roblox, but seeks to concentrate power and ownership in the hands of its users rather than the developers. It uses NFTs to enable users to own their creations and reward them for building and maintaining the game’s ecosystem.
  • Decentraland
    Virtual worlds are big business in the blockchain space and Decentraland is one of the dominant platforms, along with its rival The Sandbox. Built on Ethereum, it works in a similar way to its big rival, with users buying up land to develop and monetise as they see fit. The whole Decentraland Metaverse comprises 90,601 individual plots of LAND, each of which is 100 square meters. Users can develop these as they wish, though large parts of the metaverse are divided into broadly themed districts. These districts came about from crowdsales of MANA tokens and are permanently owned by their buyers who cannot trade them.
  • Gods Unchained
    As one of the many games inspired by Magic: The Gathering, this card fighter title is very similar to Hearthstone. Users build decks and play cards to fight and defeat opponents. As a blockchain-based game, players are able to completely own the cards they win and sell or trade them at will. Like physical collectible card games, some cards are incredibly rare and can be valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • Alien Worlds
    In this game, the entire universe is spread. Players colonize planets, form a functioning government and economy, and explore distant planets. Players can join others to explore and find new NFTs or even create their own NFT drops. Players can also join together to create mini-games or organize a planet’s political body. Part of the game is to battle other explorers to claim their territory or currency. Mission NFTs can be traded for Trillium, the in-game cryptocurrency, and converted into real-world money.

An evolution of the gaming industry

Play-to-earn games represent an evolution of the gaming industry. The idea behind these games is that players earn real-world money just by playing, and they can use the games’ currencies to buy items in the game or even trade it for other currencies.

Online video games have been around since the 2000s, but with play-to-earn’s model, gaming has never been more exciting and fulfilling — some even consider it as a career. Many people still enjoy playing free-to-play games because they don’t have to spend money on them upfront when signing up, except for things like character upgrades or weapons. However, the older generations of F2P players have realized that the game model doesn’t pay their bills — and this is one of the main factors why they are now switching to P2E games.

P2E games are expected to flourish for the next years to come and people are on the lookout for the next big game to rise, following the recent success of Axie Infinity.

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