What Are Play-To-Earn Crypto Games?

Explore the world of Play-To-Earn (P2E) Crypto games, encompassing mechanics, implications, and the transformative potential they offer for web3 players and the gaming industry at large.

Eliza Crichton-Stuart author picture}

Eliza Crichton-Stuart

Head of Operations

What Are Play to Earn Crypto Games?

Many individuals have imagined the possibility of making a living by playing video games. The concept of earning money from home while gaming may seem like a fantasy, but it has indeed become a tangible reality, all thanks to the advancements in blockchain and NFT (Non-Fungible Token) technology.

Play-to-Earn represents a significant development in the blockchain space, attracting major gaming studios and fostering expansive digital economies. These games offer players the opportunity to earn while they play. In this article, we'll provide a comprehensive overview of Play-to-Earn games and introduce five standout titles for you to explore. Intrigued? Let's delve into the details.

What Are Play to Earn Crypto Games?

Key Definitions

First some important definitions:

Play-to-Earn: "Play-to-Earn represents a genre of blockchain-based games that incorporate player-owned economies through the use of in-game assets represented by tokens and NFTs.”

Blockchain Game: "A blockchain game is any game that uses blockchain technology to enhance or rearchitect traditional video games."

NFT Game: "An NFT game is a video game that uses NFTs as a core part of their gameplay and economy. NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are 1-of-1 tokens generated by smart contracts and blockchain technology"

Play to Earn Chainlink

Play-To-Earn Model Explained

Play-to-Earn (P2E) games are a genre of video games where players receive rewards in the form of valuable commodities with real-world value. Unlike traditional games, where progression relies on leveling up characters, acquiring in-game items, and completing quests, challenges, and missions to gain experience points, P2E games offer tangible rewards for player participation.

However, traditional gaming experiences, such as those found in Grand Theft Auto, do not provide rewards that can be converted into real-world value. In games like Grand Theft Auto, experience points and in-game items are limited to the game environment and do not hold external value. These items are stored within closed-off data networks and are owned by the game's creators, such as Rockstar Games in the case of Grand Theft Auto.

Grand Theft Auto VI.webp

Play-To-Earn vs Traditional Gaming

In contrast to traditional gaming models, Play-to-Earn (P2E) games grant players ownership of the items they earn, allowing them full control over their assets. This unique feature is made possible through blockchain technology, marking a significant shift in the gaming landscape.

What are NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens?

Understanding NFTs is crucial to grasping the concept of ownership in Play-to-Earn (P2E) games. Essentially, an NFT, or non-fungible token, is a unique piece of data stored on a blockchain. Unlike traditional currencies or assets, NFTs cannot be exchanged on a one-to-one basis due to their uniqueness.

They can be transferred and sold to other individuals, enabling clear proof of ownership. This immutability, along with the scarcity it creates, contributes to the value of NFTs in the digital realm. Consequently, in-play items accumulated by players in Play-to-Earn (P2E) games will be represented as NFTs, which can be traded with other players through in-game trading platforms or external marketplaces.

Tokenizing In-Game Assets - NFTs for Cross-Game Assets

Additionally, many Play-to-Earn (P2E) games offer players native digital currencies as rewards, which can be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies on well-known platforms like Binance and Coinbase. From there, players have the option to convert these cryptocurrencies into real-world currency. With these factors in mind, let's delve into the top five Play-to-Earn games you should consider trying in 2024.

Top Play-To-Earn Games

The current landscape of Play-to-Earn (P2E) and blockchain games is witnessing a significant shift within the gaming ecosystem. Over the past year, a surge of Play-to-Earn games has emerged, with Axie Infinity standing out as a prominent example in terms of economic growth. In the next section of this article, we will cover a few of the more popular examples of Play-to-Earn (P2E) games.

Crypto Image

(1) Axie Infinity

The first game on the list is Axie Infinity, widely recognized as one of the leading titles in the Play-to-Earn sector. Axie Infinity stands out for its blend of entertainment and education, serving as a platform to introduce players to blockchain technology. In many ways, its concept mirrors that of Crypto Kitties.

Axie Gameplay

Axie Infinity is a virtual pet community inspired by the immensely popular franchise, Pokémon. Within the game, players acquire and collect creatures called "Axies," which they can utilize for battles, exploration, and breeding with other Axies. Despite being rated 18+ due to its potential for earning money, Axie Infinity features graphics tailored to attract a younger audience.

Axie SLP Poster.jpg

In Axie Infinity, players have two avenues for earning money within the game. The first involves acquiring $SLP tokens (Smooth Love Potion) which are obtained by engaging in adventure games, and arena matches, and completing daily missions in a player vs. environment (PVE) setting.

The second option entails earning the $AXS token, the game's native currency, by competing against and defeating other players in a player-versus-player (PVP) environment. Both $SLP and $AXS tokens can be exchanged for fiat currency like USD or GBP.

Axie $AXS Token

Remarkably, Axie Infinity has gained significant popularity in various low-income countries globally, notably in the Philippines, Argentina, and Venezuela. This surge in popularity is attributed to the game's earning potential, which surpasses the opportunities available in these countries' real-world economies.

(2) Gods Unchained

Gods Unchained is an online card strategy game developed by siblings James and Robbie Ferguson. Utilizing the Ethereum network, the game offers free gameplay, a significant factor contributing to its rise as one of the most prominent Play-to-Earn games globally. Familiar to fans of Hearthstone, Gods Unchained operates on a similar premise.

Immutable Games launches Gods Unchained Web3 game on mobile

In Gods Unchained, players craft decks of cards to engage in competitive online battles against other players. Each card possesses distinct stats tailored to specific scenarios, allowing players to strategize and assemble decks that complement each other, enhancing their chances of victory through synergy and creativity.

Win GODS Tokens and Rare Cards in Gods Unchained Sealed Tournament

As players advance and level up in Gods Unchained, they receive packs containing exclusive cards. Upon opening these packs, the cards are instantly minted as NFTs, signifying ownership. With continued gameplay, players increase their chances of obtaining powerful or rare cards. These acquired cards can be sold to other players on the marketplace in exchange for $GODS Tokens, which can then be traded for fiat currency.

Win GODS Tokens and Rare Cards in Gods Unchained Sealed Tournament

The global count of Gods Unchained NFTs has surpassed 13 million, held by over 65,000 distinct asset holders. With the growing popularity of the Play-to-Earn market, this figure is anticipated to escalate further in the coming months and years.

(3) Sorare

Sorare offers a blockchain-driven fantasy football (soccer) experience, allowing players to acquire, sell, trade, and manage virtual teams through digital player cards. These cards, as anticipated, are represented as NFTs, granting full ownership to players who can then trade them on the marketplace for actual currency.

sorare cards rarity.png

To get started playing Sorare, simply access the game using your cryptocurrency wallet, and upon completing the registration process, you'll receive complimentary cards. After selecting your club's name, logo, and three preferred clubs, you can assemble your team.

sorare cards.png

Once your team is set, you can partake in tournaments offering cash prizes and bonus player cards, which can be traded with other players. Additionally, players exceeding a certain point threshold in a game week are rewarded. Currently, scoring over 205 points earns a prize of 0.01 ETH, while surpassing 250 points grants a prize of 0.02 ETH.

(4) Star Atlas

Star Atlas emerges as one of the most ambitious gaming ventures leveraging the Solana blockchain. Set in the metaverse of 2620, the game portrays a conflict among three factions vying for resources, territory, and political dominance. Within Star Atlas, the in-game currencies $ATLAS and $POLIS play pivotal roles.

star atlas server.webp

Governed by the metaverse's economic and DeFi system, these currencies primarily facilitate peer-to-peer transactions for ships, crew, components, land, and equipment. In Star Atlas, the bulk of in-game items obtained by players will manifest as NFTs, allowing for sale and trade among fellow players. Additionally, completing challenges and missions will yield $ATLAS rewards, which can be subsequently converted into fiat currency.

Star Atlas escape velocity stats.jpg

The gameplay in Star Atlas extends beyond traditional boundaries, enabling users to construct entire cities and micro-economies within the game. Furthermore, players can collaborate to establish decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) tasked with administering specific territories.

(5) Illuvium

Illuvium stands out as another popular NFT-based game, drawing considerable attention and price speculation for its in-game currency, I$LV. As of the current writing, the token's market cap has reached an impressive $460 million.

Illuvium Beta 4 Token Airdrop Worth $23 Million

Illuvium presents an open-world RPG experience where players embark on the journey of collecting creatures known as Illuvials (NFTs), each possessing distinct classes and affinities. To gather these Illuvials, players traverse through an immersive fantasy realm, encountering diverse challenges and missions offering lucrative rewards. These rewards encompass in-game items (NFTs) as well as the native tokens $ILV and $sILV.

Tokenizing In-Game Assets - Illuvium example

Upon acquiring Illuvials, players can engage in battles against other players by queuing up in the Ranked Arena matchmaking system. Victors are rewarded with additional prizes and the opportunity to enhance their Illuvials, thereby improving their chances of ascending the leaderboard and securing even greater rewards.

Final Thoughts

In traditional gaming, players typically lack direct incentives beyond the inherent entertainment value of the game itself. Often, players must pay upfront fees to access the game, and their potential for earning income is limited unless they achieve professional status as eSports competitors or gain a substantial following as streamers.

Blockchain gaming represents a paradigm shift by enabling gamers to earn income while playing, potentially revolutionizing the gaming industry in the years ahead. However, it's essential to maintain realistic expectations regarding potential earnings from Play-to-Earn games. Like any financial asset, there's no definitive "average" income, particularly in the volatile realm of cryptocurrencies.

How Crypto Is Transforming the Gaming Industry

In numerous instances, generating a significant income from Play-to-Earn games, such as Axie Infinity, often requires a substantial upfront investment. Additionally, many games demand a time commitment for players to grasp the gameplay mechanics and initiate their journey, resulting in minimal earnings during the initial stages.

Nevertheless, it's entirely feasible to enjoy oneself while earning tangible rewards for time invested in Play-to-Earn experiences, provided one is willing to conduct thorough research and dedicate sufficient hours. However, it's essential to temper expectations and not anticipate becoming a millionaire solely from playing these games.


The information provided here is for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be considered as financial advice. Participating in crypto gaming carries inherent risks, including the potential loss of digital assets and the exposure to volatility in cryptocurrency markets. Before engaging in any crypto gaming activities, it is crucial to conduct thorough research and assess your individual risk tolerance.

Not Financial Advice

The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization. Past performance in crypto gaming is not indicative of future results. Any decisions you make regarding crypto gaming are at your own risk, and you should carefully consider your own circumstances and risk tolerance before participating.



April 22nd 2024


April 22nd 2024

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