What Is Play to Earn Gaming - And How Is It Changing Gaming

BlockchainGamingDec 8, 2021
what is play to earn gaming

Many gamers will remember the times when glued to the computer, gaming days and nights away, they would be criticized for 'wasting their time'. No doubt that spending hours on end gaming has its drawbacks, but what was once just a hobby has taken a very lucrative turn. Nowadays, gaming has become synonymous with enjoyment as much as it has with earning some big bucks. This is because an increasing number of players are flocking to Play-To-Earn games, where players have real-life financial returns as a reward for the time and effort they put into a game. P2E games have fueled a new world of digital economies, where users can create, sell or exchange in-platform assets in return for money.

What are Play2Earn Games?

No surprise here, Play to Earn Games are exactly what the name already indicates- games where users are paid to play. The concept might appear to be fairly simple but it's a huge evolution from how gaming has played out for decades.

For starters, traditional gaming has taken place inside a centralized ecosystem, where developers retained almost all power over the experience. Imagine spending hours playing your favorite game and collecting assets like various characters, weapons, cosmetic add-ons, extra powers and so on. That seems pretty cool until you realize that once that game comes to an end or disappears, your treasured collection will be worthless. You can't transfer your hard-earned items to another game, exchange them on a third-party marketplace or simply cash out. In a conventional game, players are at the mercy of the decisions made by developers and gaming companies. It's similar to renting a house instead of owning it - gamers are renting games for a period of time and don't own any in-game assets.

Unlike these games that largely fail to reward their users, Play To Earn titles put users at the center of the entire economic engine, creating a player owned-control dynamic that hasn't existed so far.

Here are some of the characteristics that set P2E apart from traditional gaming:

Asset Ownership: Players retain ownership over all of their digital assets, unlike traditional games where game developers control all in-game economics. Digital Assets have real-world value: NFTs play a central role in P2E gaming. Gamers can mint new non-fungible tokens, customize them, sell or buy tokens on the open market, and exchange them for cryptocurrencies or fiat money. Fair gameplay: Blockchain-based games are by nature decentralized and transparent, where all users have an equal say in game decisions and can help shape the future of the game.

How do Play2Earn Games work?

Gaming developers are quickly embracing the P2E trend, finally bringing real money into play. And you'll see plenty of such titles popping up and taking off, like Gods Unchained, Axie Infinity and Splinterlands. Play to earn games rely on blockchain technology to support their ecosystem and, crucially, let users access in-game tokens that have real value outside the game. This is made possible through digital currencies (also known as cryptocurrencies), decentralized marketplaces and NFTs. In P2E, every move you make inside the game can be rewarded, from taking part in quests or battles, breeding new creatures and helping solve a community problem.

These elements are featured inside the game in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). For example, if you want to create a new avatar or breed a new creature, you can mint a new token - and then sell or exchange it in an open marketplace. The advantage of these NFTs is that they can be exchanged for cryptocurrencies which, in turn, can be traded for hard cash through exchanges.

As all transactions take place in the blockchain, ownership and authenticity of in-game digital assets can be always verified. Moreover, using the blockchain makes it easier to move in-game assets between different games and platforms, meaning that the player has endless opportunities to monetize their collection. And there are several ways in which this can take place.

play to earn gaming structure


Earning crypto through gameplay: Players can collect game assets as they keep playing and also take part in tasks, contests, competitions, duels and many other activities for which they are also rewarded. The more time they spend improving their characters or creatures, for example, the higher their chances of faring better in a game.

Earning or selling in-game assets (in the form of NFTs): P2E games encourage players to create their original content as NFTs, from creatures, to skins, virtual land and add-ons, and the rarer they are, the more valuable they become. As such, demand rises and so does the price. Players can buy, sell or trade their NFTs through decentralized marketplaces.

Earning crypto as result of investment: In-game assets like Axies have become hugely popular, driving up prices to incredible highs. Effectively, many NFTs have now become a financial asset that, in many ways, mirrors real-world assets. This has attracted a crowd of investors to P2E and more recently it has led rise to guilds, platforms that help players access in-game assets and lend them out in return for a share of the profit made (more on that a bit later).

If you're interested in getting started with P2E games, there are plenty of great platforms out there like the Blockchain Gaming Alliance (of which we are a member), where you'll be able to find the latest news and regular updates about the industry. You may also be interested in newsletters like GameFi Hunters or PlayDapp. We will soon update our list, but you might also want to check out our selection of best blockchain games to play today.

Play-to-Earn Guilds - Game changer?

Play to earn gaming are ever more popular, but so are in-game assets, some of which have rocketed so much in value that they've become out of reach for ordinary players, Axie Infinity is an example of a game whose popularity has seen its in-game creatures - Axies - going for as much as 228 thousand dollars. And since that before getting started with this P2E game users must purchase at least 3 Axies (the cheapest of which costs about $90 at the time of writing), it could turn out to be a big financial commitment, especially when considered that a vast number of players in the Axie universe are from developing nations.

This is where gaming guilds can have a massive role. Blockchain gaming guilds like Avocado Guild, purchase in-game assets and then lend them to P2E players, taking a cut of whatever earnings were made by players. That way, if you're interested in playing Axie Infinity but you don't have the upfront money to buy Axies, you can instead just borrow them from a guild.

This shared revenue model is proving to be a win-win situation as more players resort to this type of NFT-lending and more guilds are getting the attention (and investment) from venture capital firms.

Play-To-Earn Games are a massive step forward

It's clear that the psychology of gaming has changed; players want to have a bigger role in games, they want to own the assets they've worked hard to collect, they crave unique experiences and the freedom to shape the future of gaming itself. Players are also more entrepreneurial than ever, earning for digital gamification and ownership.

The Play-to-Earn model gives players the ability to create in-game content and assets, and to easily monetize them. Creators can be involved every step of the way, from giving rise to new assets to their pricing, and even get paid for secondary transactions on their creations (in the form of NFT royalties). This new ecosystem is a revolution as it's filled with continuous new content that is unique and that can be traded or sold for real money. Another layer adding to this is the fact that P2E fuels a deep sense of community, where players see the value of their creations and achievements, but also on collaborating with other players.

The value proposition of P2E and blockchain games is clearly attractive to many, and we're likely to see players spending increasingly more time within this new gaming model.

Rachel Breia
Rachel Breia
Senior Content Manager

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