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What is a Play-to-Earn Game?

The core concept behind play-to-earn is not something that has just entered our lives. In fact, it has been appearing in different forms and names for a while; one of them is to earn income by watching ads, for example. However, the rapid transition to web3, the new version of the internet which focuses on decentralization and user ownership, and the increasing number of blockchain games started to add real meaning to play-to-earn as a term. So what is play-to-earn, and how does it work? Which games can you earn income from while playing? You can find answers to these and many more questions in this article.

What is a play-to-earn game? Play-to-earn (P2E) games in a nutshell

Play-to-earn is the general name given to games that can let people earn income directly or indirectly as they play a game. These games are “on-chain,” which means they are connected to a blockchain network. As players play these blockchain-based games, they generate income, and at the end of the day, they can materialize their digital income using these blockchain networks. In other words, these games let players transfer the income from the game to the real world by using blockchain technology.

To explain this with an example, you won 1st place in a typical racing game and won 1000 gold. Your hard-earned gold cannot go beyond being data saved on the device you are playing the game. However, in play-to-earn games, 1000 gold you earn would have real value in terms of cryptocurrency. This value may vary completely depending on the game’s earning mechanisms, the blockchain network on which the game is played, the virtual currencies used in the game, and its monetary equivalent in the blockchain ecosystem.

Almost all play-to-earn games use digital assets called NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Simply put; weapons, armors, potions, characters, outfits, and anything you can think of can be an NFT. Contrary to what we are used to in off-chain games, these NFTs in play-to-earn games are completely unique assets solely owned by the players. Let’s say you have an NFT sword; hundreds of different NFT swords may have the same look, characteristics, and rarity level as your NFT sword. The main thing that makes your NFT sword unique to you is its token ID. Token IDs are like fingerprints, and they are different for each NFT, so even though it may seem like you have the same NFT as others, your NFT is unique and owned solely by you. 

You can check out our special guide on how to sell NFTs if need more details.

To own these NFTs, players need to have a cryptocurrency wallet. Tokens and NFTs obtained from a game are stored in the players' cryptocurrency wallets, and these assets are automatically integrated into the game when the players connect to the games with that wallet. In the real world, if you drop your wallet or have it stolen, all the valuables inside will be lost. The same goes for digital wallets. If you somehow do not have access to these wallets, everything you own is lost forever in a remote corner of the blockchain. A friendly reminder; make sure to save all your information about your wallet. If possible, do it out of the digital environment, by taking notes in a notebook or a piece of paper in an old-fashioned way so that the risk of being stolen and deleted is minimized.

Sometimes, investing a certain amount in the game can be necessary when you starting a play-to-earn game. This investment can be buying the native cryptocurrency that is used in-game or simply the NFT assets of the game. In play-to-earn games, players should focus on earning their investment back as they play the game, and then on earning a profit. Usually, the initial investments in play-to-earn games can be compensated within months. We can think of play-to-earn games as starting a small business; to start a business, you need to invest first, then you get your investment back, and then you start making a profit.

Why do play-to-earn games use blockchain networks like Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, Ethereum, Solana, WAX, etc.?

Think of blockchain networks as massive digital lockers. All assets owned by individuals are stored in these lockers. The danger of regular lockers being robbed does not apply to blockchain networks since the information in the blockchain is harder to change, delete, or duplicate. Blockchain networks secure their information thanks to their information storage design. The information in blockchain is distributed network of computers which is held by its users, each holding a copy of the blockchain data. This means that the information is there as long as the network of computers (nodes) works properly.

By being safe digital information vaults, each play-to-earn game uses these blockchain networks to prevent any fraud, corruption, misinformation, and duplicating situation. As play-to-earn games revolve around NFTs and in-game cryptocurrencies, protecting the information of these digital assets is vital. Since the rarity level of an NFT plays a huge role in that NFT's value in terms of money, any alteration of that NFT's information could pose major problems for the game's economic ecosystem. Blockchain networks prevent such situations from happening and make each user's digital assets immutable and personal.

Which games are play-to-earn? Where can I find the play-to-earn games?

There are hundreds if not thousands of games that are currently play-to-earn. Players can choose the game they want according to their playstyle, budget, and the time they can spend. You can access detailed information about blockchain-based play-to-earn games on Gamepedia to make this selection easier. Gamepedia is a blockchain game encyclopedia created by Spintop Network where you can access information, guides, comments, and detailed game reviews of the players who play the game.

Did you know that you can discover hundreds of play-to-earn (P2E) blockchain games on Gamepedia!

Did you know that you can discover hundreds of play-to-earn (P2E) blockchain games on Gamepedia!

Alien Worlds

Alien Worlds is one of the most popular play-to-earn game of the last 30 days, with almost half a million users. The game uses Trilium (TLM) token as its native cryptocurrency, and utilizes Ethereum, WAX, and Binance Smart Chain blockchain networks. 

Splinterlands

Splinterlands is the second game on the list with over half a million users. Splinterlands, a play-to-earn card game, uses SPS (Splinterlands) and DEC tokens as in-game cryptocurrencies. The game is supported by the Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain blockchain networks.

Upland

With its fun art design, Uplands ranks third on the list with almost 300.000 players. The play-to-earn real estate game that is supported by the EOS blockchain network uses the UPX token as its in-game cryptocurrency.

Farmers World

Attracting the attention of players who love farming simulation games, Farmers World ranks 4th with its 250.000 players. Using WAX as its blockchain network, the game uses FWF (Farmers World Food), FWW (Farmers World Wood), and FWG (Farmers World Gold) as in-game cryptocurrencies. The resources obtained in the game are considered as tokens. This means that the resources in the game are digital assets owned by players.

MOBOX: NFT Farmer

MOBOX: NFT Farmer is a play-to-earn game that focuses on farming NFT assets mostly. The farming NFT game utilizes the TRON, Ethereum, and Binance Smart Chain blockchain networks with its native cryptocurrency, MBOX. With nearly 200.000 players, MOBOX: NFT Farmer ranks 5th on the list.

Crazy Defense Heroes

With over 150,000 players, the 6th place game Crazy Defense Heroes is a play-to-earn mobile game that utilizes Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain blockchain networks with its native in-game cryptocurrency, TOWER. The game was developed by Animoca Brands, a famous game development studio that focuses on blockchain games. 

Pegaxy

Pegaxy is a play-to-earn horse racing game with its unique NFT horses, and two different in-game cryptocurrencies, VIS, and PGX. The game is supported by the Polygon blockchain network only at the moment. Pegaxy offers an NFT rental system that can minimize the costs of starting the game for players.

Sunflower Land

Another play-to-earn farming game Sunflower Land is 8th on the list with nearly 150.000 players. The game with 8-bit visuals uses SFL tokens as its in-game cryptocurrency and utilizes the Polygon blockchain network.

Bomb Crypto

Bomb Crypto, another pixel art play-to-earn arcade game, is number 9 on the list with 130.000 players. Bomb Crypto uses BCOIN, and SEN tokens as its native cryptocurrencies, while being supported by the Binance Smart Chain blockchain network. 

Galaxy Blocks

Galaxy Blocks, which we can consider as the distant cousin of the Tetris game, ranks 10th on the list with almost 120,000 players. The game, which can be played on mobile devices, uses the ThunderCore blockchain network with its in-game cryptocurrency, BLOCK.

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What is a Play-to-Earn Game?

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