P2E or “Play-to-Earn” gaming is a genre of video games that are built using blockchain technology
P2E games reward players with cryptocurrency that can be exchanged or sold for fiat money or other assets
Popular P2E games include Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, and Decentraland
The emergence of P2E games is one of the biggest blockchain successes, as these games offer regular gamers an opportunity to earn a significant income while still having fun.
Due to their lucrative earnings, P2E games are known to attract thousands of players, resulting in a boost of adoption across the NFT and blockchain gaming sectors.
We’ve seen a recent example of this with BACY’s Dookey Dash. Currently one of the most played P2E games of this year, its NFT-paired collection “Sewer Pass” has generated over $43.45 million in sales volume since the game’s launch on January 19, 2023.
According to data by GlobeNewswire, the global play-to-earn game market is estimated to reach $2.84 billion by 2028, up from $776.9 million in 2021. With such projected growth, it is clear that P2E has massive potential to revolutionize not just blockchain but the entire gaming industry.
What is P2E?
P2E or “Play-to-Earn” are video games built using blockchain technology where players earn blockchain-based assets like cryptocurrencies or NFTs, depending on how they play the game.
Rewards earned via these games can be traded or sold on the secondary market in exchange for other crypto or fiat currencies.
Play-to-earn games are one budding sector in the crypto space with lots of attention, as they present regular gamers with a real-money making opportunity.
Some popular examples of P2E games include Axie Infinity, Decentraland, Zedd Run, and Dookey Dash.
How Do P2E Games Work?
P2E games are similar to regular traditional games in most aspects, such as graphics, controls, themes, and mechanics. However, they differ in employing blockchain technology within their systems.
With blockchain technology, P2E games create an ecosystem in which players receive in-game assets or cryptocurrencies with real-world value.
These in-game items can be tokens, avatars, skins, virtual land, weapons, or just about anything that game developers can create.
In-game assets for P2E games are typically minted as NFTs, which gives players full ownership and allows them to buy, sell, or transfer without the need for a central marketplace (for instance, Steam Marketplace).
Having these in-game items as NFTs also means that game developers can forever utilize the assets. Meaning collectibles and unlockable items can be compatible with different versions of a game or even an entirely new game itself.
Unlike traditional games in which earnings are usually reserved for special competitions and events, play-to-earn gaming allows players to earn in every game phase, from completing missions to winning combat battles, breeding in-game creatures, or solving puzzles.
Like all blockchain applications, play-to-earn games are globally accessible and can be played by anyone, irrespective of location.
Which are the most played P2E games?
There are many play-to-earn games in the crypto space; however, some of these games have been able to stand out, attracting thousands of players due to their gameplay features and intriguing rewards.
1. Axie Infinity
Axie Infinity is among the most popular P2E games, with 187,200 daily active players. It runs on the Ronin network, an Ethereum sidechain that helps to eliminate high transaction costs as well as reduce latency.
Based on Nintendo’s Pokemon franchise, Axie Infinity allows players to collect NFT monsters known as Axies.
Axies are used to fight against computer-generated monsters or enter combat battles with other players. You can develop your Axies’ abilities or breed them with one another to generate other characters with potentially greater abilities.
For every battle you win on Axie Infinity, you earn Smooth Love Potion (SLP) tokens, which are required to develop or breed Axies.
Based on your general gameplay, you also earn the Axie Infinity Shard (AXS) token, which is used as the in-game currency for Axie Infinity’s marketplace and also serves as the governance token of the game.
2. The Sandbox
The Sandbox is a popular GameFi project with an ecosystem that thrives off players’ creativity. In The Sandbox, players are allowed to design games, organize quests, and basically construct their own world, all of which can be monetized to generate some type of income.
For example, you can build a game and receive a commission from other players to play it. You could also buy virtual land in the form of an NFT and rent it out for a fee. In The Sandbox, all transfers of value are made using SAND tokens, which also serve as the platform’s governance token.
The Sandbox is deployed on the Polygon network, another Ethereum layer two scaling solution.
Decentraland is a metaverse project built on the Ethereum network designed to allow players to earn by buying and selling virtual lands represented by NFTs. Decentraland is quite popular, with many prominent traditional brands opening virtual stores in its metaverse.
In Decentraland, players can also make money by participating in casino games such as roulette, blackjack, and poker, provided they own at least one piece of land. Alternatively, you can also own a casino and receive a commission on other players’ winnings.
Other ways of earning in the Decentraland include charging players for your services such as event planning and advertisement.
Decentraland’s native token is MANA, and it serves as the primary payment medium in the virtual world. MANA can be held for long-term investment and is available on several cryptocurrency exchanges.
Spinterlands is one of the best NFT play-to-earn games on the market. Formerly known as Steem Monsters, Splinterlands is built on the Hive blockchain but is deployed on several other chains, including Ethereum and Tron.
In Splinterlands, players start the game with a limited number of cards with characters. As you win battles and earn tokens, you receive more cards, and your catalog expands. Similar to Axies, you can combine two cards to boost the abilities of your catalog.
Splinterlands allows players to earn their native token – Dark Energy Crystal (DEC) – by winning fights. For every battle won, players receive DEC based on their level, the opponent’s level, and the capture rate.
5. BAYC’s Dookey Dash
Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Dookey Dash is one of the newest P2E games garnering lots of attention. Dookey Dash is a tunnel/racing game in which players avoid obstacles and earn “fragments” while trying to score as high as possible. It was launched on January 19 and is set to run for just three weeks.
Members of BAYC and MAYC were given 24 hours to claim the “Sewer Pass” NFTs for free – giving them access to play the game.
New players need to purchase a Sewer Pass from secondary marketplaces in order to play the game and have until February 8 to try and rank.
Whilst nothing has been revealed as of yet, the players that hold the pass are expected to be eligible to mint a new NFT that is part of the BAYC ecosystem. Players with the highest scores will most likely be eligible for a rarer (and more valuable) mint.
According to OpenSea, the Sewer Pass NFT currently has a floor price of 2.89 ETH ($4,567.66).
P2E isn’t going anywhere
Play-to-earn games are quickly developing into a major component of the crypto space. This is because they represent one of the best sources of earning significant “passive income” in the crypto industry.
As more P2E games expand into different genres and earning systems are released, it is expected that they will gain more traction and could even attain a mainstream adoption level in the coming years.
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