With the rising interest in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, play-to-earn crypto games have become a hot topic. In fact, for many tech and video game enthusiasts, they’re even considered to be the future of gaming.
In this post, we’ll go over the basics of play-to-earn games, how they work, how to start playing them, and a list of the top games available right now.
What Are “Play-To-Earn” Crypto Games?
A play-to-earn crypto game is a video game that rewards players with NFTs and/or cryptocurrencies that are stored on the blockchain and that can be exchanged between players. Since these digital assets can have significant value outside of the video game, it’s entirely possible to make money with play-to-earn crypto games.
In other words, you play the crypto game, and - if you’re any good at it - you’re rewarded with digital assets that can be actually valuable. These can then be traded on an NFT marketplace, allowing the player to accumulate fiat currency like dollars, euros, and/or pounds.
For instance, let’s say you’re playing a fantasy adventure game and there’s an item called The Golden Hammer that’s super valuable. With conventional video games, this value would only exist within the world of the game - it has no value outside the digital world of the game. However, with play-to-earn crypto games, these types of items would have a corresponding value in cryptocurrency, and this can translate to fiat currency in the world outside of the game.
As a result, play-to-earn crypto games can be a viable source of income, depending on how much the user plays, the type of game they choose to play, and their skill level at playing the game. In order to earn these dividends, you’re usually required to win battles, complete tasks, or finish missions within the game’s environment.
Play-to-earn crypto games are part of the growing popularity of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. In fact, according to research done by Crypto.com, over 220 million people invested in cryptocurrencies globally by June of 2021. As impressive as that figure is, it’s actually double from six months prior in January of 2021.
Because of this growing interest in crypto, there are many video game enthusiasts who see crypto games as the future of gaming, especially as they relate to the growing metaverse.
How Do Play-To-Earn Crypto Games Work?
In conventional video games, all the digital assets - including the in-game currency, weapons, skins, characters, and other in-game items - are not owned by players. Instead, these digital assets are hosted on centralized servers and are owned by the game publishers.
However, with a play-to-earn crypto game, the digital assets are hosted on the blockchain and owned by the players. In other words, it’s a radical redistribution of ownership and control, upending the traditional power structures that have controlled the video game industry for decades. Additionally, the games are monetized by the game publisher taking a fee from each transaction between players, thereby making the business model profitable.
How is this accomplished? Via blockchain technology. This is a system that uses cryptography to link blocks of data sequentially and in a decentralized network spread over multiple computer terminals.
In other words, blockchain technology functions as a kind of digital ledger that stores and records sensitive information, including financial transactions. It’s so valuable because it can’t be hacked, altered, or otherwise tampered with.
Crypto games empower players in the following ways:
- Decentralizing control - Video game developers and publishers no longer have exclusive control over every aspect of the game.
- Giving players real ownership - In-game assets can now be effectively controlled by players instead of just the gaming companies.
- Integrating them with the growing metaverse - Players can now trade assets that they accumulate in the crypto game across the entire metaverse, including NFT marketplaces.
- Creating a more immersive experience - Blockchain technology allows for a more open, distributed, and transparent ecosystem as well as giving players more control over game dynamics.
- Increasing the creative potential - Players can continue playing and even contribute to updates on a given game since it’s no longer run on a centralized server that’s maintained by the developers.
Finally, play-to-earn crypto games are driven by a concept called tokenomics - this means that the game in question incentivizes players through offering tokens, cryptocurrency, and/or NFTs. In other words, these games allow players to general IRL value via in-game assets, all of which are securely stored on the blockchain.
How Do I Start Playing Play-To-Earn Crypto Games?
If you’ve decided to start playing crypto games, you’ll need to follow a few basic steps to get started:
- Find the right game for you, either via Epic Games or on Egamers.io, which has a huge selection of crypto games to choose from.
- Determine what cryptocurrency that game requires. If you’re unsure, consider purchasing Ether (ETH) since most crypto gaming is based on the Ethereum blockchain.
- You need to choose a cryptocurrency exchange platform to convert your real-world money into the cryptocurrency of choice for the game.
- Find a digital wallet (or crypto wallet) to store your cryptocurrency - thankfully, you have lots of options to choose from.
- If necessary, purchase any starter items like characters, tokens, decks of cards, or upgrades to begin playing.
It’s pretty simple! Finding the right game can be tricky, but you should definitely consider gameplay as well as how the blockchain assets are earned and exchanged. In other words, if you’re more of an RPG fan, then try to find a crypto game that fits that description.
It’s important to note that there are crypto games you can play on your smartphone that may not have a dedicated mobile version yet. If you want to access these crypto games from your Android or iOS device, then you’ll need a compatible Dapp browser.
There are plenty of Dapp browsers available, including some that double as crypto wallets:
Finally, in order for this Dapp browser to access the game, you’ll need to import your private key into the app.
Are Play-To-Earn Crypto Games Free To Play?
This depends entirely on how the game developers decide to set up the crypto games in question. Ultimately, there are some that have no upfront costs while others require a significant amount of startup capital.
For example, let’s take a look at Axie Infinity, which is one of the most popular crypto games on the market today. In order to get started, players are required to purchase at least three (3) Axies, which are the main characters in the game.
To buy these three (3) Axies, you’ll need to:
- Purchase Ethereum (ETH) coins, usually via a Fiat To Crypto Exchange.
- Transfer Ethereum (ETH) coins to your MetaMask wallet.
- Create a Ronin Wallet and link it to your MetaMask account.
- Go to the Axie Marketplace and find the Axies you want to buy.
- Accumulate at least three (3) Axies and then you can start playing the crypto game.
Since you’ll be dealing with ETH cryptocurrency, there’s a certain amount of market volatility that you should expect. However, under most circumstances, the cost of acquiring these three (3) Axies will be about USD $1,000 to $1,200.
Of course, for some players, this kind of upfront expense can’t be justified. Luckily, there are other play-to-earn crypto games that are free to play, including Gods Unchained, Splinterlands, and The Sandbox.
There’s also a method for starting Axie Infinity for free, known officially as Axie Infinity Scholarship. This is when prospective players approach users who already have Axies and make a deal that essentially allows them to act as asset managers. In other words, they play on behalf of the Axie owners and take a cut of the profits.
If you’re looking for the right crypto game for you, then you’ll definitely have to consider if you’re willing to pay any upfront costs.
What Are The Best Play-To-Earn Crypto Games?
Let’s take a moment to look at some of the best crypto games that are available today
Huslverse (coming soon)
The Huslverse is an Ethereum-based metaverse that will offer players a wealth of exciting opportunities. This includes a play-to-earn crypto game with the following characteristics:
- A vibrant in-game economy - Players can use the $HUSL token as the native currency to buy valuable in-game assets.
- Massive online multiplayer experience - The Husl play-to-earn game will allow players to connect with lots of other players in the burgeoning Huslverse.
- Customizable items - Players can create their own characters and in-game assets and save them as NFTs.
- Virtual land - Players can buy, sell, or lease virtual land and its resources since they’re the actual owners of these digital commodities.
- Interoperability with other blockchains - Players can still transfer data and assets from the Ethereum-based Huslverse to other blockchains.
- Governance tokens - Players who are token holders can actively take part in the development and direction of the play-to-earn game.
The Huslverse ecosystem is immersive and designed to give players as many play-to-earn opportunities as possible. It’s a huge, open virtual world with Husl City at the center and various potential money-making hotspots like an Art Museum, Art Gallery, Music Stage, Cineplex, Recording Studio, and Olympic Stadium.
Plus, within the Huslverse map, there are four (4) different lands:
- The Land of Movie Stars
- The Land of Artists
- The Land of Athletes
- The Land of Musicians
Each land offers different experiences and unique play-to-earn opportunities. Additionally, each area showcases a unique theme, designs, resources, and building materials. If you’re a virtual landowner, then you can level up your land to unlock new assets, buildings, and characters.
This is the crypto game that put NFTs on the map and, with over 176,000 active users, it remains the most popular crypto game to this very day. When it first came on the scene, there was a lot of doubt and naysaying, but ultimately it became a kind of proof of concept that crypto games can be fun, work properly, and even be profitable.
It’s basically a Pokémon-inspired monster-breeding role-playing game (RPG). You can collect, breed, battle, trade, or raise a pet Axie. If you decide to breed, generally the most profitable way to play the game, then you can create multiple generations of the monsters, all while trying to target certain key traits. You can then buy, sell, or trade your Axies on NFT marketplaces, with the ultra-rare ones commanding large sums of money.
Although Axie Infinity is on the Ethereum blockchain and it uses Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies, it also has ERC 20 governance tokens known as Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) and Smooth Love Potion (SLP). The token-holders play an active role in shaping the game’s future, including support for upgrades to the ecosystem and directing usage of the Community Treasury. You can purchase AXS on Binance, Gemini, or KuCoin.
Splinterlands is a collectible card crypto game that allows users to buy and sell digital trading cards that have unique NFT identifiers. There are hundreds of cards that players can get, and they can either collect them or use them in battles against one another. Players can also combine cards, convert them to crypto, or sell them on other platforms.
By using these NFT identifiers, it creates uniqueness and scarcity with the cards, making them more valuable and collectible. This is similar to how real-world card trading games work. For instance, a card’s value is inherently linked to its scarcity - the easier it is to find or get a card, the less valuable it is. However, if a card is one-of-a-kind or extremely rare, then its value will go through the roof.
Not surprisingly, Splinterlands has become one of the most popular crypto games on the WAX blockchain. However, it also fully integrates with the HIVE blockchain, giving players more options on how they want to accumulate their NFT-marked cards or the type of crypto they want to earn.
Finally, its native utility token is known as Splintershards (SPS). Since it’s a governance token, it gives holders the ability to make important decisions about the future of the game. You can buy SPS on Gate.io, PancakeSwap, LBank, and others.
This is a free-to-play crypto game with multiple ways for players to earn actual currency, including mining crypto coins, gathering minerals, collecting valuable NFTs, and trading in-game assets.
Plus, it’s a multiplayer survival simulation with a wide-open gaming world and a “real” money system known as POG Coin. This wide-open world consists of three zones to explore:
- PVP - battle with players
- PVE - hunting and exploration
- FARM - growing food and animals
Additionally, the player can create their own regions and communities, thereby fostering greater interactivity and a collective sense of accomplishment. There’s also a thriving digital real estate marketplace, with some players leasing in-game assets to others as a way to generate value.
Players can also compete and fight with each other, most notably by taking over territories and/or looting other players’ in-game assets. However, the various players can also work together to avoid these threats by developing barricades within their wider communities to protect their in-game assets.
This game, found under the MOBOX gaming platform, combines yield farming and farming NFTs to create a free-to-play and free-to-earn ecosystem. In other words, this game is all about NFTs and the players’ ability to accumulate them and then sell them to other players or users on both primary and secondary marketplaces.
With a regular user base of over 210,000, it’s very popular. As a result, the NFT economy is thriving, dynamic, and potentially very profitable. It also features the MOMOverse, a growing metaverse that contains:
- An NFT marketplace
- The popular crypto game Block Brawler
- A dashboard to stake MBOX and farm NFTs
As a community-focused GameFi platform, it’s built on the BNB blockchain. There’s also a native MBOX token that’s available on all the usual exchanges like Binance, Gate.io, and PancakeSwap.
Alien Worlds is an NFT marketplace where users can play with NFTs. With over 840,000 active users, it’s currently one of the most popular crypto games currently. It’s built on the WAX blockchain and integrated with the BNB blockchain, giving users multiple options in how they want to accumulate the valuable crypto from the game.
It revolves around players mining the resource Trillium (TLM), the utility tokens for this particular game. As with utility tokens in other crypto games, these can be exchanged for crypto that can then be turned into real-world currency.
There are two primary ways to mine this Trillium:
- Using NFT tools that are purchased from AtomicHub.
- Staking your TLM to earn rewards and rare NFTs that aren’t available on the wider market yet.
There is no initial investment to start playing - the game provides you with a free “shovel” so you can start mining the Trillium as soon as you get started. As a result, this makes it an incredibly popular game with crypto beginners.
Play-To-Earn Games with The Huslverse
If you’re interested in the growing metaverse, then The HUSL is a great place to start. The upcoming Huslverse will offer a play-to-earn game that gives players plenty of opportunities to earn valuable in-game assets and NFTs.
In other words, players can actually earn money to play and enjoy the growing Huslverse ecosystem. Additionally, the game mechanics allow players to create an avatar that has a dream occupation and that completes quests that correspond with their playing choices.
To get started with the Huslverse play-to-earn game, all you need is a web browser and crypto wallet. However, the wallet is not 100% necessary, but it does improve gameplayer and protect the in-game assets that you accumulate during play.
Stay tuned for the upcoming Huslverse!