Play-to-Earn Video Games: What They Are, What Are Their Characteristics, and How to Get Started

How much do you know about this trend that combines investments, gaming fun, and blockchain principles? Complete information in this article.


What are play-to-earn video games?

Play-to-earn video games (also known as “P2E“) are a new move in the gaming scene that brings together both players and investors. The key factor is that in these titles, users earn digital assets according to their progress, skills, time and loyalty.

Rewards are given in cryptocurrencies and NFTs, which can be redeemed for other currencies, such as dollars. In this regard, the genre also features blockchain-based (blockchain) deliveries and, as such, is part of the decentralization philosophy.

Note the difference between the English verbs “win” and “earn”. While the first refers to a victory, for example, overcoming levels in a video game, the second is related to obtaining a good, such as money.

Play-to-earn games propose to “win” in new ways: not only passing levels and defeating enemies, but also acquiring assets.

Due to the change in paradigm, some describe this mode as “gaming 3.0”. In this area, one of the symbols is the video game Axie Infinity.

Features of play-to-earn games

The following are the main features of play-to-earn games:

  • Players are not only rewarded with progress in the adventure, they also receive cryptocurrencies or tokens and NFTs.
  • They are games based on decentralized technologies.
  • The proposal transcends gaming as it involves crypto finance. It includes actions from the sector such as holding, trading and staking.
  • Unique collectibles with value in the game are generated on the blockchain.
  • The assets (cryptocurrencies, tokens, NFTs) obtained in play-to-earn games can be traded on exchanges.

As a specialist in gaming and economics told the TN publication, this way of playing is here to stay. “It can’t be that before we spent hours and hours on games, and all you got was frustration or momentary fun,” said Gonzalo Silman, who described himself as a fan of finance, video games and cryptocurrencies.

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At this point, the difference between play-to-earn games and classic video games is clear.

Let’s look at this with an example.

Traditional video games (from Super Mario Bros. to GTA and Call of Duty, to mention paradigms of all times) are based on a centralized system. What the player wins can only be used within that title.

P2E are different. By relying on blockchain infrastructure, users have control over what they earn. That’s where the link with digital assets (tokens, NFTs, virtual currencies) arises, which they can exchange, trade, sell, hoard, etc.

How do play-to-earn games work?

The workings of play-to-earn games are not the same in all cases. Like in “traditional” video games, the mechanics are determined by each developer.

In addition to a variety of gameplay proposals, there are different ways to reward users.

Some P2Es reward players with cryptocurrencies, a non-fungible token, or an increase in the value of an already-owned NFT.

Some games in the genre require an initial investment, and others are free.

In many cases, the assets (awards) are obtained while playing; in others, they are given for completing daily missions; and in some, free cards are offered at the beginning of the game, as in P2E releases such as Spell of Genesis, Sorare, and Sandbox.

The player is the owner of the digital assets, which can be exchanged for money, treasured with the hope that the value will increase, or collected.

These assets have a value equivalent to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins or Ethers, for example.

In the next point, we will review the requirements necessary to participate in these decentralized releases.

What do I need to enter the play-to-earn world?

To enter the play-to-earn world, there are a number of requirements or previous steps to “play and win”.

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Having a digital wallet: This is where digital assets, which in this case will result from rewards during the game, are stored. There are many different wallets, so you will need to choose one that is compatible with your device and the blockchain you want to use.

Create an account on an exchange platform: Exchanges (one of the most well-known is Binance) allow you to buy cryptocurrency with money needed to start playing in a play-to-earn. They are also useful for exchanging digital buttons for money, for example, dollars.

Sign up for the game: To be part of this new video game boom, it is necessary to buy game cryptocurrency and acquire the NFTs you want. It is worth remembering that in some titles, characters and items are bought, while in others, no initial payment is required.

Finally, to enter the world of play-to-earn games, it is important to conduct previous research. The fact that you are reading these lines is a good step.

The same logic that applies to investments in crypto markets also applies to P2E games. It is advisable to take time to learn about the available options, the requirements for participation, the necessary security barriers, and how assets are earned.

A good idea is to start trying out those that do not require an initial investment. Another tip: participate in forums to learn the perspective of other users.

In addition, being video games, it will also be good to explore which ones are the most fun and compatible with your tastes. It happens that play-to-earn games are part of a growing movement, with increasingly diverse options and for various platforms.

Among the most well-known P2E games are Axie Infinity, Spell of Genesis, Sorare and Sandbox. Others are Obots, Mobox, Aliens World, Gods Unchained, Splinterlands, and Pegaxy.