Cryptocurrencies are in high demand. From minting NFTs to finding free ways to earn Bitcoins, more people are getting fascinated with this new form of money. It’s no wonder the gaming industry is embracing the trend head-on. Play-to-earn games are the latest sensation to join the crypto bandwagon.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 12 Exciting Play-to-Earn Crypto Games:
- 2 What are Play-to-Earn Games?
- 3 Types of Play-to-Earn Games
- 4 Benefits of Play-to-Earn Games
- 5 1. You can earn money.
- 6 2. You can create, own, and sell NFTs.
- 7 3. You can have fun and escape to new worlds.
- 8 12 Exciting Play-to-Earn Games in 2022
- 9 1. Axie Infinity
- 10 2. Gods Unchained
- 11 3. Plants vs. Undead
- 12 4. Decentraland
- 13 5. Alien Worlds
- 14 6. Pegaxy
- 15 7. The Sandbox
- 16 8. Splinterlands
- 17 9. Thetan Arena
- 18 10. Sorare
- 19 11. Blankos Block Party
- 20 12. Star Atlas
- 21 Final Thoughts
Top 12 Exciting Play-to-Earn Crypto Games:
What are Play-to-Earn Games?
Play-to-earn (P2E) games are video games where players earn rewards (usually in the form of NFTs and tokens) that they can exchange for real-world money. Earning cash from gaming items isn’t new. Players who develop certain characters or discover rare in-game treasures can sell their assets to other players.
However, these are mostly peer-to-peer exchanges where gamers are not the actual owners of the items they’re selling. Game developers still own these items, and these exchanges are usually gray markets prone to fraudulent schemes. Also, these items are limited to the gaming environment. Users can’t bring them or use them outside the game.
With play-to-earn games, players can create and collect NFTs. These are mostly unique, individual, and rare items they can bring outside the game and sell in NFT marketplaces. Players have full ownership of these items, with game developers benefiting through transaction fees. It’s a win-win scenario for both parties. Game developers are incentivized to create play-to-earn games that are exciting and rewarding, and players are motivated to keep playing and earning.
Types of Play-to-Earn Games
Play-to-earn games come in different themes and game difficulties. Since the rise of Axie Infinity in 2018, there have been different P2E games that cater to various player personalities. Most of these games have simple gameplay typical of games in the early stages of development.
Some of the popular types of play-to-earn games are:
- Trading Card Games (Gods Unchained, Splinterlands)
- Racing Games (Pegaxy, Silks, Riot Racers)
- Sports Games (Sorare, Blockchain Brawlers)
- Virtual Worlds (Decentraland, The Sandbox)
- Adventure Games (Alien Worlds, Zeal)
- Multiplayer Online Battle Games (Thetan Crush, Planet Quest)
- Strategy Games (Plants vs. Undead, Axie Infinity)
- Puzzle Games (Quantum Nosesis, Town Crush)
Benefits of Play-to-Earn Games
There are several advantages to choosing play-to-earn games over traditional video games available in the market.
1. You can earn money.
Most play-to-earn games require in-game purchases to start or advance, but many free-to-play games earn rewards without an initial investment. These games release NFT rewards for winning battles or achieving all-time high scores. NFTs sell for a lot of fiat money, making them a good source of cash.
2. You can create, own, and sell NFTs.
NFTs are no longer the sole domain of creative artists. Even as a player, you can own NFTs by earning them as rewards or customizing existing game elements. These NFTs can be traded in the marketplace, and since there’s a captured market (the gameplayers), the chances of selling them are high.
3. You can have fun and escape to new worlds.
Some P2E games are immersive metaverses where you can design your own experiences. Many of them are fun to play and allow you to forget the passing of time.
12 Exciting Play-to-Earn Games in 2022
Some of the games in this list have been around for quite a while and promise great returns for players. Others are new and hold great opportunities for early adopters.
1. Axie Infinity
Quick Stats Tokens AXS (governing token) / SLP Platforms Chrome / Firefox / Edge / Android / iOS Requirement Ronin Wallet Genre Creature Battler Free to Play No
Axie Infinity is inspired by the popular game Pokémon. It was established in 2018 by Sky Mavis and could be credited as the forefather of play-to-earn games. Players earn AXS (Axie Infinity Shards), which can influence the future of the game. They can also earn SLP (Smooth Love Potion), another in-game token used for Axie breeding.
Users start with 3 Axies (cute monsters) they purchase from the marketplace. Every Axie has unique strengths and weaknesses. Users can battle their Axies with other players’ Axies to earn crypto tokens. You can also breed them to create more powerful creatures. Every Axie is an NFT that can be sold in an NFT marketplace, hopefully, for a profit.
At the height of its popularity, purchasing Axies cost hundreds of dollars. This created a huge barrier to entry for the game. Axies have dropped in value since then, and with the introduction of Axie Origins, players can get free starter Axies. Despite the value of AXS diminishing, developers are expanding the game’s offerings to include metaverse land developments in a bid to secure the game’s position.
2. Gods Unchained
Quick Stats Tokens GODS Platforms PC / Mac Requirement Any crypto wallet if trading NFTs Genre Card Trading Free to Play Yes
Gods Unchained is a free-to-play tactical card game that allows players to own their cards and mint new ones as NFTs. Unlike other P2E games, players don’t need to purchase anything to start playing. Simply create an account on their website and receive a welcome deck of cards.
Players can use this welcome set to familiarize themselves with the game by playing against other players. The welcome set also contains core cards that can be forged into Meteorite NFT Cards. These can be sold in an NFT marketplace or traded with other players. Players who rank in the game are also rewarded with expansion packs, and those who play in in-game events earn bigger rewards.
While some cards can be expensive, Gods Unchained ensures that players can rise the ranks using basic cards without spending too much. The developers’ mission is to create a platform where players have true ownership of in-game items.
Gods Unchained uses its native token GODS and mints its NFT cards in the Ethereum blockchain. There are 23M total GODS coins, and about 7% are in circulation.
3. Plants vs. Undead
Quick Stats Tokens PVU Platforms PC / Mac Requirement Metamask Wallet Genre Strategy Free to Play Yes
Are you familiar with the popular Plants vs. Zombies game? Plants vs. Undead is similar in gameplay, with minor differences in the storyline. It’s a multiplayer tower defense game about a meteorite-hit planet where the animals have turned into zombies that attack plants. Of course, the flora has evolved to combat these attackers.
The game uses PVU, a native token stored on the Binance Smart Chain. The in-game currency is Light Energy (LE). They are interchangeable. To advance in the game, you need LE. You can earn LE by farming or by advancing in the game. To earn fiat currency, simply convert your LE to PVU and trade them in decentralized exchanges.
One advantage of Plants vs Undead over other P2E games is the lack of any initial investment. Simply sign up and connect your Metamask wallet. You’ll receive a set of free default assets and non-NFT plants. As you play the game, you’ll acquire seeds that you can grow to become NFTs sellable in the marketplace.
Quick Stats Tokens MANA Platforms Chrome / FireFox Requirement Any Crypto Wallet Genre Virtual Reality Free to Play Yes
Decentraland is a virtual reality game where players can own land and use them for any purpose. It’s a metaverse game that mimics the real world and offers ample opportunities to earn. Players can earn by:
- buying land and selling or renting it
- organizing games or events and charging other players for access
- applying for jobs to manage properties of landowners
- minting wearables (requires community approval)
In 2021, Tominoya Casino in Decentraland employed 20 part-timers earning $700 (20hrs/week) and one full-time manager earning $1500 (40 hrs/week). Brands like Samsung and DKNY are opening stores in the game, hoping to reach consumers.
Decentraland uses MANA as its native token and in-game currency. MANA can be earned by purchasing them from digital exchanges or participating in the various earning activities in the game. Daily rewards are also common for regular players. You can access the game even without a crypto wallet. However, your information is only stored locally. This means you can interact with other players in the game but won’t receive daily rewards or participate in experiences requiring MANA.
5. Alien Worlds
Quick Stats Tokens TLM Platforms Chrome / Firefox Requirement WAX wallet Genre Mining Free to Play Yes
Alien Worlds is a metaverse Sci-Fi adventure game powered by Binance Smart Chain, WAX, and Ethereum. It’s simple to play and earn in the game. Players only have to explore the alien world by mining the game’s cryptocurrency, Trillium (TLM). To start playing, users need a WAX wallet where they can store mined TLMs. Players are equipped with a shovel, and they can visit lands owned by other players to start mining.
To advance in the game, players need Trilliums which they can earn in-game or purchase on decentralized exchanges. Players can also buy land and receive commissions every time another player mines on their property. There are also Binance Missions where players can earn more Trilliums and other special NFT rewards.
The game also promises a planetary DAO system that gives players the power to determine the game’s future. There’s also a fighting arena being developed where players can battle their minions and weapon NFTs. However, these are still under development and for now, mining and missions are the ways to earn in the game.
Quick Stats Tokens PGX / VIS Platforms PC / Mac / Mobile Requirement Any crypto wallet Genre Horse Racing Free to Play No
Pegaxy is a horse-racing game where players can purchase or rent a Pega (horse) to race against other players. The top 3 winners per race earn VIS (the in-game currency) and other NFT rewards. The premise is similar to Axie Infinity, where players can also breed horses to come up with more powerful ones.
Pega can get quite expensive, and this proves to be a barrier for most players. However, it’s possible to play for free by becoming a scholar of another horse owner. The typical profit split is 80-20, with 20% of the earnings going to the scholar.
At the moment, racing is based on an RNG (random number generated) model. The game’s next version promises to allow players to manually choose their races based on several factors. This will increase the game’s difficulty since players must now consider factors like horse’s food, race apparel, and stadium conditions before a race, among other things.
Other ways of earning from the game are selling minted horses in the NFT marketplace and stadium ownership.
7. The Sandbox
Quick Stats Tokens SAND Platforms PC / Mac Requirement Any crypto wallet Genre Virtual Reality Free to Play Yes
The Sandbox is different from other play-to-earn games because most users who play the game participate in building for a future potential to earn. The Sandbox is a metaverse real estate game where players can purchase lands, create unique experiences, design wearables (minted as NFTs), and interact with each other. It’s easy to create experiences using the GameMaker and design items using VoxEdit. Both tools are free to use by all players.
To earn from the game, you need to publish the experience on a piece of land. Owning land in Sandbox is costly. You also must be an approved creator to sell your designed item in the marketplace. Currently, earning opportunities are limited unless you own land. However, landowners can tap game creators to design experiences.
The Sandbox operates using SAND tokens which are governing tokens sold on major crypto exchanges. Players can also receive rewards in the form of tokens and NFTs for participating in in-game events. Recently, The Sandbox ended its Alpha Season 2, which gave away millions of SANDS and other rewards to participants.
Quick Stats Tokens DEC / SPS Platforms Web / Mobile Requirement Hive account / Other crypto wallets Genre Card Trading Free to Play No
Splinterlands is another exciting play-to-earn crypto card trading game. It’s technically free to play since you’ll receive a limited number of cards to start. You can use these cards to battle monsters and experience the game. However, to earn rewards, you need to invest in a Summoner’s Spellbook (currently at $10). This will allow you to unlock various card abilities that help you complete quests faster to earn rewards.
There are two tokens involved in Splinterlands: DEC (Dark Energy Crystals) and SPS (Splintershards). Players earn DEC by winning against opponents, claiming reward chests, and ranking in weekly tournaments. These are the game’s main currency. SPS is the governing tokens earned through airdrops and an in-game staking system.
When you have limited cards, the game can be pretty boring. But as you begin to collect more cards and build your deck, it becomes exciting. If acquiring cards is expensive, you can always rent them. There’s a renting market within the game where you can use rented high-level cards to work your way up. As your level goes higher, you win more and get rewarded often.
There’s also a possibility of land gameplay after the dev team held a land sale in 2020. Landowners have been holding on to their NFTs in anticipation as the developers work on releasing a beta soon.
9. Thetan Arena
Quick Stats Tokens THC / THG Platforms PC / Android / iOS Requirement Any BNB Chain compatible wallet Genre MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) Free to Play Yes
Thetan Arena is a multiplayer online battle arena game that gives users three free heroes once they sign up. These heroes have different abilities and will help you understand the game. However, for you to start earning rewards, you’d need a premium level hero that must be purchased in an NFT marketplace.
The initial investment to acquire these premium heroes isn’t much, which is a good thing. However, that also means earning potentials aren’t as great either. Thetan Arena uses two token coins – THG (Thetan Gem) and THC (Thetan Coin). THG is the governance coin that allows users to level up their heroes and withdraw THC. It has a limited supply of 420 million. THC is the in-game currency with an unlimited supply. You earn this by achieving certain milestones and winning matches.
The developers made several mistakes when they launched (such as releasing too many heroes and THC at the start), which diluted the value of the tokens for early investors. This led to a downward spiral causing the tokens to lose value drastically. Despite that, the game is still fun to play. Casual players and highly competitive players would certainly enjoy it. And if developers can turn things around, the game economy would be back on track.
Quick Stats Tokens ETH Platforms PC / Android / iOS Requirement Any ETH wallet Genre Card Trading / Fantasy Sport Free to Play Yes
Sorare is a fantasy football and card trading game featuring real-life football and baseball stars. The game is trusted by more than 130 football and baseball clubs worldwide, with famous athletes endorsing and investing in the game.
Sorare uses Ethereum (ETH) as its native token, and you need an ETH-compatible wallet to store your rewards and purchase from the marketplace. When you sign up for the game, you get packs of common cards (which are non-NFT) while completing the onboarding process. You can form a complete team using these cards, which you’ll enter in ongoing tournaments. Every time you win a match, you earn ETH and get new cards. To improve your chances of winning, you can purchase rare cards from the NFT marketplace.
There are different ways to earn from Sorare. The most common way is to receive a rare card that you can trade or sell in the marketplace. However, many players opt not to do this and hold on to their cards. Why? Because Sorare provides exciting ways to earn rewards inside the game, and having rare cards increases the chances of winning.
Players can receive ETH coins and additional cards for ranking in weekly tournaments. This creates a snowball effect. Players (called managers) reinvest their reward cards in the game to eventually acquire more free rare cards and keep earning ETH.
11. Blankos Block Party
Quick Stats Tokens MLA Platforms PC / macOS Requirement Mythical account Genre Creation Game Free to Play Yes
Blankos Block Party is a vibrant multiplayer game where users can complete quests to earn in-game currency (MLA), create custom NFT characters (Blankos), and design mini-games for others to play. It’s still in beta and interested players can get in for the early access. Currently, Blankos is free to play.
The allure of the game is for players who love creating things. They are presented with a platform where they can design their own game experiences and accessorize their own Blankos characters. These are minted as NFTs that can be sold via the game’s marketplace. The goal of the game developers is to allow gamers to profit from the gaming economy through their creations.
12. Star Atlas
Quick Stats Tokens ATLAS / POLIS Platforms PC Requirement Approved Crypto Wallets Genre Exploration Free to Play No
Star Atlas is a much-anticipated metaverse-meet-crypto space exploration game that was recently released. It uses Unreal Engine 5 and boasts dramatic gameplay experiences with realistic shadows and reflections that are rare in most play-to-earn and multiverse games. There are two game modes to choose from PvE (Player vs. Environment) and PvP (Player vs. Player).
Players can join 1 of 3 factions and build guilds that travel on spaceships to claim and mine planets for resources. It uses the familiar gaming concepts of farming, battling systems, crafting, and guild wars. The game is meant to be a thriving metaverse where players can be space travelers, engineers, scientists, aviators, etc.
Star Atlas is built on the Solana blockchain and uses two tokens: POLIS and ATLAS. POLIS is the governing token that allows holders to vote on the future of the game. ATLAS is the in-game currency used for transactions and in-game missions. Both tokens have a limited supply.
Star Atlas is expected to usher in the next generation of NFT games with its cinematic visualization and promising gameplay.
Gaming is often seen as a form of escape from stress and boredom. To get the most out of any game, developers offer in-game purchases aimed at improving gameplay. Sadly, despite spending countless dollars for these game assets, players are restricted from truly owning them.
Play-to-earn games, powered by blockchain technology, aim to disrupt the game economy. These games are empowering players to truly own their games, whether they are voting on the game’s future or owning a part of the game through an NFT.
Read more: Play to earn crypto games – Krypto-NFTs