F2P: free to play
P2E: play to earn
PVE: player vs. environment (players compete with a gaming software rather than an actual person)
PVP: player vs player (players compete in real time with an actual person)
Liquidity pool: a pot of cryptocurrency assets that are “locked in” in a smart contract used to facilitate trades
Staking: the process of “locking up” crypto assets like coins or NFTs in exchange for a reward or earned interests
What is play to earn? 💰
P2E are video games that reward players with money and/or other real-world value.
👾 Relationship of NFTs with P2E games
Compared to F2P regular games where you can finish a mission from start to end and as soon as you turn off your console, phone, or PC, the only thing you’re rewarded with is dopamine and serotonin, did you know you can actually get paid for playing P2E games.
With the increasing popularity of NFTs and blockchain technology, play-to-earn games soon followed the trend, and in some cases, is perhaps now leading. This is mostly because people have realized how blockchain nurtures the potential of NFTs as in-game assets, and how it can provide further utility for NFT holders in the form of passive income.
The reason why blockchain is such a good fit for gaming, is due to the power of ownership being transferred from the creator of the game to the actual players. With P2E, owners of digital assets like NFTs have the right to transfer their ownership to other people without needing permission from a centralized authority like a company. Ownership is key.
Playing Super Mario Bros means that all the characters, coins, goombas, question
blocks, etc. are owned by the company and players of the game can’t take those assets outside of the game’s ecosystem because they don’t have ownership of anything associated with the game.
However, with the likes of Axie Infinity, in-game items like Axies are collected as pets by players who then “battle, breed, collect, raise, and build kingdoms for their Axies. The universe has a player-owned economy where users can truly own, buy, sell, and trade resources they earn in the game through skilled-gameplay and contributions to the ecosystem.”
🤔 How to make money playing games
There are numerous ways to make money in crypto games and it all depends on the strategies the games have implemented. Here are a few notably popular P2E games that have received high praises from players with explanations of how people make money playing them:
1. Axie Infinity is on the Ronin blockchain and is compatible on iOS, Android, and PCs. The genre is tactical battles, with the most common way of earning money through selling SLP (Smooth Love Potions) required to breed Axies (the NFTs). SLP has great demand in the market and is farmed through either, battling the Axies in Adventure Mode (PVE), fighting other players in Arena Mode (PVP), completing all daily missions & quests, and breeding (breed Axies to create offspring). If you breed a rare Axie like Angel (a triple mystic Axie sold for $130,000), you can earn even more money!
(Image from Axie Infinity Whitepaper: https://whitepaper.axieinfinity.com/)
2. The Sandbox is on the Ethereum blockchain and is compatible with PC only (for now). It’s essentially considered as a glorified Minecraft. It’s a virtual world “where players can build, own, and monetize their gaming experience” using NFTs. The objective of the game is to create unique items with Voxel that can be sold in the Sandbox marketplace as in-game assets, whilst the Gamemaker is for building their own games that can be played by others in the 3D virtual world.
(Image from The Sandbox Medium Article: https://medium.com/sandbox-game/what-is-the-sandbox-850de68d893e)
3. DeFi Kingdoms (DFK) is on the Harmony blockchain with the genre of ‘Gamefi’ (gaming and decentralized finance) available on PC and mobile Metamask. Its style is very much a form of fantasy pixel art. The game has its own DEX (a decentralized exchange) where people can swap a variety of crypto assets within the game. DFK’s in-game token is JEWEL and players can swap this within the game without going to external platforms like Coinbase or Binance to do so. NFTs are also used for Heroes, where players can spend as much or as little as they like by adding to the liquidity pools in the Marketplace and staking tokens in the Gardens, or JEWEL at the Jeweler. Liquidity pools, staking, and breeding and selling heroes are the main ways people earn money through DFK.
(Image from DeFi Kingdoms Whitepaper: https://docs.defikingdoms.com/)
💼 Changing the game (literally!) for the unemployed
Crypto and NFTs often get backlash in the media because so many people are skeptical about its potential for money-making. But a small community in the Philippines has proven this to be inaccurate, and has even lifted some people out of poverty. When the Philippines was hit with restrictions of COVID- 19, 7.3 million people became unemployed— many of whom were already barely earning enough to survive.
In seeking to escape the reality of how hard things were getting, a rural province north of Manila found a way to put food on their tables through Axie Infinity. The community learned by owning Axies and earning tokens in-game, they can be swapped for other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum that they can eventually convert to Philippine Pesos for their first, and numerous cash-outs thereafter.
Now, there are individuals and families earning more in a week through Axie Infinity than what they usually would have earned in a month through their usual jobs. The ecosystem has expanded so much that programs like Axie University have formed to help others get started who don’t have enough money to buy their own Axies.
This is a hugely promising model for a fundamental change in the way people can access income, and P2E games are challenging the way we work as well. Games like Axie Infinity are testing our old ways of thinking that gaming is a waste of time as it’s now turning users into earners.
🌱 What P2E game am I most excited about right now?
There is an exciting game development, NFT project brewing on Solana right now called ‘Everseed’. Pioneered and ran by the CEO and Co-founder of Amihan Entertainment, Everseed has so far impressed me with their ability to welcome beginners to the NFT space while building a genuine and strong community. What’s even better is that their minting process has been really fun and seamless.
The project has essentially “chosen” who their community members were going to be by requiring them each to fill out a form outlining why they want to be part of this ‘next-gen’ game. Only those who were successful in their applications were able to have access to the chat. I was lucky enough to be one of those ‘Rangers’. I minted an ‘Elixir’ which essentially acted as a token pass to let me customize my own avatar/Ranger for the game. The customization only allowed you to choose features of what the Ranger will look like and what faction you want to be a part of (this meant knowing and learning about the game’s lore), but the overall reveal of the Ranger allocated the metadata.
Check out more about them there: everseed.substack.com
🚀 The future of play to earn
There’s no doubt that P2E is a unique opportunity for many people, and with upcoming international investments towards gamification, it looks like play-to-earn games is the future for not only jobs, but for the gaming industry as well. With the advancement of blockchain technology and more creative ways of earning through NFTs, the future of P2E looks promising.
Games like Axie Infinity will only continue to expand and create new roles within web3, opening up job opportunities we didn’t know could exist. Roles such as P2E gamers, NFT investors, breeders, co-ordinators, and P2E gaming guilds will most likely drive the gaming industry in a more decentralised, community-driven sector where having fun means also getting paid.
The rising numbers of P2E games won’t stop soon either. It’s becoming very popular for NFT projects to signpost gamification in their roadmaps to provide more utility and benefits for their holders. For example, BAYC (Bored Ape Yacht Club) have released their P2E game called BAYC vs MAYC Mobile Game Competition. It’s predicted that more of these gaming models will be implemented and explored by NFT projects alike.
In a world where all you need is a phone and an internet connection to make money, the power of P2E can’t be disputed and its future can’t be ignored.