September 27, 2023

Making Money in the Metaverse: Play-to-Earn Gaming

min read

Gaming is a big industry. How big exactly?

In 2021, there were 3 billion gamers worldwide, and the industry generated hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue. A big enough industry that some countries are labeling video gaming as an addiction, and big enough that governments are even limiting video gaming for teenagers.

In short, video games are a thriving industry.

Even though the industry is experiencing a bullish period, there seems to be plenty of video game growth on the horizon. Various factors are driving this growth, but a large part of it is due to the rise of NFTs, blockchain technology, and perhaps most importantly, the play-to-earn model of gaming.

What is play-to-earn gaming?

Some of the largest play-to-earn games are creating massive economies.

The concept behind play-to-earn games is simple: players collect cryptocurrencies or NFTs produced in the blockchain-based game. Next, players generate income by selling in-game NFTs or earning cryptocurrency rewards, both of which can be exchanged for fiat cash.

Another feature of play-to-earn games centers around the idea that the more a user participates, they have more chances to earn assets and increase the value of the assets they've already collected. As more players join and develop the in-game marketplace, the game's value increases for the community and developers.

Earning tokens and generating revenue does involve skill and strategy as well. It should go without saying that the more talented users will acquire more assets than players with less skill.

Regardless of skill level, players worldwide are joining in on the decentralized gaming action.

The most popular play-to-earn games on the market

It might be hard to imagine people leaving a 9-to-5 job to earn a living by playing video games, but as blockchain games continue to develop and generate massive amounts of revenue, it starts to make more sense.

Of course, some games are more popular than others. A select few games out there are even shaping the gaming industry as a whole and providing massive financial incentives for players.


Three adorable and unique Cryptokitties

The first NFT game created on the Ethereum blockchain, Cryptokitties, has legendary status because it paved the path for GameFi and play-to-earn games. Released by Dapper Labs in 2017, Cryptokitties is a game where users collect, breed, buy and sell these digital cats.

Each Cryptokitty is a unique NFT with different traits and rarity. Players used to sell and purchase kitties on the Ethereum blockchain, but the soaring popularity of these non-fungible kitties quickly overwhelmed the Ethereum network. Because of this frenzy in the Cryptokitties market, the developers eventually had to create a separate blockchain to accommodate all the digital transactions the game was producing.

Today, this play-to-earn game has well over 100,000 players who've bred over two million Cryptokitties. These transactions ad up to millions of dollars in Ethereum traded through the Kittyverse.

Axie Infinity

Different creatures known as Axies from Axie Infinity

Easily one of the most popular and successful play-to-earn games ever to hit the blockchain, Axie Infinity is creating buzz worldwide. Players collect digital creatures known as Axies, which they use to battle other Axies, breed Axies, and create kingdoms for them. The creators of Axie Infinity bill the game as a digital nation that's partially owned and operated by its players, so while players can earn money from Axie activities, they also have a say in the game's direction (kind of like a DAO and game in one).

What sets Axie Infinity apart is that it has some of the most impressive numbers of all the play-to-earn games. With close to 3 million daily active players, the marketplace has traded over $3 billion worth of Axies and other in-game assets.

On top of that, Axie Infinity easily captures the spot as the number one Ethereum game for active users. The creators attribute much of the success to the blockchain economic design of the game that allows players to own their digital assets.

With plenty of incentives for players, and with the most expensive Axie selling for $820,000, it becomes easier to see why more people are joining the game in hopes of getting a cut from gaming.

The Sandbox

Rendering from the Sandbox

For the last few months, The Sandbox has consistently been in the top 10 collections on the OpenSea market. It sits alongside collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club, Doodles, and World of Women, making it one of the most popular NFT games out there.

The Sandbox is a virtual metaverse where players acquire blockchain-backed virtual tokens called $SAND, which players can then buy and sell LANDS and ASSETS in The Sandbox metaverse.

One of the main draws of this crypto game is that it incentivizes creativity. Players earn money from the experiences and games they develop, which raises the value of The Sandbox and its community.

Speaking of value, things are looking good for The Sandbox community. While currently at a market cap of Ξ 564,764.65, it also has an average floor price of Ξ 2.199 that seems to be approaching bullish territory.

Gods Unchained

Gods Unchained characters

Another form of play-to-earn gaming comes in the form of digital trading cards. These cards are similar to how you might imagine Pokemon or Magic cards, but instead, they use the power of NFTs and the blockchain to prove ownership.

Gods Unchained is one of the most popular NFT trading card games on the market. While it's free-to-play, Gods Unchained has a thriving marketplace and plenty of ways for players to earn cash. In terms of hard numbers, nearly 7 million cards were created, and 1.3 millions card packs sold.

The game's objective is to build card decks and strategically beat their opponents in Player vs. Player matches. Like the other games on this list, players own their in-game assets and cards, which allows them to buy, trade, and sell them.

In true DAO fashion that other crypto games are adopting, Gods Unchained also incentives players by giving them a say in the game's future development. Players with more in-game tokens ($GODS) earn more voting power, influencing the game's development.

Since there is low to no cost to start playing, the Gods Unchained model has gained steam as more players enlist and build their digital NFT decks.

The future of gaming

2021 was a big year for crypto and play-to-earn gaming, and 2022 doesn't show any signs of this slowing down. This accumulation of people pouring into the metaverse combined with advancements in blockchain technology spells big things for the gaming industry.

Plus, as play-to-earn games continue to create growing economies, more people worldwide will become reliant on play-to-earn games as their means of generating income.

There's no crystal ball to say how far play-to-earn gaming can go, but as digital ownership and gaming continue to develop, the possibilities continue to seem more endless.

Do you play crypto or NFT-based games? Or do you have a take on the play-to-earn industry? Drop us a line on one of our socials. We want to hear what you have to say!

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