What is Play to Earn?

Photo - What is Play to Earn?
How about playing games to make money? With P2E, it’s easy. Play to Earn is the most common format of the GameFi sphere. Read the article and find out in which games you can earn NFT and other digital assets.
 The gaming industry is constantly reforming, being filled with new technologies, styles, sub-genres, and types. One of the current trends has been combining simple structured games with blockchain, decentralized finance, and NFT. As a result, the concept of GameFi was formed and became widespread in 2020. This sector, in turn, was divided into several categories, the most popular of which is Play to Earn.

Now, not only streamers on the Twitch platform or cyber-sportsmen but also advanced smartphone users and crypto proponents can play games to make money. P2E apps are not really designed for entertainment but primarily for gaining valuable in-game assets in the form of NFT and other tokens, which can then be withdrawn to a cryptocurrency wallet and exchanged for fiat.  Blockchain makes this process more transparent and decentralized.

Play to Earn games at their current stage of development have very simplified mechanics and graphics. The interaction consists of breeding different NFT creatures, their improvement for further sale, card battles with other users, and quests. In some cases, you deal with staking and mining. To start playing, it’s not enough to download the game. In most cases, you will have to invest a certain amount of money by purchasing characters, weapons, land, or other game items. And only then can you start earning, receiving rewards and prizes. 

The first game in the Play to Earn format was CryptoKitties, launched in 2017, which is also the first-ever blockchain game in the GameFi sphere. Initially, the whole process was limited to breeding crypto kitties to sell them in marketplaces, but as the app improved, the developers added other activities.

Which Play to Earn game became the most popular?

Axie Infinity is P2E’s most significant project. Its success is hard to overestimate: the total sales for the whole time exceeded $942 million. Now the game has more than 350 000 active users. The creators are Sky Mavis, a studio founded in early 2018, which ranks fifth in terms of income among video game makers.

Axie Infinity is a step-by-step card game on the Ethereum blockchain where you can mint NFTs and earn in-game SLP and AXS tokens. To earn rewards, users fight monsters and other players with a team of 3 Axies. Axies are cute NFT creatures with a unique set of characteristics that are shown on their cards. The variety of Axies and their skills allows you to customize the team to your own style of play. 

 Users can interact and trade assets with other players, participate in the social life of the project, buy plots of NFT-land and other game assets.

In Axie Infinity, there are 3 options for earning, which can be combined:
  • Arena mode battles (PvP);
  • minting and selling NFTs (breeding and selling Axie in the marketplace);
  • investing in Lunacia land.

At the best of times, the game had about 2.8 million daily users, and the total trading volume reached $3.8 billion. So, Axie Infinity became a leader in the Play to Earn segment. In developing countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, it replaced full-time jobs for some people due to the emergence of so-called scholarships.

Scholarships are contracts between players. One of them is a manager, and the other is an apprentice. Managers are those who have enough resources but little time to play. Apprentices are people who spend all their free time playing the game for the managers’ resources. Profits are divided between them by 60/40. The share percentage may, however, vary according to the agreement. Apprentices do not have access to the SLP and AXS they have earned. The manager is responsible for the withdrawal. In essence, the apprentice plays from someone else’s account for a percentage of earnings in the game. That is, it can be regarded as a way to win without investing anything.

What are some other interesting NFT games?


Silks is a new P2E project dedicated to equestrian sports. The game involves actual statistics related to thoroughbred racehorses, on which the Silks Horses NFT game collection is based. It is scheduled for sale in the third quarter of 2022.

Avatars and land are also available in a non-fungible token format. The success of controlling game mechanics depends on which NFT the player chooses. For example, if a real horse the player purchased as a token wins a race, s/he receives a reward in the metaverse.

It is not necessary to take care of the purchased horses. You can switch NFT to staking and get bonuses for it. If someone wants a farm of their own, the player needs to buy land. Every time somebody uses it, s/he will receive an income.

Alien Worlds

Blockchain game consists of the metaverse and decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) elements, runs on a P2E model using its own Trillium game token (TLM), and a vast number of NFT objects and items. 

The story takes place in the year 2055. Federation, a bitcoin mining community, travels through a wormhole to other exoplanets, mining the ultra-rare resource Trillium. Instead of the classic card battles between players and doing quests, mining, staking, and DAO voting come to the fore in AW. Notably, the game is fully decentralized.

Alien Worlds is developed on the WAX blockchain but is compatible with Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain blockchains. Gamers can transfer TLMs between these networks.


Splinterlands is a card game based on the “Game of Thrones” series. The user can get a native platform token called “dark energy crystals” (DEC) and a rare NFT for winning a match.

The Play to Earn project quickly found its target audience and received large sums from institutional investors. 

To play Splinterlands, you need to buy a starter set of cards. The lucky ones may get rare examples. Sometimes users may find several cards of the same kind. They can be combined to boost power or exchanged for cryptocurrencies. The game provides two modes: fighting with other users and completing quests to get more cards.

Therefore, Play to Earn combines uncomplicated and enjoyable gameplay with monetization. An obvious factor that NFT games Play to Earn will continue to evolve is the investment in the sector by firms like FTX, Andreesen Horowitz, and other prominent companies. The slowdown is not to be expected soon. The industry has prospects for growth, both in terms of technology and user experience.