Play-to-earn is one of the hottest gaming models that is taking the world by storm. This gaming model is powered by blockchain technology, using two of its popular verticals, decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFT).

One factor that contributed to play-to-earn’s popularity is the digital dependency that rose during the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, there was a 39 percent increase in time spent on video gaming during the pandemic. The play-to-earn model is an open economy that allows people to earn crypto by simply playing games.

Compared to traditional video games, NFT games offer more to players by allowing them to truly own their game assets. This is the opposite in traditional games, where the game makers in fact own the player’s items. The play-to-earn model is flipping that around, where players now truly own their NFT game assets.

How does play-to-earn work?

Items in play-to-earn games are in the form of NFTs. Everything that you use from avatars, weapons, costumes, gold bars, plots of land, and other in-game items are all digital tokens that players rightfully own. Once players find or buy these items through gameplay, they can trade and sell them in exchange for cryptocurrency. The earned cryptocurrencies can then be exchanged into local fiat currency.

Players can also increase their earning potential by dedicating time to leveling up their characters or items, depending on the game they play. Some can even create monetized structures on their virtual land that other players pay to use. In addition, players can increase their earnings by joining tournaments to compete with other players.

The security and transparency in how these NFT assets are what makes them unique. All transactions involving transfers, earnings, and ownership of NFTs are stored on transparent ledgers, also known as the blockchain. It is a distributed digital record-keeping technology that is collectively secured by network participants. Since play-to-earn games leverage this technology, it can provide various benefits to players under the hood.

These benefits include proving ownership of an item and preventing forgery. Tokens, another form of cryptocurrencies, can be sent and received peer-to-peer without having to rely on a third party.

Some games even utilize DeFi elements such as staking, allowing users to earn interest and other rewards. The popular play-to-earn game Axie Infinity is one such platform that has skyrocketed in users, especially among the Philippines, due to its high earnings for players.

How can you get started?

There are four important things you need to do to get started with play-to-earn games:

Create a wallet

First and foremost, you need a crypto wallet to store your NFTs and crypto earnings. This step is required to make in-game transactions and start your play-to-earn journey. The wallet that you need depends on which blockchain that game is built on. For example, MetaMask is a popular wallet used by millions for most play-to-earn platforms.

Buy starter items

While play-to-earn games are free to download, most of them require you to purchase an NFT to access the gameplay. An example is obtaining a NFT car for REVV Racing, a 3D racing simulator where players can earn REVV tokens. For Axie Infinity, a team of Axie NFTs are required to start leveling up.

Obtain crypto to pay network fees

You can’t purchase your starter items if you don’t have funds in your wallet to pay network fees. This is why you need at least a small amount of cryptocurrency in your wallet to get started. The cryptocurrency you need depends on what blockchain the game you’ll be playing is currently in. For example, Ethereum-based games require ETH cryptocurrency. For other platforms like Polygon network, the MATIC token can be used to pay for network fees, as in the case of REVV Racing. These cryptocurrencies can be obtained from various crypto exchanges, where you can buy them directly with cash.

Learn while you have fun

Apart from learning the game itself, you also need to constantly educate yourself with the play-to-earn industry. This allows you to learn more about how and why you can earn from these games. Remember, there are many play-to-earn games and many routes to take. Educating yourself and staying up to beat can open up more earning opportunities. Don’t forget to have fun in the process!

The future is ‘play more to earn more’

While monetizing online video games isn’t new, play-to-earn is revolutionizing the gaming experience by allowing players to truly own their game assets. In the past, gamers earned money by selling high-ranking accounts. Now, every NFT item you buy is yours and can be traded or sold at your own will. This new paradigm has generated the gaming market $21.1 billion in 2020, a 21.9 percent increase from the previous year.

We can expect the play-to-earn industry to further grow and potentially eclipse the traditional gaming world.

The Human & Machine podcast is dedicated to inform and demystify the crypto, DeFi, GameFi, NFTs and blockchain industries for the average person.

Tlahui is a man in love with words and blockchain. His storytelling and passion to communicate led him to co-host The Human & Machine, a podcast and YouTube channel. Where he rightfully plays the role of an average-minded Human trying to understand and explain in layman terms, the lingo and complexities thrown at him by The Machine, his heartless, yet brilliant co-host.

Hikaru is a blockchain lover with a weakness for cooking. His outstanding understanding and experience in blockchain technologies, plus his unhuman work ethic have earned him the nickname of The Machine. In the show, he plays the role of a hybrid all-knowing robot that goes out of his way to explain blockchain concepts to The Human while trying not to lose faith in humanity.

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Out with the old, in with the new: Redefining the gaming ecosystem with NFTs