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Crypto Games – Exploring Play-to-Earn and GameFi

Crypto games come in many forms. However, generally speaking, most blockchain games combine video games with blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance. These crypto games often take inspiration from popular games in the traditional gaming world. Moreover, one of the many successes of the crypto gaming industry is the introduction of play-to-earn (P2E) crypto games and metaverse gaming platforms. With a play-to-earn concept, combining gaming and finance (GameFi), we can expect the crypto games industry to gain mass adoption sooner rather than later.

Blockchain & Crypto Games

In this article, we’re going to dive deep into the world of blockchain games. We’ll explore some of the different types of games available. Also, we’ll discuss some of the technology that is disrupting the traditional gaming industry. Plus, we’ll take a look at some of the games incorporating elements of decentralized finance (DeFi). 

Moralis Academy is the ultimate Web3 and blockchain education platform online. We’ve developed a range of expert-guided courses that cover every area of the industry. Check out the Ethereum Game Programming course at Moralis Academy to learn how to build your own decentralized gaming platform using the latest non-fungible token (NFT) standards. Also, save our “Crypto Investing” article for later to learn how to invest in top crypto gaming tokens safely. Start your blockchain gaming journey today with Moralis Academy! 

What are Crypto Games?

In general, crypto games are video games that incorporate one or several aspects of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. But not every part of these games relies on the blockchain. Several crypto games use the same consoles and servers as regular games. However, blockchain plays an essential role in developing in-game economies using cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), in-game assets, and elements of decentralized finance (DeFi).

Blog Play-to-Earn Crypto Games

Furthermore, players can physically own in-game assets as NFTs on the blockchain. This provides verifiable, transparent, and immutable records of ownership that cannot be altered. Also, many crypto and blockchain games use a play-to-earn (P2E) model that uses financial incentives to reward players for their time and skill. Plus, play-to-earn crypto games often use a native token to reward players for completing challenges, quests, and battles.

Another common feature in play-to-earn crypto games is decentralized marketplaces. Here, players can buy and sell in-game items and upgrade their gear as they progress through the game. Moreover, by incorporating elements of decentralized finance (DeFi), many play-to-earn crypto games offer virtual crypto mining and staking features. In turn, players often feel that they have more “skin in the game” than when playing traditional video games.

Some of these games are free to play, while others require an initial purchase. From familiar and straightforward gaming experiences to complex multiplayer strategy games, play-to-earn crypto games are gaining immense popularity. By being diverse, these games cater to a broad audience and offer varying degrees of decentralization.

GameFi

GameFi is the term that refers to the merging of video games and decentralized finance (DeFi). Blockchain-based gaming platforms enable players to have verifiable ownership of various aspects of their gaming experiences. 

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Most traditional gaming platforms use the “play-to-win” model. However, many blockchain games adopt a “play-to-earn” model that rewards players for their skill and time using various cryptocurrencies. Many of these crypto games are strategy-based. However, various subcategories of GameFi platforms exist that cater to different audiences and playing styles.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

Whereas fungible assets such as gold, Bitcoin, and the US dollar are replicable and interchangeable, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) represent unique digital asset ownership on the blockchain. NFTs can represent almost any asset you can think of in one way or another. This includes art, real estate, fashion, music, fan experiences, and digital collectibles.

One of the most prominent use cases for NFTs is in crypto games. Tokenizing in-game items such as weapons, healing potions, land, and characters on the blockchain gives holders verifiable ownership that is publicly viewable on the blockchain. Moreover, because NFTs are transparent, they have a digital history of ownership that is traceable to the source. Accordingly, players can verify the scarcity of in-game NFT items.

Play-to-Earn Crypto Games 

Although some blockchain games are purely for fun, a substantial number of them adopt the play-to-earn (P2E) model. Blockchain games that use the P2E model offer players the chance to monetize their gaming skills and playing time. In traditional gaming and esports, it is often only the very best who gets paid. However, P2E crypto games enable anyone to earn a passive income by taking advantage of various financial mechanisms these games offer.

Blog Crypto Games

Further, P2E games use financial incentives in the form of cryptocurrencies to reward players for participation. Various P2E blockchain games have their own native utility token, which can be used for staking, and purchasing in-game assets or non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Plus, these tokens often provide holders with governance rights to vote on proposals to make changes to the parameters of the game. In addition, players can earn a share of these currencies which can then be traded into fiat or other types of cryptocurrencies. Plus, NFT assets can also be sold on secondary markets such as OpenSea and Rarible.

Many P2E platforms also benefit from layer-2 scaling solutions. Accordingly, P2E gaming platforms often charge lower fees than other decentralized applications (dApps), particularly on the Ethereum blockchain.

Top Blockchain Games 

Let’s take a look at some of the top games in the blockchain space. Although there are several metrics we could use to quantify the “top blockchain games”, we’re going to look at the games that have, according to DappRadar, the most active users. However, it is worth noting that other crypto games may have a native token that outperforms tokens of these games or subjectively have better gameplay features.

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Splinterlands

Splinterlands is a blockchain-based digital collectible card game similar to Magic the Gathering, the tabletop trading card strategy game. Players can collect cards with various stats and abilities to enhance gameplay and skill-based matches against other players. 

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Using the blockchain, players can buy, sell, and trade their in-game assets transparently and immutably. As such, anyone can trace the purchase history of any item in the game to see exactly where it came from. Also, Splinterlands provides players with verifiable ownership of all in-game assets and enables players to earn a passive income in the form of the native SPS token. 

Alien Worlds

Alien Worlds is a DeFi and non-fungible token (NFT) metaverse game. Players compete against each other using rare in-game NFT items, trade NFTs, create their own games, and strategize about interplanetary politics. Plus, players can trade cards to assist with specific strategies to implement during battles. 

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Also, players can earn the native Trilium (TLM) token by completing missions throughout the galaxies. The TLM token also provides holders with governance rights. Accordingly, TLM holders can vote on proposals to change the parameters of the game. Alien Worlds also features a cross-chain token bridge that facilitates interoperability between Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain (BSC), and WAX. Plus, players can stake the TLM token to earn additional TLM token rewards.

Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity is an NFT-based collectibles breeding game. Players can collect creatures called “Axies”, breed them, and take them to battle. Also, Axie Infinity features a player-owned economy where players can buy and sell resources to build kingdoms for their Axies. 

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Also, players can earn resources via in-game battles and tasks. In addition, the game features several gaming modes. Many of them feature strategic battles, tactical competitions, and tournaments. The AXS governance token also allows players to vote on “update proposals”. Plus, the game uses NFTs for verifiable ownership of in-game assets.

Farmers World

Farmers World is a play-to-earn NFT gaming platform that operates in a similar way to the popular mobile game Farmville. Built on the WAX network, Farmers World enables players to purchase land and tools to create huge farms and participate in the Farmers World economy.

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Players can purchase tools and equipment through secondary NFT markets or by completing in-game tasks and collecting resources to craft items and assist in progressing through the game.

Upland

Upland is a blockchain-based virtual property trading game. Players can build cities, collect property and participate in the digital economy of Upland by collecting in-game assets and trading unique NFTs. Also, players can participate in treasure hunts, live property auctions, and city tours throughout the Upland ecosystem.

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Each property within the game is tied to an NFT to provide verifiable ownership that is publicly viewable on-chain. Furthermore, using the native UPX token, players can buy and sell in-game assets via the Upland marketplace and in secondary markets. Plus, the UPX token is tradeable for fiat currencies. 

DeFi Kingdoms

DeFi Kingdoms is a crypto game that combines fantasy pixel art with utility-driven rare NFTs. The game features NFT-based “Heroes” that complete quests and challenges to progress throughout the game. Heroes can collect other in-game NFT assets and participate in player vs player (PVP) and player vs environment (PvE) combat. Also, DeFi Kingdoms features a decentralized exchange (DEX) and liquidity pools. 

Blog DeFi Kingdoms

Players can mine the native JEWEL token to increase their rewards. Holding the JEWEL token entitles players to extra rewards and perks. Plus, JEWEL is the primary unit of account throughout the platform. As such, JEWEL is required for most transactions throughout the game. Save our “DeFi Explained” article for later to learn more about DeFi!

Blockchain Gaming Ecosystems

Some crypto gaming platforms provide a range of gaming experiences under the umbrella of a single platform. Projects such as Enjin, Gala Games, and Mobox offer various games that are accessible in one convenient location. Also, multiple games can share the same native crypto asset to make transitioning between games simple. Accordingly, players have the choice of moving between games and taking their NFTs and token rewards with them.

Metaverse Crypto Games

The metaverse is a series of interconnected three-dimensional virtual worlds that facilitate social interaction in novel environments. The term describes a unified internet that combines augmented and virtual reality with blockchain technologies and social media. Furthermore, many metaverse gaming platforms adopt a theme based on science fiction or futurism. Top blockchain games in the metaverse include Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, Illuvium, and Decentraland.

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The Best Blockchain Games for Beginners

Essentially, several crypto games are blockchain-based versions of existing popular games. For example, many gambling games use the blockchain to ensure provably random numbers or immutable turn-based events. The same can be said for several blockchain role-playing games (RPGs). Accordingly, if there is a particular type of game you enjoy, there’s a good chance that you can find a similar game on the blockchain.

Blog Blockchain Gaming

For example, if you’re familiar with breeding animal games, you may enjoy games such as Axie Infinity or Polychain Monsters. Similarly, if you like space-themed, grand strategy video games, you may enjoy Star Atlas. Anyone familiar with Minecraft may also find themself enjoying games such as The Sandbox. Moreover, many crypto games take inspiration from leading titles in the traditional gaming world. As such, many of the genres and categories that are popular with traditional gamers also feature in the crypto gaming space.

If you’re new to the world of crypto gaming, it can be challenging to know where to start. First, we strongly recommend the Crypto for Beginners course at Moralis Academy if you need to learn about the basics of crypto. Also, see our “Crypto Explained” and “What is Bitcoin?” articles to gain a firm understanding of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Following this, check out the DeFi 101 course to learn how to install and use MetaMask. MetaMask is the most popular Web3 wallet available. Plus, it will enable you to access various crypto gaming platforms on multiple networks. 

Crypto Games – Summary 

Crypto games are set to disrupt the traditional gaming industry by offering provably fair gaming scenarios and financial incentives through play-to-earn models. Furthermore, several big-name gaming companies are dipping their toes into the world of NFTs and crypto gaming. Accordingly, many blockchain games appeal to both traditional gamers and crypto enthusiasts alike. Moreover, by combining elements of decentralized finance (DeFi) with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and augmented reality (AR), crypto games present a compelling alternative to mainstream gaming platforms.

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If you’re a developer and want to create blockchain games for Xbox and PlayStation, make sure to check out Moralis’ Unity software development kit (SDK). Or, check out the Unity Blockchain Game Development course at Moralis Academy to get two grips on the basics of the world’s largest game programming framework! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @MoralisAcademy! We’d love to hear about your favorite blockchain games!

Ivan On Tech

Written by Ivan on Tech

January 13, 2022

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