What is play-to-earn (P2E)?

Play-to-earn games are games that allow users to earn, farm, or collect assets from the game and resell them on the market for real money. A P2E crypto game will allow you to collect crypto tokens or NFTs by playing the game.

The Long Explanation

Play-to-earn (P2E) games are a category of games where the participants have chances to earn in-game assets (tokens, game coins, etc.), which maybe be sold in a digital marketplace or real world.

Users earn these tokens by playing the game regularly, hitting certain milestones, or completing certain targets. Over the last few years, the explosion of P2E games has seen some gamers supplement or even replace their real-world salaries using these games. 

P2E web3 games leverage the blockchain to create digital economies built around digital assets that cannot be duplicated.

Collectibles in P2E web3 games are stored on the blockchain as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Because these assets cannot be duplicated – and because they can be accessed outside of the game, the forces of demand and supply can work on them to affect their prices.

In addition to collectibles that may be earned or won by participating in the game, some P2E games also allow users to contribute value to the community.

Users may create assets to be bought by other players for use within the game. They may also provide ‘services’ within the game for which they are paid. 

To cash out their earnings, users typically will have to move their tokens to either a crypto exchange or an NFT marketplace where they can be traded for other crypto tokens like USDC.

Once you successfully sell your tokens or NFT, you can then withdraw the crypto used for payment into your local currency by leveraging on the trading options provided by your platform of choice. 

It’s important to note that most play-to-earn games may require some form of financial investment on your part for you to earn even more than you currently do. However, this is often a risky investment with no guarantee of adequate returns.

For example, to begin earning in Town Star – a farming simulator that resembles Farmville – you have to purchase NFTs from the marketplace. Just playing the game without those NFTs will not allow you to earn tokens that can be exchanged for fiat currency. Some of those NFTs require $1000 worth of crypto tokens.

Photo source: Gala Games

So in order to start actually earning fiat in Town Star, you have to invest ~$1000.


There are many examples of P2E games currently on the market. Some of these include:

Axie InfinityA game where players acquire adorable animals (known as axies) to either breed them, battle monsters with them, or complete daily quests. Successfully completing a quest or a battle earns you rewards which can be traded on any crypto exchange. Breeding axies produce other axies which can be sold to other players. Each axie is a unique, tradable NFT on the blockchain.

The Sandbox An NFT game built in the same fashion as Minecraft or Roblox where players go on adventures in search of targets. Players will also be able to build assets and games to add to the experience. Collectibles within the game and player creations can be traded on the Sandbox Marketplace for SAND tokens.

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