Crypto moves gaming from ‘Pay-To-Play’ to ‘Play-To-Earn’

4 min readJun 12, 2021


By Samyukta Narasimhan, Content and Growth Strategist at Moving

One of the first industries that are disrupted by blockchain technology is definitely the gaming industry. Cryptocurrency has found its way into the industry as a replacement for traditional card-based online transactions. The industry has always been embraced by a higher level of technology such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, so there was no doubt that even blockchain would pave its way to revolutionize gaming. Gaming is being transformed into an economic undertaking beyond just for entertainment purposes.

The traditional gaming model has been the “Free-to-play” and the “Pay-to-play” models. Under “Free-to-play”, gamers enjoy the free entertainment services without spending a dime and enjoy full satisfaction. Angry birds, Among Us, Subway Surfers are your regular Free-to-play games. Under “Pay-to-play”, the basic game simulation is free, but there are personalized features such as player skins, dances and so on that are paid, which would give players even more satisfaction. One such prominent example is none other than Fortnite.

Fortnite’s Travis Scott personalised skins [Source credits: Fortnite]

A survey conducted by LendEDU showed that 1000 Fortnite players had average spending of $85 dollars on in-game purchases. Fortnite is one of the most popular games on the planet having no fair parallel, having its own Fortnite universe full of eager gamers dying for more. Its striking popularity comes from the personalization ability, and the satisfaction of feeling you are personally in the simulation as an avatar.

But now the latest gaming model has become “Play-to-earn” with Crypto games. You must be wondering how “Play-to-earn” works? Let us explain. The simulation creates an in-game economy, giving gamers ownership over their in-game purchases and assets. These assets appreciate in value by actively playing. It is the developer's way of rewarding time and effort into the game. Players help in creating value for developers as well as other players. These assets are tokenized in the blockchain, hence these games and this business model complement each other.

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One such game is Axie Infinity, rising in popularity in the Philippines, where netizens were just playing this game to destress themselves from their hardships. The game ended up being a ray of light through dark times as players could earn money. It allows players to earn through NFTS, and cryptocurrencies by breeding, battling, and trading digital pets called Axies. They also expanded assets into digital real estate, one of the high demanded assets as it was a limited edition implying higher value. These property rights incentivized players to feel more like owners rather than users, and of course, the bragging rights to say you own a piece of the game you’re playing.

This game has become well sought-after with its money-earning capacity. If you earn tokens in a game like Axie Infinity, it is like an investment as it can be sold in the future in the real-time markets and owners can make a profit on the sale. These are a huge game-changer for competitors, as the desire for money outweighs the desire for entertainment.

The money minting Axies [Source credits: Axie Infinity]

Another brilliant example is Decentraland developed by none other than the King of blockchain, Ethereum. It is a decentralized, three-dimensional, virtual reality ‘metaverse’. This world is basically owned by the users, they decide the rules, the land of the law. They own NFTs that take the form of the avatar’s wearables, clothes, homes, or even cuddly little monsters called Ethermon. Users can make their avatars go to clubs, go shopping, gamble, build relationships and even teleport!

Enjoy this tour of the Famous Sotheby’s in Decentraland!

These advanced games have given users a sense of contentment as they vicariously live through their avatars in a virtual reality ecosystem especially in times of uncertainty like this pandemic when we are confined to four walls. There is a very clear shift towards digitization in so many industries, technology and innovation seem to have no bounds and only the sky as the limit.

We will be sure to see more play-to-earn games interspersed with cryptocurrency in the near future, no doubt. Besides just attracting the masses with the monetary incentive, it is also super beneficial to the company itself. Blockchain technology helps in making payment processing more cost-effective by eliminating the third-party payment gateway. It saves the company millions by eradicating fraud. A data breach is impossible using blockchain encryption. It can price its games better after cost-cutting using blockchain technology.

So hey, want to know how to make some quick money while having some fun? Just spend a few hours playing these play-to-earn games!

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