What is Play-to-Earn Gaming? – Web3 Jargon Busting

In 2021, Axie Infinity made headlines, as people in the Philippines ditched traditional jobs and instead decided to make money through the game. Since then, play-to-earn gaming, also known as P2E, has become more mainstream. Not only that, but many gaming companies are looking to integrate P2E elements into their games to attract more gamers. But what is play-to-earn gaming exactly? And how do people make money off the back of a game?

p2e game

Play-to-earn gaming: The Basics

Simply put, play-to-earn gaming is a gaming model that integrates crypto and gaming. These games enable players to earn rewards with real-world value. The reward range varies depending on the game but can include virtual lands, in-game assets, and crypto tokens.

Play-to-earn games have an advantage over traditional games, in that they give the player back power. While many traditional games force the player to buy things to advance within the game, P2E games reward the player for playing.

NFTs play a key role in P2E gaming. This is because revenue is typically associated with NFTs and other digital collectibles that represent characters, in-game assets and land. Normally, a player must buy an NFT to participate in the P2E system. Although it may not be necessary to have an NFT to play, it maximizes the player’s earning potential. Furthermore, by buying an NFT to play the game, the player actually owns a stake in the P2E game itself.

So how do players actually earn money?

Players can make money in many ways. Solving puzzles, winning battles, and selling and trading items are some of the most common ways to earn in-game tokens that can then be exchanged for dollars, pounds and whatnot. If you have accumulated enough in-game tokens, you can either reinvest them in the game by buying more land or upgrading your avatar or exchange them for real-world currency using a decentralized exchange.

axie infinity p2e games
Axie Infinity

5 P2E games you should check out

Thinking of getting into P2E gaming? Here are some P2E games you should check out:

Axie Infinity – Unquestionably, Axie Infinity is currently the most popular P2E game on the ‘chain. It revolves around axolotl-inspired digital pets known as axies, which can be bred and battled against each other in the game. Each Axie is an NFT, and the two in-game tokens are Axie Infinity Shards / AXS (the governance token) and SLPs (Small Love Portions) (used to breed Axies).

CryptoKitties – The Ethereum-based game is one of the earliest P2E games ever developed. It is based on virtual cats that players can breed, trade and buy. Since it is based on the Ethereum blockchain, players must buy Ether to join the game and start trading CryptoKitties.

Sorare – Sorare is a fantasy game of football (or soccer, depending on where you are in the world) based on virtual trading cards. Players act as football team managers and set up virtual teams of five football players. Their in-game success (i.e. rewards) depends on that players’ real-world performance.

Decentraland – Decentraland is a metaverse with P2E elements. Players can buy virtual land plots, build on them, or trade them to make more MANA – the metaverse’s currency. It is also a popular P2E game/metaverse for virtual concerts, with Deadmau5 and Grimes performing there.

Gods Unchained – Gods Unchained is an Ethereum-based P2E card game where players can create gods, rule their own worlds, and fight each other for absolute control. Arms, weapons and spells are involved. Best of all, the game is free to play, so it’s perfect for those who want to dip their toes into play-to-earn games.

Final notes

Like any other crypto-related venture, you need to do your research before you dive into any P2E game. You need to be extra careful about the amount of money you initially invest and make sure that this is the right type of investment for you.


Janelle knows a thing or two about the music industry. Having been involved in the industry since the age of 13, she's now involved in a variety of music-related projects and is always keen to share industry tips 'n' tricks with fellow musicians.