The impressive rise of Play2Earn NFT games (2023)

NFT-based gaming has come a long way in 2021. Instead of simply collecting blockchain pets, you can now fight battles, create new experiences, build structures on virtual land – and earn cryptocurrency in the process. Welcome to the world of Play2Earn gaming – one of the most exciting applications of NFT tokens so far.

Between February and September 2021, the price of AXS – the native token of a game called Axie Infinity – skyrocketed from $0.8 to $80. Another gaming token, SAND (The Sandbox), rose from $0.04 to $1,while TLM (Alien Worlds) pumped from $1.7 to $6.8 in just four days.

What do these three tokens have in common? They all represent a new and very hot gaming trend called Play2Earn (Also known as “play to earn” ). Instead of just battling monsters or collecting artifacts for the fun of it, players acquire real tradeable blockchain assets.

The idea of buying and selling game assets for real money isn’t new, of course. Multiplayer games like Fortnite, DOTA2, or World of Tanks have massive economies, virtual currencies, and in-game artifacts (like weapon skins and characters) that sell for thousands of dollars. However, blockchain-based gaming introduces a new explosive element into the mix: NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.

Understanding blockchain gaming assets: fungible vs. non-fungible

In a generic Play2Earn game, users can hold, earn, and sell two types of assets:

1) Regular cryptocurrency, such as AXS, SLP, SAND, TLM, ALICE, etc. Users can earn these tokens for completing challenges, winning battles, selling in-game assets, or simply for playing - this is where the term ‘Play2Earn’ name comes from.

Tokens like SLP or SAND are called fungible because every unit is just like any other: though each SAND has its own blockchain ID of a sort, for practical purposes they are identical and have equal value, just like one $20 note is the same as any other.

(Video) 10 Best NFT Games To Play In 2022! | Play-to-Earn

2) NFTs: these are unique blockchain assets, each of which is associated with a specific in-game item, like a character or a piece of virtual real estate. ‘Non-fungible’ means that every token is one-of-a-kind and has its own market value – a bit like an artwork or a piece of real estate. A good definition is ‘scarce digital goods’.

NFTs have been all the rage in 2021, with people paying millions of dollars for CryptoPunks, BoredApes, and EtherRocks. Game NFTs, such as cute Axie monsters in Axie Infinity or Lego-style buildings in The Sandbox, are less valuable, but they can still be worth thousands. Importantly, if you own an NFT, you also own the underlying character or game object.

The difference between these assets and traditional in-game items like World of Warcraft gold or DOTA 2 weapon skins is that blockchain assets have an existence outside of the game. They ‘live’ on the chain, and you could even imagine a situation where assets from one game can be carried over to another (though we’re not quite there yet).

It all started with CryptoKitties

The first big NFT-based game was arguably CryptoKitties, where you collect virtual cats and breed them to make kittens with new properties, which can be worth more than the original ones. At the height of its popularity, the game caused the whole Ethereum network to lag and freeze because there were too many queued transactions to buy and sell cats.

CryptoKitties are still popular, though they have been superseded by other NFT collectible games, such as BlockchainCuties and Aavegotchi. However, the real breakthrough in NFT gaming came with the evolution of the gameplay - from simple collecting of one type of item to numerous NFT types involved in battles, quests, and world-building.

Axie Infinity: the biggest NFT Play2Earn game

If you think that NFT-enabled gaming is just for geeks, think again. Axie Infinity topped 1 million active daily users in August – and $1 billion in revenue. This puts it on par with traditional games like Clash of Kings or Hearthstone.

The game is built around little Pokemon-like monsters called Axies, each of which ‘lives’ on the blockchain as an NFT. To start playing, you need at least 3 Axies, which you can buy in the game’s own marketplace or on OpenSea.

(Video) 5 FREE Play to Earn Crypto NFT Games with NO Investment

The impressive rise of Play2Earn NFT games (1)

Prices vary depending on each character’s stats: health, speed, abilities, etc. As of the time of writing, the average price of an Axie was between $100-300, so one has to spend at least $300 to start playing. If you sell an Axie, there is also a 4.5% marketplace transaction fee.

This is how AxieYield Guild Games (YGG) Infinity and other Play2Earn games make money: by making players invest money before they can start earning rewards. This is different from most legacy games like Fortnite or Dota 2, where the basic gameplay is free but you are encouraged to purchase in-game items.

So why would players choose Play2Earn over traditional games? Mostly because in Axie, The Sandbox etc. you can cash out for real ETH, recoup the initial investment, and make a profit - or even a stable income. The real earning opportunity is one of the key drivers behind the popularity of crypto gaming.

If you don’t have the starting capital to buy Axies, you can apply for a so-called Scholarship. Successful game managers or Axie breeders with big collections of characters will lease some of them to promising beginner players who don’t have enough Axies of their own. The rewards are shared between the manager and the player (scholar). To win a scholarship, one usually has to write a convincing application, because competition is high.

An interesting twist on this concept is Yield Guild Games (YGG), a decentralized organization that buys Play2Earn assets (including Axies) and makes them available to the Guild members in exchange for a share of the earnings. YGG also selects and trains new players.

Earning rewards with Axie Infinity

The reason why you don’t want to buy the cheapest characters is that you need them to win battles so that you can collect rewards. In Axie Infinity, you can compete both against the AI and against other players. Winners receive SLP tokens (Smooth Love Potion), which are needed to breed new Axies. See here for details on how SLP rewards are calculated for different victories and quests.

(Video) How to make money with Play2Earn NFT games?

As you keep winning, your Axies become stronger and more valuable. Selling such leveled-up NFT characters in the marketplace is another way to make money with the game: the most expensive Axie so far sold for 300 ETH, equivalent to more than $750,000 today.

Another type of NFTs in Axie Infinity are LANDS, or land plots. So far they aren’t used in the gameplay much, but in the future players will be able to build structures on their land, house Axies, mine resources, lend plots, etc. An average plot costs $10-12k.

In October 2021, Axie developers made some important changes to the game economy. First, now only players with an MMR (Match Making Rating, earned in battles) of at least 800 can earn SLP for participating in the arena and adventure modes. This means that you have to battle hard (literally) before you can enjoy all the earning opportunities. The second change is that when you sell an Axie, its level is automatically reset to 1, so that users can’t expect to make much money by reselling valuable monsters, either.

Both of these changes affect primarily novice players. So how much can you actually earn with Axie Infinity if you join now? According to some calculations, it’s around $15-30 a day when playing for a few hours daily. In the past, many users (especially in the Philippines) made most of their income with Axies, but the USD price of SLP has dropped a lot - plus, the organizers reduced the SLP reward rate. Overall, don’t expect to become rich with this or any other NFT game; but the more you play, the more you contribute to the accruing value of the game and of its tokens.

Other popular Play2Earn games

The Sandbox

In The Sandbox, players buy virtual plots (LAND) and use them to build new experiences, games, structures, characters, etc. The game provides free software to create such items, and each of them is minted as an NFT. It’s part of the portfolio of Animoca Brands, a gaming and investment company that also owns brands like F1 Delta Time, Revv Racing, and Power Rangers: Legacy Wars.

Apart from LAND (around $1,000 per plot), the built-in marketplace features a bewildering variety of NFTs, from airplanes and motorbikes to dragons and DJ sets.

The impressive rise of Play2Earn NFT games (2)

(Video) The Best Play-To-Earn NFT GAME That Makes $4500/Month Passively

Users can earn SAND tokens for designing new assets, sharing and monetizing experiences, loaning out LAND, completing quests, winning tournaments, etc. Overall the gameplay is more varied than in Axie Infinity: The Sandbox is even called a metaverse, a sort of a full-scale virtual world.


Splinterlands is more of a traditional trading card game. Players collect NFT cards and battle each other. There are 4 card rarity levels, 7 types of stats, and 46 abilities. Rare cards have stronger stats and give a player an advantage, so they are worth more in the marketplace.

The impressive rise of Play2Earn NFT games (3)

Every win yields rewards in DEC (Dark Energy Crystals) tokens. Additional ways to earn DEC are daily quests and reward chests, distributed every 15 days based on battle performance. It’s also possible to earn a profit from the NFT cards themselves by selling them or lending them to other players.

In September 2021, Splinterlands reached 260,000 daily users, becoming the most popular blockchain game at the time.


Sorare is a fantasy football game where you collect cards with real-life soccer stars, build teams, and compete in tournaments to win ETH and new player cards.

The impressive rise of Play2Earn NFT games (4)

(Video) 7 FREE Play to EARN NFT Games Android iOS & HOW To Find Them Early

Sorare is valued at $4.3 billion after a recent fund-raising round and has agreements with major clubs like Barcelona, Juventus, Liverpool, etc. However, the game recently got into trouble with the UK Gambling Commission: the regulators are investigating Sorare to decide if it needs a gambling license. If they conclude that it does, it can be an alarm trigger for other digital collectible games.

After reaching all-time highs this summer, most Play2Earn tokens are down 40-100%. However, it doesn’t mean that NFT-enabled gaming has reached a dead end – rather, this could be a much-needed cool-off before the next leg up. The combination of NFTs, crypto rewards, and interesting gameplay has proven very successful so far, so NFT-enabled Play2Earn is definitely a space to watch – and perhaps something to try yourself.


Which is the hottest NFT game right now? ›

The Best NFT Games to Play Right Now

Silks - A P2E Game with One of the Most Innovative Ideas. Battle Infinity - Play Fantasy Sports in the Metaverse. Lucky Block - NFT-Based Competitions and Prize Draws. Axie Infinity - Pokemon-Inspired NFT Game.

Which NFT games earn the most? ›

What Are the Best Play-To-Earn Games for 2022?
  • Axie Infinity: Trade-and-battle with ethereum-minted NFTs, with loads of customization options.
  • Decentraland: Virtual reality, 3D world-building, MANA currency in Ethereum wallet.
  • Alien Worlds: Sci-fi adventure game. ...
  • The Sandbox: Blockchain-based.
31 Oct 2022

Does NFT games have a future? ›

The market for Play-to-Earn NFT games is anticipated to grow from USD 755 million in 2021 to USD 3618.4 million by 2028, at a CAGR of 21.3% from 2022 to 2028. By participating in the in-game ecosystem, players add value for one another and the game producers, and they are rewarded with in-game assets as a result.

Who has the rarest NFT? ›

1- The Merge – $91 800 000

Beeple's artwork “Every day” was before the end of 2021 the most expensive NFT art sold, until the artist Pak decides otherwise. The artwork “The Merge” is an NFT sold for the outrageous sum of $ 91.8 Million via Nifty Gateway.

What is the number 1 trending game right now? ›

1. GTA V (Grand Theft Auto V) Grand Theft Auto V is the world no. 1 mobile game and reimagines the open-world game in a number of ways.

Can you get rich from NFT games? ›

They can sell special wearable items or special utilities that they get for free or a lesser amount in the game for a huge amount of money. The more value and passion people place on these items and tokens, the more the worth increases globally. The players invest time and money into the games.

Is NFT gaming profitable? ›

Today, starting an NFT Game development Company would be a profitable venture for any blockchain enthusiast. As the NFT games are based on Play-to-earn concept, it is also beneficial for the game players, as they are able to make money by playing activley.

Can NFT games make you money? ›

Each game varies in how much you can earn by staking. Overall, you could earn around 10% to 20% of your staked tokens per year, depending on the game and token's value.

What makes an NFT game successful? ›

Creative distribution models and NFT gaming

Games like Axie Infinity are successful mainly because they are forms of investment as much as entertainment. The play-to-earn (P2E) distribution model is more attractive to gamers as they are fairly compensated for their time.

What game makes the most income? ›

The Top 50 Highest-Grossing Video Game Franchises Transcript
3Call of Duty$17,000,000,000
46 more rows

Which NFT is best selling? ›

Sale details: The most famous NFT sale (and the most expensive NFT sale to date) was Beeple's Everydays: The First 5000 Days for $69.3 million.

Why should I invest in NFT games? ›

Unlike traditional video games, NFT games provide greater scope for scalability. As NFT gamers are continuously looking for new games that can enthrall them and help them earn and invest in cryptos, it provides a great opportunity for game developers to retain their position in the industry.

Why are NFT games trending? ›

NFT games offer promising rewards and are gaining immense popularity in the gaming industry in various countries. These games provide a better source of income to the companies and the gamers.

When did NFT games become popular? ›

NFTs entered the cultural mainstream in 2021 as a novel method of determining ownership of digital property using blockchain technology. As cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether skyrocketed to all-time highs, newly minted crypto millionaires began speculating on NFT digital art.

Is it illegal to screenshot an NFT? ›

It is illegal to screenshot an NFT and pass it off as your own. It is also illegal to post it online or make a physical copy. An individual could be sued for copyright infringement or other criminal charges if they did this.

What is the cheapest NFT? ›

The cheapest NFT to buy in the collection is currently 0.015 ETH.

What is the craziest NFT? ›

The strangest NFTs
  • Flowery toilet paper. You read that right. ...
  • Vengeful war babies. ...
  • Jack Dorsey's First Tweet. ...
  • Digital perfume. ...
  • NFT stick for the dog. ...
  • Digital [f]art. ...
  • Burnt Banksy.
8 Apr 2022

Who is No 1 game in world? ›

What PC Games Are People Playing Right Now?
Game titlePublisher
1.Overwatch 1 & 2Blizzard Entertainment
2.The Sims 4Electronic Arts
3.ROBLOXRoblox Corporation
4.MinecraftMojang Studios
16 more rows

What is the number 1 game ever? ›

1. Tetris – 520 million. Arguably the most timeless video game ever created, Tetris sits comfortably atop the list of all-time bestsellers with 520 million copies sold, according to The Tetris Company.

What game is trending now 2022? ›

Android: top 50 games of 2022 so far
RankGameCombined score for downloads & revenue
2Candy Crush Saga143
3Coin Master130
46 more rows
30 Jul 2022

Can beginners make money in NFT? ›

The direct and effective method of making money with NFTs is to create and sell them. Yes, you can create and sell anything digital such as arts, images, videos, memes, properties, etc., as NFTs. If you have a notch to creativity, you can monetize all your creations by selling them as NFT.

How much do NFT games pay? ›

How much can you make in an NFT Game? The average that an individual or a player can earn in an NFT game is about $500 per month.

Is it hard to become rich of NFT? ›

It isn't easy to get wealthy. Getting money with NFTs may be much more difficult. Especially if you don't comprehend the potential of NFTs, their capabilities, and the reality that the human(s) behind the technology, not the fact that it's an “NFT,” is what gives an NFT worth.

How much does it cost to sell 10000 NFT? ›

Cost to mint NFTs on Solana

Solana is one of the blockchains that can cater to the creation of 10,000 NFTs. While the platform previously charged only 0.21 cents per NFT, its current fee to mint a single NFT stands at $2.16. At this rate, the cost of minting 10,000 NFT will be over $21,000.

How much money do I need to make my own NFT? ›

On average, the cost of creating NFT ranges from $0.05 to over $150. The cost of creating NFTs depends on various factors such as the cost of blockchain, gas fee, marketplace account fee, listing fee etc. Ethereum and Solana are the most expensive and cheapest blockchain, respectively.

Can I sell NFT I created? ›

If you do want to sell your NFT, though, you'll have options. “Fixed price” is like creating a store listing — you set a price for your NFT, and if someone wants to pay that price, they can just buy it. “Open for bids” lets people submit offers to buy your NFT, which you can either accept or reject.

What is the best strategy for NFT? ›

Paid promotions will be one of the best strategies to succeed. First, you will need to develop a collection, and then you should promote it with paid promotions. The idea here is to get more audience and then share your NFTs details on social media which will make them interested.

How do NFT games make money? ›

Playing an NFT game, gamers earn in-game NFTs and the game's brand tokens (like AXS by Axie Infinity) powered by a particular blockchain (often, ETH). Accordingly, the worth of gaming NFTs and tokens depends on the exchange rate. In terms, the exchange rate is defined by the demand for a cryptocurrency.

Why NFT games are the future? ›

Some crypto-enthusiasts believe that making in-game items like guns or character skins into NFTs is the future of in-game economies; that NFTs will create true ownership with the ability to resell unwanted in-game items. Some even claim that NFT items or even characters would be transferable between games.

Can games make you rich? ›

Yes, you can make money playing games. There are a few different ways to make money through gaming, including playing online games, making video game content or journalist, participating in live professional gaming events, and live streaming their gameplay.

What is the most financially successful video game? ›

This is a list of the highest-grossing video games of all time. The list includes games across all platforms (including arcades, consoles, computers, mobiles, and online) that have grossed at least $1 billion in revenue.
As of2019
Gross (inflation) (US$)$9,000,000,000
GenreBattle royale
60 more columns

Can you get rich playing video games? ›

Yes, it's possible to get paid for playing video games. One of the most lucrative opportunities to make money playing games is being a popular streamer or content creator, but you don't need millions of fans to start making money.

Which country is buying most NFT? ›

Citizens of China and Singapore are the most interested in NFTs, as of 2021, according to Google trends.

Can I sell NFT for free? ›

However, it does charge its authors a fee for selling an NFT. This means that while creating an NFT is free, selling it is not, and the users can adjust the cost in the selling price of their NFT.

Is it smart to buy NFT? ›

If you identify an asset that appeals to you and you have the funding, then maybe you should buy it. If the ownership of the asset happens to be tokenized, then you can likely enjoy the additional benefits associated with NFTs. But make sure to also understand the risks of NFT investing too.

What are the risks of NFT games? ›

While buying or selling an NFT may lucrative, profits and salability are unpredictable, buyers and sellers alike regularly fall victim to fraud, regulation is nonexistent, and most artists struggle to find any success. The risks may not be worth the potential reward.

Is the NFT craze dying? ›

NFT wallet activity has seen the number of active wallets plummet from 119,000 to 14,000, which is a massive decline.

Why is NFT so hyped? ›

“NFTs provide unique, verifiable and immutable proof of ownership of digital goods. True digital ownership of assets through NFTs is a revolutionary idea that will transform how we interact with the internet.”

Are NFT games a bubble? ›

An NFT bubble occurs when the price for digital assets increases as the result of increased speculation among investors. If NFT values increase too quickly, their prices will likely crash following the initial hype. It's common for NFT bubbles to take place when newer investors enter the market.

What was the first NFT game ever released? ›

Quantum (May 2014)

Minted during the early stages of blockchain technology, Quantum is most commonly cited as the first NFT ever created.

Why crypto based games are trending right now? ›

So, what attracts investors and players to crypto gaming? Ownership is part of the reason that crypto gaming has taken off. Unlike traditional games, their crypto counterparts give players tenure over what they collect through blockchain technology. Players can own their in-game items, trade them or even sell them.

What was the name of the first NFT game? ›

The first NFT game to be available on the platform's Marketplace, Blankos Block Party, was officially launched on September 15 by American video game production studio Epic Games. According to Mythical Games' creators, the beta edition of Blankos Block Party has more than one million players. It was released in 2020.

What is the hottest online game right now? ›

Then you've come to the right place, because our list of the best online games are perfect for a little friendly competition and collaboration.
  1. Fortnite. (Image credit: Epic Games)
  2. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe. ...
  3. Fall Guys. ...
  4. Call of Duty: Warzone. ...
  5. Sea of Thieves. ...
  6. Destiny 2. ...
  7. Minecraft. ...
  8. Forza Horizon 5. ...
27 Oct 2022

What is the hottest game in 2022? ›

Best upcoming games: 11 essential games to play in 2022-2023
  • 1) Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope. Play. Platforms: Switch. ...
  • 2) Gotham Knights. Play. Platforms: Xbox, PS5, PC. ...
  • 3) Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. Play. Platforms: Switch. ...
  • 4) God of War Ragnarok. Play. Platforms: PS5, PS4. ...
  • 7) A Plague Tale: Requiem. Play.

What is trending in NFT world? ›

Crypto Exchanges Begin to Sell NFTs

Over the last 2 years, demand for NFTs has surged. Interest in the search term “NFT Gallery” has increased by 3,500% in the last 2 years. Up until recently, the biggest beneficiaries of this trend have been auction sites that deal exclusively with NFT sales.

Which is no 1 game in world? ›

What PC Games Are People Playing Right Now?
Game titlePublisher
1.Overwatch 1 & 2Blizzard Entertainment
2.The Sims 4Electronic Arts
3.ROBLOXRoblox Corporation
4.MinecraftMojang Studios
16 more rows

Which is the No 1 online game in world? ›

PUBG. PUBG is the most popular online game in 2022, with a huge fan following. PUBG has swept the internet and now has more than 100 million players. PUBG is inspired by armor and H1Z1.

Which game is most downloaded in the world? ›

Globally we've collectively downloaded more than 70 billion mobile apps so far in 2022 and more than half of them are games.
Android: top 50 games of 2022 so far.
RankGameCombined score for downloads & revenue
2Candy Crush Saga143
3Coin Master130
46 more rows
30 Jul 2022

What game has most active players? ›

Minecraft738 millionMojang / NetEase
QQ Speed / GKART / Speed Drifters700 millionTencent / Garena
Pac-Man Doodle505 million peak daily playersBandai Namco / Google
Among Us500 million peak monthly playersInnersloth
69 more rows

Which game is now in trending? ›

Games that are trending on Twitch in the past 7 days (compared to previous 7 days).
GameChange streamers
1Call of Duty: Warzone93,791 (80.3%)
2Pokémon Scarlet/Violet64,737 (>10,000%)
3Sports1,683 (-71.2%)
4The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me9,284 (>10,000%)
23 more rows

What is the most bought game? ›

1. Tetris – 520 million. Arguably the most timeless video game ever created, Tetris sits comfortably atop the list of all-time bestsellers with 520 million copies sold, according to The Tetris Company.

What won game of the Year 2022? ›

Elden Ring has been crowned 2022's Ultimate Game of the Year during this evening's Golden Joystick Awards. It won the Best Visual Design and Best Multiplayer Game categories too, and FromSoftware took the award for Studio of the Year.

What type of NFT sells well? ›

Also high on the NFT spectrum is music. Music has been a fungible good for decades, being recorded and distributed on records, cassettes, CDs, and digitally. However, musicians and DJs have been selling their work as NFTs lately, earning some of them millions of dollars in a matter of hours.

Why NFT games are so popular? ›

NFT games are becoming increasingly popular due to their unique gameplay and the ability to earn cryptocurrency rewards. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are digital assets that cannot be interchangeable, making them perfect for use in games as rare items that can be collected and traded.

Which country is NFT most popular? ›

Thailand is home to 5.65 million NFT users in the world. Brazil and the United States stand in the second and third spot with 4.99 million and 3.81 million users, respectively.


1. Wizardia - The Best Play To Earn NFT Game
(Crypto World )
2. The GameFi Cycle - Why all Play To Earn (P2E) games die
(Whiteboard Crypto)
3. 5 Best FREE Play to Earn Crypto NFT Games with ZERO Investment
(The Game Mag)
4. Goblin Killing Alpha ~ Gala Games: Mirandus ~ #Play to #Earn #NFT, #Blockchain & #Crypto #Gaming
(ENEFTY Gaming)
5. Awesome Play2Earn ESports Game in Crypto - Monstropoly
(Metaverse Investor)
6. Top 3 Upcoming Free2play Play2Earn NFT Game in 2022
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Van Hayes

Last Updated: 01/19/2023

Views: 6725

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (66 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Van Hayes

Birthday: 1994-06-07

Address: 2004 Kling Rapid, New Destiny, MT 64658-2367

Phone: +512425013758

Job: National Farming Director

Hobby: Reading, Polo, Genealogy, amateur radio, Scouting, Stand-up comedy, Cryptography

Introduction: My name is Van Hayes, I am a thankful, friendly, smiling, calm, powerful, fine, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.