The gaming industry has grown exponentially over the last decade and remains one of the fastest-growing industries worldwide. However, while the traditional gaming system primarily benefits developers, a new breed of blockchain-based decentralised gaming applications are now allowing users to capture and own part of the gaming ecosystem. The development of these new blockchain-based games has been predominantly driven by one sector: NFTs.
By utilising NFTs and blockchain technology, game developers have been able to create games where users can contribute and take part in an on-chain monetary ecosystem. By incorporating NFTs, players are able to sell in-game characters or accessories and even generate passive income through play-to-earn models. The Game-Fi industry is becoming so popular that many now believe it will become crucial to the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.
NFT gaming can go by many names: DeFi gaming, blockchain gaming, crypto gaming and so on. No matter what the term, the most important thing to remember is that NFT games are built on blockchain technology.
How do NFT games differ from regular games?
Traditional gaming is usually broken down into mobile, console and PC categories. Each requires players to invest in expensive gaming equipment and pay for the titles they want. This means that for the majority of regular games, monetary value is only flowing in one direction — to the developers.
NFT games allow for a much more expansive monetary system, with value flowing to developers, to players and between players. Built on the blockchain, NFT games allow for decentralised gaming platforms that allow player asset ownership. Players can actually own and trade in-game characters or accessories and utilise in-game cryptocurrencies. All transactions that take place are then recorded on the blockchain. This drives a much more transparent gaming economy for everyone.
NFT games are usually accessed via a web browser, very similar to other decentralised applications (dApps). The games are composed of a series of developer-created smart contracts that define the rules of NFTs used within the game. Once a user connects to a cryptocurrency wallet, they're free to begin playing with their NFT characters.
Perhaps the biggest difference between traditional gamers and some blockchain games is the motivation behind playing it: NFT gaming can offer players the opportunity to earn.
Many play-to-earn NFT games allow players to sell their NFT assets (rare items, skins, weapons, etc.), earn crypto rewards for completing challenges, rent out their assets and more.
How to get started with NFT gaming
Getting started with an NFT game requires a few things: a game, a cryptocurrency wallet and some cryptocurrencies. Here are some basic steps:
- Get a crypto wallet. To buy cryptocurrency and store NFTs — and sometimes make an account with a blockchain game — you need a wallet. There are software wallets that are browser extensions and are convenient and often required by NFT games. The crypto wallet also allows for in-game transactions to take place, and they're where your digital assets are stored. Examples of crypto wallets include MetaMask, Portis and Fortmatic. Check out our ultimate cryptocurrency wallet guide for more information.
- Get the crypto or NFTs required. Next you need to acquire either cryptocurrencies or NFTs — whatever your chosen game requires. If you need to buy some cryptocurrencies, such as ETH, head over to one of the many cryptocurrency exchanges. Once you have some cryptocurrency, check out some of the key NFT marketplaces to acquire some in-game NFTs and get started.
- Pick a game. There are tons of play-to-earn and blockchain games to choose from. Although this category of gaming is new, there are already collection games, monster battlers, trading card games, life simulators and more.
Popular play-to-earn titles
You may choose a game that offers the best gameplay, or one with the most play-to-earn tactics. Some popular titles include:
- Axie Infinity. Axie Infinity is a Pokémon-inspired digital world where users collect, train and battle creatures called Axies. Each Axie is represented by an NFT, with each creature exhibiting unique aesthetic and battle characteristics. Built on the Ethereum blockchain, users can earn Small Love Potions (SLPs) and Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) from gameplay as well as trade Axies with other players.
- Gods Unchained. Gods Unchained is a strategy game based on tradable NFT cards. Players must strategically build a card deck to battle other players and win rewards. By winning battles, a player earns Flux, which can subsequently be used to power up NFT cards or exchanged for cash.
- Zed Run. A horse racing-inspired digital game that allows all players to own a racehorse. Each horse is represented by an NFT that holds unique characteristics that either enhance or lessen its ability to win horse races. Horse races take place every day with US dollar prize money up for grabs. Racehorse owners can also collaborate and breed to create new horses.
- Sorare. A winner among soccer fans, Sorare is a fantasy soccer game that allows users to manage a virtual team. The team is composed of individual players, which are each represented by an NFT. Players can earn ETH by participating in tournaments.
Compare marketplaces to buy and sell game NFTs
How to make money with NFT gaming
There are two broad ways to make money with NFT games. The first is through a play-to-earn model. The second is through in-game NFTs. While there are some games that focus on either play-to-earn or in-game NFT models, the majority utilise a combination of both to offer the best experience for players.
As the name suggests, offers users the ability to earn income simply by playing a game. Usually, players are rewarded with in-game tokens. The tokens are often needed as part of the in-game play but can also be exchanged for cash value.
Axie Infinity has become one of the most popular play-to-earn games amassing thousands of users worldwide. The game requires users to purchase three Axie NFTs to begin playing.
In the game, the play-to-earn objective is to collect Smooth Love Potions, or SLPs, which can then either be used for in-game upgrades or actually sold via cryptocurrency exchanges. Some players that have been playing the game since launch are now earning $1,000s per month.
Collecting digital assets
This tactic involves collecting or acquiring NFTs that either represent collectibles or characters within a game. Players can buy, sell or rent out these collectibles for a profit. There are even NFT "breeding" games that involve creating new collectibles to be put into circulation, like CryptoKitties.
Collectibles or characters are then valued based upon unique characteristics such as appearance and utility.
Can I lose money with NFT games?
As simple and enjoyable as it is to earn money from playing games, players can also lose money. The amount will depend on the game being played and the mechanics of the game.
NFTs, by design, are used to represent unique items. These unique items will fluctuate in value depending on the market at the time. The same is also true for any in-game tokens — there's no guarantee that any given NFT game cryptocurrency or digital asset is going to appreciate.
Earning money from NFT games remains extremely speculative. A user should only invest what they are willing to lose.
What blockchain games should I play?
We recommended choosing a genre first, then funneling down from there. Genres include:
- Real estate mogul simulators
- Monster battlers
- Trading card games
- Creation games
- Racing games
- Battle royales
Once you've chosen a genre, look through the games and choose one that suits your playstyle. Some are passive, point-and-clicks, while others are skill-based. After that, research the play-to-earn tactics of the game to determine if it's worth your time.
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