Blockchain technology has powered innovation in dozens of different industries, including finance, security, supply chains, and real estate, to name just a few.
Yet few blockchain use cases have generated as much excitement as gaming.
The industry is rapidly embracing the idea of “play-to-earn” NFT games that enable players to earn real-life rewards while having fun.
Just over a year ago, blockchain gaming was virtually unheard of, but already the space is providing a viable income for thousands of gamers across the world.
The vast majority of emerging P2E games allow players to complete challenges or win battles against others and earn cryptocurrency or NFT-based items as a reward.
These assets can then be traded or sold on third-party marketplaces for Bitcoin and Ethereum. Gamers can then sell BTC or ETH for fiat currency.
It’s not surprising then that the industry is growing fast. The best evidence for this might be the amount of venture capital the space has collected.
Investors poured over $4 billion into the P2E gaming space last year, according to DappRadar’s 2021 Industry Report.
Meanwhile, new P2E titles continue popping up on all the major blockchain platforms.
These include Ethereum, Tezos, Hive, Binance Smart Chain, Solana, Polygon, and others.
As competition heats up in the P2E space, there’s no better time to look at some interesting P2E gaming titles.
Binance Smart Chain has emerged as a hub of P2E games.
Titles include CryptoBlades, CryptoMines, and Mobox, which have picked up thousands of players since launch.
One interesting addition is Mobland. Gamers can become a ‘made man’ signing up with a crime syndicate.
The aim of the game is to accumulate untold wealth and power through criminal enterprise while waging war with other Mafia families.
As well as battles and missions, players can manage, trade, and get items as they push to grow the power of their syndicate.
Mobland is free-to-play. This is a different approach to games like Axie Infinity, which requires players to invest in NFT characters to play.
The game focuses more on action-packed gameplay and rewards players, with players being able to earn rewards.
Mobland also launched the most successful Initial Game Offering (IGO) on BSC. Its SYN token raised over $3.5 million within 30 minutes of its launch.
To grow community participation, Mobland has created a mafia-as-a-DAO governance structure.
This allows players to decide upon the future of the game in a democratic way.
The game's developers have worked at large gaming firms like Disney, Ubisoft, Roblox, EA, and Gameloft.
Those developers are working closely with the gaming giant Overwolf, user-generated content creation and distribution platform that recently invested in the game.
It’s a partnership that will result in better gameplay within the Mobland metaverse.
Sticking with the idea that P2E gaming must be fun is Banger Games. This is a gaming hub that aims to add P2E functionality to any game.
Banger Games focuses on the PLAY in “play-to-earn”, this is due to the common complaint of many P2E games having boring gameplay.
For example, some Axie Infinity players say the main reason they keep playing is because of the incentives, instead of gameplay.
Banger Games wrote on Medium:
“One of the most important things you need to know about Banger is that we are gamers ourselves, which is why we deeply identify with this sense of rejection towards the play-to-earn rules,”
They continued to say: “To counter this, we have prioritized including AAA games in our ecosystem.”
With €10 million in funding from a range of big names in the crypto venture capital space, including:
Banger Games aims to become a hub for P2E games.
“Banger is the platform aimed at unifying this ever-increasing ecosystem into one central point in the gaming universe,” said Banger Games CEO Borja Villalobos.
The first title from Banger Games will be Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO).
The platform aims to integrate Play-to-Earn features into the latest Counter Strike game.
It’s already available to play in closed beta. Gamers will be able to take part in SMART Tournaments to earn NFTs, Banger Coins, and other prizes.
If there’s a single P2E game that doesn’t need an introduction, it has to be Splinterlands.
According to DappRadar it’s the single most popular blockchain game of based on player numbers. It alone accounts for over 90% of all transactions on the Hive blockchain.
Splinterlands’ popularity is best explained by its simple yet addictive gameplay dynamics.
Players compete in one-on-one battles against teams of monsters to win prizes.
To do so, they first have to create collections of cards (monsters).
Each monster comes with different statistics and abilities, to battle other players.
One of the things players love is the variety on offer, with 249 unique monsters and 40 unique summoners.
Splinterlands is free to play but to unlock the play-to-earn features it’s required to buy an NFT Summoner’s Book.
This book unlocks the ability to take part in daily quests, accumulate season rewards and earn Dark Energy Crystals.
Energy Crystals are cryptocurrency tokens that can be used to buy items or sold for other digital assets.
Artists have shown interest in the game too. Wacka Flocka Flame had an NFT drop last month, which sold out in under 30 seconds.
Splinterlands also recently partnered with Warner Music Group.
This partnership will see them collaborate with leading musicians to create new play-to-earn games designed for their fans.
Huntercoin is a decentralized, MMO game that runs on its own blockchain. It's a game that paved the way for the P2E gaming space to emerge.
Having created the opportunity, now Xaya intends to realize it. Xaya is a blockchain-agnostic P2E game platform that’s partnered with Polygon to ensure it’s compatible with its Ethereum sidechain.
As part of the partnership, it will work to integrate itself into Polygon’s EVM-compatible sidechain. This will be done to develop a variety of P2E titles for the Polygon ecosystem.
The idea is that Polygon’s low-cost and high throughput EVM sidechain will help these games reach a much larger audience.
This is due to the inefficiencies faced on the main Ethereum blockchain.
“We’re excited to bring our vision of deep economics and complex gameplay to the Polygon blockchain,” Xaya co-founder Andy
Colosimo said of the partnership with Polygon.
“Following the growth of DeFi and NFTs, we believe blockchain gaming will be the next big opportunity to take blockchain mass market. Our partnership with Polygon will only accelerate that trend.”
Battle Drones is a drone battle game based on the Solana blockchain that’s well known for its fast transaction speeds and low costs.
The team behind the game is focused on creating an immersive combat-style game in the same vein as classic hits such as Fortnite and Call of Duty.
Whilst anyone is free to play Battle Drones, those who purchase an NFT will benefit from additional P2E features.
That’s because the gameplay is backed up by an in-game economy that allows players to win BATTLE tokens.
These tokens are won when players emerge victorious in contests against other players (PvP mode) or in solo games (PvE).
BATTLE tokens can be used to buy in-game items or sold for other cryptocurrencies or fiat.
Besides the main drone shooter game, Battle Drones will also launch multiple game modes:
The game also features daily rewards and challenges, as well as a player leader-board.
Staking and loaning functionality will be added to the game updates later this year.
The real promise of Battle Drones however is that players won’t need huge financial resources to compete.
This is a different approach to so-called “pay-to-win” (P2W) games. P2W games are games where purchasing power often makes the difference between winning and losing.
Players’ individual playing styles make a real difference. This will make it possible for players to win through a combination of smart tactics and skill.
It's a P2E game on Tezos where players have to look after their furry friends throughout each stage of their life.
This includes raising them and training them while they’re still a puppy. Then players need to guide them through an adventurous adulthood stage that will see the dogs pursue multiple career paths.
There's also an unreleased afterlife stage that will be added to the game later this year.
In DOGAMI, each dog is an NFT. New NFTs begin their life in the puppy phase, and players will be responsible for ensuring their pups are fed, kept clean and groomed, trained and more.
Players face daily challenges for which they’ll be rewarded with DOGA tokens and receive a boost to their pet’s Bonding and Boosting scores.
In the adulthood phase, there are different tasks to contend with. Players must continue bonding with their pets whilst completing various challenges.
These challenges allow players to progress through their chosen career path, for which they’ll earn more DOGA tokens.
Players can choose from jobs such as police dogs, firefighter dogs, farmer dogs, skater dogs, and more.
As with Battle Drones, there will be both player-vs-player and player-vs-environment challenges to take part in.
DOGAMI plans to introduce an annual DOGAMI Olympics later this year. Players will be able to take their dogs to compete against the others in the Petaverse.
Like many other emerging P2E games, DOGAMI is doing its best to tackle the problem of accessibility.
To that end, there will be various ways for players to acquire DOGAMI:
They’ll be able to breed their NFTs with other dogs
The DOGAMI Day Care will give new players a way to rent puppies to train on a reward-sharing basis.
Similarly, the DOGAMI Academy will allow players to rent adult DOGAMIs.
As the Play-to-Earn space continues to grow, more and more interesting new games will come into the space.
In the end, only the projects that bring value to users and the crypto gaming community will have an advantage over games.