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What Is Play-2-Earn (And X-to-Earn) - Part 2: Crypto and Play2Earn

May 31, 2023
byNDAX Labs

Though often characterized by volatility, the crypto industry has experienced significant growth in the last several years. The industry is now estimated to have a value hovering around CA$1.6 trillion (without counting the companies that serve the industry!) Growth has partly been the consequence of emerging fields in the industry, such as new P2E models.

Prior to P2E, traditional models adopted pay-to-play structures, whereby players and in-game purchases served as the major sources of revenue. However, the integration of blockchain into gaming has turned this on its head.

Leveraging blockchain attributes, P2E gamers can mint and trade items in a metaverse, and game developers can earn a small commission from player trades. Players who gain NFTs can transform them into cryptos or real-world currencies such as the euro or dollar. Their crypto tokens have value because they are crucial for gameplay.

In the more democratic approach associated with blockchain, crypto incentive gaming platforms are increasingly allowing more creative and decision-making inputs from players as the market gradually evolves into a player-owned NFT economy.

The adoption of crypto-based governance tokens means greater power for players in terms of game creation and resource allocation, as well as enhanced capacity to generate income.

Role of Decentralized Networks in Play2Earn

History indicates that most game publishers are averse to decentralization, even with advancements such as Chainlink. They would rather place greater emphasis on areas like programmability, higher throughput, enhanced computing power, and accessibility. Their overriding powers mean that user accounts can be unilaterally penalized or restricted from accessing centralized servers.

The above are just a few of the monopolistic tendencies that decentralized networks seek to correct. For instance, the failure of a server in a decentralized network does not cause any major problems (due to the ‘redundant’ nature of decentralized systems). Rather, activities continue in other nodes, helping to ensure a hitch-free continuity of gaming operations.

Indeed, blockchains and cryptocurrencies have revolutionized Play2Earn and enabled gamers to transform digital assets into real-world pecuniary uses. However, many blockchain P2E systems are still far from being totally decentralized. According to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), most of these “Play2Earn" do not inherently and fully eliminate the centralization found in games: they still require the authority of the publisher to define, issue, and constrain the asset that eventually is traded as an NFT.”

But the WEF also notes the significant capability of P2E games when it comes to decentralization:

“…the greatest promise of Play To Earn games is in their potential to decentralize marketplaces for the creation, ownership, and exchange of digital assets, as well as the potential created when these marketplaces are connected to the traditional economy and fiat currencies—allowing players to transfer their digital time, effort and earnings into disposable income in the physical world.”

Hence, P2E gaming is a welcome development for millions around the world. Having some form of control over your gaming experience (not to mention remuneration) is, for many, preferable to being subject to the whims and decisions of a few influential game developers or worse, uninvolved corporate executives.

Investment Opportunities In Play2Earn

Investment in crypto games has soared in recent years as the Play2Earn model gathers steam. Venture capitalists invested 4 billion USD in the crypto games market in 2021, up from 80 million USD in 2020.

Sustainability is a major factor that attracts investors to P2E gaming platforms. They also look at tokens, NFTs, and other gaming dynamics. Gaming guilds are another area investors consider. Because other game types like RPG (especially MMORPG) remain viable and rank topmost when it comes to revenue generation,  the possibility of hybrid P2E games is also an attractive proposition.

In terms of the in-game economy, the most sustainable P2E models are inspired by traditional gaming models that create added value via in-game features (as is the case in Steam). But models that use other kinds of in-game economies can also be sustainable (e.g. in Warhammer-style trading).

If you are looking to explore a few Play2Earn crypto tokens, here are some of the best project coins to consider:

The Future of Play2Earn

Many gaming enthusiasts used to play for leisure or as a hobby, but things are changing: Thanks to P2E, gaming is turning into a viable source of income as well. The interesting part is that the Play2Earn market is still in its early stages. This means that the huge potential of the model still remains largely unexplored. However, the projections are promising. For instance, it is expected that the market for Play2Earn NFT games could grow from 755 million USD in 2021 to billions by 2028.

Play2Earn games will continue to revolutionize and set the growth pace for the crypto incentive gaming market because of:

  • increasing adoption of NFTS
  • enhanced user experience
  • decentralization
  • expanding revenue generation potential
  • more active gaming communities

But like every other industry, P2E and other crypto-based incentive gaming models have their challenges. However, these challenges look more like stepping stones toward the next big thing in P2E than limitations.


The success of P2E gaming owes a lot to blockchain technology. With its adoption of blockchain principles such as decentralization and NFTs, P2E is now a global phenomenon. Growth in the Play2Earn market has also contributed to the growth of the crypto industry as a whole, despite the effects of the pandemic. The model is expected to grow significantly in both size and value in the coming years.

If you are into Play2Earn blockchain games, or if you are a crypto investor, be sure to track the developments and daily movement of major P2E projects like SAND, MANA, AXS, GALA, TLM on CoinMarketCap, CoinGecko, or through NDAX, Canada’s safest and most reliable crypto trading platform, and the country’s largest by volume.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide investment, legal, accounting, tax or any other advice and should not be relied on in that or any other regard. The information contained herein is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of cryptocurrencies or otherwise.