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Are There Any Free Play-to-Earn Crypto Games?

Are There Any Free Play-to-Earn Crypto Games?

Gaming is one of the largest industries in the economy today. Millions of people enter the gaming space every year because of rapid improvements within the gaming industry and high-quality content. A new form of gaming emerged that has the potential to attract more users because it offers something the traditional gaming industry couldn't -- a chance to earn while having fun.

Due to the rapid development of games based on blockchain technology and the Play-to-Earn (P2E) model it can be difficult sometimes to keep track of emerging games. There are many high-quality projects on the crypto market currently. Even though all blockchain games consist of several common features such as rewards and ownership of in-game assets, there are some differences when it comes to specific game requirements. 

The P2E feature emerged as a new model regarding the way game studios treat players. Before we were able to play-to-earn, we had only the opportunity to pay-to-play. The traditional Pay-to-Play model of gaming required players to purchase the game to start playing, along with the purchase of in-game items for a better gaming experience. Now the power is being shifted back to the hands of the gamers. 

What is a Play-to-Earn Game?

In simple words, a P2E game is an online game based on some form of blockchain technology that enables gamers to earn while they are playing. Play-to-earn games, also known as P2E games, crypto games or blockchain games can be defined as games that have cryptocurrency and NFTs as a significant part of their gameplay. Such games reward their players with real-world values.  

If you want to know more about the Play-to-earn concept, take a look at this article: 'What is Play to Earn? P2E blockchain games that let users earn money'.

There are two main Play-to-Earn features. The first one is obvious – you have the opportunity to monetise by earning cryptocurrency while simply playing a game. The second benefit is linked to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and owning digital assets. NFTs in P2E games allow gamers to truly own their in-game items. Basically, that means that you can sell them on NFT marketplaces for crypto or fiat money.

If you are new to the crypto gaming scene, the whole NFT concept may sound confusing. To learn more about NFTs, we suggest reading this article: 'How does an NFT have value?'. 

How to Choose a P2E Game?

When choosing a game, most players first examine the gameplay, project’s credibility, overall presentation and care put into details. If you want to step into the blockchain gaming world, it is recommended to read the game's white paper and developer's profiles, examine the in-game economy and community management. The payment structure for P2E games can vary widely. It is important to DYOR (‘Do Your Own Research’) about the specific game you are interested in. 

Additionally, paying attention to details can help you in making an informed decision as to whether the game is legit or not. Unfortunately, there are many scammers within the crypto world. The best way to avoid being scammed for new adopters is to learn more about crypto. A while ago we published an article about the most common crypto scams and how to avoid them. We recommend reading it to find out more about safety within the crypto community.

Players who are new to P2E games may feel confused as to which games to try out first. Most of them stick to established and popular blockchain games that have a functioning in-game economy and community management.  

In this article we are going to lay down a list of free-to-play blockchain games. Many games on the crypto market are essentially that way, offering a risk-free way to get familiar with P2E gaming. 

Are P2E games free?

Many P2E games have their own in-game economies and token economics. Players earn tokens by completing tasks and doing player-versus-player (PvP) battles. The purpose of acquiring these tokens is to allow in-game purchases or to unlock certain capabilities, along with the possibility of earning extra cash by selling tokens on a crypto exchange platform or trading with NFTs on NFT marketplaces. 

If you are a frequent reader, you probably remember that we explained what a NFT marketplace is. On NFT marketplaces you can trade with characters, skins, weapons and similar in-game items.

However, most P2E games are not entirely free. Some P2E games require initial payments to start playing, usually through purchasing in-game currency or items. Such games typically use a cryptocurrency as the primary form of payment, and players need to purchase or exchange cryptocurrency to play. 

 You may even be required to buy NFTs to participate. For example, if you want to play the popular blockchain game Axie Infinity, you are required to buy three Axies to start. Since the game gained massive popularity, the price of Axies has risen accordingly. Therefore, this might be a large initial investment for many people before being able to see whether it will pay off.

Creators of the game recognized that this might be a problem for many gamers, so they invented the Axie Infinity scholarship program. Basically, that means that they lend you three Axies to start in exchange for 50 percent of your in-game earnings. The high demand for the game has impacted the profitability of the scholarship system as the number of scholars from developing countries has broadly expanded. Howerer, Axie Infinity scholarships might be hard to come by, especially since they require a significant amount of trust between parties.

Some other blockchain games may provide free gameplay with the possibility to purchase additional in-game assets or cryptocurrency to enhance the overall gaming experience. In most cases you will have to make these purchases using cryptocurrency, but some P2E games also offer traditional payment methods. In simple words, you can start playing with no strings attached but the good stuff may be locked away behind a paywall or time-consuming tasks. 

Free Play-to-Earn Crypto Games

The initial expense of many P2E games may discourage new players from participating. Fortunately, there are a bunch of P2E games that do not require any initial investments or purchases for the sake of gameplay. Free-to-play blockchain games are high in demand. Therefore, we have created a list of the most popular options that are accessible right now. 

Gods Unchained

Gods Unchained is a trading card game. It is one of the most popular free-to-play blockchain games currently available.  

As a new player, you will be given a set of 140 cards that you can use to compete against other players with equivalent rankings. Keep in mind that this deck of cards is more as a welcome gift than a payment. They do not sit on the blockchain and thereby, cannot be sold.  

You have to win a few player-versus-player matches to earn Flux. When you earn Flux, you can forge two replica trading cards and mint them on the Ethereum blockchain and can be traded.

Understanding the process of minting may seem complicated at first. If you are not sure what it actually means, we suggest reading this article: 'Making your own NFTs'.

Therefore, digital cards are NFTs or in other words, in-game assets that you can actually own. The game talked about the true ownership over in-game assets as something that wasn’t possible in the traditional gaming industry. 

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Another interesting fact about this game is that the creators have opted for a design that delivers fairness. In other words, only players with comparable rankings are matched together. 

Coin Hunt World

This free-to-play is a metaverse and geo-location game in which players explore the real world by earning and using blue keys to open blue vaults, completing quests, collecting items and building structures. It resembles the Pokemon Go game so you can walk around your city using a digital map to look for keys.  

When you find a substantial number of keys, you can put them in vaults. Opening a vault prompts you with a trivia question and four answer choices. If you answer correctly, you receive a prize box. Within the prize box you can find either Bitcoin, Ethereum, in-game assets such as Cubie Blueprints or keys.

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You can find out more about #move2earn gaming if you take a look at their Twitter account.

This game has a different reward system when compared to other P2E games as it doesn’t award NFTs to players. The prizes are only denominated in Bitcoin or Ethereum. Even though the prizes may not be as financially lucrative as in NFT-based games, it is a good start to join the crypto community. 

Coin Hunt World has a slight disadvantage when compared to other free-to-play crypto games. It is only available in a limited number of countries. These are the U.S., Canada, El Salvador, Philippines and the UK.

Splinterlands

Similar to Gods Unchained, Splinterlands is another free-to-play card trading game in which players with comparable rankings are paired up for matches. Players can buy, collect, or trade cards called Splinters which they use to compete with opponents. The winner gets more sets of cards that can be then traded on an NFT marketplace.

The difference with the Gods Unchained game is that Splinterlands is not built on the Ethereum blockchain, yet the cards are stored on the Hive blockchain. 

New players are given a set of cards to start. By winning matches and accomplishing daily quests, players can earn and unlock more cards. Players can also obtain cards by participating in airdrops.

If you are interested in the concept of airdrops and how to earn crypto, try reading this article: 'How to earn crypto: Earning from owning'.

Similar to other free-to-play blockchain games, this is a risk-free game. There are no consequences for losing matchups so players with no prior experience do not have anything at stake.  

The Sandbox

The Sandbox is a virtual metaverse app based on the Ethereum blockchain. The game enables players to create assets and monetise them within an immersive virtual environment. The platform's native token SAND can be traded on multiple exchange platforms.

What distinguishes Sandbox from other free-to-play games is the possibility to create 3D games within the metaverse by using a free system known as the Game Maker. The game has multiple ways to earn as you can be an artist, game maker, or landowner.

Recently, we pointed out Sandbox as one of the best metaverse games to enhance creativity. If you are interested in reading more about Sandbox and similar apps, you can read about it in the article: 'What are the best metaverse apps?'.

Chainmonsters

The Chainmonsters game is a new MMORPG free-to-play blockchain game that has already attracted a lot of players. There are also plans to release the game on Playstation and XBox in the future. 

The game was at first built on the Flow blockchain, but just before the early access, the creators decided to move the game to IMX. They stated that this decision was reached because they have placed a strong emphasis on the idea that gameplay comes first.

Chainmonsters gained a big user base because of its beautiful graphics and turn-based gameplay. It seems that turn-based RPGs are not a thing of the past after all. 

When it comes to earning, players can get rewards by competing in battles, completing quests and crafting rare resources. Players are also allowed to craft NFTs that can be minted on the blockchain. 

Guild of Guardians

The new game Guild of Guardians is a fantasy game on the Ethereum blockchain that is currently still in development. It is a cooperative, dungeon crawler game that isn't focused on PvP battles. Players gather in groups to enter dungeons, fight with monsters, and collect rewards and experience.

The game took a mobile-first approach and has already completed a few rounds of NFT releases and launched their native token, GOG. The game itself will have a system of rewards for GOG token staking that is filled from token usage. Additionally, Guild of Guardians partnered up with Esports to launch rare, limited-edition heroes. 

Guild of Guardians is a free-to-play game but those players who will own NFTs will have a number of benefits when playing. However, the game doesn't involve a pay-to-win feature since the in-game development is focused on skills and strategy. At the start, each player will receive a free band of heroes which cannot be sold.

Throughout the game players will be able to advance their teams and obtain additional rewards that can be sold for in-game currency or minted and sold on the game’s NFT marketplace. 

Closing Thoughts

P2E gaming and blockchain freshened up the gaming scene and attracted a lot of new users. However, P2E became more than just gaming. In many developing countries it represents a source of income when people realise that they can make more money just by playing rather than spending time on their regular jobs.  

While the P2E concept is understandable to many newcomers, many blockchain games required initial investments. Upfront purchases come with a dose of risk as the player doesn’t know if the investment is going to pay off.  

Additionally, many gamers have an aversion to games that strong-arm them to make in-game purchases because they are necessary to progress in the game. That is not really unusual since NFTs fit like a puzzle piece into the gaming industry and it was only a matter of time when everyone would like to capitalise on it. 

Free-to-play blockchain games exist and they are on the rise. These games provide a risk-free entrance for new players on the crypto scene.  

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