Play-to-earn (P2E) games allow gamers to both own in-game items and earn cryptocurrencies that can be transferred outside the game. Here’s our list of the hottest P2E games for 2024.
When Axie Infinity – one of the most popular P2E games – was at its peak, gamers in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries were earning a full salary playing this play-to-earn game, making it easier to support their families in the midst of a pandemic. Since 2021, the play-to-earn sector has cooled along with the crypto market as a whole, but on the cusp of a likely new bull market, blockchain games are also evolving at an accelerated pace, bringing new players onto the scene. So which games hold the most promise in 2024?
In traditional video games, in-game items are usually stored in closed data networks and are considered the property of the game developers, with each reward being useless outside of the game. Play-to-earn games, however, allow players to own items within games (enabled by NFT technology), as well as to earn cryptocurrency.
Of course, people have been earning money by playing video games for years through methods such as gold farming and unregulated in-game item trading. However, the rise of blockchain and NFT technology has revolutionized this concept. NFTs are unique digital tokens that establish ownership over digital content, such as artwork or music. In the gaming sector, they enable players to own in-game assets, such as virtual clothing or land. This contrasts with traditional games, where in-game items are limited to the game’s servers and are owned by the game developers. NFTs allow players to actually own the digital items they purchase and have the freedom to trade them outside the game platform, an option not available in conventional games.
These in-game NFTs can be exchanged and sold for real currency on the various NFT marketplaces, thus gaining value due to their limited availability. In standard games, the motivation to play is primarily for enjoyment, and financial gain is limited to professional esports athletes or popular streamers. By contrast, blockchain games offer all players the opportunity to earn real money. Blockchain technology enables global transactions, allowing players from any location or environment to transfer value and potentially earn cryptocurrencies by playing games.
How do play-to-earn games work?
Game developers often opt for Layer 1 blockchain networks like Ethereum, Solana, or BNB Chain to develop and launch play-to-earn gaming platforms. These networks provide a suite of software tools specifically tailored to assist in the creation of applications and experiences compatible with cryptocurrencies, which operate directly on the foundational blockchains.
GameFi, a 300 billion industry
The online games industry, worth more than 300 billion dollars, has grown rapidly, overtaking the music and film industries. It has welcomed more than 500 million new players in the last three years, and participation in online games is growing steadily. This surge in popularity, partly caused by an international curfew during the pandemic, has led to a significant increase in revenues, and the global number of gamers has consequently risen to 1.5 billion.
What blockchain games bring to the table:
- Ownership of Digital Assets: Players have actual ownership over in-game assets (such as characters, equipment, land, etc.) through blockchain technology. These assets are often represented as NFTs, making them unique and tradable.
- Economic Incentives: Players can earn cryptocurrency or NFT tokens by playing the game, completing tasks, winning battles, or trading in-game assets. This creates a direct economic incentive to play.
- Decentralization: In contrast to traditional games, play-to-earn (P2E) games are often decentralized, meaning they are not controlled by a single entity. This can lead to a more democratic and transparent development and management of games.
- Interoperability: Due to the common underlying blockchain infrastructure, assets from one game can sometimes be used or traded in another game.
OK, enough chitchat, let’s get down to what you came for – the list of the top P2E games for 2024:
The first choice is not surprising, as it is considered the hottest P2E platform in the crypto world right now. Founded in December 2020 by Chawalit Rugsasri, Nakamoto Games offers an environment where you can play and earn in over 200 games with its collection of hypertime games. The platform operates on the Polygon network, and includes both its own creations, such as Night Warriors and Spooky games, as well as games from external developers, providing players with a variety of options. Some games on the platform have tournaments where players can win prizes. In addition, independent game developers can upload their games to Nakamoto to earn royalties every time their games are played.
The platform frequently releases new games to monetise, providing players with a constant flow of fresh options, while maintaining a dynamic and exciting gaming environment. In addition to its own releases, Nakamoto Games encourages third-party developers to integrate their games using the platform’s SDK, further increasing the variety of games available. With the successful launch of the main network, Nakamoto Games has gained more than 200,000 registered players, marking a significant milestone in its growth and reach in the gaming community.
Why Nakamoto Games is a good choice?
- Offers more than 200 different play-to-earn games
- Focused on attracting both players and game developers
- The original NAKA token has become a very popular investment in the crypto space
- Offers players the opportunity to earn cryptocurrencies for their gaming skills and dedication
- In November 2023, they partnered with the Telegram
Native token: NAKA
Where can I buy NAKA?
NAKA is currently only available on KuCoin from the major crypto exchanges, but can also be exchanged on the decentralised exchange (DEX) Uniswap.
Now to the most popular game of 2021. In the bull run of 2021, Axie Infinity became the most important blockchain game and peaked on the market with daily sales reaching several million dollars and individual “Axie” characters selling for thousands of dollars. This game focuses on the breeding, collecting and adventuring of adorable creatures called Axies in the world of Lunacia. Axie Infinity’s future vision goes beyond a card game; it aims to develop a metaverse where Axies can own and create land, trade for in-game items and even sacrifice themselves for upgrades.
The Sky Mavis team, behind the game Axie Infinity, has successfully built a global community with millions of players, significantly impacting third-world countries. In these regions, the game was a tool for economic upliftment, as investors sponsored the participation and battles of local players. The game was supported by major corporations such as Ubisoft and Samsung. To address high transaction fees on the Ethereum blockchain, Sky Mavis developed a sidechain called Ronin. This innovation allowed users to trade and sell in-game assets with zero fees for a considerable number of daily transactions, thereby increasing market liquidity. Axie Infinity has set a precedent in the industry and continues to evolve with new features, such as mechanisms for burning Axies to acquire in-game items. The community also played a key role in expanding accessibility, introducing scholarship programs that allowed more players to join the game.
Why is Axie Infinity a good choice?
- Axie Infinity has created a large and active community around the world, which not only increases interest in the game but also drives a strong in-game economy.
- The most popular blockchain game in 2021
- The Sky Mavis development team is known for its continuous efforts to improve the game
- The game offers a variety of modes and activities, from axe farming to combat and exploration
Native tokens: AXS in SLP (a token in the game used to breed Axies)
Where can I buy AXS?
AXS is available on all major crypto exchanges such as Binance, KuCoin or Coinbase, but can also be exchanged on the decentralised exchange (DEX) Uniswap or Pancakeswap.
Vulcan Forged is a multi-faceted project including a game studio, NFT marketplace, DEX and dapps incubator, and has created a thriving community of over 100,000 users. Its flagship game, VulcanVerse, is a AAA fantasy MMORPG with elements of Greco-Roman mythology. Players explore four unique regions, each with its own aesthetic and opportunities. These regions have different narratives, quests and plots. Key games in this ecosystem include VulcanVerse, Berserk, and Forge Arena, each offering unique gameplay experiences. VulcanVerse, for instance, is a flagship metaverse and MMORPG, allowing players to create quests, battle, and own digital assets as NFTs. Berserk, a card strategy game, and Forge Arena, a fantasy fighter auto-battler, also leverage blockchain technology in engaging ways.
The platform operates on the Elysium blockchain and utilizes a dual-token structure: PYR and LAVA. PYR serves as a governance and utility token across the Vulcan Forged ecosystem, including in-game purchases, staking, and dApp creation. LAVA, on the other hand, is the play-to-earn token rewarded to players for engaging with the games. This dual-token system offers a dynamic and incentivized gaming experience.
Why is Vulcan Forged a good choice?
- One of the most popular P2E games of the new generation
- Vulkan Forged’s home-grown cryptocurrency, PYR, is used to fund market transactions
- Project supports staking of cryptocurrencies
Native tokens: PYR in LAVA (in-game token)
Where can I buy PYR?
PYR is available on all major crypto exchanges such as Binance, KuCoin or Coinbase, but can also be exchanged on the decentralised exchange (DEX) Uniswap or Pancakeswap.
Gods Unchained is a pioneering Web3 online card game that is significantly better than traditional card games such as Hearthstone and Magic. It allows players to truly own their in-game assets as NFTs, allowing them to sell cards for real money instead of settling for a minimal return. As a free-to-play card game, Gods Unchained emphasises strategic duel play, using fantasy-themed cards to create a dynamic and competitive experience. The game is developed by a team led by Nick Clay, formerly the Director of Magic The Gathering Arena.
There are several different ways to earn money in Gods Unchained, and you can sell the cards you collect in the in-game marketplace. The price depends on the type of card that was previously covered. Gods Unchained also has its own token called GODS. You can earn this token by completing matches and stacking. If you don’t have a lot of time to grind this game, you can also buy this token through exchanges such as Coinbase. You can also bet on the in-game currency.
In terms of accessibility, Gods Unchained is currently available for Windows and macOS. Prospective players should ensure that their systems meet the minimum requirements for a smooth gaming experience.
Why is Gods Unchained a good choice?
- Collect and exchange digital cards representing gods and mythical creatures
- Create powerful decks tailored to your strategic play style
- Participate in competitive matches with other players
- Earn Flux tokens by winning matches and completing quests
- Exchange Flux tokens for real currency or new cards
Native token: GODS
Where can I buy GODS?
GODS is available on all major crypto exchanges such as Binance or KuCoin, but can also be exchanged on the decentralised exchange (DEX) Uniswap or Pancakeswap.
Illuvium, a blockchain-based game, has been gaining attention in the gaming community for its unique blend of 3D open-world exploration, creature collection, and auto-battler combat. Developed by the Warwick brothers, Kieran and Aaron Warwick, the idea for “Illuvium” was inspired by Kieran’s exposure to the play-to-earn ecosystem of Axie Infinity. The game’s development is overseen by the Illuvium DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization comprising ILV token holders. This governance model involves community representatives voting on proposals, ensuring a collaborative approach to the game’s evolution.
Players can explore a vast landscape populated with alien creatures called ‘Illuvials.’ The game employs a combination of action and turn-based gameplay, requiring strategic thinking and quick reflexes. Illuvials are the central creatures of the game, similar to Pokémon, and can evolve through various stages, gaining new abilities. There are over 100 Illuvials, each with unique attributes based on their class (such as Fighter, Guardian, Rogue, Psion, and Empath) and affinity (like Air, Earth, Nature, Fire, and Water). Players face challenges in building their teams due to the complexity and diversity of available Illuvials. The team builder interface, while solid, presents a steep learning curve for newcomers, making initial gameplay potentially overwhelming. The game features various items like weapons, armor, and shards that aid in capturing and enhancing Illuvials. These items, like most in-game NFTs, can be traded on the IlluviDEX
Why is Illuvium a good choice?
- The game combines 3D exploration with auto-battler combat, offering a unique gaming experience
- The game features a variety of Illuvials, each with unique abilities and characteristics, adding depth and strategy to the gameplay
- Players can earn tokens through gameplay, providing an incentive to play and engage with the game’s ecosystem
Native token: ILV
Where can I buy ILV?
ILV is available on all major crypto exchanges such as Binance or KuCoin, but can also be exchanged on the decentralised exchange (DEX) Uniswap or Pancakeswap.
The play-to-earn games landscape for 2024 foresees an interesting mix of fun and potentially profitable games. As of 2024, our top five P2E games—Nakamoto Games, Axie Infinity, Vulcan Forged, Gods Unchained, and Illuvium—have not only demonstrated the potential for players to earn real money through gaming but have also highlighted the diverse applications of blockchain technology in the gaming industry. These games are not just redefining the concept of ownership in the digital realm through the use of NFTs and cryptocurrency, they are also reshaping the economic model of gaming. Players now have the unprecedented ability to earn, trade, and invest through in-game activities. This shift has opened up new avenues for gamers, especially in developing countries, to achieve financial gains by leveraging their gaming skills and strategies. Furthermore, the incorporation of blockchain technology has introduced decentralization and transparency into the gaming sector. This has facilitated a more equitable and player-centric gaming ecosystem, where players have a say in the development and governance of the games they play..
Add to this the interesting fact that crypto analysts are putting the P2E sector as one of the main narratives of the coming bull run, and the future for these plays seems quite bright. Happy gaming!
What are Play-to-Earn (P2E) games?
Play-to-Earn games are a type of video game that allows players to earn cryptocurrency and have ownership of in-game assets through blockchain technology that can be traded or sold outside the game.
How are P2E games different from traditional video games?
In traditional video games, in-game items are usually stored on private servers and are the property of the game developers. P2E games, on the other hand, allow players to actually own in-game items (like NFTs) and earn cryptocurrencies that can be transferred out of the game.
Can I make real money playing play-to-earn games?
Yes, P2E games offer all players the opportunity to earn real money in the form of cryptocurrencies by playing the game, completing quests, winning battles or trading in-game assets.
Can I Play P2E games for free?
The accessibility of these games varies. Some offer free-to-play models with earning potential, while others might require an initial investment, such as purchasing NFTs or tokens to start.
Why is Nakamoto Games a good P2E platform?
Nakamoto Games offers over 200 different P2E games, focuses on attracting players and developers, and includes the NAKA token, which has become a popular investment in the cryptocurrency space.
How do I get started with P2E?
To get started with a P2E game, you will often need to purchase an NFT hero or other initial funds, depending on the structure of the game. You can then take part in quests and possibly earn rewards.
What are top 5 P2E games of 2024?
The top 5 P2E games of 2024 by are choice are Nakamoto Games, Axie Infinity, Vulcan Forged, Gods Unchained, and Illuvium – they stand out due to their innovative use of blockchain, engaging gameplay, and opportunities for players to earn real economic value. But, there are also plenty of other P2E games on the rise and we will monitor them closely.