Top NFT (Play-to-Earn) Games You Need to Know in 2021

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Non-fungible tokens have taken the digital world by storm. For example, Nyan Cat — an animated flying cat with a Pop-Tarts body leaving a rainbow trail — sold for $580K, while Mike Winkelmann’s NFT-based artwork “Everydays: the First 5000 Days” auctioned for a whopping $69 million. Think you know much about NFT? You may be just scratching the surface.

Owning an NFT is without a doubt beneficial for those who treasure authenticity and distinctiveness. But did you know that plenty of gaming developers are hitting the scene with NFT play-to-earn games that give you a chance to turn your gaming skills into crypto? In fact, there’s even a gaming company that recently raised $60 million just for its NFT gaming platform.

Still, don’t just jump into something like NFT without understanding how it works. If you’re intrigued by the concept of having your assets grow by start playing these games and want to learn more about NFTs in general, here’s an overview of the current state of NFT gaming.

What Does “Non-Fungible” Mean?

When something is fungible, it can be freely interchanged with an item of the same type. For example, a dollar is a fungible asset. If you and a friend trade a dollar, then no value is lost; it’s an equal exchange. When you pay for your coffee in the morning, you don’t care if you give the cashier the dollar in your wallet or the dollar in your pocket. The individual bill in question makes no difference. Dollars and other fungible goods are completely interchangeable with goods of the same type.

An example of a non-fungible item would be the Mona Lisa. Sure, someone could paint an exact copy of it, but it wouldn’t be interchangeable with the real Mona Lisa. Nobody is going to spend millions on an exact replica. The Mona Lisa is non-fungible because it’s one-of-a-kind, and its unique nature affects its value. Someone could still trade the Mona Lisa for money or another piece of art, but unlike currency or other fungible assets, it’s not interchangeable for anything else. There is no other Mona Lisa that is interchangeable with the original, and there is no NFT that is completely interchangeable with another NFT.

What Is an NFT?

An NFT (non-fungible token) is a token that exists on the blockchain and cannot be directly interchanged with another asset. NFTs can represent original art, music, in-game assets or practically anything else. They differ from cryptocurrencies and other digital assets in that they are one-of-a-kind. When you purchase or earn an NFT, you’re receiving the original asset with proof of ownership. When you sell or exchange the NFT, you can cleanly and effectively transfer ownership to the buyer.

Because NFTs are one-of-a-kind assets, they tend to attract collectors. NFT enthusiasts typically buy and sell NFTs on many dedicated digital marketplaces and platforms. Some websites exist as online marketplaces to buy and sell NFTs, and many NFT games allow players to accumulate NFTs by a play-to-earn system. While some enthusiasts simply buy NFTs for their connection to the asset that they represent, many people purchase NFTs or participate in play-to-earn games to make a profit.

As with any other asset, sellers make a profit by purchasing NFTs at a low price and selling them at a higher price. However, nobody can predict the trajectory of any given NFT, so it’s not as if buying an NFT is a surefire way to make money. When you buy and sell NFTs, you must pay very close attention to current market conditions so that you don’t make a suboptimal trade and lose money.

Blockchain Technology’s Role in NFTs

In the context of NFTs, blockchain technology allows the public to track their ownership with great accuracy. Everyone can see who has bought and sold the NFT, who currently owns it, when each transaction took place and how much money was spent in each transaction. 

The public ledger system also allows owners to prove that they own a genuine NFT. When a person sells their NFT, the blockchain confirms the buyer’s ownership. Since other users can see every transaction back to the very first sale, buyers can be confident that they’re purchasing a genuine product. Consequently, blockchain technology greatly minimizes the risk of buying a counterfeit NFT.

What Are NFT Games?

NFT online games are developed using smart contracts to predetermine the rules stored on the blockchain as their core mechanics. NFT players typically collect, trade and interact with NFTs, and have a sense of each NFT’s perceived market price, which fluctuates from day to day. 

Unlike a traditional video game, NFT games create an outlet for players to earn actual virtual assets. In the grand scheme of things, these games reward players with tokens and NFTs as they fulfill tasks according to each game’s rules. In any case, these rewards are typically ERC20 tokens that are actually tradable on crypto exchanges. But what really stands out about NFT games is that players have the chance to collect unique NFTs which represent the collectible items.

How Do Play-To-Earn Games Work?

Typically, play-to-earn games give players NFTs or cryptocurrencies whenever they complete in-game quests. The longer a user plays, the more earnings a player can profit. Some games allow players to win or lose NFTs as a part of their gameplay mechanics. Play-to-earn games encompass any genre of gameplay, ranging from action-adventure, strategy game and multiplayer online battle arena to sandbox and more.

For example, Axie Infinity shares a similar concept to the Pokémon game, in which players battle to collect, raise, breed, trade and battle creatures called Axie and earn ERC20 Smooth Love Potion (SLP) tokens. At the same time, players can earn in-game NFTs that represent collectible items that vary in value based on utility and rarity.

Another example, CryptoBlades (SKILL) let users craft NFTs for the gameplay or to be traded in the marketplace. At the same time, players can earn SKILL tokens by defeating enemies and double the gains by staking the tokens for annual percentage yields (APYs). Once the liquidity is locked the earned tokens will translate into an instant value. In turn, these games incentivize players to hold onto these cryptos to further increase the utility of the tokens.

Most Popular NFT Games

Axie Infinity

Axie in-game pets

The Axie Infinity is referred to as one of the best NFT games. It dabbles the concept of Pokémon where players breed and trade NFT digital pets called “Axies” in the world of Lunacia. Also, each monster is a non-fungible token. These monsters can be bought and sold on the developer’s marketplace, and the game uses the Etherum-based AXS and SLP tokens. Players can exchange these currencies to farm, buy land, breed their Axies, and more.

While Axie Infinity is arguably the most popular NFT game worldwide, it has especially taken off in the Philippines because many people can earn more with this game than they could at a regular job. Some users earn up to $1,000 per month by strategically buying and selling Axie NFTs, SLP and AXS. So if you know what you’re doing, Axie Infinity is a great way to have a blast while supplementing your income.

Gods Unchained

Gods Unchained

Players who love collectible card games will feel right at home when playing “Gods Unchained.” The cards in Gods Unchained have a close resemblance to the Ethereum-based game — Magic The Gathering or Hearthstone. Gamers earn in-game items through the PVP gameplay battling with players. With every wins, a player who collected Flux can craft unique digital collectibles and NFT cards which translate into an instant value.

As the first blockchain eSports game, Gods Unchained has the potential to attract many viewers, fans, and players with high-profile tournaments and matches. Incorporating a play-to-earn model, Gods Unchained rewards loyal players for all of the hours that they put into this exciting experience.

The Sandbox

The Sandbox” is one of the other NFT games that offer a customizable voxel-based game that allows players to create and monetize their own unique gaming experiences. Players can exchange digital assets and buy $SAND, the game’s utility token. Due to its customizable nature and intricate development tools, players and developers can create and experience a wide range of high-quality game modes that offer players more freedom and better graphics than similar titles. If you enjoy “Roblox” or “Minecraft,” then you’ll have an even greater time earning valuable NFTs while exploring the endless possibilities that The Sandbox has to offer.

Sorare

Sorare fantasy football game
CC: Sorare official website.

Sorare is another Ethereum-based game that raised over $680 million for its fantasy football gameplay which allows users to collect digital collectibles that are tradeable with other online soccer players. In Sorare, you earn rewards based on the goals your score, the overall winning rate and the quests you’ve completed. Each of the earned digital cards is represented by a unique token on the Ethereum blockchain. Players can buy, sell, or trade cards from other players where the transactions are all recorded on the blockchain. According to TechCrunch, Sorare is one of the top NFT games that has over 600,000 registered users and counting.

Upcoming NFT Games

Guild of Guardians

Available for both Android and iOS, “Guild of Guardians” is shaping up to be a great game for players who enjoy “Skyrim” and other fantasy role-playing game (RPG) titles. Another play-to-earn game, Guild of Guardians will be free to download, and its developers assert that success in the game will center on skill rather than money.

This NFT game plans to offer a strong multiplayer element, and players will need to join and participate in guilds with other players to earn the best NFT and proprietary crypto rewards. Guild of Guardians raised $3 million after selling its first series of collectible NFTs in June, so it’s clear that gamers are excited. Currently, the developers expect to release a beta version of Guild of Guardians in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Gold Fever

“Gold Fever” puts players in a dark, foreboding jungle as they struggle to make their way amid a hectic gold rush. While adventurers work solo or form small teams to find gold within the unforgiving rainforest, capitalist players purchase mining claims and rent capital to adventurers and other players.

The merchants make their fortunes by crafting items and providing services for a fee, and the tribesmen ward off unscrupulous intruders to protect their wealth. Depending on how you play Gold Fever, there are several unique ways to earn the Gold Fever NGL crypto token and gain ownership of valuable NFTs. Gold Fever is one of the most anticipated crypto games set to enter the gaming world with early access in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The Risks of NFT Games

You May Lose More Than You Earn

Many NFTs are expensive, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to sell an NFT for a higher price down the road. The value of an NFT can fluctuate a lot within minutes, so you can easily lose money or miss a golden opportunity by buying or selling at the wrong moment. Thus, to be successful with NFTs, you have to dedicate some time to research, and you need to spend your money strategically.

If you tend to be impatient or impulsive, then you could easily waste your money on the wrong NFT. However, no matter how much research you do, there’s a degree of luck that comes with investing in NFTs. Even the most experienced traders lose money on certain NFTs. Furthermore, some NFT games require some sort of buy-in, so if you’re not successful, you might never recoup those upfront costs.

An NFT’s Value May Depreciate

Do you remember Beanie Babies? If you don’t, then you’re either young enough or lucky enough not to have been swept up in the hype. Beanie Babies are small stuffed animals that are filled with plastic beads and were super popular in the 1990s. Enthusiasts were buying as many Beanie Babies as possible with the idea that at least some of their collection would appreciate in value.

However, although some Beanie Babies did take off, most remained worthless. Like Beanie Babies, NFTs are collectibles. While some may be worth more than others right now, there’s no telling what the future may hold.

An NFT may be rare or desirable at one point in time, but that doesn’t mean that it will grow in value or even maintain its value. Buyers often think that they’ve just bought the next big thing, and they have a ton of research and analysis to back up their predictions. However, just as with any collectible, you can’t predict the value of NFTs with complete certainty.

Sometimes, people may simply stop caring about a new NFT. Maybe something bigger or better or shinier comes along, or the artist whom the NFT is associated with might lose popularity. As a result, any NFT’s value can sharply decline within hours. Therefore, you shouldn’t put your life savings into NFTs. While you can make a lot of money, you also stand to lose it all within moments.

It’s good to be cautiously optimistic, and you surely can see the value of your in-game assets expand when trading NFTs. Nonetheless, only spend as much as you’re willing to lose. You don’t want to miss your car payment or face foreclosure because you bet all of your money on an unprofitable NFT.

Scams Are Common

Sadly, when there’s a new market, scammers are sure to pop up in no time. From the very start of NFTs, scammers have been pulling several tricks to mislead people into spending their money on unprofitable or nonexistent tokens. 

For example, many scammers artificially inflate the price of an NFT by selling it to other scammers in their ring — or buying it from themselves under an alias to give the illusion of high demand. When an unwitting buyer comes along and purchases the NFT, they’ll find it almost impossible to sell because the original series of fake buyers weren’t legitimately interested in the coin in the first place.

You should also be wary of phony marketplaces, fake NFT games and NFT-related junk emails. Some scammers advertise fake NFT games and marketplaces just to collect your money, bank information and other private data. Often, these fly-by-night operations disappear or stop working once they’ve duped enough users out of their hard-earned money. Because of these risks, you need DYOR about the development team and the project before jumping into the new trend. And as always, all the games are different from one another. You should never click links on NFT-related emails without verifying the sender’s identity.

Difficulties Cashing Out NFTs

Different NFTs have varying levels of liquidity. Unlike cash or stock, an NFT can be challenging to trade at certain times. In order for you to sell an NFT, you must first find a buyer. When an NFT is at the peak of its popularity this is easy, but new or forgotten NFTs are often much harder to sell. To complicate matters further, some marketplaces may be incompatible with certain NFTs. Thus, you might have to jump through hoops or wait a long time to exchange your NFTs for more liquid assets, like money or cryptocurrencies.

The Bottom Line

NFT games are giving cryptocurrency enthusiasts, gamers and NFT fans everywhere a more exciting way than ever before to earn rewards like NFTs and tokens via a virtual world. If you play games anyway, then why not give a few NFT games a try? Many of these NFT games are free to play and may have a low upfront cost, so there’s very little to lose. NFT games incorporate a variety of fun and exciting gameplay mechanics, and many people remain hooked on NFT games for the enjoyable gameplay alone.

Of course, when playing NFT games or even the best crypto games, always remember to play responsibly. NFT games can be a fun way to gain a new income stream, but don’t assume that the money is always going to flow. If you think that you have the time, patience and skills to succeed, then go ahead and explore some of the current and upcoming NFT games discussed in this article. These popular games have a ton of hype for a reason, so it’s a good idea to get involved as early as you can. That way, you’ll have a better opportunity to win big.

Disclaimer

This article is intended for and only to be used for reference purposes only. No such information provided through Bybit constitutes advice or a recommendation that any investment or trading strategy is suitable for any specific person. These forecasts are based on industry trends, circumstances involving clients, and other factors, and they involve risks, variables, and uncertainties. There is no guarantee presented or implied as to the accuracy of specific forecasts, projections, or predictive statements contained herein. Users of this article agree that Bybit does not take responsibility for any of your investment decisions. Please seek professional advice before trading.

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