Non-Fungible Tokens have become the basis for the development of blockchain games, where NFTs function as in-game items and characters. Thanks to these unique digital collections and assets, players can not only enjoy the gameplay but also earn money at the same time by upgrading their characters, participating in contests, and selling their NFTs, which can also be in-game trophies.
NFTs are unique and indivisible digital assets that cannot be replaced or counterfeited by anything, unlike classic crypto assets such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. Any user can create their Non-Fungible Token in the form of a photo, digital image or NFT art, video clip, gif, audio track, or any other known format on the blockchain – in other words, in the form of any digital content. Thanks to this unique feature, NFTs can be played as characters and items that players can trade with each other.
We wrote more about what NFTs are and what makes them special in another article: “Non-fungible Token Development: How to Create Your Own NFT Token?».
What Are NFT Games?
Simply put, an NFT game is a blockchain game that uses NFTs and tokens to create a real economy based on digital assets. Unlike most traditional video games, users of NFT games can receive, buy, collect, and trade NFTs with other players to earn an income from the game (play-to-earn, P2E). NFT games have revolutionized the gaming industry and are part of the digital future where cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology play the leading roles in the financial system.
Initially, NFT games were developed on the leading blockchain in the Ethereum DeFi ecosystem using ERC-20 (Fungible Tokens), ERC-721, and ERC-1155 (Non-Fungible Tokens) standards. One of the first blockchain games was CryptoKitties: users bred virtual cats, took care of them like a Tamagotchi, and then sold them at a higher price. The rarer the specimen, the more expensive it could become. The game quickly gained popularity and became so popular that it temporarily almost brought the Ethereum network to a standstill due to the huge number of transactions.
However, later NFT games appeared more and more actively in other blockchain networks, such as BNB Chain, formerly known as Binance Smart Chain, Tron, WAX, Ronin, Polygon (2-layer solution for Ethereum network), Fantom and others. NFT games are becoming increasingly popular, occupying their own niche in the gaming industry, and have formed their own field called GameFi.
Types of NFT Games
As in the field of traditional video games, they are divided into categories and genres. In GameFi, there are two main categories – Play to Earn and Free to Play. The difference between them is that Play to Earn NFT games require investment, and usually quite a lot of it so that users can earn an income and make more money from the game.
In the second case, players do not need any initial investment to start playing and earn income. For example, in the popular card game Gods Unchained on the WAX blockchain, players are given a starter set of cards to fight with and win trophies, which can then be converted into real cryptocurrency.
In the spring of 2022, another NFT game concept began to gain popularity – Move to Earn. For example, the Stepn NFT game lets you earn native GMT tokens just by walking or jogging down the street – in other words, by moving around. The value of GMT has increased more than 70 times compared to the price of the token sale and has already been listed on the Binance marketplace, which has invested in the Stepn project.
The more distance you walk or run, the more tokens you earn. But to do that, you need to buy NFT sneakers, the cheapest of which already cost about $1000. To get a tangible income, you need to own several of these sneakers – at least one or two pairs. If you did not manage to be one of the lucky ones, do not worry: you will get another opportunity, and most likely more than once, because Move to Earn is just starting to gain momentum. For example, a new Move to Earn game is being prepared for launch. For example, a new Move to Earn game is being prepared for launch. The Dustland is post-apocalyptic, and you can be one of the early players of this project!
How Do NFT Games Work
Thanks to digital games on the blockchain, users can not only store their NFTs and unique digital collectibles in a crypto wallet but also use them as a character, avatar, or in-game item in a video game, earning money at the same time. Players can participate in contests and sweepstakes to win valuable rewards that act as NFTs and have real value. After receiving a reward for winning a game, you can exchange it for digital assets on the NFT marketplace provided by the game’s developers or on third-party websites.
Many NFT games offer a full-fledged DeFi platform where you can not only play in-game but also trade NFT assets through the marketplace and even stake Non-Fungible Tokens or digital farm assets in liquidity pools. For example, on the Mobox NFT gaming platform, users can buy and upgrade NFTs called MOMOs and generate mining revenue. In addition, players can win native MBOX tokens by playing NFT games and then farm these tokens by adding MBOX and BNB to liquidity pools on Mobox.
All in-game actions, such as obtaining an in-game item in the form of NFTs or a digital asset, are executed through smart contracts, ensuring the autonomy of GameFi platforms. To understand how NFT games work on the blockchain, let us analyze the mechanics using a competitive game as an example.
Players place a bet to win valuable prizes and trophies from other players. They add their game items to smart contracts and block them until the end of the competition. Then a contest is held on the NFT gaming platform, and at the end, the results are summed up. The Smart Contract automatically unlocks the NFTs in the game and transfers them to the wallets of the winners.
Much more interesting is the implementation of the mechanic in the famous blockchain game CrypoKitties: the developers create a secret contract called geneScience, which randomly distributes rare genes to new pets after crossbreeding. These breeds have a much higher value than regular pets, and players compete against each other to get a rare pet. Gamers have even tried to develop tools to help them estimate the likelihood that a rare gene will emerge from a crossbreed.
Disadvantages of NFT games
Like any field, blockchain games are not without their drawbacks. Before you consider them as a way to make money, you should be aware of all the pitfalls in this field. This way, you can understand how it suits you. Now let us talk about the disadvantages of NFT games.
High Entry Threshold
One of the biggest disadvantages is the entry cost. To earn money, players have to buy items and characters. And the more popular the game becomes, the more expensive its characters and items become, making it difficult for beginners to get started. Besides, without investments, it becomes problematic to compete with other players and earn income since they have invested their money to improve them. And the more money you invest, the more you can earn, but at the same time, the risks of investing increase significantly. However, there are also free to play NFT games.
The second major problem that affects the entire DeFi sector and the crypto community is money laundering. Decentralized applications and protocols cannot restrict attackers who use blockchain games for their purposes in any way.
If you just want to play NFT games for fun without investing, it’s not a problem. Your money will be safe. However, if you invest, you will bear risks ranging from possible loss of value of digital assets to fraud. Let us list the main risks that users of NFT games can face.
Decreasing the Cost of Tokens
The stronger the hype around the game, the faster the cost of in-game items and characters offered in the form of NFTs increases. Accordingly, by buying loot boxes and in-game NFTs that have increased in price, players risk losing their investments when the game’s popularity begins to decline and, as a result, the value of in-game assets decreases.
In addition, classic fungible tokens are also used in NFT games, such as AXS in the Ronin network or MBOX in the BNB chain (BEP-20). They are usually used to buy game items and upgrade characters, and due to volatility, the value of these tokens can rise or fall.
Hacking of the DeFi Protocol
For example, in March 2022, hackers hacked into the Ronin network, which runs the popular game Axie Infinity, and extracted about $625 million in cryptocurrencies. This was the largest hack in the history of cryptocurrencies. Security also applies to individual protocols. The presence of vulnerabilities in smart contracts can lead to the loss of players’ funds, including their Non-Fungible Tokens.
In DeFi, the Rug Pull scheme has become one of the most common scams, along with phishing attacks. The essence of the Rug Pull method is that the attackers intentionally create a fraudulent NFT game to deceive users and siphon their funds through the backdoors in the smart contract. One of the best examples of Rug Pull was the Squid Game project based on a famous TV series of the same name.
After listing the SQUID token on the PancakeSwap DEX, its price increased by 45,000% within the first few days. However, users soon found that they could not sell the tokens. As a result, the attackers managed not only to raise money by selling the token to deceived investors but also to sell SQUID tokens themselves, taking advantage of the liquidity on the PancakeSwap exchange and lowering the token’s price. A team of scammers even managed to get verified on CoinMarketCap to list their token. By the way, the SQUID token is still listed on the CMC website.
Most Popular NFT Games
Back in 2017, when the game CryptoKitties became popular, there were so few interesting games that you can hardly find enthusiasts now who would remember other NFT games. Although, in reality, there were quite a few, most of the games had poor mechanics or were released in raw form, which was not very interesting for users.
However, in 2022 there will be hundreds of these games. We will list the most popular NFT games that have won the sympathy of many players, game companies, big publishers and investors and inspired game developers to create more and more new NFT games, which is rapidly driving the development of the industry. For the sake of simplicity, we have divided the games into genres such as metaverses, RPGs, epic games, collectible games and card games so that you can more easily find your way while reading the article.
Card and Collectible NFT Games
Leading NFT trading card game with over 300,000 players. Splinterlands was released on the Hive and WAX blockchains. Despite the fact that the most popular blockchain with smart contracts is Ethereum, games developed on this blockchain have not found this popularity due to the expensive transactions.
Splinterlands, unlike many classic games of this genre, is designed for quick fights, which has become one of the factors for its popularity: the more games that can be played in a short time, the more players can earn. The cards won in the game are traded on popular marketplaces such as OpenSea and Monster Market.
One of the first PVP card RPGs in this gaming industry, where users compete against each other to earn trophies in the form of NFTs, build unique card decks, and upgrade their collections to make their team stronger and win matches more often.
Like Splinterlands, the NFT game Gods Unchained was developed on the WAX blockchain and belongs to the free-to-play category: upon registration, each user receives a starter set of cards with which they can compete with other players.
PVP, MMORPG and Epic Games
CryptoBlades is a popular play-to-earn and PVP game in the spirit of popular computer role-playing games in the early days of their creation, which immediately catches the eye when visiting a game site. The game runs on as many as five blockchains: BNB Chain, Polygon, Heco, Avalanche and OEC (OKX Chain). Players control virtual characters from a fantasy world.
The game has complex mechanics, complicated by the classic graphical interface of old computer games from the 90 and the 00s. Beginners may find this game outdated, but fans of old-school RPGs will definitely like it. Players buy characters with SKILL tokens, upgrade weapons and ammo to win battles and get valuable rewards.
Another game based on the famous Pokemon, like Axie Infinity, is only in the MMORPG genre. Free to play Chainmonsters is built on the FLOW blockchain. Players collect Chainmons and in-game items, which they can then sell on the marketplace. The game is planned to be released for PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch game consoles and is now available on Steam.
Lightnite is an online multiplayer game made in the likeness of the famous Fortnite game (as you might guess from the name) by the same game developers who created the popular gaming portal Satoshi’s Games. The other part of the name reflects the fact that the game uses the Lightning Network (LN), a second layer network for scaling and improving the privacy of the Bitcoin blockchain.
LN allows you to make instant and free transactions through special payment channels that open between two parties that receive and send bitcoins to each other. Lightnite players are rewarded with fractions of BTC for winning PvP battles.
NFT Gaming Platform, Metaverses and Virtual Worlds
A metaverse where users rent or buy spaceships to explore the virtual universe, complete missions and earn real Trilium (TLM) cryptocurrency.
Play to Earn NFT game Alien Worlds supports 3 blockchains: Ethereum, BNB Chain and WAX. Players also collect and collect NFT cards, as well as digital goods, which can grow in value over time and bring additional income. By the way, NFT cardholders can mine tokens.
A virtual metaverse that combines elements of Free to Play and Play to earn, inspired by the popular game Minecraft. In Game The Sandbox, players can buy and own virtual plots of land, build on them and interact with other players in the multiverse.
You can create your own unique virtual world, embody any fantasy and feel like a real artist. Perhaps your art will be appreciated by players willing to buy your site for a large amount of SAND – native tokens for which you can buy and sell virtual properties in The Sandbox. There are also NFTs in the game that you can use to upgrade your avatar.
Upland is an NFT metaverse created on iOS and Android mobile platforms and running on the EOS blockchain. An interesting feature of the NFT game Upland is that the real estate in the game is matched with addresses from the real world. In other words, when you buy real estate and items in Upland, you own a virtual copy of the real-world object in this metaverse.
Players collect branded collections and participate in treasure hunts, receiving valuable rewards and earning cryptocurrency in this way. Purchased real estate also brings profit to players. You can team up with other players and, together with them, become tycoons of the Upland game metaverse.
Mobox, also known as MOMOverse, is a popular NFT gaming platform on the BNB Chain blockchain. The native tokens of the Mobox MBOX game were distributed on the largest crypto exchange Binance as part of the launchpad, and the company itself joined the project as an investor. By the end of 2021, interest in the game skyrocketed, leading to the price of MBOX tokens rising to $12. Since then, however, activity on Mobox has dropped significantly, and the price of MBOX has fallen to $2.50.
NFT drops take place regularly on the Mobox platform: users receive in-game NFTs that mine tokens and generate passive income. They can also be upgraded so that they bring more income. Farming and various mini P2E NFT games are also available on the platform, such as Block Browler, Token Master and ChainZArena. Users compete against each other by solving increasingly complex tasks. The best are rewarded with the MBOX digital currency and other valuable prizes that help improve the game characters.
Mining and Farming
The first and most played farming game on the WAX Blockchain in the Play to Earn category, one of the top 3 NFT games by the number of players with over 100,000 users. The essence of the NFT game Farmers World consists of players buying land to raise livestock and harvest crops.
Players buy tools for real tokens that generate income. However, this is not a passive way of earning: to earn income. You need to actively work on the farm and extract resources (wood, food and gold) which are FWW FWF and FWG tokens, respectively.
However, users complain that they get banned if they try to make money without investing. In addition, even users who have invested their money get banned, and, despite its popularity, the game, in terms of mechanics and even the appearance of the site, looks more like a poorly made pyramid. The game is still more suitable for entertainment for users who are fond of farming than for making money.
A blockchain-based Play to Earn video game in the style of Pokemon. Players grow and upgrade virtual pets, which can then be sold as NFTs on the marketplace. The better and more unique the pet, the higher its value will be on the market. The game was released by the well-known studio Sky Mavis on the Ronin sidechain, which was hacked in March 2022. However, the Sky Mavis team promised to refund all users who were affected by this hack.
The game requires native AXS tokens, which are traded on major crypto exchanges, including Binance. In 2021, the game became so popular that the price of AXS tokens increased more than 100 times in just a few months, surpassing the $160 mark. Now the token price has corrected to $55, but the game is still popular and promising, and AXS has every chance to bring profits to its investors.
CryptoKitties is one of the first NFT gaming Play to Earn games based on the Ethereum blockchain. The gameplay is quite simple: players breed and sell virtual pets and also cross them with each other to get valuable offspring. The lucky ones manage to breed rare species of virtual pets that are highly valued by enthusiasts: the price of some species exceeds 10 ETH.
The game is not as popular as it was in 2017 when it created a stir among crypto enthusiasts, but it is still in demand and has formed a dedicated community around it. Is it possible not to love cute cats, even if they are virtual?
How Can You Make Money Playing NFT Games?
No matter which game you choose – P2E, F2P or M2e – users are offered many ways to make money from it, from investing or trading NFTs to participating in gameplay, mining and lending. There are several ways you can make money with NFT games. Let us take a closer look at them.
Buy and Save NFTs or Game Coins
HODL is the simplest yet effective investment strategy that has been repeatedly proven effective by many owners of large projects such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Coin, Solana, Cardano, Tron and many others. You do not have to participate directly in the game to earn.
Instead, you can take the easier route: buy NFT art, digital images, virtual lands and items, or native game tokens, and then just keep them in your wallet, waiting for the best moment to sell them.
And the sooner you do it, the better: what if you want to become a gamer in the future and want to make money playing an NFT game, but tokens and characters are already very expensive?
Mining or Farming
Did you know that some non-fungible tokens allow you to mine or even farm tokens? For example, owners of NFTs issued on a DeFi platform and Biswap decentralized exchange in the BNB chain ecosystem can deploy them and earn income in the native tokens of the BSW platform. In addition, NFTs can be upgraded to generate more income.
Another way to make money with NFTs is to lend them. You can rent out your NFTs. On this platform, for example, owners of NFTs rent out their MOMOs for a fee in MBOX tokens to other users, who in turn use them to boost characters, increasing players’ chances of being included in the list of winners and getting their share of rewards for successfully completed quests.
Moreover, you can make money not only by renting NFTs but also by borrowing them. For example, users have borrowed NFTs from the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club collections, whose owners recently received free APE tokens from the creators of these collections. Thus, some of these users were able to earn tens of thousands of dollars without buying the NFTs themselves, but only by renting them and spending only small amounts on commissions and lending fees.
Play to Earn
Some players earn $1000 or more per month just by playing the game. Sounds incredible, but it’s true. In practice, however, not everything is as simple as it may seem to beginners. The complexity of this method is that you need a lot of free time to understand the game.
Also, consider the high competition and the large number of people who want to make money with blockchain games. This leads to the fact that those who invest a lot of money in NFT games are the most likely to make money, while the rest of the players gradually leave the game because they realize that they have nothing to do here. This approach has a negative effect on both the development of a single video game and the GameFi industry as a whole.
If you want to make an income but are not willing to invest large sums or do not have any, try Free to Play or F2P games like Gods Unchained, Guild of Guardians, Chainmonsters, or Splinterlands to get started.
Create Your Own NFT Game
Another way to make money with NFT games is to create them. You are not limited by anything and can develop games in any genre: Card games, MMORPGs, metaverses, horror and indie games. Complete freedom is limited only by your imagination and investment opportunities.
Game publishers get unlimited opportunities to make money with blockchain games: you can create your own NFT game platforms, release an unlimited number of games, create new tokens, including NFTs, which investors will buy, and bring you huge revenues.
Game development is expensive. The service ICODA offers comprehensive services, including game development, NFT promotion, smart contract creation and more. You can find a full list of services on the company’s website and also request a free consultation.
For example, the CEO of the well-known studio Electronic Arts, Andrew Wilson, believes that NFT and blockchain games are the future of the gaming industry. However, he also noted that it is still too early to be 100% sure of this. If EA joins the NFT movement, it is possible that every FIFA Ultimate Team will have its own NFTs, and every car from the new Need for Speed games could be a valuable digital asset on the blockchain. The NFT games are still in an early stage of development, so it’s difficult to even estimate their possible potential, but it’s safe to say that it’s quite extensive.