Play-to-Earn Explained

What is Play-to-Earn, and is it for real? If you’re looking for an explanation for Play-to-Earn as it relates to the cryptos, the Metaverse, augmented reality, and Virtual reality, NFTs, you’ve found what you’re looking for. Play-to-Earn is here and it’s here to stay. Read on for a concise and to-the-point explanation of this new phenomenal trend in online gaming.

Play-to-Earn, the next evolutionary step in online gaming.

The internet has changed the world as we know it, creating new challenges and new opportunities. The internet has changed the way we live our lives. From simple day-to-day activities through to how we earn a living, all are influenced by internet technology.

And nowhere is this more emphasized than in the gaming industry.

Gaming has created and benefited from developments in internet technology and it has reached the stage where people can make money and even earn a full-time living from playing games online.

Getting paid to play games is also referred to as Play2Earn, and this is the rapidly developing area of the gaming industry. An entire generation is growing up playing games on the internet or the Metaverse.

Game playing has become so widespread it has spawned a whole new industry and a gamut of employment and earning opportunities.

What is Play2Earn or Play-to-Earn?

Play2Earn gaming is taking the video game industry by storm and it is the new buzz term that so many people are talking about. But whilst it might be a buzz term within gaming and tech circles, many outsiders have no idea what play2earn gaming is or how they can make money from it.

Some of the most common definitions of play2earn Gaming are as follows:

Play-to-earn games represent a new business model where people can play games and earn digital or (in-game) assets. Earned digital assets have a recognized monetary value and can be traded within the digital environment for other digital assets.

Alternatively, digital assets can be traded in the real world for fiat currency.

Play2Earn games are online video games played in the metaverse, on websites, or in apps, that offer players the opportunity to earn a game currency. Game currency can be traded for other digital game currency or non-fungible tokens (NFT’s) or in some cases for fiat money in the real world.

For instance, in the game Axie Infinity player are paid SLP tokens for playing the game. SLP tokens can be then sold on exchanges or traded for other crypto currencies or fiat currencies such as US Dollars.


To explain how Play-to-Earn gaming works and how gamers make money, it is first necessary to explain some terminology that is interictally linked with the gaming industry.

The metaverse.

The metaverse is a virtual world that exists either beyond, on top of, or as an extension of the physical world.

For gamers, the metaverse is a virtual environment where games are created and played. All aspects of the game are created and contained within the metaverse.

Centralized cryptocurrency exchanges.

Cryptocurrency is by definition decentralized yet it can be traded and converted using a centralized cryptocurrency exchange.

Centralized cryptocurrency exchanges are essential for gamers because they facilitate the conversion of cryptocurrency to fiat money and vice versa.


On a very simplistic level, a blockchain is a database that stores information in digital format.

The Oxford English dictionary defines blockchain as a system that records cryptocurrency transactions and is maintained in linked computers across a peer-to-peer network.

Investopedia defines blockchain as a crypto ledger that records decentralized asset transactions all of which are linked in a peer-to-peer network. The blockchain guarantees the fidelity and security of the recorded data.

Wikipedia defines blockchain as it applies to the playing of video games. According to Wikipedia, a blockchain game is a video game that is based on elements of blockchain technology such as cryptocurrency or non-fungible tokens (NFT’s). Game players can buy, sell, or trade with other players and in some cases can even convert the digital assets into fiat money in the real world.

The difference between a blockchain and an ordinary database is how blockchains store the information. A blockchain collects and holds information in sets that are referred to as blocks. A block will typically have a designated storage capacity and when filled it is given a timestamp and linked to previously filled blocks. When linked these blocks form a chain of data, hence the name Blockchain.

Cryptocurrency Wallet

A crypto wallet is a place that holds unique information to an investor’s public and private keys. The public key is much the same as a bank account number and the private key is like the PIN of a debit card. The keys inside the crypto wallet amount to an investor’s stake in a cryptocurrency. Sharing a digital key enables investors to receive and send cryptocurrency.

NFT’s Non-Fungible Tokens

An NFT or Non-Fungible Token NFTs is a cryptographic object on the blockchain containing unique identification codes and metadata that differentiates it from other cryptographic objects.

NFT’s have been likened to digital passports because each token has its own unique digital identity that distinguishes it from other digital objects. NFT’s cannot be traded or exchanged but two separate NFT’s can be combined to make a unique third NFT.

Cryptocurrency Mining

Cryptocurrency mining is a computational process used primarily to verify and validate blockchain transactions. Cryptocurrency mining is what keeps a blockchain network secure. Cryptocurrency mining is also used to create new units of cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency Staking

Cryptocurrency staking is a way of holding funds in a cryptocurrency wallet. Staking is a less resource-intensive activity than mining but it serves the same purpose in that it helps support the security and functionality of a blockchain network. Staking is the act of holding or locking cryptocurrencies to increase security and earn rewards. Rewards are given on a regular basis in a similar way to how interest is paid on a bank account.

Crypto farming

Crypto farming (also known as yield farming) is a way for investors to earn interest in cryptocurrency. Yield farming involves locking up or staking cryptocurrency for a designated time. Once the designated time has expired the initial amount is returned together with accrued interest.

This is a very similar process to how investors earn interest in the real world.

How do Play-to-Earn games work?

Play-to-Earn games are linked to the blockchain and players can generate cryptocurrency rewards just by participating in a particular game. By playing in a particular game’s ecosystem, players create value for other players and game developers.

In return for playing and creating value, players are rewarded with digital assets. These digital assets will normally take the form of in-game cryptocurrencies or NFT’s.

The in-game cryptocurrency rewards are normally based on repetition, meaning that players can earn these rewards by regularly repeating certain actions numerous times. For example, in the game Axie Infinity, the (in-game) cryptocurrency offered is Infinity’s Smooth Love Potion (SLP). Players earn this reward by completing daily quests or battling against monsters and other players.

When players are rewarded with NFT’s the NFT’s will normally represent a game item or character that is viewed as collectible. These NFT’s can be cosmetic and have no specific purpose in the game or they can be practical and serve a specific function in the game.

A third way to earn in Play-to-Earn games is by staking. In some games, players have the option to lock up/stake NFT’s or cryptocurrencies in digital contracts. Staking cryptocurrency players earn rewards.

How gamers convert cryptocurrency into real-world fiat money

Crypto gamers can earn in-game cryptocurrency simply by playing a game. The gamer then places the earned in-game cryptocurrency into a cryptocurrency exchange account. The cryptocurrency is kept inside the exchange account until the account holder places a sell/trade order. The sell/trade order instructs the currency exchange to transfer cryptocurrencies to other cryptocurrencies or to convert the cryptocurrency into the equivalent fiat money value and transfer it to a real-world account.

Another option is for the gamer to leave the cryptocurrency inside the exchange for a specified period. This cryptocurrency can collect interest while being held, much like a bank account in the real world.

Alternatively, the sell/trade order can be used to instruct the exchange to convert crypto funds into fiat money and transfer it to bank accounts in the real world.

Peer-to-peer Transactions

A second way gamers convert crypto funds into fiat money is through peer-to-peer transactions. Simply put, gamers who have cryptocurrency will trade with other gamers who have fiat money and vice versa — the same way investors trade cryptos.

How to earn money playing games.

It may seem strange for those of us who are older or have little exposure to the gaming world, but it is now possible for people to earn a healthy income from playing games. The gaming industry has progressed and grown, and people can now earn good incomes by playing games.


The first and most obvious way to earn money is simply by playing. For example, industry analysts estimate that in the Philippines some gamers are earning $1500 -$2000 per month by playing Axie Infinity.

Gamers who played as a hobby found they can earn more money from gaming than their normal job and are turning their hobby into a full-time profession. Gamers in the Philippines and Vietnam are quitting their full-time jobs and spending time gaming instead.

Content creation and live streaming.

Video game content creators can make serious amounts of money through the creation of videos, blogs, and written articles.

There is a wide range of areas content creators can focus on. Some of the most popular are making game-specific tutorials, reviewing games, and conducting full “playthroughs” of games.

3 major forums are favored for Live Streaming, YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook. Of these three, the most used for Live Streaming is YouTube.

It is commonly accepted that for gaming content creators, who Live Stream, the most lucrative medium is YouTube. The key to successfully using YouTube is popularity (which is measured by views, likes, and subscriptions). Once a video becomes popular on YouTube this can lead to YouTube Advertising Revenue, Sponsorship & Merchandising Deals, Subscriptions, Direct Donations, and Affiliate Marketing.

There is a lot of hard work and dedication involved when trying to earn money through Live Streaming on YouTube but it can be well and truly worth it. The top YouTube, Gaming Content Creator in 2019 earned $17 million UD Dollars.

Quality Assurance Tester/Playtesting

As the title suggests people get paid to play and test games. This is very much like the research and development team conducting a trial run before launching a product.

When testing a game, players are asked to be on the lookout for irregularities within the game as well as problem areas where the game crashes. Most game developers will ask the testers to try and deliberately cause the game to crash, so they can build a better game before releasing it to the gaming public.

For their testing prowess quality assurance agents, are normally paid quite well.

Become a virtual game bodyguard

There’s nearly always good money to be had in the security business, and Gaming is no exception. Acting as a virtual bodyguard for another player (principal player) can generate a healthy regular income.

Just as in real life, it is the bodyguard’s duty, to ensure the principal’s survival by providing protection from enemies and in the case of gaming this will mean protecting the principal from enemy fire. The bodyguard is also tasked with locating objectives/items for the principal player and serving as a guide.

Good bodyguards can command up to $15 for 90 minutes of work and up to $25 for the premium services.

eBook Writer

Words have power even when describing a virtual world and this is why Games Guide Writers can earn a decent salary writing eBooks.

In the gaming world, eBook writers are referred to as eBook Games Guide Writers because the function of the eBook is to guide players and help them learn about and navigate the game.

eBook writers can write for a company or write for themselves. Plus, the book can take a variety of formats, including a video game book which is comparatively quick and easy to produce.

eBook writers can earn up to $35, or for those at the top of their game, $120 an hour.

Video Games Journalist

There’s an old saying, the pen is mightier than the sword (English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839), and while on the subject of word power, another lucrative position in the gaming world is that of games journalist.

Typically, Games Journalists will provide insightful information about the gaming industry as a whole and individual games utilizing tools such as news articles, blog posts, and podcasts.

Games journalists earn their money by writing for a particular game site, talking about game sites on digital radio, creating news-based podcasts, creating gaming documentaries, and running a subscription service on Patreon.

There is no set salary for games journalists however, one well-respected games journalist composed a popular documentary about the game DOOM and he now makes $23,000 per month through Patreon.

Gaming and Podcasting

Many people see streaming and podcasting as being the same however they are different. Streaming is by definition continuous and live. The process involves connecting with a host server and downloading the file in real-time. Podcasting on the other hand is an audio or video recording that is part of a series and is downloaded directly to the viewer’s computer or stored on an external media device.

The differences here are twofold. Firstly, when streaming the data is not stored on the viewer’s device and secondly to view a podcast all that is needed is access to the internet whereas to view a stream a fast internet connection is needed.

The number of earnings from a podcast is determined by a range of factors including the size of the listening/viewing audience, is there commission involved, the size of the podcast team, niche saturation, and sponsorship.

Podcasters earn money through sponsorship, tips, affiliate marketing, sponsorship, and efficient use of Patreon.

Podcasters can earn an average of $42 per hour or as much as $79 per hour if their podcast proves to be popular enough.


They say a good player can only become a great player with the help of a professional coach. Professional coaches pass on their expertise and at the same time help players develop theirs.

The value of coaches is widely recognized in the gaming community and players wishing to up their game will often engage the services of a professional coach. There are even websites and online marketplaces where employers and coaches can interact.

On average coaches can earn anywhere from $30 to $60 an hour.

eSport & Professional Gaming

Video Gaming has come a long way from when it first appeared. Gaming has developed to the extent where it is even considered a sport, complete with teams, leagues tournaments, and champion players.

Professional eSport Gamers can earn money by winning the prize pool in a recognized tournament, receiving a team salary, sponsorships, guest appearances at conventions, and bonus money from winning titles in professional leagues.

Professional gamers (eSports Pro’s) average pay is approximately $25 per hour. However, the very top professionals can earn millions of dollars.

Become a Speedrunner

It’s all about speed. Speedrunners are gamers who complete games as quickly as possible. Typically, Speedrunners will earn money through donations, being hired as a professional, or by winning tournaments.
There are organized Speedrunning tournaments that generate millions of dollars a year and the prize money for individual tournaments can reach over $25,000

Game developers

When a game is embraced by the gaming community and achieves a high level of popularity it can generate millions of dollars for its developers. The potential revenue and the advanced level of technical skills required make game development a highly paid profession.

The average rate for a game developer is $39 per hour but developers with a good track record and reputation can receive up to 70$ per hour.

Game developers can work as solo operators or as part of a team employed by a game studio.

A third option is for game developers to use an online games platform such as Roblox. Using Roblox, game developers can program games and play games created by other Roblox users.

According to Roblox, the top games have generated average revenue of between 2 to 3 million dollars. The revenue is split 50-50 between the developer and Roblox.

Voice over specialist

An important component of any video game is the accompanying voice-over. Like in animated movies, voice-over professionals are used for creating the game characters. In the world of gaming voice-over, professionals are considered artists, and on average they get paid $31 per hour.

Music composers

Filmmakers have long known the importance of a good musical score. In both the film and gaming industries, music is used to portray a character’s actions, thoughts, or feelings. Music is also used to create an emotional response.

The average pay for a music composer in the gaming industry is $25 an hour.

Game Director

Video games are normally created by teams of professionals, with each team member contributing expertise in a certain area. At the head of the team is the Team Director whose job is to bring all the separate team elements together and enable them to work as a cohesive unit.

The team director also assumes the role of overseeing the entire game-building process and must have experience with all the different elements that go into making a successful game. The average pay for a game director is $38 per hour.

Game Community Moderator

Gamers often form gaming communities based on a chosen game. The communities provide support and game-related information for community members. Gaming communities will normally have a moderator whose job it is to oversee the general workings of the community, answer queries and address any game-related issues that may occur.

Game Community Moderators’ average pay is $18 per hour.

Storyboard Artist

Just like in the production of movies, the production of a video game will involve a storyboard. The storyboard is a visual sequence/plan of the game, and it provides the structure and storyline of the game.

The average pay for a storyboard artist is $35 per hour.

Tech Support.

Traditionally Tech Support personnel are employed by gaming companies. As the title suggests, they supply technical support to gamers. This job requires a thorough understanding of the technical aspects of a game and the ability to apply this understanding to help game players to solve any technical problems that may occur.

Tech Support personnel normally average $21 per hour pay.

Video Game Producer

A video Game Producer is primarily involved with logistical aspects of the games production process. Games Producers will be involved in areas like contract negotiation and managing the budget.

Normally Video Game Producers receive an average salary of $33 per hour.

Visual Artists

Visual Artists are included in many aspects of the gaming industry. The artist jobs range from Graphic Designers ($23 average per hour) Animation Artists ($25 per hour average pay) Motion Caption Artists ($34 per hour average pay) Concept Artist ($25 per hour average pay) Character Artist ($26 per hour average pay) Environmental Artist ($29 per hour average pay) User Interface Artist ($41 per hour average pay) and Art Directors ($33 per hour average pay).

The gaming industry is big business and over the last decade, the amount of revenue it has generated has increased exponentially. For example, in 2021 the global gaming market generated 178 billion U.S.

dollars and by 2025 this figure is expected to reach 268.8 billion U.S. dollars.

The Gaming Industry is constantly evolving and this evolution is inextricably linked with the development of complementary technology. For example, in 2021 it was estimated that revenue from mobile apps reached $133 billion, and $89.6 billion of the total came from gaming.

The future of the Gaming industry is looking bright. Industry experts predict the gaming industry will bring fun and earnings for many generations to come.

Interesting Links:

What is Staking?

Yield Farming

Make Money Playing VideoGames