Written by Morten Rongaard

Recognised as a pioneer in the fields of Augmented Reality, Blockchain, NFTs and cryptocurrencies. Loves : Nutella, pancakes, Amiga, Cars, red wine, diversity, nerds, Vikings, history & food

November 19, 2021

It’s safe to say that the dramatic uptick in remote working caused by the recent pandemic and a sudden change in corporate attitude has had a range of knock-on effects on people’s lives — one of which is reduced physical activity. 

By reducing the need to travel and shifting job roles to focus on more desk-based work, more people than ever before have found themselves confined to their homes and living a more sedentary lifestyle. 

But as always, new problems require new solutions and blockchain is proving to be a technology capable of addressing even some of today’s most pressing challenges. Now, it’s being turned toward a wave of new decentralized games which pay users to get active. 

The Rise of Play to Earn

Why pay to play, when you can get rewarded to play. 

This is exactly what the rapidly growing number of play to earn games offer. By leveraging the unique properties of blockchain technology, digital assets, and carefully tuned economics, these games now allow users to earn by simply playing games. 

The trend was first popularized by Axie Infinity, a blockchain-powered game that allows users to earn rewards for battling cutesy digital critters known as Axies. But now, there are dozens of games that feature some measure play to earn functionality — many of which can be quite lucrative under the right conditions. 

The number of play to earn games has multiplied exponentially in the last year. Image source: CoinMarketCap

According to CoinMarketCap, well over 150 blockchain projects now fit into the play to earn niche, not to mention the dozens more either in development or not yet tracked by the platform. This growth looks to continue to skyrocket in the coming months and years ahead, as major platforms like Meta (formerly Facebook) funnel billions of dollars into the development of the Metaverse. 

As it stands, the vast majority of users will only earn a relatively modest sum from playing these games, whereas others will dedicate the time and effort necessary to really maximize their yield — such as through clever strategies, building and developing the right team, and optimizing the timing of when they play. These users may be able to earn potentially hundreds to thousands of dollars per day — making play to earn games a potentially lucrative endeavor. 

With the number of online gamers projected to reach 1.3 billion by 2025 and the influx of attention blockchain-based offerings are receiving, it’s likely just a matter of time before play to earn games are a staple option for more traditional gamers. 

Is Move to Earn the Next Frontier?

Until now, the vast majority of play to earn games have followed the same rough formula: players collect items, build their teams, battle, and earn rewards. But while this has led to numerous wildly successful play to earn games, a new wave of titles are looking to break the mould with more daring models — such as move to earn. 

As you might have guessed, move to earn is a new sub-genre of play to earn games that allow users to earn cryptocurrencies through physical activity. This might include participating in sports, playing tactile mini-games, exercising, or anything else that can be physically measured. 

Genopets, a Solana-based title, will be the first game to feature move to earn functionality. The game allows players to transform their real life movement into $KI tokens. These tokens can then be used to upgrade their Genopets, which can then be battled against opponents to earn more $KI and in-game items.

Genopets is unusual among play to earn games in that it’s also free to play. Users can begin playing the game and earning revenue without any upfront costs, but can opt to purchase habitats and additional NFTs to boost their performance and progress faster.  

Looking at the following except from the project’s whitepaper, it teases how physical actions can be used to influence progress within the game: “Using wearable data, Genopets gameplay converts players’ real-life movements into XP to progress in the game.” 

As you might imagine, move to earn can be applied to a huge range of possible activities and can be used to not only help players to boost their activity, but also directly incentivize them with crypto rewards. 

Play-to-earn Peloton derivatives and blockchain-enabled fitness apps could soon be upon us. 

This not only helps to tackle the challenge of bot activity in play to earn games (since physical movements will be orders of magnitudes harder to simulate) but also opens the doors to a whole array of possibilities — such as fitness and sports-based blockchain games. As well as games that leverage the heaps of biometric data many of us generate daily, including heart rate, sleep, and activity data. 

In time, this might eventually lead to games that allow players to earn a secondary revenue by just going about their daily lives by not only directly monetizing the data they generate, but also by leveraging play to earn mechanics to help them compete with other players on target metrics — essentially paying these players to hit their goals. 

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About Reality Gaming Group

Reality Gaming Group is an award-winning developer and publisher of blockchain-based games, NFT digital collectibles and bespoke marketplaces for global brands. Key releases via the Reality Studios publishing label include Doctor Who: Worlds Apart, Smighties Universe, Reality Clash and Emojibles. Reality Gaming Group’s Digital Asset Trading (DAT) Platform is also available for license by third parties, enabling the creation of fully-managed NFT experiences across multiple content types. The Reality Gaming Group leadership team has more than 20 years’ experience across Mobile, PC, Console, AR and VR games. The company is listed as a Top 50 blockchain games publisher by industry bible BlockchainGamer.bi

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