The sudden emergence and widespread acceptance of cryptocurrency have given rise to a brand new genre of video games – Crypto Games/NFT Games. At its core, a crypto game is any video game that is based on cryptographic blockchain technologies. The cryptographic elements normally revolve around the use of various cryptocurrencies and/or NFTs (non-fungible tokens) that can be bought or sold through the game’s marketplace.

Due to their nature, crypto games are in most cases seen as play-to-earn games. The ability to earn money while playing has enticed many players, resulting in crypto gaming becoming one of the most popular trends in the video gaming industry. Compared to traditional games, the decentralized aspect of crypto gaming means that players can use their in-game items across multiple projects.

Crypto Games – A Rising Trend or Future Industry Standard?

The sudden rise of crypto gaming has been a polarizing question in the gaming industry. Some established game developers have expressed their interest in the trend, while others have completely denounced it. Industry giants like Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Square Enix have already announced planned forays into the crypto gaming market. Others, like Steam, have completely banned any blockchain-based games from their platform.

While it’s true that crypto gaming is still in its fledgling stage, the potential it has shown during its short existence is undeniable. With a low barrier of entry and ever-rising interest, it seems to be just a matter of time before crypto gaming evolves from a trend into a staple of the gaming industry. In the current market, players are able to make money off of crypto games daily. Some have found so much success within the genre that they have started to use crypto gaming as a primary means of income.

Crypto Gaming
Image Credits | Shutterstock

Depending on the game, you could be facing a specific entry cost if you want to get started. There are free-to-play crypto games on the market, but in most cases, you will need to spend some money on premium features that unlock the pay-to-earn aspect. Ultimately, crypto games that revolve around the play-to-earn aspect should be seen as investments in their own right

To get you started on your journey let’s take a look at the top three games currently on the market. While popularity is not a deciding factor, it definitely adds a layer of security to a game. Apart from that, we will be taking into consideration the barrier of entry, potential profit, and overall appeal of the game in question.

1. The Sandbox

The Sandbox first started as your run-of-the-mill mobile game back in 2012. The game centered around a sandbox mode through which you could build your in-game universe from scratch.

Its foray into crypto gaming came back in 2018 when The Sandbox was acquired by Animoca Brands. After three years of development, The Sandbox returned, incorporating a Voxel-style metaverse blockchain platform with Ethereum backing. With an impressive list of partners that includes well-established gaming companies and celebrities alike, The Sandbox is looking like it’s here to stay.

Crypto Games - The Sandbox
Image Credits | The Sandbox

With an appeal to mass audiences because of its similarity to Minecraft, it didn’t take long before The Sandbox skyrocketed in popularity. The Sandbox enables you to build, own, and monetize your gaming experience by creating NFTs. The NFTs can then be sold on the Sandbox Marketplace using the in-game SAND token. The SAND Token itself runs on Ethereum’s blockchain, while The Sandbox Marketplace is decentralized. Due to this, the game requires both a Wallet and an Ethereum address to get started.

The SAND token enables players to fully utilize the Sandbox platform, play different games, buy equipment or to customize their character. It also represents the only through which a player can own a piece of the Sandbox Metaverse. In its core, SAND is used as a means of storage for different values included in the game, as well the possible staking of them.

Crypto Games - Sandbox
Image Credits | The Sandbox

Apart from holding value, SAND is also used a governance token, enabling players to participate in decisions within the platform.

There are different ways through which players can earn money by playing the game:

  1. Creating Assets Using The VoxEdit Voxel Editor – In-game assets are created through the VoxEdit Voxel editor and are automatically converted into NFTs. They can be uploaded into the blockchain ecosystem and sold through the Sandbox Marketplace.Through this method, players can create, exchange and sell various assets published on the Ethereum blockchain.
  2. Creating Games – The Sandbox’s Game Maker allows players to build 3D games for free relatively easily. After creating a specific scenario, you can charge other players to play them.
  3. Owning Land – Sandbox Land is a digital piece of real estate in the game’s metaverse. Plots of land can be used to build games as well as other in-game assets. With only a limited number of land available in the Sandbox Metaverse (166,464 to be exact), players can own land and rent it to other players.

With an ever-increasing number of players, different ways of earning money, a low barrier of entry, and a future that looks fairly bright, The Sandbox is our top pick when it comes to crypto games.

2. Thetan Arena

Thetan Arena brings a whole new MOBA-themed spin on play-to-earn crypto games while adhering to gamers and esports fans alike. After first starting as an online MOBA called Heroes Strike back in September 2018, Vietnamese publisher WolfFun relaunched the game in September 2021 with blockchain-based play-to-earn mechanics under the name Thetan Arena. With more dynamic gameplay catered toward a wider audience, Thetan Arena is one of the most enticing crypto games available on the market currently.

Crypto Games - Thetan Arena

Thetan Arena features two different tokens called Thetan Coin (THC) and Thetan Gem (THG), with both tokens based on the Binance Smart Chain. While Thetan Coins do carry some value, they are mostly used as a utility to progress in-game. THC is earned through battles in the game’s various game modes, different in-game quests, and as ranking rewards. Thetan Gems on the other hand are much more valuable, and apart from utility use are the game’s governance coin. THG can be earned through special events, tournaments, and trading in the Thetan Arena marketplace.

The game itself is free to play and very newbie-friendly. Players start off with free base heroes they can use to play, earn different in-game rewards, and level up. It should be noted that free heroes are generated by the game, and are not eligible for minting nor being sold on the NFT marketplace. To advance, players can purchase Premium heroes, items, skins, and weapons through the in-game marketplace or via loot boxes.

Crypto Games - Thetan Arena
Image Credits | Pocket Gamer

Premium heroes carry better rewards and can be minted and sold on the marketplace. It should be noted that Thetan Arena NFT characters do have a limited lifecycle of usability. This means that all in-game NFT items have a limited number of matches during which they can earn in-game currency.

Players can buy both coins with real money, accelerating their in-game progress, which does add a certain dose of pay-to-win to the game. Although the pay-to-win aspect can make your life much easier, it is still possible to earn money from Thetan Arena in a free-to-play manner.

3. Gods Unchained

Gods Unchained is a turn-based fantasy card game play-to-earn crypto game that has been a staple of since late 2018. The game is fairly similar to other popular card game titles like Hearthstone and Gwent. Gods Unchained is based on an Ethereum blockchain, with each card in the game being a unique NFT in its own right. Cards can be obtained via in-game packs or bought individually on the game’s marketplace.

Crypto Games - Gods Unchained
Image Credits | Gods Unchained

The game recently also got its own token, the Gods Credence ($GODS), replacing Ethereum as the token used for in-game purchases. Players can use the GODS token to craft NFTs, purchase packs from the Gods Unchained marketplace, and earn even more rewards by holding the tokens in Immutable X. The price of card packs and card chests ranges from $2,49 up to $149,99 depending on rarity. Individual cards on the other hand can only be obtained from other players through the in-game marketplace.

When it comes to the actual gameplay, Gods Unchained copies Hearthstone almost to a fault. New players will begin with 70 free cards in total and will get additional free packs as they level up. Players compete against each other with decks numbering thirty cards that fit the theme of their chosen God. The turn-based gameplay centered around health and mana consumption is almost identical to Hearthstone’s, but with a small twist. The mana lock mechanic present in the game slows down the consumption of mana as the match progresses, making the mid-to-late gameplay more dynamic than the one we’ve seen in Hearthstone.

Crypto Games - Gods Unchained
Image Credits | PeakD

While the game mechanics are fairly easy to learn, Gods Unchained has a steep learning curve when it comes to the upper echelons of the rankings.

There are three different ways players can earn money while playing Gods Unchained:

  1. Playing the Game – You get a certain amount of GODS Tokens every time you play and win a game of Gods Unchained.
  2. Selling Cards – By far the most lucrative way of earning real money. Card prices vary depending on quality, but have been known to go for upwards of $50,000 USD.
  3. In-Game Reward Systems – Ranked Games and the Gauntlet of the Gods can give additional lucrative rewards to your total tally.

Ultimately, Gods Unchained is a bit of a slower grand than the two previously mentioned games. With a proven track record, interesting gameplay, and NFTs galore, it definitely has its place at the top of the crypto gaming world.

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