Play-To-Earn Games Became a Source of Income For Life In Developing Countries

Business | 17.03.2022
4 minut(es) read
In mid-2021, Leah Callon Butler, author of Coindesk, released a documentary about how virtual gaming became a source of income for many people in the Philippines during the pandemic. Today, the Philippines leads the industry by the number of players and prevalence among the population. Lea traveled North to Manila to meet game users and share their stories in the film, a few of which you’ll find below.

What Are Play-To-Earn Games?

Play-to-earn is not much different from other online or video games. Their main feature is that they allow players to make money. Gamers win tokens or NFTs within the game, which include cryptocurrencies like Ethereum (ETH). They are then exchanged for fiat (e.g., U.S. dollars) on cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance. NFTs, on the other hand, can represent characters, land, weapons, vehicles, spaceships and many other parts of the virtual world that are also traded.

First Story: A Game For The Whole Family

First Story: A Game For The Whole Family

One of the first Filipinos to use the potential of playing and earning seriously was Ijon Inton. His discovery of play-to-earn began when he came across video tutorials for the game on YouTube. He decided to try it, and now his average income equals to about $200 a week. This amount is equivalent to the monthly income of a Filipino. With that bonus, Ijon decided to encourage his family and neighbors to play, including his 66-year-old grandfather. Ijon’s story spread all over the country, sparking a wave of interest in this kind of earnings.

Second Story: Good Money For a Graduate 

Second Story: Good Money For a Graduate 

A 22-year-old Howard graduated from university in 2020, just after the coronavirus emerged. Unfortunately, due to restrictions in the country, his family’s financial situation dropped significantly, and Howard himself couldn’t find a job for a long time. His search for ways to make money led him to the play-to-earn industry, but he didn’t even have the initial capital to buy the characters to start playing. 

Howard found some guys in his town who created the so-called “Axie University,” where you can rent characters to play. Through this opportunity, Howard started playing to make money. He sees Axie University as an employer because the establishment teaches and helps gamers succeed at the game. Howard shares that the $250 to $300 a month he earns is an essential support for his family.

Third Story: All Ages Are Fit to Play

Third Story: All Ages Are Fit to Play

An elderly couple, Lolo Silverio (75) and Lola Vergie (65), run a small shop. Together with support from the state, the couple had enough money to provide for themselves. But, with the outbreak of Covid-19, the state imposed a series of restrictions, and profits at the shop dropped tenfold. The couple could not afford essential medicines, at times, they didn’t have enough cash to buy groceries. It was during this challenging period that Lolo came to know play-to-earn games. By playing, he can buy him and his spouse medicine and groceries. Lolo hopes that they will continue to have the opportunity to play and earn money moving forward.

What Are The Most Popular Play-To-Earn Games?

Most of Leah’s movie characters have played Axie Infinity. The game offers two types of earnings. In the first option, gamers buy and cross rare pets. The obtained axie, the pets in the game, are then put up for sale. Another way to earn money is to win pet battles. Each victory brings a bonus of an SLP token, which can be exchanged at the fiat rate. You need to have at least three axie to start playing the second option. 

Besides the popular Axie Infinity, there are several other big-name games. According to Coindesk, there are more than 400 games today, twice as many as in 2020. 

What Are The Most Popular Play-To-Earn Games?

The Sandbox is a metaverse game, a whole virtual world where gamers can create their avatars, buy land and build up as they want. The game’s interface resembles our world, only made of Lego. If land or created elements become popular, they can be sold to other players. For those wishing to earn money by playing, they can do so with the Alpha Pass card. Once having bought the card, the gamer is given numerous quests. After passing each one, he earns SAND tokens, which can be exchanged for fiat. 

Gods Unchained, or Game of Gods, is one of the most challenging yet exciting play-to-earn strategy games. Each user, once registered, receives a basic set of cards that represent the six gods and their characteristics. For example, the cards on the team of Ares, the god of war, have a particular set of weapons; the cards of Elyrian, god of magic, have magical properties, and so on. Players plan tournaments and put their cards in the arena for battle. Winners receive a cash prize or a pack of rare cards, which can be sold in the game itself or on the NFT exchanges. Today, the most expensive card won is Atlas, worth 210 ETH (worth $630,000 at the time this article was written).

What Are The Most Popular Play-To-Earn Games?

Another hot game is Illuvium,  which can be explained as simply as “kill a monster and earn money.” The legend of the game is as follows: your ship crashed on an unexplored planet and you can not return home because it is damaged. So you head out to explore the planet with a robot helper. On the way, you meet the planet’s inhabitants, called illuvials (monsters). By defeating and capturing the illuvials you become their owners and earn ILV tokens as a bonus. You can sell your illuvials in-game or on the NFT exchanges.  

Play-to-earn is growing in popularity every day, increasing to over 50% of the entire gaming industry between 2020 and 2021 alone. Play-to-earn has turned the gaming world upside down. People have an opportunity to spend time with their favorite game and earn money, and for some people, these games have become a full-time job.

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