Blockchain Games: An Introduction

blockchain games

By Andrea Knezović, Head of Content, Udonis


What are blockchain games? Are they the future of gaming? How does the play-to-earn model work? 

Find out the answers to all of these questions and more in our introduction to blockchain games! 

What are blockchain games?

Put simply, blockchain games are video games that use blockchain technology. They’re also known as NFT games, crypto games, or GameFi. 

The main two ways games integrate blockchain technology are either by using it as a base for the entire game or by implementing blockchain elements into the in-game economy. 

The integration of blockchain technologies into gaming has created new opportunities for both developers and gamers. It represents a huge innovation in gaming and a shift towards a player-driven economy. 

Here are the main benefits of blockchain games and why they’re the way of the future. 

  • Add additional value to gaming
  • Ownership is in the hands of players
  • It’s leading the metaverse 
  • It’s revolutionizing collectibles 

How blockchain games work

In traditional games, the developer has all the power and is the full owner of the game and all in-game assets. That’s why we call these games centralized. 

Blockchain games, on the other hand, have a more decentralized approach. That means that players have ownership of various digital assets in the game that have real-world value. In some cases, players also have governance rights and can impact decisions regarding the game’s future development. 

Digital assets come in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and are purchased with cryptocurrency. Those two elements are the basis of blockchain-based games. 

In order to implement NFTs in games, developers need to create smart contracts – pieces of code stored on a blockchain that make up the rules for NFTs and their transactions. 

Most crypto games are built on the Ethereum blockchain. However, other blockchains like Harmony, BNB Chain, and Polygon are also popular. 

Play-to-earn model in blockchain games

The majority of blockchain games are play-to-earn games, which means players can earn real money just by playing them. This is one of the main reasons why blockchain games are so popular – they’re the perfect mix of business and pleasure. 

By playing a P2E game, players can earn tokens and NFTs, which are the foundation of the play-to-earn model. 

This model is completely different from traditional games where players would pay to play the game or make in-game purchases, but all in-game assets would still belong to the game and there would be no rewards for the players. 


NFTs are unique and have only one owner, which makes them valuable collectible items. What items will be NFTs varies from game to game. They can be game characters, wearables, weapons, artwork, land, etc. 

Players can purchase NFTs or get them as a reward by playing the game. Regardless of how they obtain non-fungible tokens, they can trade them with other players in the game or sell them outside of the game, in NFT marketplaces. Furthermore, when selling their NFT, players get cryptocurrency in return, which can then be converted into a fiat currency, AKA, cash. 


Furthermore, players can earn tokens when playing the game. Each blockchain game has at least one native token. For example, The Sandbox has SAND as its main token, Axie Infinity has AXS, Decentraland has MANA, and so on. 

Unlike NFTs, these are fungible tokens, meaning all of them are the same, which is why they can work as a currency. 

When players get tokens as a reward for playing, they can use them to purchase NFTs (or other in-game items) or swap them for other currencies. 

What’s in It for the Developers?

You’re probably wondering, how are developers making a profit with the play-to-earn system in blockchain games?

There are two main ways that blockchain games make money. 

Most commonly, they take a percentage for each NFT transaction in the game. However, some games require players to purchase NFTs in order to play. An example of this is Axie Infinity – players need to purchase three Axies (NFTs) to start playing. These types of games are often referred to as pay-to-earn games, as there’s a charge for entry. 

Metaverse and blockchain gaming

Metaverse is another term that’s often thrown around a lot when talking about blockchain gaming. 

Even though the idea of a metaverse is nothing new, blockchain technologies have put it back on the map. Moreover, gaming is leading the way with the metaverse, even though the metaverse goes beyond gaming and has infinite applications. 

Metaverse games are virtual worlds where players can hang out with other players, explore, experience things like concerts and fashion shows, build, etc. When you add blockchain technologies to the mix, they become much more than that. 

For example, in most blockchain metaverse games, players can own land. Land, in this case, is an NFT which means it has real-world value, only one person owns it and can keep it, rent it, sell it, etc. Furthermore, as we’ve learned, other in-game assets like game characters, character names, skins, and buildings can also be NFTs, which adds an additional layer to the metaverse experience. 

Popular metaverse games are The Sandbox, Axie Infinity, Decentraland, Cosmic Universe, Illuvium, My Neighbor Alice, and others. 

While metaverse games are still in their infancy, they show a lot of promise. As technology advances, we’re going to start moving to a metaverse in the real sense of that word.  

Examples of popular blockchain games

Even though the blockchain games market is relatively young, there are hundreds of games being developed. Here are our top picks!

The Sandbox

The Sandbox is one of the most popular metaverse games on the Ethereum blockchain. In it, players can explore the open world, own land, and even create custom games and in-game assets. 

The game’s main token is SAND and it’s used for all transactions in the game. The other two tokens are LAND and ASSETS. The former is a piece of digital real estate players can purchase and own, while the latter refers to various in-game assets players have designed on LAND. 

Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity is the most famous for Axies – small cartoonish creatures that players use for battle. However, the most important characteristic of Axies is that each one is a non-fungible token, which makes them very valuable. 

Furthermore, players can breed Axies, which can increase their value. According to its official website, over $3.6 billion was traded on the Axie Infinity Marketplace.


Decentraland is a metaverse game on the Ethereum blockchain. It has a similar concept as The Sandbox – players can use MANA, the game’s token, to purchase LAND, which is a non-fungible token. Furthermore, they can build on LAND as well as monetize their digital real estate. Because there’s a limited number of parcels, LAND is very valuable and can be traded. 

Besides LAND, players can also purchase other items like avatars and wearables, which can also be sold through Decentraland Marketplace or secondary marketplaces. 

Cosmic Universe

Cosmic Universe is a fantasy MMORPG on the Harmony blockchain. It’s a unique combination of traditional MMORPG gameplay and blockchain elements. 

Like in most games in this genre, players can choose from different races, each of which has unique abilities. Furthermore, there are different areas in the game with land plots that players can acquire. 

Both the game characters and land parcels are NFTs that the owners can freely trade. Additionally, land owners get staking rewards. 

This game has two tokens – MAGIC and COSMOS. MAGIC is a governance token, which gives players a say in the game’s development. COSMOS is used to trade NFTs.   


Illuvium is a role-playing metaverse game on the Ethereum website. The developers claim this will be the first AAA blockchain gaming experience. Even though it’s still in beta, it looks very promising. 

The goal of the game is to capture Illuvials, mysterious animal-like creatures, each of which has unique abilities. Illuvials are then used for battle. 

As you might guess, each Illuvial is a non-fungible token that can be traded, as well as other in-game items. sILV token is used for purchasing NFTs, while ILV is the game’s governance token. 

Final thoughts on blockchain games

While blockchain gaming is still fairly new, it’s showing a lot of promise and it has already revolutionized the way we see gaming. 

Follow our blog to learn more about the development of blockchain gaming.