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Play-To-Earn Vs. Move-To-Earn: A Comprehensive Comparison

No one could believe you a few years back if you told them they could earn money playing games online. Despite the popularity of Xbox Live, World of WarCraft, and other games like Angry Birds in the early 2000s, making money was never a motivation for players. However, blockchain technology has revolutionized the gaming industry through Play to Earn (P2E) and Move to Earn (M2E) trends that have gotten the entire industry talking. This article introduces these two ways of entertainment and their revenue generation capabilities.


What is Play to Earn

As previously stated, these games utilize blockchain power to allow players to profit from their gaming abilities and efforts. Players are rewarded with in-game tokens such as cryptocurrencies or NFTs for winning battles or completing quests and missions. The most exciting aspect is that, unlike traditional games that require monetary subscriptions, most P2Es are completely free to play.

Tokens earned can then be exchanged for cash in the secondary market for fiat, making players prosperous both in the game economy and the real world. NFTs have made it much more interesting by allowing players to import various items in the virtual world for a better user experience. Based on the policies, these items can also be sold to other players.

Developers are tasked with creating a complete built-in economy that allows players to trade their tokens easily. This idea of giving gamers their worth back has seen P2Es going mainstream in recent years. With each platform developing unique cryptos and tokens to pay users, play-to-earn games are quickly becoming an integral part of the metaverse.

Pros and Cons of Play to Earn Games


  • Opportunity to earn real money
  • Promote blockchain technology adoption
  • Games are highly immersive and fun


  • Your earnings are exposed to crypto volatility
  • Some games require significant investment

What is Move to Earn

Staying fit is perhaps the top of most people’s new year’s resolutions, but how many actually do it? What if there was motivation, such as making money every time you go for a workout? That is where move-to-earn games come in. They leverage blockchain technology to incentivize users to game and participate in physical activities such as jogging, walking, or running. Apart from regular exercises, players can also engage in different challenges on the platforms.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, the popularity of Move to Earn games skyrocketed. While they are still a novel concept to many, they have been around for a few years. Pokeman Go, which sparked a global frenzy after its release in 2016, was a forerunner of M2E. It creates an augmented reality by using GPS and the player’s camera to map organisms called Pokemans as players move around the ecosystem. More than six years later, it remains popular, with over 43 million downloads in 2022.

Like Pokémon Go, these apps use GPS technology to track your movement and pay you in proportion to the number of physical activities accomplished. While different platforms have varying reward plans, earnings mainly come in the form of crypto. Users can generate more revenue by staking and trading their tokens.

Pros and Cons of Move to Earn Games


  • Promote healthy living
  • Encourage socializing through sports
  • Opportunity to earn real money
  • Help build personal discipline
  • It may come with decentralized personal training


  • High costs of entry
  • Exercise might take away the fun bit

Top Five Play to Earn Games

  • Axie Infinity: Consider playing Axie Infinity if you are getting into the P2E gaming industry. It’s perhaps the most successful globally, having been a pioneer. It was rebranded to “Axie Infinity Origin” after phasing out the classic V2 version. The average of about 2.5 million weekly users makes it the most active blockchain app ever. The gameplay involves users breeding and collecting Ethereum-minted pet monster NFTs called Axies. Like humans, they all have unique features and abilities. The ecosystem offers many types of NFTs with endless customization possibilities. So you want to collect the most exclusive ones that have strong capabilities to help you win battles. In return, you earn Smooth Love Potion tokens which you can swap for Shard tokens, the main utility currency in the game. Smooth Love Portion tokens currently carry a value of $0.002913, down from their all-time high of $0.42 due to the 2022 bear market.


  • Decentraland: Decentraland is another Web3 ecosystem that has made significant contributions to the metaverse. It’s an immersive virtual reality game where players can create different experiences and monetize them. You are only limited by your creativity. Like in real-world economics, land is a crucial factor of production within Decentraland. Its value varies based on the neighborhood and factors such as amenities surrounding it. To build any asset or experience, you must first buy land. All land is owned by the community, making the project fully decentralized. What makes P2E unique is that users can even build their own fully digital games within the ecosystem. Other community members can then come to play them at a fee. To get started, you must get an Ethereum wallet for transacting MANA, the platform’s native token. There are currently over 1.8 billion MANA coins in circulation as of writing this, at a market cap exceeding $1.27 billion.


  • Alien World: Alien World is a science-fiction-based Play to Earn game where users capture NFT aliens and engage them in achieving missions such as mining with a shovel and finding different items. The aliens have different capabilities based on their species. So, a player’s goal is to keep upgrading to find the most powerful ones to increase winning odds. Although built on the WAX blockchain, players connected to the MetaMask wallet can teleport across Binance Smart Chain or Ethereum and back to WAX. One can also lease spacecraft and use them to explore missions or discover NFTs. Every accomplished mission or task earns players Trilium (TLM), the platform’s incentivizing token. It’s an ERC20/BEP20/WAX fungible token. It facilitates transactions and allows users to vote within the DAO. The value of one TLM coin as of writing this is $0.000055.


  • The Sandbox: Think of the Sandbox as a creative space where you can set your mind on wild imagination and implement any ideas you have. The Web3 game gives players autonomy to build anything, including lakes, mountains, and even flora and fauna. Members can monetize their game-building skills by innovating or playing through the Ethereum blockchain. Some leading metaverse supporters, such as BoredApeYatchClub and Atari, are key partners in the project. Transactions, ranging from in-game purchases to rewards, happen in the form of Sand, an ERC20 token native to the ecosystem. The maximum supply of Sand tokens is 3 billion to prevent future devaluation. Players also need land, which refers to ERC721 NFT tokens. There are only 166,464 pieces of land, and additional ones will not be created in the future. This gives them value and ensures their prices are always rising with demand.


  • Star Atlas: Lastly, Star Atlas is among the best Web3 games you can consider if you want to make money while having fun. It can be described as a next-generation GameFi giving players a glimpse of the future. Gamers can role-play and travel into different futuristic cosmoses where they can interact with robots, aliens, and even other human beings. While traveling, users must engage in battles to conquer new territories and control critical regions. They can explore farmlands and areas with hidden treasures such as minerals too. The Star Atlas P2E game allows you to practice your profession within its ecosystem. You can become a doctor, pilot, teacher, entertainer, or even manufacturer. Gamers earn POLIS, which is also the DAOs governance token. It has a circulating supply of 9.83 million as of writing this and a max limit of 25 million tokens. This gives it a market cap of about $52 million and a dominance of 0.005% at a price of $0.008601 per coin.
hands holding a smartphone and playing a game for play to earn vs move to earn games

Top Five Move-to-Earn Games

Numerous M2E apps are emerging as the world becomes more sensitive to healthy living. As a result, finding the best Move to Earn games may not be a walk in the park. We have compiled a list of the top five M2E games where you can earn money while engaging in fitness activities.

  • Genopets: Genopets takes the top position on our list because it was the first M2E game to be created. The Web3 role-playing game is free to play and can be accessed from PC, Android, and iOS mobile devices. It’s built on the Solana blockchain. Users earn by exercising through jogging, walking, or running. Players can also join dedicated battle arenas where they engage in competitions. Winners take home rewards in the form of $KI tokens, the platform’s native currency. The coins can be cashed out or used to upgrade one’s Genopet. The game is pretty similar to Pokeman or Tamagotchi. To get started, one has to mint a free Genopet. It comes in its infant stage and feeds on your physical activities to grow. So every time you hit the gym or go for a walk, you empower it. You can also upgrade and customize it to your liking using $KI tokens.


  • STEPN: This is another M2E platform you would want to try out. It takes credit as the second Move to Earn to be created and the first to popularize M2E apps. The Solana-based game rewards users for achieving specific fitness milestones in different categories, such as walking, jogging, and running. Anyone can get started by first renting or buying an NFT sneaker. You will find all sorts of fitness training shoes with impressive price tags as high as $1,000+. STEPN is highly diversified with some aspects of P2E games. For example, one may opt to earn through minting new sneakers. This is done by opening Mystery boxes. The boxes can either be empty or contain Gems that can be used to acquire new pairs. Players earn rewards in Green Satoshi Tokens (GST), the platform’s native coins. The company is among the most profitable in the sector, having closed 2022 with more than $122 million in earnings.


  • MetaGym: At number three is MetaGym, a revolutionary app meant to stimulate balanced living. It’s a smartphone application that works with wearables to track and monitor your fitness activities. Before you start training, you can connect it with simple devices such as a wearable heart monitor or smartwatch. Unlike regular M2E programs that only have simple fitness activities like jogging and walking, this one is diverse. MetaGym rewards users when they work out, sleep or form other trackable healthy habits. Its exercise program also incorporates weight and resistance training, unlike competitors like DeFit and STEPN. Every activity earns you Heart Rate Tokens (HRT). They are native to the app and can be used to buy new clothes or enhance your metaverse avatar.


  • DeFit: DeFit is a short form for decentralized fitness. It leverages the power of the Ethereum and Polygon blockchain networks to encourage a fitness-centered lifestyle. DeFit combines M2E characteristics through sports but also comes with a social networking platform where members can follow and chat with each other. Like in a physical gym arena, the app gives users access to personalized coaching and training classes with zero intermediaries. In addition, it comes with its native crypto, the $DEFIT token, for facilitating transactions and acting as the primary reward system. There is a maximum supply of 50,000,000 DEFIT coins, with more than 27,418,493 already in circulation. As of writing this, the coins were valued at $0.08673 each, a significant drop from the all-time high of $0.093. This is mainly due to the market shock that hit the entire cryptocurrency sector from late 2021 to 2022.


  • FitMint: Finally, we have FitMint, which closes our top five list of the best Move to Earn games. Just like its counterparts, this project helps you healthily generate cryptocurrency revenue. To get started, players mint sneaker NFTs, which sets them on the path to achieving their fitness goals. You then get a stats dashboard categorized into four: power, durability, stamina, and comfort. Every time you exercise, these stats earn points in the form of FITT tokens. Like STEPN, it encourages users to engage in activities like running, walking, and jogging. As of writing this, the platform is not yet fully launched and has a proposal to integrate elements of Social-Fi. When writing this, the FitMint token is already trading in the secondary market with a value of US$0.001317. It has a max supply limit of 10 billion coins and a self-reported circulation of more than 23 million tokens.

Play to Earn Compared to Move to Earn

  • Sustainability: The sustainability of P2E games is still questionable considering that players don’t have to pay to play. It remains to be seen how the in-game economies for these platforms will work in the future, with little revenue coming in. Move-to-Earn games, on the other hand, mostly charge players to mint initial NFTs and upgrades. Although they also reward players, most of the funds are spent upgrading and customizing avatars, hence remaining within the ecosystem.
  • Popularity: The introduction of the metaverse largely popularized blockchain games. P2E games such as Sandbox, Axie Infinity, and Decentraland quickly rose to nobility with the promise to pay gamers just to play games. They have continued attracting more followers, with cryptocurrencies almost going mainstream. M2E games are a newer concept. They are also still struggling to win followers due to their model that requires physical activities. While fitness is highly desirable, many people give up after a few tries.
  • Earning system: The earning models for these two game blockchain game types are highly similar. They both involve accomplishing specific tasks to make money. In P2E, users get rewards for completing missions, winning battles, and taking part in quests. M2Es, on the other hand, reward users for exercising. The only difference is that one model rewards digital skills while the other rewards physical activities.

Parting Shot

Blockchain has truly touched all aspects of everyday life. Gamers who were restricted to closed-ended traditional platforms have also been set free. They can now engage in 100% decentralized games. What’s more, instead of paying subscription fees, they earn. Play-to-Earn and Move-to-Earn are no doubt revolutionary. You may choose to engage in both of them to stay fit and still enjoy exploring the metaverse. If not, pick one category and have fun. Feel free to choose from the games we have reviewed. If you want to keep learning about the latest blockchain technologies, keep reading our content. You may also join our social communities.


What are play-to-earn games?

These are games that leverage blockchain networks to allow players to profit from their gaming skills. Gamers are rewarded with in-game tokens such as cryptocurrencies or NFTs for winning battles or completing quests and missions.

What are move-to-earn games?

These are blockchain based games that incentivize users to game and participate in physical activities such as jogging, walking, or running.

What is the difference between play-to-earn and move-to-earn games?

The main difference between play-to-earn and move-to-earn is that the former is based on digital gaming skills, while the latter is action based. P2E players can sit in one position and enjoy gaming. That’s not possible with M2E since you need to be performing physical actions such as exercise.

Eugene Abungana
Eugene Abungana - Investment Analyst, Financial Analyst, and Institutional Trader
195 Articles

Eugene is a crypto and iGaming writer, with a passion for sharing the latest trends and developments in the industry. His fascination with cryptocurrency started in 2014 when he first discovered Bitcoin. He has since expanded his knowledge and experience through education, trading, gaming, and working with different experts. My goal is to offer unbiased and accurate information while promoting ethical and responsible gambling practices.

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