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What is Play to Own in 2023?

The gaming industry has come leaps and bounds since the introduction of the Magnavox Odyssey, back in 1972. We have progressed through Web1, Web2, and are now entering the new age of the internet with Web3, and with the evolution of the internet, comes the evolution of gaming in Play to Own.

Blockchain technology has revolutionized the gaming industry, bringing transparency to games, and complete ownership to players, something that was always missing in web2 gaming experiences. We have seen many Web3 games and publishers get the green light from VC’s and investors, such as Fenix Games and BLOCKLORDS, as the technology gets recognition outside the realm of finance.

Over the last few years, most Web3 games have boasted the Play to Earn model, where players earn tokens, or in some cases NFTs, which can be sold on the open market for real gain. Whilst this has done some good, by giving those in less fortunate circumstances a chance to earn a living, the execution of most P2E games has been poor from a tokenomics standpoint, leading to an unsustainable growth model, and an exponential devaluing of the tokens earned.

When a financial incentive is added, the motive behind playing, and the experience of playing the game are drastically changed, moving everything away from fun- which is why we play games in the first place!

This is where Play to Own shines.

What is Play to Own?

Play to Own, or P2O for short, is another web3 gaming model, which is much better aligned with the intention of Web2 games. With a focus on longevity and fun, Play to Own games encourage players to hold onto their in-game assets, using a range of game mechanics that give assets unique and dynamic traits that depend on the actions of the player. The end result is that any one player’s experience is totally different from the next, and gives real value to the time and effort invested.

This is something that is missing in web2 games, as even though you can obtain items and level up characters, as a player you do not own them, and they can be taken away from you as fast as you can log in.

Creating a gaming ecosystem where unique experiences can be harboured and owned by the players, brings us one step closer to the perfect gaming experience.

Play-to-own games, essentially utilises Web3 technology in a way that brings the focus back on fun, whilst also keeping all the draws of Web3 gaming intact.

Which is better? Play to Own vs Play to Earn?

Each model has their place, and ultimately serve different purposes in the world of gaming. For die hard gamers, Play to Own is the most familiar in terms of play style and intent, as the experience resembles that of Web2 games. Players are able to play with the sole purpose of enjoyment and items aren’t just there to be sold, but to be a part of the experience for the long run. it’s likely that this model will lead the charge when it comes to onboarding the biggest games onto Web3.

Although the play-to-earn experience isn’t conventional gaming, the wider economic impact cannot be denied. It has provided those in less fortunate situations to earn a living off of something they truly enjoy — a rare occurrence in the game of life. Something like that cannot be knocked, as the value added to society is more than just a few bucks earned. Games and fun should be available to people from all walks of life, and if it is able to help them in an economical sense, who’s to say that is wrong? Play to Earn has its place in the space, but maybe not in the same conversation as the future of blockchain games as a whole

The sustainability of the Play to Own model is what sets it apart from other models, and for web3 games to compete on the stage as the biggest web2 titles — or get them on board — longevity must be a focal factor.

Examples of Play to Own games


BLOCKLORDS is the first Web3 grand strategy game and is progressively pushing the Play to Own model. Developed by MetaKing Studios, the game is a medieval strategy game, in which players choose their path and create their own story. Whether you want to be a farmer or a lord of the land, the choice is yours. The game’s NFTs have unique traits that develop through the game, creating a personalised experience for each player. Check out some BLOCKLORDS gameplay!


Upland is a city-building metaverse, where players buy, sell and trade property — but its more than that. Players connect to build cities, communities, societies and economies, as the game aims to blur the boundaries between the virtual and physical worlds. The game has seen great traction over the last couple years, and had the honour of being FIFA’s metaverse partner for the 2022 world cup.

Reign of Terror

Another new MMO strategy game, this time set in a feudalistic cyberpunk society. Players choose their squad and complete missions, and use resources to craft armour and weapons. RoT is more than completing some side missions, join a faculty or guild and form alliances to experience the depth of the social, and economic strategy side of the game. They have recently revealed more about their utility pass, which provides access to the ecosystem and more.

The Future of Play to Own, 2023 and Beyond

The Play to Own model seems like a perfect fit for many genres, such as MMORPGS, adventure games and more, due to its focus on longevity and the overall gaming experience.

As the Web3 space grows, we must ensure that the experience for users is as similar as can be to Web2, enabling a seamless transition into the next generation of the internet. For gaming, it’s the same story. To onboard Web2 gamers into the Web3 gaming ecosystem, a feeling of familiarity must be produced, and here is where Play-to-Own will take centre stage.

Centred around fun, Play to Own encompasses everything gamers currently care about, whilst using blockchain technology to games to create experiences that players can own for themselves.currently, it is hard to truly own your experience, with centralised authorities holding the keys to fun, being able to turn the lights off with the flick of a button. Web3 gaming, utilising the Play to Own model brings an end to the tyranny, and gives power to the players — creating an experience like no other.

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Ramsey Shallal

Co-Founder + Strategy

Ramsey has been in the Web3 space for 3+ years, and is leveraging that experience to create generative marketing solutions, that drive organic growth through improved brand experience and authority

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