Understanding the mechanics and consumer risks associated with play-to-earn (P2E) gaming

Paul Delfabbro, Amelia Delic, Daniel L. King

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
140 Downloads (Pure)


Background and aims: Play-to-earn (P2E) gaming is a newly emerging form of gaming increasingly based on blockchain technology. In this paper, we examine the mechanics and business model of these games and their potential benefits and risks for players. 

Methods: The paper draws upon and critically synthesises the developing published literature on predatory monetization in gaming as well as objective market data drawn from credible online sources. 

Results: P2E gaming blurs the boundaries between gaming and trading and may not yield many of the benefits promoted to consumers or otherwise conveyed through marketing and social media messaging. Particular risks include the deflationary nature of reward currencies and the asymmetric reward structures that heavily favour early investors and exploit late adopters.

Discussion and conclusions: This paper highlights the need for greater consumer awareness of the mechanics and risks of these new gaming models. It will be important for business models to be more transparent and designed so as to encourage more equitable game outcomes, sustainable returns, a balance between intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, and protection for potentially vulnerable players.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-726
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
Issue number3
Early online date8 Sep 2022
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2022


  • consumer protection
  • crypto-currency
  • harm
  • play-to-earn gaming
  • risk factors
  • trading


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