What is Move-to-Earn (M2E) and where is it headed?

Move-to-earn games are emerging as a new GameFi model that combines crypto, defi and P2E elements
April 09, 2022 - Cynthia Chung

Move-to-earn (M2E) blockchain games combine elements of GameFi and fitness apps to reward players for exercising. GameFi refers to decentralized applications (“dapps”) that offer play-to-earn games with economic incentives. Running at the forefront of the M2E gaming sector include StepN, Genopets and WIRTUAL.

These M2E games leverage on motion-sensor technology, GameFi and blockchain to build a new niche that rewards players with cryptocurrencies and (NFTs). As Move-to-Earn concepts turn to cryptocurrencies, it offers players the ability to earn in-game currencies that can be exchanged for fiat money. 


Move-to-Earn Vs. Play-to-Earn Games

In Move-to-Earn games, players earn financial rewards for moving around in real life. The game extracts data from player’s phones and wearable fitness devices in the physical world and transforms them into rewards. As with Play-to-Earn games, some M2E games are free to play while others require players to buy NFTs to get started.  


However, unlike Play-to-Earn games, which reward players for playing games, such as battles, advancing levels and navigating the gaming world, P2E games also require players to purchase NFTs to start the game. As the games gain popularity, the upfront investment for entry also becomes higher.

Top M2E Games

With users from more than 180 countries, StepN emerged as a Web3 fitness app on which players can purchase NFT sneakers priced at 8.3 Solana or US$830 (at the time of writing) with four primary components: Attributes(Efficiency, Luck, Comfort, and Resilience), Types (the Walker, the Jogger, the Runner and the Trainer), Quality (Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, and Legendary) and Levels. Players will earn tokens (GST, GMT) that can be used in the game or trade on exchanges.

OliveX, an Australian digital health and fitness company is currently building a ‘Fitness Metaverse’, part of which will be focused on a series of fitness games players can move-to-earn their $DOSE token. In the OliveX Fitness Metaverse, players can interact and engage with real-world fitness brands, influencers and trainers. Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies are also present in the game.


Where is M2E headed?  


The Covid-19 pandemic raised consumer awareness on the importance of health and fitness, about 111 million people were participating in health walks last year in the U.S alone. At the same time, more M2E projects are coming in to offer their services to the GameFi space. 


On the other hand, the money that is funding these move-to-earn projects are backed by initial funding for investors. To create long-term sustainability to keep incentivizing players requires a sustainable income from developers. The high entry costs associated with M2E games also create barriers for new players to join and might even serve as a deterrent.

Running, walking, dancing and cycling to earn money may appeal to a broad audience and hold potential for exponential growth but more needs to be done to retain players in the long run.


Photo: StepN


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