This article takes a look at the different ways that it’s possible to make real money playing Axie Infinity. From gameplay and Axie flipping, to breeding Axies or holding AXS tokens – all the potential ways to make money are explored. Initial investment estimates and other upfront costs are also discussed.
The Basic, Straight Facts About Earning Money with Axie Infinity
Quick Game Background and History
Axie Infinity is a Play to Earn game built on the Ethereum blockchain.
It was created and is maintained by Sky Mavis. Sky Mavis is a privately held Series B unicorn with less than fifty employees based in Vietnam. There are currently twenty-five investors including Mark Cuban. The game is said to be inspired by Pokemon and the team met through playing Cryptokitties, another NFT game.
What Cryptocurrency is Used in Axie Infinity?
SLP is the in-game token connected to the Axie Infinity ecosystem. SLP is a standard ERC-20 crypto token that can be traded and sold on various crypto exchanges. Selling SLP earned through the Axie ecosystem is how Fiat or real-world money is attained. SLP is also used in the Axie ecosystem for breeding new Axie NFT creatures.
AXS is a separate crypto token connected to the Axie Infinity ecosystem. AXS can be bought, sold, traded, and held. There is also a staking program in development for AXS. It is the token for the game, like how a company has stock, and SLP is the token used in the game.
Does it Cost Money to Play Axie Infinity?
To play the game you need three creatures, basically three Axie NFTs. They vary in price and you need strong, powerful creatures to really compete in the gameplay.
Some of the cheaper creatures are around $60 USD. The problem is you need creatures more in the $100 and over price range to really compete in the game and earn. You need about $500 realistically to get started playing.
When the three Axie NFTs have been purchased they are called a team. Building a strong team is foundational to earning in the Axie world.
Selecting good Axie creatures for gameplay and breeding is foundational to getting a high return on your investment.
Some call these style of games Pay-to-Play-to-Earn vs Play-to-Earn. I can totally see why after exploring Axie Infinity in further depth. There is money to be made, however, you will be required to have around $500 USD to really get started.
How Do I Make Money Playing Axie Infinity?
There are a handful of ways to earn with Axie Infinity including gameplay, trading or “flipping”, breeding and lastly, there is also something called a Scholarship program. I briefly discuss ways to make money with the game below, but in another article I go more in-depth into ways to make money with Axie Infinity.
Making Money Through Gameplay
The game itself is separated into two different modes. These are both card-style battle games with a few differences.
One game mode, called Adventure Mode, is more or less a standard mobile game experience. In this mode the player battles computer-generated opponents. Each win advances your player through the levels of the game.
The other method of gameplay, Player vs Player, is a strategy-based card match where the goal is to essentially defeat the other player. This is accomplished through strategy and understanding of the Axie characters, the cards the opponent has, which cards and coming next and so on.
The dynamics of the overall game are pretty complex. Expect to make a time investment into learning how to play the game and play it effectively. Knowing the details of the different modes of gameplay and the details of player responses is critical to winning the battles. Winning the battles, either computer-generated or another human is the key element in earning.
In Adventure mode, the goal is to advance through levels quickly to earn SLP. In Player vs Player mode, the objective is to defeat the enemies through strategy to also earn SLP.
The deeper game mechanics are beyond the scope of this article. Expect to spend around twenty hours or more learning about how to effectively navigate the Axie ecosystem and play the game before you begin. More important than the gameplay is learning about the larger picture of Axie Infinity. This includes aspects of all of the Axie creatures, their body parts and what they can functionally do in battles.
A major takeaway from my research was that to earn anything significant with the gameplay you’ll need to invest a decent amount of time.
The average gameplay time to earn around $7 USD a day was two hours. More time can be spent per day increasing the average amount earned to around $40 USD. Expect to spend around three months or so playing the game to recoup the initial investment price of the Axie team required to play.
Making Money Through Flipping Axie NFTs
Besides gameplay the Axie NFTs can be bought and traded, what is known as flipping. The key here is knowing the current best attributes of Axie creatures and how they correspond to each other.
Each Axie has different genetics, traits and body parts. Different combinations of these are more and less useful for the battles in the gameplay. As the game evolves changes in it also contribute to the price and value of different Axie NFTs.
A solid time investment is crucial for successfully flipping Axie NFTs and making a good profit. You’ll need to study and stay updated on the game and what is going to change in it. You’ll also need to study the Axie creatures and all of the capabilities and limitations of each one, including their parts and family tree.
Making Money Through Axie Breeding
New creatures are created through a breeding program within the Axie ecosystem. The SLP token is used in the process.
The thing that is important in breeding is understanding all of the different combinations of Axie genetics and the body parts and what the chances are you can breed valuable traits with the Axies you try to breed with.
This is one of the more lucrative ways to make money in the Axie ecosystem however it’s also one of the more complicated and time-intensive. In addition to the overall difficulty, other breeders are very secretive about breeding information.
It’s difficult to easily find breeding information in general so there is also risk. If you breed something that’s not in high demand it will be more difficult to sell and fetch a much lower price. Typical ranges one can expect to earn selling Axies they breed are from $60 to $250 USD and upwards.
Again, with most things in the Axie world having a larger upfront investment financially and in terms of time is the best approach. You have much better chances of breeding great, high-value Axies with awesome genetics and battle capabilities if you purchase high-dollar ones, to begin with.
One approach some are taking is to buy two Axies and then breed them to create a third to create a team to enable gameplay. Again, research into the proper genetics and attributes of the different Axie lines is crucial to creating a strong team.
Making Money with Axie Scholarship Program
One way to play without buying your own Axie team is through the Scholarship program. You play with a team someone else paid for and then receive a cut of the earnings. It’s a good way to explore the game in greater detail and earn some money.
The Axie Infinity Discord group is where you learn more and apply to join the program.
Make Money Buying, Trading, Holding and Staking AXS
Another, more standard way of making money with Axie Infinity is through the token associated with the game itself. Remember this isn’t the SLP token that you earn by playing Axie Infinity. AXS is another totally valid crypto asset and does offer real earning potential.
When the staking program is in place, simply holding the AXS token will result in incentives and a return beyond the benefits of a long-term crypto-asset holding period.
AXS tokens can be purchased on major crypto exchanges such as Binance or Crypto.com in the same fashion other crypto tokens are acquired.
Staking AXS tokens, or any tokens, is a process used to verify crypto transactions. You stake tokens to support a blockchain network and confirm its transactions. This enables the staker to earn passive income on the staked tokens. Some staking programs specify an amount of time the tokens must be staked before they can be unstaked and staking rewards claimed.
Staking your AXS tokens is mostly an opportunity to earn and doesn’t present much in the way of loss. The one way you can lose value here is by the price of the AXS token itself declining. You’ll still earn tokens for staking, they just aren’t worth as much. In addition, you’ll incur a loss by the value of the AXS token dropping. If it drops below where you made your initial purchase or entry.
Is it Possible to Lose Money with Axie Infinity?
It is possible to lose money in several ways with Axie Infinity. The volatility of crypto alone will result in price changes for the SLP tokens you earn playing the game. The Axie NFTs also fluctuate in price over time and with changes to the ecosystem and game.
There isn’t a direct deduction of SLP earnings from gameplay but when you lose battles you also lose the opportunity to win. So, it’s not a direct deduction, but it could be viewed as a loss.
Axie Infinity Success Stories
The majority of players are from the Philippines. The amount that a player can earn daily is at the same level of a full time job in their economy. A player can expect to earn around $40 USD daily from gameplay at the high end.
One individual in the Philippines was able to purchase two real world houses with his earnings from the game. It is important to remember that this case is an outlier and most people who get involved with Axie Infinity do not earn this much.
Outside of gameplay the other routes to earning within the Axie ecosystem can be more lucrative. Successful breeding and flipping can earn profits in the thousands.
Is it Possible to Earn a Part or Full-Time Wage with Axie Infinity?
For US residents it’s probably not realistic to earn a livable wage playing the Axie Infinity game. It might be possible by tapping into the full earning capability of the larger Axie ecosystem.
For residents outside the US, such as the Philippines, earning a livable wage playing Axie Infinity is possible and many have been doing so. Amount of time spent playing the game is a key number to earning. Expect it to be more like a full time job in terms of amount of time spent.
Combining one or more of the potential earning strategies with Axie is potentially a way to earn a part or full-time wage for US residents. Something to mention is that after the initial time investment into breeding, flipping or gameplay is recouped it should be easier to get an ROI.
The Future Of Axie Infinity
If you are going to be investing time and money into Axie Infinity as a source of income, you should probably consider what the long term prospects of playing this game will be. Is this a game that will be around for many years in the future, or will the hype die out in the next few months? Are you already too late?
My issue with Axie Infinity at the moment is that most of the hype around the game seems to be about how much money can be made, and what the price of the token is. In the video below, you can hear the YouTube talk about how the game and community need to “be saved” by introducing new game mechanics.
While it’s definitely a cool idea to have community members with game development experience contribute to the game, the mechanics of how that’s going to work is a huge unknown. Game development is no simple task, so how exactly will these new ideas be coded and implemented?
What this video really exposes to me is that if the price of SLP or AXS continues to drop over time, how many people will stick around and continue to play the game, and how many will move on to the next “blockchain based game” with a rising token price?
This is a fundamental issue with many crypto games, regardless of which crypto token you earn. When the game origin is rooted in earning money, people abandon the game when it’s no longer profitable to play. Game play MUST come first.
Sky Mavis takes a five percent cut of all transactions related to the game, and they have large investors and raise capital regularly. Sky Mavis holds twenty percent of the overall SLP token allocation. That seems a lot like a traditional company structure, and not necessarily a censorship resistant for of money, or community control gaming platform.
So, what’s the point of having this game on the blockchain in the first place?
Quality game play requires experienced developers and strong leadership. When you introduce those elements, your game becomes a company, not a cryptocurrency. Basically, this is what Axie Infinity is already. It’s a gaming company with a crypto element as a gimmick to get people to play.
The Future Of SLP and AXS Tokens
A core element of being able to make money playing Axie Infinity is the idea that the SLP and AXS token will retain value over time. They are a cryptocurrency, and should have some kind of monetary value.
My issue with that is: who is going to buy these tokens outside of other gamers?
When you sell your SLP and AXS tokens, you have to sell them to someone else. Crypto speculators will come and go, but over time, you’ll need a reliable source of market makers to buy and sell tokens on the market. Will there be that many Axie Infinity players over the years for there to be a healthy token economy? This is an unknown.
Game popularity often comes and goes with trends. There are very few games which last more than a year or two, without being replaced by new games. Gaming communities don’t grow forever, and often settle on a small core cohort of enthusiasts.
There are exceptions of course. World of Warcraft is still extremely popular. DOTA2 has grown into an international competitive gaming community. Could Axie Infinity be the next big game? That’s for you to decide.
Does this game actually need its own in-game currency to be fun? I wonder if Axie Infinity could have a future as a basic PvP mobile game without the crypto token element.
Personally, I do not see any value in holding SLP and AXS tokens long term as money, since I don’t see them being useful in the broader economy. I’ll stick with Bitcoin. Perhaps as an in-game token they can retain some kind of value, but it’s not something I would invest in.
In review, there are multiple ways to earn real money with Axie Infinity. Each method has different levels of initial investment required to get started.
Choose a method that fits your time and financial situation. Prepare to spend time prior to embarking on any of the paths to ensure optimal earning potential.
Here are the methods of earning. They are ordered from low to high in regards of cost of entry to get started.
- AXS token holding
- Axie Infinity Gameplay
- Axie Breeding Program
From a financial perspective, the goal of the game is to attain SLP. This is accomplished by winning battles. Winning battles requires understanding the various aspects of each Axie creature and what its capabilities are.