What Are Move-to-Earn Games, and How Do You Create One?

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Blockchain games are soaring in popularity. According to DappRadar, the industry saw a 2,000% growth in 2021. And if you take a closer look at the blockchain gaming market, you’ll notice that move-to-earn games have made a real splash in a very short time period. For example, STEPN, built by Find Satoshi Lab, generated more than $26 million during the first quarter after release. 

So, why are move-to-earn (M2E) games so popular? And how can you create one? What implementation challenges should you be aware of? At Unicsoft, we know the ins and outs of blockchain game development. Below we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about M2E apps to build a successful project. 

What is a move-to-earn game?

The idea behind move-to-earn games — also known as FitFi games — is pretty simple. Built on a blockchain, they reward players with crypto tokens for walking, cycling, or other forms of physical activity in real life. Some M2E games also have an NFT element. For example, to get started with STEPN, players have to purchase NFT sneakers, upgrade them as they progress, and sell them on a marketplace.

The main features of an M2E game 

STEPN, Genopets, Step App, and dotmoovs are the most popular move-to-earn projects, and they have much in common. The key elements of a FitFi game include: 

  • User profile. A user can add their nickname, personal photos, a link to their crypto wallet, NFT assets, and so on. 
  • Movement tracking. To track players’ movements, many M2E apps use GPS location tracking on players’ devices or integrate with fitness trackers.
  • Dashboard. Users can view their progress and achievements.
  • Goal setting. Players set their physical activity levels, gradually raising the bar.
  • Marketplace integration (for projects with an NFT element). Due to the app’s integration with multiple NFT trading platforms, users can buy and sell their NFTs. 
  • Social media integration. Users can share their results on popular social media platforms.

These are must-have features, and you are free to add others if it makes the gameplay more engaging. Besides this, an M2E game should have an intuitive interface and perform smoothly. And since move-to-earn games use financial assets, they must be immune to cyber threats.

Why move-to-earn games are booming and reasons to build one

Move-to-earn cryptocurrency games are a recent thing. The first project with a FitFi element, Genopets, went live in November 2021. One month later, STEPN, which is purely based on the M2E concept, became a crowd puller in the GameFit domain. After that, similar games started springing up like mushrooms after the rain.

But what makes M2E games so lucrative for both developers and players? Here are the main reasons why FitFi apps have spread like wildfire:

  • No learning curve. In most cases, to get started with a move-to-earn game, all you need to do is to install the game, add your account details, and hit the Play button. 
  • Financial motivation to keep playing. Players are motivated by financial rewards. For example, STEPN players allegedly make as much as $4,500 a day. 
  • Health benefits. Move-to-earn games make players healthier. They can help you keep fit even during the COVID-19 restrictions when social contacts are limited. 
  • Fitness tracker integration. Most M2E apps have this option. For example, to track users’ exercise, WIRTUAL can connect to Strava, Fitbit, Garmin, Apple Health, and Huawei Health. Thus, users can gamify their fitness experience while using apps they already know and love. 
  • Social element. In most games, players can interact with each other through various challenges and competitions. Genopets takes this to the next level: players can challenge each other in a virtual battle arena using their Genopets (generative NFTs that reflect each player’s progress.) This makes a game even more engaging. 
  • Reusable assets. Since all M2E game collectibles live on a blockchain, players can reuse them outside of a game. Traditional games do not offer such flexibility: all the acquired assets are only useful within the game framework.
  • Transparency. Thanks to the advantages of a blockchain, transactions made within such a game are open and can be verified by anyone. Thus, such games are immune to scams, making them more attractive to users willing to earn.

As the success of STEPN and similar apps demonstrates, a move-to-earn game is a real boon to developers willing to raise millions on a project with a simple concept. But how do you build one? Let’s find out below.

How to build an M2E game

At first glance, it might seem that building a move-to-earn game using blockchain technology is pretty similar to how you go about traditional game development. And it is to some extent: you develop the idea, plan your stack, allocate resources, design a prototype, do the coding, check your app against various tests, and deploy. Still, once you dig deeper into the topic, you’ll see that there are nuances. Here’s what the process looks like. 

Define your idea

The idea is the bread and butter of any game. How will the players earn rewards? How much will they earn for each activity? Will the game have an NFT element? How will you monetize the project? These are just a few questions you’ll need to answer before proceeding with the next phase. 

Thoroughly scanning the market for similar projects and studying your audience’s needs will make the process easier. And since there are myriad new M2E projects mushrooming, make sure that your idea is unique. 


Now that you’ve crystallized the idea, the next step is to determine exactly how you bring it to life. Below are some of the key aspects your development team needs to pay attention to. 

  • Blockchain. You’ll need to decide whether you are going to deploy the entire game or only some parts of it on a blockchain. Then, you’ll have to choose a suitable blockchain platform. Scalability, the strength of the developer community, the availability of development tools, the expertise of your team, and other criteria will affect your choice. 
  • Smart contracts. These will set the rules for all transactions carried out in your game and “guarantee” that these rules are followed. Make sure that your smart contracts are fair and cover every transaction scenario, such as a player buying NFT sneakers to make the game accessible, a player selling the sneakers to another player, a player earning tokens for walking, and so on. If in doubt, you can review smart contracts for similar games. 
  • Fungible tokens. These are the heart of any M2E game. You can use the native tokens of the blockchain that hosts your game app, and/or you can develop your own one. Either way, make sure that players can buy, own, and sell these tokens with no security risks. 
  • NFTs. These assets are actually the key to your game’s success. So, make sure your NFTs are secure, unique, and have fascinating graphics. 
  • Movement tracking. Your application should somehow track your movements. To make it possible, you can integrate your M2E app with a smartphone’s GPS tracking feature or consider using APIs of fitness trackers used by your target audience. 

At the end of the planning stage, you’ll have a wireframe of your application, technical specifications for smart contracts, tokens, the app itself, a team ready to get down to the implementation, a detailed roadmap of your project, and budget estimations. 


This is the key part of the entire process. It’s all about bringing to life everything you’ve planned out during the two previous stages. 

The way you approach the implementation will depend much on which parts of the game you decided to tokenize, whether you decided to put the entire app on the blockchain, which blockchain you chose, and so on. For example, if you settle on building the entire app on Ethereum’s blockchain, the process might contain the following steps: 

  1. Create your Ethereum account. 
  2. Use Node Package Manager to create the open-source codes and files you need to set up your M2E game app.
  3. Build the backend of your app using Truffle. 
  4. Code smart contacts using Ganache. 
  5. Develop the frontend of your application.
  6. Implement all the needed integrations, including those ensuring tracking capabilities. 

Of course, this is a very basic description of what the process involves. Fortunately, Unicsoft can lift the burden off your shoulders and build the application for you. 


Before your game goes live, you’ll need to test it thoroughly. To make sure everything works seamlessly, your development team will need to run your app through a series of functionality, usability, penetration, security, load balancing, and other tests. 

The UI, tokemonics, notifications, movement tracking, integrations, and the actual gameplay — everything should work without a glitch; otherwise, you risk ruining your reputation as an M2E game provider right off the bat. And pay particular attention to smart contracts: these can’t be changed after deployment on a blockchain. 

The challenges of building and owning an M2E game 

It’s no mean feat to create a move-to-earn game that will have engaging mechanics, stand out from similar projects, and have seamless performance. So, before getting down to development, be prepared for the following challenges: 

  • Performance issues. Blockchain networks are typically capable of processing a limited number of transactions per second. This is a considerable limitation for a multiplayer game and ignoring it might prevent your project from scaling. For example, a popular blockchain game named CryptoKitties once jammed up Ethereum’s blockchain network due to the excessive number of players willing to buy NFT cats. 
  • Costly development. Whenever you put new code on a blockchain, you need to pay a certain amount of cryptocurrency. Given that, if you don’t want to spend a fortune on coding alone, you’ll need to keep your code as simple as possible. 
  • Less flexibility. You can’t modify a smart contract once it’s deployed on a blockchain. So, make sure your smart contracts are fair, bug-free, and cater to your and the players’ needs before your project goes live. 
  • The volatility of the cryptocurrency market. Cryptocurrencies are known for their instability. In other words, a hard-earned $500 can easily turn into $50 overnight. Such fluctuations might ward off users. So, your task is to bring more stability into your game. 

As you can see, M2E game development isn’t a bed of roses. However, a trusted vendor with relevant expertise will help you overcome any challenges along your M2E journey in a way that works for you. 


Move-to-earn games seem to be a true goldmine for game providers: you can raise a fortune with a simple idea. This isn’t an exaggeration, and the success of STEPN, Genopets, and other apps prove this point. However, the caveat is that you’ll have to know all the intricacies of blockchain game development. Otherwise, you won’t be able to reap all the benefits of blockchain, and you might even flush your budget down the drain. If you don’t have experts in-house, you can outsource the development to Unicsoft. We offer a full range of blockchain game development services, from ideation to launch with subsequent support. We’ll take care of smart contracts, NFT assets, crypto wallets, and a lot more, helping you roll out a fair, secure, and engaging game with fabulous graphics on time.