Three weeks of playing a play to earn game: this is my first impression about Upland

5 min readOct 25, 2021


In the last period, as I am more and more interested in crypto, I discovered the NFT concept. And by searching in detail, I also discovered the concept of Play and Earn games.
Play and earn is a “new” concept of online games, that allows to play and earn real money. But you don’t gain real money directly (like lotto, gambling, and other classic money games). You earn NFT (non-fungible tokens) that you can sell for crypto and then you sell your crypto for classic money.


Upland is one of these games, this is how it is introduced on their official site:

Upland is the earth’s metaverse mapped to the real world and accessible via web, iOS and Android. In addition, there is a “real economy” that is sustained by the players via the market forces of supply and demand. Upland is built on the basis of three key pillars: Play, Earn, & Connect.

So to summarize, Upland is like Monopoly. You can buy and sell virtual properties. The main “currency” in upland is UPX, it allow you to buy “virtual” properties. When you own a property it allows you to earn money.
There are two levels in upland: visitor and uplander. when you are a visitor, you need to renew your visa every 6 days.

In my case, I started with Upland for this reasons:

  • The concept is similar to Monopoly
  • It is free to start
  • I’ve got a bonus by signing up using Brave referral link

But until now, and after three weeks of playing, I have had more negative than positive feedback. Here’s why:

It looks like a pyramidal game

Upland looks more like a pyramidal game than anything else. I know that many games are paid and we need to pay to get extra lives for example (like in Candy crush). But the difference here is the promise behind it. When I pay money to buy extra lives in Candy Crush, I know that I will just get extra lives. So I don’t expect anything other than extra lives. But with upland it is different, the game promises you to earn money: play to earn. So it is easier to encourage people to spend money because they expect to gain money in return.

It is free, but you will quickly need to pay to play

Until now and as I can see, it is more about pay to play than anything other.
Even if you have a welcome bonus in Upland, you will spend it very quickly. In general, you will get 4500UPX as a Welcome Bonus. And the average of properties is around 4000UPX (when you buy in a mid-class city).
Once you buy your first property, you will realize that you are very limited. You cannot buy more “properties” because you need UPX. You cannot sell your properties because you need to be an uplander. To become an uplander you need to have 10000UPX value. And so on …

And the only way to get UPX quickly is to spend real money (USD).

I’m not sure you can earn even if you pay

It is very difficult to earn UPX and very easy to spend them. For example, if I take one random property in Chicago (511 S Kilbourne Avenue):

  • It costs 4488 UPX
  • The monthly earnings are 64.63UPX.
  • 5000UPX costs 4.99 USD

The profitability is 17% a year which is a very good thing BUT it is the case in UPX and not in dollars:

  • I don’t know how to convert back UPX to USD
  • It is a long-term investment (it needs many years to be profitable): not sure that the game could persist for years.
  • You need to find a buyer for the property just like in the real world.

Let’s see how we can spend UPX now: if you visit the property of another person, you need to pay the visit amount which not less than 20UPX…

There is also games on upland such «treasure hunting». You can play once a say for free, but to hunt the treasure you need to move your «explorer» and to make it move, you need to pay visit fees (>20 UPX). The treasure game is timed, if you the time is out and you want to continue playing you need to pay 100UPX.

It is so boring

As mentioned above, when you are still at the visitor status you don’t have many things to do. And it can last months if you don’t pay to play. In the first days, you have a daily bonus, so you can come back daily to earn it. But after 2 weeks you don’t have this bonus anymore. And you don’t have anything to do in the game. And it is sooo boring. And I don’t even know if uplander status allows people to do more things.

The interface is not user friendly

I play upland both on my phone and on my laptop. And on both the user interface is not beautiful (but this is a personal point of view). It is not user-friendly and it is buggy. For example on my laptop even if I check the “remember me” checkbox, I need to log in each time. And each login, I need to fill the “I am not a robot” captcha.

The referral program is indirectly “paid”

There is a referral program BUT both you and your referral need to pay money (yes real money) to get the referral bonus.

I’m not sure if it is clean money

This is a very personal point of view and it not related only to Upland but to NFT globally. I find that upland and many play to earn games are based on speculation and a kind of pyramidal or gambling model. I am not sure that it is ok to gain money by “selling nothing to others”. I am not sure that it is ethical and that it matches my values and my personality… I want to earn extra money, but I need to make clean money.

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

And now, what?

Today I am continuing to play, by visiting once a day to collect my «earning». I am trying also to not lose my visitor visa and properties by renewing my visa. But I am not sure how much time I’ll continue to do this. As I mentioned above, it is too boring and I don’t see any interest to play it until now. So let’s wait and see what will happen in the next weeks. Perhaps that Upland adds some features to make the game more attractive for poor people.

The only thing that I am sure of is that I will not pay to play.




IT working girl. Interested in many topics such as project management, self help, tech and trading. Writes in French and English