Predicting the direction that the price of bitcoin will take is not going to cut it with the world’s 2.7 billion gamers. Notably, the use of blockchain in crypto-based games may be acting as a hindrance to the adoption and at the same time an exciting unique selling point.
Before anyone is chased out of Blockland, here is an explanation for all this matter. It is not a mere suggestion that blockchain games are bad, or that the inclusion of blockchain technology is detrimental to many games. On the contrary, there are no many existing genres of games that cannot be greatly boosted via the integration of blockchain elements.
Ranging from the provable fairness and permanent immutable ledgers to the true ownership, trading, and play-to-earn, the opportunities that blockchain introduces to the gaming world are just game-changing.
Being a part of this technology sector, it is quite challenging not to be in the “blockchain and gaming are a match made in heaven” camp.
Everybody knows a lot about how this story goes from there: if just a small portion of the worlds estimated 2.7 billion gamers agree to the benefits of these newfangled blockchain games, and just a fraction of the participants go on to learn something about blockchain and crypto, the size of the crypto market will go up exponentially.
Therefore, if attracting gamers is good for cryptocurrency, then why are so many blockchain developers’ content aimed at the existing cryptocurrency crowd?
What Crypto Fans Want In A Game
Let us first look at the showings available at a recent BGA Game Demo Day to debunk this issue. Three of the four games that featured, CryptoPick, Trade Stars, and Crypto Colosseum, revolved primarily or extensively on trading or prediction markets.
On its part, CryptoPick is a prediction market based on whether particular crypto will rise or fall or which cryptocurrency will perform the worst or best over a particular period. Some might say that scenario does not matter or count as a game. But, isn’t that playing the markets? The game, however, involves ‘Pickies’ instead of real money.
Advancement in technology has pushed the game a notch higher because players can customize their avatars with NFTs which may tempt the gaming masses to sign up.
Moving on, Trade Stars is a collectible trading card game that lets players buy, sell, or trade shares in the famous players or stars of different games and sports. But for now, the only available sport is cricket.
Sports fans seem to enjoy this type of thing and cricket is quite popular in many countries globally. Nevertheless, the performance of the players has no significant bearing on the value of the shares, so this appears like random stock-picking with the cricketers.
Has Anybody Seen Some Idle Gameplay Anywhere?
Crypto Colosseum exploded out of the blocks fuming with its colours pinned firmly to its chest. Based on some blurb, it is:
“A crypto game of degenerate gambling and whimsical violence.”
A chosen group of gladiators who fight for different crypto factions (bitcoin, Ethereum, and MATIC), participate in automated text-based tournaments and battles. The players bet on the outcome of the battles and can also acquire items to enable or hinder the gladiators in battle trying to sway the result in their favor.
Back-stories, gladiators, and the fight-sequences themselves are developed by artificial intelligence which adds the ‘whimsical’ element to the violence. These fights are also impacted by the real-life price performance of the faction coin during the entire battle and the stats of the gladiator.
Eventually, the prize pot is split between those with shares in the faction, the holder of the gladiator contract, and those that bet on the winning gladiator. There is a gameplay element that looks interesting. However, as it purports, it is majorly geared towards gambling activities.
Do They Want Some DeFi?
The bafflingly popular, Aavegotchi is one of the worst recent offenders. Reviews were made of Aavegotchi in its early testing days with intentions of determining how it works under different conditions. To test the game, one user was given over $20,000 of different tokens for staking. But, the user was only allowed to stake on the Kovan testnet.
Today, any game that needs investment in the thousands let alone tens of thousands becomes a hard sell, even to the ardent gamers, who are currently lamenting at being told to pay $70 for a next-generation title.
Unbothered, the tester bought themselves some testnet portals to claim the creatures inside. Many gamers enjoy the element. The process of looking through every portal’s 10 available Aavegotchi to select a favorite according to its stats and the staking token it might hold was quite simple but well implemented.
The Kovan-rich users can bedeck new friends in an array of accessories and gear, also buffing the rarity of their cards. The rarity affects the yield gained from the staked tokens. They managed to gamify DeFi staking; but did that need gamifying?
Based on the interest that it has attracted, the answer is ‘Yes’ or maybe the cryptocurrency crowd is very keen to see what blockchain gaming will produce that it will flock to the latest thing that is arising from simple curiosity.
The Future Seems Great On The Horizon
Nobody is currently suggesting that these projects are bad or there is no place for them. All these projects have their fans and they will probably do just fine. But, they do not appear to be quite appealing for regular gamers.
Instead of demonstrating how blockchain-enabled features can get incorporated to enhance the existing gaming experience, many seem to have had their plans hindered by the inclusion of blockchain technology and networks. Their scope seems limited to the things that crypto already does well.
Managing to buy a sun hat for Aavegotchi to enhance staking yield by 0.1% is not the main source of entertainment experience that will take blockchain gaming mainstream. It should also be said categorically that this bias toward being extremely blockchainy was not normal for a BGA Game Demo Day.
Previously, developers have managed to present an incredible variety of imminent blockchain gaming goodness at such events, and in reality it feels somewhat mean-spirited to highlight February’s unexpected and unfortunate scheduling to back up this argument.
The Blockchain Game Alliance strives to promote the use of blockchain in the wider gaming sector, and Game Demo Days also often include tools that help the traditional developers to easily integrate blockchain into their games.
Sebastien Borget, BGA president, is also the lead of The Sandbox. The Sandbox is a Minecraft-inspired world-building game with blockchain running through the veins that should attract its fair share of regular gamers on public launch.
The Future Is Bright
Maybe this is the primary source of the issue. Having seen some of the ‘proper’ games that are coming through, it is quite challenging to feel excited about projects that arguably do not expand the blockchain gaming experience anymore.
The movement that Dapper Labs started with CryptoKitties in 2017 is still finding its strength, and in several ways still experimenting with the best strategies to connect the worlds of blockchain and gaming. Since this movement is blockchain-led there are many variations on a theme.
Blockchain is still a youth when compared to the gaming sector that has already been around for many years. It was always expected to take time before the arrival of AAA games that have blockchain capabilities. However, it should be known that these games are on their way and they are closer than ever before.
The much-celebrated Infinite Fleet went into a private alpha move earlier this month with the early adopters given access to the first available playable version of the game. Notably, the fourth game featured in the earlier mentioned Demo Day, My Neighbor Alive, was an interesting-looking isometric world-building game.
In this game, the players could earn in-game currency for performing quests. It might not be exactly a blockbuster, but it is a game in the traditional sense of this word. However, it comes with blockchain capabilities.
To attract many gamers, blockchain games need to offer compelling experiences around the true ownership of assets and all the rest.
Therefore, when suggesting the problem that is affecting blockchain games is the blockchain itself, it is not an agitation to see it eliminated from the industry entirely. But, it is just a wake-up call to ensure that it does not overshadow the real gaming experience.