It’s 2008.

Satoshi Nakomoto invents Bitcoin – the first cryptocurrency and the first application of blockchain technology.

Fast forward to 2019. Blockchain is well on its way to disrupt several major industries. But one industry, in particular, is set up for a symbiotic relationship with blockchain technology.

Gaming.

Gaming is a $100 billion industry that has the potential to bring about the mass adoption of blockchain technology. And blockchain tech can take gaming to the next level too.

How?

Imagine owning, trading, and legally profiting off in-game items.

Or owning a piece of virtual land that neither the developer nor the government can erase.

How about financing your game solely by having people play it?

All those things are possible with blockchain games.

That’s why this article will tell you:

  • What blockchain games are + key features.
  • Examples of the current hottest blockchain games on the market.
  • How to implement blockchain technology in your games.
  • What challenges lie ahead for blockchain games.

And trust me. You wanna know.

Looking for a blockchain game solution? Not sure if you have a use case for blockchain? At Iterators, we design, build and maintain custom software solutions for your business.

iterators software development blockchain games development

Schedule a free consultation with Iterators today! We’d be happy to help you find out if blockchain is right for your game. Plus, we can implement the right technology for you.

Before we get started on blockchain games, you might want to check out our guide on blockchain applications. Find out if you have a use case for a blockchain application.

Blockchain Games Basics: What is a Blockchain Game?

So, you’re familiar with blockchain technology. But how does it relate to video games? 

Let’s dive right in.

What is a blockchain game? 

Blockchain games are using various levels of decentralization as part of their mechanics. Through the tokenization of gameplay and smart contracts, they offer true ownership of digital items. Blockchain technology also enables cross-game interoperability, player-driven economy and play-to-earn gaming models. 

Key features of blockchain games include:

  • True Digital Ownership
  • Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
  • Interoperability
  • Safety
  • Decentralized Assets Exchange 
  • Player Driven Economy

NOTE: Keep in mind that key features aren’t mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact, most features are connected and may often appear alongside each other.

At first glance, you may not find it evident that the listed features are quite revolutionary. To better understand what blockchain games bring to the table, let’s consider an example:

world of warcraft gameplay
World of Warcraft Gameplay

We can all agree that World of Warcraft is a very successful game. It has been at the very top of the MMORPG food chain for years now. Millions of users play it every day. 

What do they do? 

Players spend countless hours raiding, farming for gold, or engaging in PvP activity. It’s quite an investment of time and effort – both for players and game developers. Yet, player activity amounts to nothing. 

Unlike in blockchain games, players don’t own any of the items they worked so hard to get. Activision-Blizzard does. So, time spent playing doesn’t translate into real benefits. Unless you’re a professional gamer and you dedicate your whole life to it.

Of course, you can try to sell or buy your character, in-game items, or gold on eBay to monetize the time you’ve put into gameplay. 

But the truth is, it’s neither legal nor safe. Game fraud is definitely a thing.  Blizzard stays busy banning the accounts of people who are found trying to profit off their game.

Now, imagine that you could own your digital assets from WoW. Let’s take it further – imagine there was a safe way to legally sell, trade, exchange or even “level up” your in-game items.

Wouldn’t that be cool? 

It’s easy to see how much more fun and motivating that could be. You can play your favorite game while earning money to order groceries online. No need to ever leave your house and face the cruel world.

But in all seriousness, that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the revolutionary potential of blockchain games. 

The benefits for both players and developers are clear. And so is the fact that blockchain has the ability to take gaming to the next level. But we’ll get to that in a second.

First, let’s take a closer look at blockchain games’ key features.

Blockchain Games: The Key Features

For a long time, blockchain games have been synonymous with video games that use cryptocurrency. Games based on collectible items that you can later trade or upgrade. 

Think CryptoKitties or Huntercoin

One might question the actual value of those games. After all, the whole premise revolves around collecting items and reselling them for a higher price. 

As primitive as those games seem, they laid the foundation for more interesting blockchain technology use cases in video games. 

What are they? Let’s take a look:

True Digital Ownership

Let’s say you’re buying in-game items for real money. What you’re getting in return is essentially a piece of code that allows you to use that item within the limits set by game developers. 

So what does that mean?

It means that you don’t really own it. You’re just paying for the privilege of using it. 

So what happens when you get bored with a game? Maybe you would like to sell those items to someone who can use them? Someone who is actively playing that game? 

Sounds reasonable right?

Well, you can’t…unless you’re playing a blockchain game.

True digital ownership is one of the most important features of blockchain games. It allows players to own any piece of data within the game that designers deem appropriate. Items can include a unique weapon, skin, or piece of virtual land. 

The point is that you can do whatever you want with it because it’s yours. That includes buying, selling, trading, renting, or even destroying your in-game assets. 

And that opens a lot of doors.

blockchain games digital ownership

“True Digital Ownership means that the items you have in-game as a player are actually yours. You can sell them, you can trade them, you can do whatever you want with them. Game developers could use that technology to monetize secondary markets to leverage the possibility of players using the items between games.”

Sławomir Bubel, CEO, Hoard

Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs)

The concept of non-fungible tokens is a central element to the revolutionary potential of blockchain games. That’s because it’s NFTs that enable true ownership. 

But there is more to discover here.

NFTs can be tied to any digital asset thanks to Ethereum-based smart contracts. They’re called ERC-721 and ERC-1155. These standards regulate the way tokens are built, issued, and distributed. They also ensure two main characteristics of non-fungibility:

  • Uniqueness
  • Non-interchangeability

Essentially, something is “fungible” when you can exchange or replace it, in whole or in part, for a thing that is similar in nature. 

Therefore a thing that is “non-fungible” is something of a unique nature. Something that can neither be replaced nor exchanged.

So, how does it work in real life?

Let’s look at some examples:

Fungible Items:

  • Dollars 
  • Bitcoin 
  • Water 
  • iPhone
  • Car
  • Bad Boyfriends

Non-fungible Items:

  • The Mona Lisa 
  • Beethoven’s IX Symphony 
  • Snowflakes 
  • Your Parents

Okay, so we know what NFTs are. 

But what exactly is so revolutionary about them?  

How are they used within blockchain games?

To answer that question, let’s look at the most popular use case of NFTs to date.

CryptoKitties

CryptoKitties is one of the first generations of blockchain games. It was based on the concept of collecting unique creatures. The premise of the game revolves around owning Kitties. They are essentially ERC-721 tokens. From there, players only have two choices – breed or trade. 

That’s literally it. 

CryptoKitties became quite the sensation despite gameplay being limited. Judging by the standards of traditional games, CryptoKitties is a novelty rather than a revolution. Despite that, the hype was on and some of the creatures sold for over $100,000.

The most important thing to observe here isn’t the sales price of those assets. 

CryptoKitties was the first title in the history of blockchain games that allowed players to own verifiably scarce items. Combine that with the ability to trade and sell items, and you’ve got yourself a hit.

All of a sudden you have a game you can “play” while making a profit. Once that happened, CryptoKitties garnered a significant amount of players. Actually, the game became so popular that the Ethereum network had hosting problems. Eventually, CryptoKitties was the starting point of something bigger.

Interoperability

In traditional gaming, you have two choices. You can embark on a solo journey through the game world in single-player mode. Or you can interact with other players and explore the game in a multi-player environment.

But with blockchain, you can break those constraints. 

Why play one game, when you can play several at the same time?

Blockchain games enable something called cross-game interoperability, which allows a few games to interact with each other. The games themselves are interconnected and share digital assets and databases.

blockchain gaming platform interoperability

“Interoperability between games means doing something in one game and getting a reaction in another. One scenario – you achieve something in game one, triggering a benefit or punishment in game two. Another scenario – you’re killed in game one with a two-day cool-down period. During that time, you become a zombie in game two. You could play for bonus stats or as a unique character. Then you return to game one. That kind of cross-referencing interoperability is what blockchain games can offer.”

Sławomir Bubel, CEO, Hoard

Imagination sparked? Yet, only a few developers have made use of interoperability so far, despite the amazing possibilities. 

Let’s take a look at the two known cases of interoperability in blockchain games.

January 2019 – CryptoKitties and Gods Unchained

The Kitties Unchained experiment allows players to buy a “Cat in a Pack” card set. Then, they can use any CryptoKitty they own to create a special Cat Talisman in Gods Unchained

According to the creators of CryptoKitties – Dapper Lab, over 8500 Talismans were sold during the 18-day campaign. That translated into 205 ETH, which is roughly $25,600.

May 2019 –  My Memory of Us and Plasma Dog

Hoard announced on its blog that collecting puzzle pieces in My Memory of Us opens a secret level in Plasma Dog.

Both examples show that developers are taking the necessary baby steps to develop interoperability in blockchain games. Soon, gaming might become a whole different experience, with each game contributing to something bigger. 

A shared universe of games, all of them interconnected – a metaverse.

Safety

Safety is always a big part of blockchain “propaganda.” We hear how blockchain technology provides unprecedented levels of security and how it’s “unhackable.”

While that’s true to an extent, are blockchain games safer than traditional video games?

To answer that question, let’s take a closer look at the safety features of blockchain technology.

blockchain technology safety for games

Each block on the chain has: 

  • Data / Specific Information  
  • Cryptographic Hash for the Previous Block 
  • Timestamp

To change data on one block, a hacker needs to change the data on all the blocks that preceded it in the chain. Meanwhile, a blockchain is a decentralized ledger existing in several places at once. So, the hacker would have to get the system to validate the new changes on all existing copies of the digital ledger. 

To do so, the hacker would need to control a majority of the system. And that’s virtually impossible. So, blockchain’s immutability ensures the permanence and transparency of transactions. 

So, if you decide to trade something in a blockchain game, you can be sure that the transaction will leave a trace. Combine traceability with true ownership, and blockchain games can mitigate some of the fraudulent practices around trading fake items. 

Pro Tip: If you want to read more about the safety of blockchain games, check out A Security Case Study for Blockchain Games. The study pinpoints some vulnerabilities of smart contracts in blockchain games, revealing possible cracking methods.

Decentralized Asset Exchange

Ok, so we already know that blockchain games offer true ownership of your digital assets.

And thanks to NFTs you know your items’ are unique. Now, let’s say you feel like trading them. Maybe you want to make some money or get something new. Where do you go?

Yes, you guessed correctly. The decentralized assets exchange or DEX for short.

NOTE: Some blockchain games have their own marketplaces in-game. While that might seem like a more obvious choice, it’s not always best. The process of buying virtual goods can be simpler, cheaper, and less time-consuming when using DEXs.

So, how does it work and why is the decentralization aspect so important?

DEX is essentially a digital marketplace with no central authority. It operates on a peer-to-peer basis using smart contracts to enforce the rules of transactions and cryptocurrencies as money. 

Most of DEXs support the popular Ethereum standards: ERC721, ERC1155, and ERC20. That way, players can buy, sell, or exchange those tokens.

blockchain games asset exchange example
Source: OpenSea

Let’s take a look at the benefits of trading on DEX:

  • Transparency. Every transaction made on the blockchain is recorded and stored on it. You have the possibility to verify transaction details in real time, and you can be sure no one tampered with it.
  • Security.  Thanks to the P2P model, assets are transferred directly between clients without going through the exchange. That eliminates the risk of hackers stealing your assets by penetrating the intermediary.
  •  No price manipulation. One of the shameful shortcomings of centralized marketplaces is their susceptibility to price manipulation. With DEXs, the internal regulations are very limited. So, the risk of price manipulation and wash trading is significantly reduced.

Unfortunately, there are some setbacks too. Decentralized exchanges can suffer from low liquidity, high gas costs, and slow transaction speeds. Compared to centralized exchanges, they are also not easy to use.

The grey area is privacy. Because of their P2P model and lack of regulations regarding personal data verification, decentralized exchanges offer a great deal of anonymity. 

While most blockchain enthusiasts view it as a benefit, it’s easy to see how that could be conducive to illicit activity.

If you’re wondering what are some of the most “legit” decentralized exchanges for blockchain games, check out: 

Pro Tip: Even though these exchanges offer similar virtual asset trading services, they may vary in terms of user experience. For example, OpenSea lets you buy items using ETH, while trading on WAX is available through the use of their native WAX cryptocurrency token.

Player Driven Game Economy

A lot of innovation in blockchain gaming revolves around the game economy. And it is game-changing. Both literally and figuratively. 

Blockchain technology gave us a way to prove the ownership of digital assets and the means to trade them. When we introduce those elements to a game, the consequence can be a special kind of a decentralized, player-driven game economy. 

Let’s take a look at the economic benefits that blockchain games bring for players and developers.

Benefits for players:

  • Players earn benefits in real life, both through the rewards received by playing the game and by trading their virtual assets in decentralized exchanges.
  • By trading items at a decentralized exchange, players are not dependant on prices and regulations set by developers.
  • Players experience an increase in in-game quality.

Benefits for developers:

  • Developers have new ways of monetizing gameplay. 
  • Developers can attract more players thanks to extra financial incentives.
  • Developers can cut out the middlemen (external digital marketplaces).

To sum up, blockchain games offer a real path towards free-to-play and play-to earn gaming models. And that’s special because players can make money just by playing a game. Regular players, not professional gamers. And that might just open a new chapter in the history of gaming.

2019 Blockchain Games Overview

Now that you have a good idea of what blockchain games have to offer, let’s take a look at the actual games. Some of them are still being developed and are either in Beta or Alpha stages, but some are ready to play as of now.

Decentraland

crypto game decentraland gaming platform

Availability: Currently in BETA testing

Producer: Ari Meilich, Esteban Ordano

Blockchain Features:

  • True Ownership
  • NFTs
  • Decentralized Asset Exchange
  • Player Driven Economy

What is it?

To call Decentraland a game might be a slight understatement. At its core, the game is an inspired and bold undertaking that aims to create a “public, virtual frontier.” Even among the blockchain games, this one is pretty unique.

Decentraland is a decentralized, virtual world offering quite an extensive range of activities. 

First and foremost, players can purchase digital land in Genesis City and use it to create “scenes.” Each scene is like an application that can be designed, constructed, and maintained thanks to the native SDK. 

Let’s say you’re an artist. In Decentraland, you can create an interactive, virtual gallery of your work. Perhaps you own a business. You can set up virtual headquarters and promote your products. 

There are some real-world limitations. Yet, digital landowners are given a great deal of freedom, and whatever happens in their corner of Decentraland is pretty much up to them. 

You don’t have to own anything in-game to join in the fun. Guests can visit Genesis City and explore players’ creations.

What blockchain game features does the game use and how?

Like many other blockchain games, Decentraland is built on the Ethereum. It offers parcels of digital land in cartesian coordinates (x,y). 

The LAND can be purchased through MANA, which is a dedicated Decentraland cryptocurrency token. LAND is also a non-fungible token that can be traded in an internal decentralized marketplace. 

Once your piece of land is purchased, you have total control and ownership over it.

What’s cool about it?

The project is the very first attempt at creating a whole virtual world where you can really own things. Somehow it makes the whole VR experience way more tangible. It’s an exciting endeavor that has the potential to bridge the gap between reality and the virtual world more than any other project we’ve seen so far. Possibly the most complex undertaking in current blockchain games’ history.

Gods Unchained

blockchain game gods unchained

Availability: Ready to Play

Producer: James and Robbie Ferguson 

Blockchain Features

  • True Ownership
  • NFTs
  • Game Record on Blockchain

What is it?

Gods Unchained is a turn-based PvP collectible card game. Much like its predecessors, Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering (MTG), the game revolves around battling your opponents using previously assembled decks of cards.

And the resemblance is no accident. Gods Unchained is developed by the same person responsible for the success of MTG Arena – Chris Clay. 

So, we know it’s legit. And how does it work? There are hundreds of unique cards in Gods Unchained. The objective is to collect them and assemble them in effective battle decks. Players can obtain card packs at a variety of decentralized marketplaces, as well as in-game. Players can also buy, sell, and exchange their cards.

What blockchain game features does it use and how?

Like many other blockchain games – Gods Unchained is powered by the Ethereum, but it’s a hybrid solution rather than a full-on implementation. The game itself isn’t stored on a blockchain, and it only uses Ethereum for the purpose of NFT trading. That way the game runs smoothly, even when the number of active users is high.

Players are given true ownership of their digital items, as all the cards are ERC-721 non-fungible tokens. Gods Unchained also offers an in-game marketplace that enables players to buy, sell, and exchange their cards.

Additionally, all wins and losses are permanently recorded and stored on the blockchain.

What’s cool about it?

The game itself seems very playable. The desire to turn Gods Unchained into an eSport discipline is certainly visible. The level of competition that it offers is unparalleled in the current landscape of blockchain games. Every week, players can take part in a tournament and win pretty hefty rewards. 

And let’s not forget about the true ownership, NFTs, and in-game marketplace. Those blockchain features create extra incentives for players who want to get some real-life benefits out of the game.

Crypto Space Commander

crypto game crypto space commander

Availability: Currently in Alpha Testing

Producer: Lucid Sight

Blockchain Features:

  • True Ownership
  • NFTs
  • Player Driven Economy

What is it?

Crypto Space Commander is an MMO game that allows players to travel to different star systems, mine stellar bodies for resources, craft items and ships to sell, battle pirates and other players, while commanding their very own starship. 

The game provides an environment for players to explore solo or with friends in real time. Quests, discovery, and crafting adds depth that makes for an ongoing gaming experience.

What blockchain game features does it use and how?

CSC was developed using the Unity engine and will launch cross-platform, allowing for mobile, web, and PC play. CSC uses a 100% blockchain-secured economy where all valued assets are created, tracked, and traded as non-fungible tokens. 

The developers not only give players control over the game’s world but the economics behind the game that makes it grow and flourish.

What’s cool about it?

Blockchain games like Crypto Space Commander are designed to facilitate all facets of Play-To-Own gaming. All players can profit on their skill and wit with CSC’s player-owned asset design.

Hash Rush

crypto game hash rush gaming platform

Availability: Currently in Alpha Testing

Producer: VZ Games

BlockchainFeatures:

  • Play-to-earn
  • NFTs
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Decentralized Asset Exchange

What is it?

Hash Rush is an online sci-fi/fantasy real-time strategy game, set in the fictional Hermeian galaxy. The main objective of the blockchain game is to accumulate Crypto Crystals in competition with other players. Extracting the in-game resource pushes you up the leaderboard and causes you to receive prizes. 

To effectively engage in the extraction, players need to build and defend colonies from outside threats (NPCs). Additionally, players can trade both quest and reward pool prizes with other players.

What blockchain game features does it use and how?

Hash Rush offers a real play-to-earn model by implementing tokenized blockchain games rewards that players can obtain by taking part in the Bounty Campaigns. 

In-game items are NFTs built using the ERC721 standard, so all players can claim ownership over their digital assets. Additionally, players can trade their items with each other through a decentralized marketplace.

What’s cool about it?

The game offers an actual play-to-earn economic model. Players can earn Ethereum as well as in-game items, bonuses, and other prizes simply by playing the game. What’s more, Hash Rush has a pretty slick interface and looks genuinely fun to play.

Blankos Block Party

blockchain games blankos block party

Availability: In-development

Producer: Mythical Games

Blockchain Features:

  • True Ownership
  • NFTs

What is it?

Blankos Block Party is a mix between the arcade and social gaming experience. Every player is assigned their own Blanko, which is like an in-game avatar. 

Users can have more than one Blanko and play different arenas with different characters. 

The game allows players to host block parties, where they can invite other players to take part in specific game modes. Through the development of interesting, fun, and engaging game modes, players can attract in-game attention and gain rewards.

What blockchain game features does it use and how?

Each Blanko is a collectible, non-fungible token that is unique and scarce. Users are granted the possibility of true ownership over Blankos, and they can customize them and trade them between each other.

What’s cool about it?

Besides being a visually satisfying and highly playable, community-based game, Blankos is about giving power to the people. The possibility of making your own game modes is certainly appealing, and it’s easy to imagine some people getting really creative with it.

How to Build Blockchain Games – Adding Blockchain Features to Your Video Game

Ok, so let’s say you’re a game designer. You’re interested in a blockchain solution for your game, but you’re not exactly sure where to start. 

Here’s a list of things you should keep in mind when you’re embarking on that blockchain implementation journey:

  • Assess your needs. When building blockchain games, the very first thing you want to do is determine which applications of the technology you’ll need. A lot of the features are interconnected, but watch out for overkill. You don’t want to build a robust blockchain infrastructure if you only need NFTs.
  • Choose the solution. Depending on the level of decentralization you want, you can go one of two ways.

Hybrid Blockchain Implementation

You’re looking to combine the best of two worlds. Not fully decentralized, but still has some blockchain functionality. 

This option is suitable when your game has a high degree of complexity. Because of existing scalability issues, maintaining a whole game on-chain may be very costly and ineffective. 

Example: Gods Unchained

Full Blockchain Implementation

You’re looking for a complex solution. It involves putting your entire game on an existing blockchain or building one.  

If you’re looking for a high level of decentralization in your game, a full implementation might be the way to go. It is still fairly uncharted territory. Only for members of the Blockchain Games Visionnaire Club.

Example: CryptoKitties

  • Choose the means of execution. In most cases, the easiest way to build your blockchain game will be through an existing platform. And there are quite a few. They offer a wide range of services including:
  • Providing an already developed, functional blockchain infrastructure.
  • Ready-made solutions, like smart contracts, SDKs, and IDEs.
  • Native cryptocurrencies. 
  • Expertise, documentation, and support of blockchain implementation.
  • Support for blockchain game development.

Here are the most popular platforms that offer blockchain games implementation:

If your project is demanding, you’ll need to hire a team of programmers. Not sure how to do that? Read our full guide: How to Hire a Programmer for a Startup in 6 Easy Steps

Blockchain Games: A Broader Context

We’ve talked a lot about blockchain games, but it’s important to put things into perspective.

Even though blockchain games are still very young, they’re a part of the much bigger gaming industry. To simplify, there is a lot of money to be made from blockchain gaming.

Want to know why? Let’s break it down:

It’s one of the least regulated industries in the world.

Because gaming is considered a hobby, entertainment, or harmless leisure activity, game companies don’t see much regulation. 

There are no laws that tackle abuse in-game economies. Game companies can pretty much do whatever they want as far as manipulating the cost of their digital assets. 

Imagine you’ve been farming for an item for days on end. You’ve worked so hard to get that legendary sword/cloak/dagger. And you finally get it. 

Then a new patch comes out and it increases the drop rate of that item by 100X, essentially rendering your work fruitless. 

Isn’t that criminal? 

Certainly feels like it, but it’s legal. Game developers are essentially gods who can do whatever they want to their game. That’s why blockchain games are so appealing to a lot of people.

And that leads us to the second point:

The gaming industry is highly centralized.

Let’s consider esports for a moment. 

Activision Blizzard is one of the biggest game companies in the world. 

One of their flagship titles, Starcraft, has become one of the most popular and playable titles in the history of modern gaming. It is now also one of the biggest esport disciplines. 

That’s right. You may as well view it as an esport discipline.

What does that mean?

Well, only that Activision Blizzard owns the game, organizes all the tournaments, and cashes in on all the media distribution rights, merchandise, and event tickets. 

And you better believe that there are people watching:

blockchain games esport audience 2019
Source: Newzoo

Combine that with the ability to alter the game mechanics, economy, and storyline, and we’re starting to see the big picture.

It seems like a lot of power in one place, doesn’t it?

Well, where there is power, there is profit too, which brings us to the next point:

The gaming industry is extremely profitable.

Lucky for blockchain games – gaming is a multibillion-dollar industry. With almost 3 billion players worldwide, that’s not shocking. Now, with almost everyone worldwide owning a smartphone, everyone is a potential client in the business of gaming.

gaming industry global market 2019
Source: Newzoo

And the trend is bound to continue, as gaming remains at the very core of the entertainment business.

Plus, 2019 is also a special year for the US gaming market. It’s estimated that the US market will surpass China, generating $36.9 billion in revenue.

So what does that mean for blockchain games?

We already know that blockchain games have the potential to significantly change the gaming industry for the better. They can benefit both game devs and players. That’s undeniable. So, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before everyone catches on…

We now see blockchain games as an interesting innovation. But once it becomes standard, blockchain games will pretty much take over the industry.

Future Challenges for Blockchain Games

While blockchain games might have a lot of amazing qualities and a multibillion-dollar industry backing them, the future is not all wine and roses. Like every breakthrough technology, blockchain gaming needs time to become a fully developed standard. 

So, let’s take a look at what challenges blockchain games will have to overcome to result in mass adoption:

  • Speed

One problem with games built on a blockchain is their speed. 

Even when we consider games like CryptoKitties that don’t require sophisticated hardware and are not hard on your CPU, slow gameplay is very much an issue.

CryptoKitties is built on Ethereum, which is one of the fastest and most developed blockchains available. Yet, it takes 17 seconds to create a block, which means that games built on it are only progressing 3 times every minute. 

So, the gaming experiences that we are used to, with real time interactions between players, is currently impossible for games that are 100% built on the blockchain.

  • Ease of Use

Unfortunately, blockchain games also suffer from a pretty convoluted user experience. Most blockchain gaming right now is happening on Ethereum. Here is what new players need to go through to get started there:

  • Install the MetaMask wallet extension in their browser.
  • Create their account’s Vault (hosts multiple wallets).
  • Register an account on a digital currency exchange.
  • Buy ETH and send it to their wallet.

While it’s not rocket science, it’s certainly a turn off for an average gamer who just wants to play and not worry about buying cryptocurrencies. 

While it is possible to play some blockchain games without going through all of those steps, it’s not conducive to a complete gaming experience. 

To take full advantage of blockchain gaming, one needs to embrace the technicalities. And for some people, that might be too much right now.

  • Costs

Another obstacle is the financial aspect. Right now, there is a price to pay for every transaction that you make on the blockchain. It’s called the gas cost. 

Let’s say you’re gaming/developing on Ethereum. Depending on how fast you want the transaction to go through, you will pay from $0.01 to $0.08. 

crypto games cryptocurrency exchange ethereum

That doesn’t seem like much, but every action you take in a blockchain game is essentially a transaction. Those costs accumulate very fast even when you’re playing a slow-paced game like CryptoKitties

So, it’s easy to imagine that maintaining a complex, multiplayer game on that system would be expensive.

The situation is prompting blockchain games developers to look for other solutions since not many players are willing to pay that kind of money. As a result, the costs are either absorbed by developers, or blockchain features are abandoned altogether. 

Neither solution fixes the problem. So, projects like EOS, Loom (side-chain of Ethereum), and TRON were founded. Using these, it’s possible to increase performance by sacrificing the decentralization aspect. 

Block times are significantly reduced. Yet, some may argue that the solution defeats the purpose of blockchain because businesses owning majority shares can enforce their own agenda. 

  • Scalability

The biggest challenge for blockchain gaming is scalability. 

Blockchain games need to attract players. To do that, they need big titles. Games that are very playable. Games that can provide amazing entertainment for the masses.

Imagine that you’re playing soccer in a small, local field. You’re sharing the space with 5 friends and you’re having fun. Then news about your cool spot leaks and everybody from the whole neighborhood starts using the field too. 

Instead of 3-sided teams, you’re forced to play in a 20+ team on the same field. Not fun anymore. In fact, it’s borderline impossible.

The problem – current blockchain infrastructure can’t handle large, in-game populations. 

A perfect example? The CryptoKitties phenomena. When the game launched, the number of transactions sky-rocketed, effectively flooding the Ethereum blockchain. As a result, the transaction costs increased and made the network practically unusable.

Conclusion

While blockchain games are an inspiring innovation, one needs to carefully think about implementing that technology in their games. Creating a blockchain game requires a clear vision and determination to pave the way in an already saturated industry.

It is not an easy task. But with proper knowledge of blockchain and the right idea for its implementation, your game can reach the next level.

Games have always been about entertainment. But blockchain adds another layer and lets us take it further. And what better can one do, than take another big step for mankind?