What Is Blockchain & Crypto Gaming? An Overview
Blockchain kicked off a slew of innovations such as cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and decentralized applications (DApps), but it has now even evolved to specific industries such as gaming.
But what are blockchain or crypto games? Blockchain games are games hosted and operated on blockchains and distributed by open-source programs. CryptoKitties, introduced in 2017, is one of the earliest examples of blockchain gaming.
Why Is Blockchain & Gaming A Perfect Match?
Gaming is one of the clearest-cut use cases for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies for two primary reasons. One, because gaming is a huge market, and two, because gamers are tech-savvy people that enjoy experimenting with new technologies and interacting in virtual worlds with their friends from all over the globe.
Moreover, games are an economy in themselves with untapped upside. But these gaming economies haven’t developed to their full potential because in-game assets and stores are limited to certain ecosystems controlled by Microsoft, Apple, Playstation, and Nintendo (to name a few).
For example, you cannot transfer your Call of Duty guns, Fortnite skins, PC & Nintendo purchases and use them in other games or communities. Therefore, the ecosystems eventually die down as servers become less popular and people move on to the new hottest thing.
Luckily there’s a solution — the blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Blockchain technology in particular has the ability to improve this interoperability, and cryptocurrencies can allow players to have the in-game money they need to buy digital assets such as NFTs.
Therefore, blockchain and cryptocurrencies allow games to develop outside of their ‘walled gardens’ and become interoperable with other games and future open metaverse spaces.
What Are The Benefits Of Blockchain Games?
When we talk about blockchain or crypto games, we’re talking about similar mechanisms as traditional games, but with added blockchain technology that allows anyone to use, trade, and sell in-game assets.
Blockchain games aren’t that different playing-wise and technically from traditional games. For example, they have similar onboarding mechanisms as traditional games such as downloading software, registering accounts, etc. However, the main difference is all of this is done on the blockchain. For example, in order to play blockchain games, gamers need to have a cryptocurrency wallet to buy, trade, and store in-game assets. They’ll also need an accompanying browser (similar to a PC game).
Moreover, blockchain games have a different back-end than PC games. For example, blockchain games on the Internet Computer are decentralized and stored in independent data centers worldwide. Many PC or console games store data on in-house or cloud servers, and these servers are always held by a centralized player (generally the owner of the gaming company or licenser).
Because of this decentralization and having wallets, blockchain and crypto games can be seen as more decentralized, secure, and innovative — hence, attractive to young gamers.
In addition, blockchain games give gamers the freedom to more-easily invest in the games themselves in the form of NFTs (which can be traded using a crypto wallet). On the other hand, traditional games are much harder to invest in since it requires stock brokerages in order to buy stock in companies such as Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo (for example).
In summary, blockchain and crypto games have enormous potential to capture the interests of the young tech-savvy Gen Z’ers. It started with CryptoKitties and now has evolved into Axie Infinity, Decentraland, League of Kingdoms, Splinterland, and The Sandbox.
But moving forward, blockchain games need to be better built, designed, economized, and attractive. The Internet Computer is one blockchain ecosystem tech stack working towards these goals.
Exploring The Market Potential & Investment Trends In Blockchain & Crypto Gaming
Blockchain and crypto gaming has spiked in popularity since the introduction of CryptoKitties, where reportedly one cat sold for over $100,000. In addition, reports from DappRadar from Q1 2022 showed that the crypto gaming industry saw a rise of 2,000% over the past year. Lastly, there have been investments of $2.5 billion in the crypto gaming space alone in the last quarter. This is a significant rise compared to the $4 billion raised over the entire year of 2021. In short, these growing investment figures show an accelerated rate of money pouring into this industry.
NFT and blockchain game developers predict that this figure could balloon to $12 billion by the end of 2022. Not only that, investors and game developers are also looking to capture the non-crypto native audiences by considering Free-to-Play models which would allow new gamers to enter the blockchain and crypto gaming market.
Essentially, blockchain and crypto gaming founders are looking to remove the artificial barriers for the traditional gaming masses to enter the Web3 gaming space.
To expound on this point, blockchain and cryptocurrency have in fact gained popularity in the gaming industry with top gaming companies like Microsoft Xbox, Twitch, and G2A entering the space. The crypto gaming market attracted 1.22 million unique active wallets on March 2022.
Top 8 Blockchain & Crypto Games On The Internet Computer
dSquad is the world’s first Engage-to-Earn (E2E) NFT/metaverse platform where players can earn passive income by using their wallet and Internet Identity to engage with Internet Computer apps. dSquad uses the Internet Computer blockchain to create a build-your-own minting engine for avatars, as well as for asset storage. In addition, users can add accessories and much more to their avatars. Some of its salient features include validating wallet activity to ensure user privacy and not sacrificing accuracy — in addition to hosting NFT characters on the blockchain.
NFT Avatar Minting is one of dSquad’s most promising features. It has a built-in NFT Avatar creation engine that allows users to create avatars with full customization. Minting an avatar could be an exciting way to join dSquad and join the monthly leaderboard to win rewards such as the airdrops.
Reversi, also called Othello, is one of the first canister smart contracts deployed to the Internet Computer and is a strategy board game for two players which is played on an 8*8 uncheckered board. The board comprises sixty-four identical game pieces, and disks (discs) which are light on one side and dark on the other. The players take turns placing disks on the board with their assigned colors facing up. The basic strategy of the game is to have the majority of the disks turned to display your color when the last playable empty square is filled. It’s a completely decentralized multiplayer game that can be played in real-time, from any browser, anywhere in the world.
ICSnakes is the world’s first NFT game. It’s an NFT that is playable within the wallet of your choice. In addition to hosting the game logic inside the smart contract, the game also brings in gamers’ freshly minted NFT characters as their hero. It’s based on the classic “Snake” game from the 2000s. Players can earn an annual percentage rate (APR) by staking their SNAKE token and eventually increase their APR by accumulating bonuses available.
4 MetaSports Basketball
MetaSports Basketball is an open basketball metaverse built on the Ethereum and Internet Computer blockchains, where NFT players of all shapes, species, and origins can compete to become basketball superstars on teams owned and managed by the players. It brings the entire basketball ecosystem, comprising franchises, players, coaches, fans, and stadiums into an e-sports metaverse videogame experience. The players are NFTs with attributes and statistics that determine their effectiveness and strengths during simulated games.
MetaSports allows gamers to create their own franchise or team as well as collect, trade, borrow, buy and sell MetaSports NFT players. It’s an accessible game to anyone because of its low-cost entry and tiered leagues based on the skills of the NFT players. Players will be allowed to play in different leagues. It has four main game modes that gamers can play in — two season modes, one tournament, and the last private match system. Every playing mode also gives the users possibility to accumulate rewards.
5 Rise of the Magni
Rise of the Magni is a game built by Toniq Labs, winner of the DSCVR hackathon for games on the Internet Computer. It’s a tactical unit deployment game where players take turns deploying Magni to the battlefield. Each Magni is a unique NFT owned by the player. Toniq Labs is trying to implement the ideas of transferable and upgradeable Magni and also a full-on competitive scene with tournaments and prizes.
This strategy-built game has Magni as a hero to fight for the users on the battlefield. Magnis can be traded, collected, and upgraded on-chain to improve their stats and value. Magnis have ranks from 1 to 4 starts and the team has taken into battle is restricted by a Rank Cap of 23. Magnis is characterized by five distinct attack strengths — two flanking attacks (Northwest and Northeast), two guarding attacks (Southwest and Southeast), and a single central attack (North and South). The game has three main modes — Adventure, Training, and Online. The players must choose a team rooster of 10 Magni from the available collection for the battlefield.
6 Mission Is Possible
Mission Is Possible, the third-place winner of the DSCVR Hackathon Season 2, is a PVP third-person shooter hosted on the Internet Computer blockchain. It’s a John Wick-inspired game built using the Unity 3D Game Engine and hosted on the IC (enabling decentralized login with Internet Identity).
Cubetopia is the first fully decentralized multiplayer RPG/sandbox game built on the Internet Computer. It allows users to express their creativity on their own unique blockchain island. Its mission is simple, they want to create a game that is fun and engaging for players as a unique way to onboard more people into the Web3 space.
There are multiple features of Cubetopia that make it popular among users. Among others, it allows users to create structures and build islands on their own or also sell the built islands to other users in the marketplace. It provides ease of access to individuals wanting to join the island that users have created only via a link that instantly transports anyone in a web browser to a user’s space in the Metaverse. Another feature of Cubetopia is wallet integration which allows users to display any ICP NFT on their island, for show or to sell directly to their island’s visitors.
FaeFolk was inspired by a pixel-style, slice-of-life game created by Stardew Valley. This 10-year played and enjoyed game has been added to the blockchain experience through the path of Internet Computer. Fae folk allows users to farm, craft, and build in a multiplayer, procedurally generated, persistent world. The Internet Computer offers a unique opportunity to enhance gameplay loops by incorporating blockchain technology into the user experience.
Why Blockchain Gaming On The Internet Computer Is Special?
The blockchain gaming industry has expanded to where big players such as Dapper Labs (CryptoKitties) and Gala Games (Echoes of Empire) have started investing in it. Blockchain gaming has made it possible for gamers to sustain themselves financially and also help the gaming economy grow organically. What’s great about blockchain games is they give gamers the opportunity to be compensated for their in-game participation. The rise of blockchain Play-to-Earn gaming has been an excellent catalyst for the adoption of NFTs. With all this being said, the future for the industry is bright.