When talking about blockchain technology, the first thing people think of is cryptocurrencies, but have you heard of blockchain games? Yes, as it turns out, blockchain is also being used to create exciting inventions in the gaming world.
What Are Blockchain Games?
Blockchain games are video games that incorporate blockchain technology into some or all parts of themselves. In normal video games, skins, weapons, and other items are only valuable in the game, meaning there is no legitimate market to sell them. However, in blockchain games, in-game assets are represented by NFTs, so you can openly sell/trade/lease them for real money.
Blockchain games usually have a decentralized nature. They can issue their own token, and assets in their economy are distributed among players instead of existing in one central server. Plus, fully implemented blockchain games allow players to view the game’s code, making sure the outcome of a match is transparent and fair.
Examples of Blockchain Games
Blockchain games have certain subgenres within themselves, the first one being games focusing on NFTs. CryptoKitties is the most famous example of this. The game revolves solely around collecting and breeding digital cats.
First, you would have to buy 2 kitties (from other players) in the marketplace. Each kitty is completely unique in its looks and is represented by an NFT. Then, you can breed the two kitties, creating a new one. Players in turn can keep breeding or put the new kitty on for sale, the rarer the cat, the more valuable it will be.
Games such as Decentraland or The Sandbox fall within this category. These games feature parcels of virtual land that people can buy, customize, and build things on, very much like in real life. They are considered digital real estates by many, which is not surprising since some plots of land located in advantageous areas have been sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Blockchain games have all the potential to be as diverse as video games. Splinterlands is the blockchain version of Hearthstone — a card-building game, while Crusaders Dynasty is a battle royale game. There are MMO games, racing games, role-playing adventure games: blockchain technology is proved to be compatible with a wide range of game mechanics.
What’s The Point of Blockchain Games?
Not all blockchain games are created just as a gimmick to attract crypto enthusiasts. They actually bring new ideas and benefits to the table, such as:
Assets With Tangible Value
Imagine you have invested time and money in a normal video game for a few years, what if the game’s central server got a technical glitch? You can potentially lose all the items you ‘own’ — this has happened before in Apex Legends.
In contrast, when in-game items are represented by NFTs, players truly own those items in the sense that not even the game developer can touch them. What’s more, the fact that you can sell game assets for real money gives players much more freedom and opens the door for new concepts like Play-to-Earn games.
More Power To The Players
Every transaction in a blockchain game is recorded and verifiable for all to see, even the game’s code is transparent. As a result, you can make sure there’s no dubious corruption inside the developer team. This is very relevant in the current video game climate where many great franchises are ruined by new developers.
To be specific, in Decentraland, MANA is not only a currency used for in-game transactions but MANA holders are granted voting power in the game’s decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). This way, players have a say in what direction the game will go — if the developers come up with a bad update, players can vote to change it.
Problems With Blockchain Games
Stability and Scalability
When it comes to gameplay, stability is a priority for many gamers. If blockchain games want to be seen as reliable, they have to run smoothly without lags. And yet some games in the past have infamously created traffic jams on the Ethereum blockchain.
Granted, the technology is getting better every day, but the obscurity of blockchain games still makes it hard to estimate how much they can handle. If a blockchain game gathers as many players as mainstream titles like Call of Duty, it’s even a question of whether it can function at all. The only way for blockchain games to scale effectively is to only implement the blockchain for assets, but this sacrifices a good part of decentralization.
Games Have To Be Fun
The whole concept of video games is to provide people with entertainment, no one sits down to play a game to not have fun. That being said, many blockchain games seem to forget this purpose.
Take CryptoKitties for example, the game revolves around breeding cats, which is a legitimately fun concept. But you don’t get to actually raise, feed, or play with the kitties — all you can do is select 2 cats to breed and a new one appears. Fun is subjective, but this is not quite it.
In fact, many people are drawn to such games simply to make money. It’s a great thing that they can make money from playing games but if there’s little fun involved, it might as well be a side job.
Complicated Starting Process
If you want to play a blockchain game, you would need to create a crypto wallet and learn how to trade, sell game assets and convert your cryptocurrencies into fiat. This is not rocket science, but it’s enough to hinder blockchain games from getting mainstream status since most people are too impatient to learn these things.
It’s too early to say whether blockchain games will revolutionize the gaming industry, but the potential is there. Blockchain games are still in their infancy, so let’s hope they will eventually outgrow their current problems.