Blockchain gaming

The first quarter of 2024 brought positive news for crypto and blockchain gaming as Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin (BTC) surged by 52% and 65%, respectively. This is a strong start to the year for crypto, with BTC reaching a peak of $73,738 on March 14.

Blockchain gaming achieved more nuanced success at the start of 2024, with Nyan Heroes and Blocklords achieving in access of 100,000 downloads each on the Epic Games Store. In addition, the two playtests of extraction shooter Shrapnel attracted 60,000. What do these promising figures mean for blockchain gaming and the overall crypto gaming sector?

To analyze the future of crypto gaming, we will first look at the differences between blockchain gaming and wider crypto gaming. Both types of gaming are referred to under the “crypto gaming” umbrella term, but they differ.

The differences between crypto and blockchain gaming

In basic terms, blockchain games record all processes during the game as a blockchain transaction. This means no one can change anything within the game, making the technology fair and transparent.

American entrepreneur Brock Pierce outlines how this works with his quote,

“I call the blockchain ‘the Internet of value’ and ‘the Internet of trust.’ Because everything becomes trustless. It’s a big distributed ledger. Think of it like an Excel file that’s being maintained and updated and managed by millions of computers around the world.”

In contrast, crypto games are not processed within the blockchain. Instead, they simply have a token that is used when playing the game.

The history of blockchain games

The first blockchain games arrived in 2017 with the emergence of CryptoKitties. These early games were more like tokenized games, and blockchain gaming only became more prominent with the arrival of Axie Infinity, Decentraland, and The Sandbox in 2021.

Since then, play-to-earn (P2E) games have risen in popularity. These games reward players with cryptocurrencies, allowing them to use non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to own in-game items. However, despite their popularity, the high volatility of cryptocurrencies can make earnings from them unsustainable.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the collapse of Terra, which seriously impacted the value of crypto gaming in 2022. It has yet to recover fully despite the temporary boost provided by the emergence of GALA in 2023.

This means that blockchain gaming and crypto gaming are still not performing optimally. However, there are factors that could re-ignite the sector:

  • Projects involving decentralized finance (DeFi), like the Web 3 strategy and resource game Honeyland, can potentially attract traditional gamers.
  • Blockchain developers can move away from their elitist approach and listen to what traditional gamers want.
  • Blockchain games can embrace the fun aspect of gaming rather than concentrating on earning potential.

The popularity of crypto in iGaming

iGaming is a sector where crypto gaming is most likely to have a positive future. Crypto-based crash games are extremely popular in this sector. Known for their simplicity, dynamic, and innovative gameplay, titles such as Aviator and JetX have quickly captured the attention of players. They are available at numerous iGaming sites, including many casinos that accept Bitcoin, which are rising in popularity due to the demand for cryptocurrency payment options. Research suggests that around 25% of online casinos report that approximately 40% of their players use cryptocurrencies to add funds.

In addition to the positive impact of crash games, it’s also likely that more traditional game developers will embrace the use of NFTs in 2024. Although gamers did not embrace Ubisoft Quartz’s initial steps into this space, there is still appeal in this area if developers and companies make the right choices.

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