[Thoughts Sharing on Crypto Games] Overview of the industry, challenges and opportunities

Bear Island
Oct 24, 2018 · 4 min read

Cryptokitties was created in last Nov, 2017. Following its popularity among crypto enthusiasts, Ethereum based games have been an emerging trend, hundreds of its replications were created in the hope of acquiring new gamers and gaining huge fortune from the new entries.

Shortcut to mass user acquisition

Some of the games derived from Cryptokitties such as CryptoCuddles, and KittyRace are in fact developed by different teams. The existing players in Cryptokitties could start their purchases of in-game items directly on the basis of the ownership of kitties, which means the current gamers from one game have the option of participating in its derivatives where their items already have certain values.

All the in-game transaction records are accessible and can be fetched from the Ethereum blockchain thanks to the nature of blockchain technology as a super ledger.

Another game Pirate Conquest developed by a Chinese team adopts the similar strategy in which the gamers from CryptoKitties could directly participate and claim their pirate kitties in their game. In this way the newly created games are able to easily obtain their users by airdropping the game tokens to the existing ETH or EOS holders. What a shortcut to acquiring new players and taking advantage of the forerunners in the industry!

When a prerequisite is put like this, it might be the time when the industry practitioners shall remould their connections into partnerships.

The gaming project and the player community

Blockchain games are disrupting the relationship between players and the blockchain gaming project. Imagine that one blockchain game that runs on multiple nodes among which players are in charge of operating some nodes themselves in exchange of incentives.

In the crypto sphere, the players and game developers stand on the same side in which way a community consisting of the 2 parts forms. All participants in the game can have their says and thus contribute to the further development of the game. Say in one condition, even if the game take a direction that the community is not willing to follow, all gamers or the community will be enabled to ‘fork’ the game and take another direction where an agreement could be reached. The real decentralisation lie in this new pattern as well.

Game token and economy model

One of the most prominent feature of blockchain game is that all in-game transactions are recorded on blockchains and thus traceable. The in-game transactions are made public and available for everyone to look into.

Current real challenge for blockchain games lie in the token economy

Game token economy model is the way that a game adopts to incentivise its players.

The blockchain infrastructures are still underdeveloped

The underlying ecosystem and infrastructures are yet to be enhanced and consolidated.

Transaction fees can be a critical factor that hinders the involvement of the participants. As seen from Cryptokitties, the involvement of the players in the game are largely affected by the transaction fees at the time. Another challenge the practitioners are facing now is that aside from transaction volume and active wallet addresses, there’s no parameters such as sessions for better defining user behavior and their real play experience.

Apparently we are still at an early time in blockchain adoption which is similar to early Internet time back to 2004 when mobile game is just starting to prosper.

Payment gateway integration

In a short time, most dapps will not get listed in the Apple appstore as apple does not allow in-app purchases that get around its own payment system, the situation will likely last for some time when that iOS dapps will have to be distributed via the apple developer enterprise program.

Innovations and creative ideas

Similar to the revolutions triggered by technological innovations before. New ideas and disruption are always expected especially in the infant time of the emerging stuff. Looking back to the past few buzz blockchain games, they are followed by hundreds of their replications in a very short time. The unprecedented liquidity of the game assets, transparency, and participation of the players, unity of the whole player community are the given strengths of blockchain games.

One of the latest ETH gambling dapps Bear Escape successfully gains attention and popularity within the Crypto game community, and ranked to the top of the dapp list by number of the active users. The phenomenon marks casino games now is taking the lead, different from trading items or assets, games like Bear Escape inherits an extremely simple gaming strategy from its counterparts, quick play and fast winning. 2–3 lucky prizes worth millions of USD are drawn within 24 hours that outweighs its counterparts. Still there is long way ahead for improvement in incentive mechanism of the game, and beyond, game token model and distribution system to be built.

A killer dapp will also have to consider a good way to make profits from operating its game.The first dope dapp is on its way in the coming year!