Blockchain Games: A Surprising New Player in The Industry
Innovation in the blockchain industry continues at a relentless pace. New projects involving existing blockchains have begun to be created, allowing for the tech’s gamification. On-Chain games or decentralized application (DApps) such as Cryptokitties have captured the attention of many in the blockchain industry.
The advent of the cryptocurrency space in recent years has created a booming new market that has sparked a lot of innovation in the sector. The common blockchain startup has been to create ICOS as a medium for startups to generate capital. However, the new trend has been to create dApps on existing networks. These dApps range from payment networks to games based on blockchain technologies.
These so-called ‘blockchain games‘ have been touted as a new way blockchain innovators can interact with a growing user base. However, some question the viability and safety of these games.
CryptoKitties: What Are They?
In December of last year, the Ethereum blockchain was overrun with requests. Transactions that had once taken minutes to confirm began to take hours as users of the DApp game CryptoKitties began fostering their kitty collections. Users rushed to create and trade these cats as the project began to roll out. This may lead you to the question: What are CryptoKitties?
CryptoKitties is one of the first on-chain and widely adopted blockchain games. The game consists of digital kitties facilitated by a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain. In the game, you can buy, sell, and breed cats using the smart contract.
Each CryptoKitty is unique with its own personalities, traits, and physical characteristics that allows it to be differentiated from other kitties. Players are incentivized to breed kitties in attempts to find rare traits which are unique to certain kitties. This just sounds like a way to spend free time, not money right?
Well, the game is far from free. Transactions for the CryptoKitty game have to be maintained by the Ethereum based smart contract which requires Ethereum.
So why do players agree to spend Ethereum on the game?
Players are incentivized to do so by the chance of real profit when they breed and trade cats. As mentioned previously, kitties can obtain certain rare traits which become very valuable in the CryptoKitty marketplace.
How much profit are we talking about, you ask? Well, as an example, the original CryptoKitty sold for over $110,000 worth of Ethereum on the native CryptoKitty market. So do not get these games wrong, there often can be a large sum of money involved.
in an attempt to help grow and improve the CryptoKitty platform, the team has requested funding and has succeeded in raising over $12 million dollars. This funding will go to the developers to help foster innovation, which should help the CryptoKitty platform to grow even more.
Other promising blockchain games have begun development and certain projects have only become even more engaging while still remaining ambitious.
Ethermon is another game that allows players to interact with the Ethereum blockchain. Ethermons are in some sense similar to the popular card game, Pokemon. The object of the game is to capture, trade, and use these in-game characters to battle each other. Like CryptoKitties, these digital creatures can be traded for a profit or a loss using Ethereum. Similar to the CryptoKitty application, Ethermon was a nice addition to the DApp/Blockchain game sub-industry.
Blockchain Games: A Worrying Trend or an Exciting Leap Forward?
Some cite the CryptoKitty craze as accounting for over 30% of the transaction volume in the Ethereum network at its peak with other Dapps coming close behind. In direct correlation to this, after the deployment of the CryptoKitty smart contract, unconfirmed transactions on the Ethereum blockchain increased more than sixfold according to Etherscan statistics.
While the increase in unconfirmed transactions has caused concern among some members of the blockchain community due to the popularity of the game affecting the efficiency of transactions on the network, others take a far more optimistic view.
Arthur Camara, a developer with CryptoKitties parent company Axiom Zen, stated:
We think that blockchain games unlock new categories and possibilities. […] With blockchain, gaming suddenly becomes open, transparent, portable and extensible.
The industry is still in its infancy but in order for blockchain-based games and other gamified DApps to succeed, developers will need to find a way to be innovative without adversely affecting the efficiency of the current blockchain networks.
What blockchain games do you think are going to succeed? Do you have any ideas which you think will be successful as a blockchain application? Tell us down below in the comments.
Images courtesy of CryptoKitties, iStockPhoto