March 8, 2023

Intro to blockchain gaming for beginners

The blockchain technology is full of potential for opportunities outside of finance and Ethereum (ETH) is leading the charge towards its bright future in gaming. This is made possible by many elements in the network including the ability to mint non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralised apps (dApps). New investors worldwide are always eager to learn more about blockchain gaming and here is all you need to know about it:

Blockchain gaming as a concept explained

The concept is as straightforward as it sounds, it refers to game development using blockchain networks. This comes with many implications, chief among which is the possibility of using blockchains like Ethereum to support live-service games. It can help cheapen the expenses for developers while also using the network as a server. 

The blockchain can also help make games more accessible to everyone around the world. An example is having the ability to play certain Bitcasino slots that are usually exclusive to select countries only due to limitations in the software providers’ licence. Building that same game on the blockchain will make it accessible worldwide because the blockchain isn’t bound to a single location like a server is. 

Various forms of blockchain gaming have taken

Blockchain gaming’s most common iteration right now is similar to other mobile or desktop games. The only main difference is that they are playable on Web3.0. Investors envision that it will be the main attraction in the ongoing project called ‘metaverse’. It’s the idea of building a virtual world running on blockchain. 

The metaverse is where people can visit and interact as avatars the same way they would in real life. The only major difference is how this virtual space is built entirely out of NFTs, including a virtual gambling site. Imagine playing Bitcasino live casino games but you’re inside a cartoon-style gambling house and there is a virtual dealer hosting your game of baccarat on an NFT table. 

Play-to-earn in the context of blockchain gaming

Another implication that makes blockchain gaming exciting is the possibility of play-to-earn (P2E). This is a concept making a game potentially profitable for its players. There are already great examples of this and most of them involve building new collectable assets to either use in the game or trade for other crypto at an exchange. You don’t need to buy or sell an asset and simply get crypto through this trade.

P2E is still a fresh concept with only a handful of titles ever becoming successful using its model. Some of the greatest challenges are finding ways to make engaging gameplay using NFT’s artificial scarcity. Hundreds of game developers have tried their hands on this concept but it’s apparent that the idea still needs more polishing. Nevertheless, there are some titles that became successful in their endeavour to make great blockchain games you can play right now. 

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Examples of fan-favourite blockchain games today

There are hundreds of P2E games you can play right now found on different Web3.0 websites. Here are the most successful titles based on how much attention they got over the years and their contributions to shaping blockchain gaming as a concept:

Axie Infinity

The oldest game on this list is Axie Infinity, a community-driven mobile game from Sky Mavis released in March 2018. It was a massive hit around the world and is one of the biggest influences on the promotion of the P2E gaming model. The game consists of several elements revolving around taking care of virtual monsters called ‘Axie’ and the resources they make.

Every Axie is an NFT you can make by breeding two other Axies. The new NFT monster is born with traits from its parents like its physical features and abilities that it could use in battle. Players can make Axies mate using a cryptocurrency called ‘smooth love potion (SLP)’ which you can earn through completing quests or selling assets. You may also own, cultivate, and rent out virtual property in the game for profit. 

The monster-making element is heavily inspired by an older Ethereum-based game called ‘crypto cats’. It is much simpler in concept because it’s only meant for trading. Axies, meanwhile, can fight each other and earn SLP for you. It’s closer to more conventional video games, setting the standard for blockchain gaming.

The Sandbox 

The metaverse has many iterations coming from various developers and The Sandbox is its most successful. It is an Ethereum-based open world where players can come together and build anything to show the world. All of the assets you make can be created using the VoxEdit tool. It can be used to make all sorts of NFTs including illustrations, 3D models, and add scripts to give them life in The Sandbox metaverse. 

The Sandbox also comes with two neat features namely the Game Maker and the Marketplace. Game Maker gives the tools to use the assets you make into interactive elements other people can play with you. It involves setting up a field and deciding the rules for everyone, making a game within The Sandbox. Marketplace is where you can sell the NFTs you make to other people who like them and wish to support you or those who want to use your creations in their games. 

Calvaria

Besides video games, blockchain gaming can also take inspiration from popular hobbies like card games and that’s what Calvaria brings to the industry. It’s not yet released unlike the other two but it’s already making big moves for a 2023 launch. Calvaria’s native token (RIA) has listings on major exchanges like BKEX and Changelly Pro.

Calvaria is a trading card game inspired by classic tabletop deck-building titles that dominate hobby stores worldwide. The major difference is that it’s on a digital platform like mobile and desktop and the cards are NFTs. Just like traditional deck builders, players can establish an economy surrounding the collectable cards with scarce copies. 

Challenges blockchain gaming needs to address

Blockchain gaming is on its way to becoming the new big avenue, even for new and first-time crypto investors. However, there are a few challenges that need to be solved or at least addressed before the industry can move forward. Here are three of them and why they can be a problem for blockchain gaming:

Bad actors in recent years

The cryptocurrency as a whole has a thriving economy. Its success is what attracts not just investors but also scammers and hackers. These bad actors are halting crypto’s endeavour for global adoption, thus stagnating numerous blockchain-based projects. That includes development of blockchain games which rely on having a high number of participants to be maintainable.

The most popular proposed solution against bad actors right now is to apply mainstream regulation to cryptocurrencies. That means it will be treated and handled the same way as fiat to protect crypto users against illegal activities. Such proposals are getting pushback from investors because this can also remove crypto’s volatility and decentralised nature which was  originally their core appeal. 

Scalability to handle thousands of projects 

Most blockchain gaming-related projects are built on Ethereum which is also hosting other projects relying on its features. Fortunately, the network recently upgraded its systems after migrating to a new blockchain called the ‘Ethereum Merge’. 

The new Ethereum blockchain is designed to scale for millions of users and projects. However, such projects are most likely live service. Servers today often meet technical difficulties in providing consistent performances for thousands of users at a time. Blockchain games can have the same problem at a larger scale if Ethereum becomes too popular in the future. 

Quest for game design

Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, and Calvaria are only three of thousands of games developed and arriving to the Ethereum network. However, too many of them are uninspired copies of conventional games with no ways to push the boundaries of blockchain gaming. Online gambling remains at the top peak example of P2E and only a few become successful at introducing new genres. 

Gamers need game designs that not only justify using blockchain for live service but also to promote its positive elements. They can use scarcity of NFTs and cryptocurrencies to regulate circulation of resources. Thus, giving every asset you make or earn real-world value which can be sold for ETH or fiat. 

Takeaway

Blockchain gaming is a board concept covering any type of game that uses a decentralised digital ledger technology. The most direct examples are P2E dApps built on networks like Ethereum. Bitcasino slots don’t count because they are still using Web2.0 servers for now. 

There are software providers developing a metaverse casino where you can play some of your favourite slots and table games in virtual space. Once that’s completed, it will be an official example of a blockchain casino game. Gamblers could use their Bitcasino bonus in a 3D virtual world where they can play with other strangers live. 

For now, blockchain gaming is still a work in progress. Thousands of developers are working on projects exclusive to Web3.0 and many more are working on other aspects of Ethereum to widen its target audiences. These projects will improve the state of decentralised entertainment. 

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