In a world where technologies are becoming increasingly complex, we may misuse or misunderstand terms completely. In crypto, a group of interchangeable terms is crypto games, NFT games, and blockchain games.
When using these terms, there are subtle differences in how they refer to something and what they actually mean. Before we delve into their nuanced definitions, let us first discuss their context.
Valued at $198.40 billion in 2021, the gaming market is expected to dwarf into a $339.95 billion industry by 2027, with a registered CAGR of 8.94% over 2022-2027, according to a report.
Video gaming has drastically transformed over the years. Modern generations might not even have heard of Pacman or the Pong game. However, from those games to the new contemporaries, gaming has evolved not just to capture our imaginations but to create worlds beyond our sights.
Crypto gaming aims to do just that: to revolutionize the way gaming and business are done.
What are Crypto Games?
Crypto games aim to push the gaming industry forward in a new direction.
In essence, crypto games use cryptocurrencies as financial and business assets circulating and revolving around a specific blockchain. Thus, the game will use cryptocurrency as a payout and enhance the gaming experience.
Crypto games reward players with crypto or NFTs. The amount of time invested plus your level of skill in the game will determine your chances of winning.
They began looking like 2000s Flash games. However, over the years, they have evolved drastically into fun and rewarding games for users.
Satoshis’ Games Studio is one example of a crypto game empowered by player-driven universal economics. This game studio created several crypto games like Lightnite, a Fortnite-inspired game that rewards players with crypto through its network.
Several of their other games are available through Elixir, an app that combines the app store with the NFT marketplace.
At this point, you are reading terms such as ‘blockchain’ or ‘NFTs’. Let’s delve into what they are.
What are NFT games?
NFTs are short for Non-fungible tokens, unique digital tokens in a blockchain. These tokens are cryptographically special, granting users an uncopiable digital asset. Think of a digital Mona Lisa; the original is yours to own.
Game developers employ a limited and scarce number of NFTs in NFT games.
In essence, NFT games use NFTs as in-game items, digital avatars, and characters that players use to play the game. Their rarity and importance determine their asset values.
In NFT games, players can exchange, transact, trade, and sell these in-game assets for cryptocurrency on an NFT marketplace. Similar to buying an item in real life, in NFT games, when you buy an NFT, you get a receipt where your transactions are blockchain-recorded.
This is where models such as play-to-earn are emerging. With the feedback Axie Infinity is getting from its users, play-to-earn models are slowly transitioning to play-and-earn.
In short, NFT games grant players the potential to earn crypto and give game developers more room to expand on new monetization models, a win-win for both the developer and gamer.
What are Blockchain Games?
Blockchain games revolve around a secondary market that is predominantly player-owned. This player-driven market determines the value of in-game items.
In blockchain games, everything is verifiable and recorded. From equipping a weapon to exploring an uncharted land, blockchain games tend to record everything in a specific blockchain.
Its core aim is to keep the blockchain booming with as many interactions and activities as possible.
In essence, blockchain games refer to the use of blockchain technology, excluding the utility of financial assets. These games highlight true ownership, decentralization, and censorship resistance.
Crypto Games vs Blockchain Games
Crypto games only focus on one aspect of blockchain games: rewards.
Unlike blockchain games, where adding value to the entire ecosystem is the core aim, crypto games are more about engaging and introducing crypto to the world.
In essence, the terminologies are a game of reference. What aspect of blockchain are you referring to, specifically in its gaming sector, when using these terms?
Crypto Games vs NFT Games
On the one hand, crypto games are more focused on utilizing cryptocurrencies to earn, exchange, and transact with players within the game. In contrast, NFT games use native currencies for making, collecting, and trading limited and unique NFTs, which are used in-game for specific actions or are kept, held or sold later.
Blockchain Games vs NFT Games
Unlike blockchain games, NFT games focus mainly on the reward ecosystem in place within the game. Whether play-to-earn, play-and-earn, free-to-play, move-to-earn or whatever model, NFT games try to find a way to focus on the monetization aspect of blockchain.
On the other hand, blockchain games tend to focus on the overall operability and smoothness of the gaming experience instead of focusing solely on one aspect of blockchain gaming.
The Decentralized Spectrum
‘Crypto’, ‘NFT’, and ‘Blockchain’ games are three different concepts often confounded with each other. Despite their difference, ‘Blockchain’ advocates for decentralization while ‘Crypto’ and ‘NFT’ are more focused on obtaining rewards from playing the game.
Depending on how the game is designed, the appropriate term used to refer to the type of game will be positioned along the decentralized spectrum.
Whether it is crypto, NFT or blockchain, it will depend on the degree of decentralization each game developer make. How they want to market the game would determine the usage of the terms.
Why Gaming Needs the Blockchain
When you hear video gaming, you imagine gamers isolated in their rooms, couches, consoles, or even on mobile devices. In modern gaming, players are limited in interacting with their characters within the in-game environment.
Moreover, most games, online or offline, are modifiable or hackable. This is where the blockchain comes in.
Blockchain games provide gamers with an economy based on fairness, transparency, efficiency, effectiveness and smooth operability. It aims to have gamers start earning in the game instead of spending money.
On the developers’ side, blockchain grants them the capacity to explore a virtually unlimited and extensive infrastructure that integrates a limitless variety of technologies such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and much more.
Blockchain gives them the flexibility and tools they need to provide the best gaming experiences to gamers. Extending these technologies and integrating them means the possibility of going beyond physical gaming. Imagine the Stephen Spielberg film Ready Player One.
How is Blockchain Useful in Gaming?
Blockchain technology brings a utility to the gaming industry that may prove useful. Blockchain games can be used to secure data processes in gaming, integrated into an undisputed ledger.
Another way blockchain can be useful is through its decentralization value proposition. Imagine no one company can control the gaming system, but everyone has a say in it.
In blockchain gaming, no person is left behind.
Some Challenges in Blockchain Games
Although they have a high potential to change the way gaming is done, blockchain games have limitations and challenges to address.
Here are some challenges in blockchain games:
- Transfer fees can consume a lot of gamer earnings.
- Rewarding networks that maintain the in-game universe and data loss are other problems.
- The user interface, design, and experience are one of the major challenges of blockchain game mass adoption. With traditional gaming setting the bar high in the graphics department, blockchain-based games have a lot of work to get to that standard or even go beyond it.
- The reputation of blockchain games has been mixed due to some people and groups exploiting the technology, with money laundering using NFTs as an example, thus leading to misinformation about the positive benefits we can reap from blockchain gaming.
The Future of Blockchain Games
Based on a DappRadar and Blockchain Game Alliance report from Q1 2022, blockchain gaming has grown over 2,000% in the past year. Over $2.5 billion investments were made in the blockchain gaming space last quarter, showing a significant interest in this sector.
If data has taught us anything, numbers are the language of facts. These statistics show that blockchain gaming may be a new and emerging industry, but it is growing rapidly, and interest is increasing daily.
It shows that gamers crave new and unique experiences. They want diversity and new ways to evolve the gaming experience. The idea that you could potentially earn money rather than spend is becoming a mainstream notion.
In the coming years, we will surely see an explosion of new gaming titles in the crypto games space flood the market. Blockchain networks will improve over time and allow players to access user-friendly games customized to mobile users’ experience and wield higher graphics and deep, engaging storylines.
Whereas traditional gaming only lets the developers earn, blockchain games allow everyone to earn and have a good gaming experience, including the game developers.
The future of blockchain games is not a matter of if but when.