The entire crypto market feels like it’s about to take off, and blockchain gaming is the niche that seems best primed for this ascent. After weathering the 2022 bear market with plenty of grit and innovation, the crypto industry — blockchain gaming in particular — is poised to reach its full potential, propelled by a host of factors that could drive it to unprecedented heights.
There seems to be an agreement that 2024 is the Year of Bitcoin and a crypto bull run and this is sending shockwaves through the cryptosphere. Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz is predicting a potential 2x – 5x increase in the price of Bitcoin and for good reasons too. The launch/approvals of spot Bitcoin ETFs are one, and the coming Bitcoin halving event is another. This renewed optimism in the blockchain scene, coupled with a projected Global Blockchain Gaming Market size of $104.5 billion (68.2% CAGR) by 2028, paints a picture of the gaming future brimming with possibilities.
Blockchain gaming beyond gaming
When blockchain gaming burst onto the scene, Play-to-Earn gaming models were the early pioneers but since then, the ecosystem has rapidly evolved. The narrative has shifted and the focus is now towards creating holistic ecosystems offering players a wide range of value propositions. This includes:
- Play-to-Earn Evolution (P2EE): This narrative leverages play-to-earn mechanics to prioritize engaging gameplay with opportunities to earn rewards through NFTs, in-game assets, and meaningful participation in the game’s economy. According to this report, the Play-to-Earn (P2E) NFT Games market size was valued at $3.2 billion in 2023 and is likely to reach $8.8 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 17.93%. New revolutionary games such as Bounty Temple are building on the P2E concept to introduce enhanced play-to-earn mechanics. These games are at the forefront of the new P2EE (play-to-earn-evolution) model.
- Social Economies: Building communities where players can play, collaborate, govern their virtual worlds, and forge lasting connections is at the heart of the gaming evolution. A recent study by Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX) of 500 game developers and 1,000 video gamers in the United States revealed a strong desire among players for true ownership of their in-game virtual items. This explains the increasing interest in games with virtual economies, and titles like Sidus Heroes are prime examples of this trend. Most of these fast-growing games are AAA-level, Play-to-Earn, NFT-oriented, and RPG-based. They allow players to own in-game content, creating a compelling player-driven economy.
- Immersive Experiences: This narrative leverages the unique features of blockchain technology like cross-game interoperability and decentralized storytelling to create truly immersive experiences that blur the lines between reality and virtual worlds. The Sandbox, a leading metaverse platform, boasts over 2 million registered users and is partners with major brands like Warner Music Group, showcasing the potential for Immersive experiences in blockchain gaming.
Building for the future through infrastructure and innovation
To truly unlock the potential of blockchain gaming, there is a need to build a robust infrastructure. This entails:
- Solutions for Scalability: Building to address the limitations of blockchain scalability is crucial for accommodating a larger influx of players and ensuring seamless gameplay. Layer-2 solutions like Polygon and Immutable X are making significant improvements in these areas, with Polygon boasting nearly 200 million unique addresses from more than 10,000 Decentralized Applications (dApps).
- Interoperability Standards: By enabling the seamless transfer of digital assets between different games and platforms, a more connected and dynamic ecosystem is created. The emergence of organizations like the Open Metaverse Foundation is fostering collaboration between players in the industry, which in turn is paving the way for standardized protocols and interoperable virtual worlds.
- User-friendly Interfaces: One of the keys to driving mass adoption is simplifying the onboarding process and making blockchain technology accessible to mainstream audiences. New projects are emerging that merge fast-paced gameplay with eSports intensity for ultimate competitive action (for example – Citizen Conflict). Similarly, there are also promising titles like Outlanders that offer an Open-World MMORPG utilizing blockchain technology to onboard the masses. These games seem to prioritize user experience with their intuitive interfaces and high-quality graphics. This is done to bridge the gap between traditional and blockchain gaming.
The journey to reach a thriving blockchain gaming future requires collaboration from various stakeholders. Everyone has a part to play. Some of these stakeholders include:
- Traditional Gaming Studios: Bridging the gap between traditional and blockchain gaming requires the invaluable expertise of both Web2 game developers and players. Their established reputation and understanding of large player bases are crucial for attracting established audiences to the potential of blockchain technology. Ubisoft’s Quartz platform and Square Enix’s Symbiogenesis project are demonstrations of this growing interest from established players in exploring blockchain technology.
- Blockchain Developers: Consistent innovation in blockchain technology will be vital for solving scalability and security challenges. Blockchains like Solana and Ethereum are actively working on scaling solutions and improving transaction speeds, paving the way for smoother gaming experiences.
- Regulators: Open dialogues and proactive collaborations with regulators can pave the way for responsible and compliant innovation. Initiatives like the Blockchain Game Alliance (BGA) are promoting blockchain within the game industry, fostering communication between regulators and industry players, and ensuring sustainable growth within a clear legal framework.
A plethora of possibilities
As we wait for the potential bull run to kick start properly, blockchain gaming is poised to provide a plethora of possibilities and opportunities:
- Web3 games exceed AAA standards in graphics, storytelling, and gameplay, all while empowering players with digital ownership, community governance, and experiences so immersive they transcend the boundaries of the screen.
- A thriving creator economy where players can monetize their skills, experiences, and creations, fostering a sense of ownership and participation in the development of the game. Night of the Living Dead is a good example. It is an innovative and thrilling Battle Royale game that combines the excitement of PvP combat with the relentless threat of the undead. It boasts an engaging gameplay, unique features, and a commitment to community feedback.
- Interconnected virtual worlds where players can travel with their unique digital assets seamlessly between different games, as they forge lasting connections with fellow gamers.
Blockchain gaming has immense potential, and a bull run this year could be the catalyst that propels it to the forefront of the interactive entertainment landscape. This isn’t about investing in a token, chasing quick profits, or dreaming about all-time-highs (ATHs); it’s about embracing a paradigm shift in the gaming sphere, one where players are no longer just consumers, but active participants in the creation and evolution of their virtual worlds.
Whether you’re a seasoned gamer, a blockchain enthusiast, or simply someone curious about the future of entertainment, there’s a place for you in this burgeoning ecosystem. So download your favorite blockchain game, and prepare to be swept away by the adventure that awaits.