Web3 games are set to redefine the landscape of video games by integrating blockchain technology, NFTs, and decentralized platforms. 

As gaming projects continue to evolve and new Web3 standards emerge, the gaming industry is on the brink of a transformative shift. 

What is web3 games?

Web3 games are a new type of video game that uses blockchain technology to give players true ownership of in-game assets. 

Unlike traditional games, where items and characters are owned and controlled by the game developers, web3 games allow players to buy, sell, and trade their assets as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) on platforms and wallets like web3 Metamask. 

This means that even if the game shuts down, players still retain ownership of their items. 

Web3 games also integrate cryptocurrencies, allowing players to earn and spend gaming coins. These games can be played on various devices, including mobile phones and special web3 gaming consoles, and are a key part of the growing metaverse. 

The web3 gaming market is expanding rapidly, with new gaming projects and platforms emerging to meet web3 standards and enhance the gaming experience.

Current web3 games adoption

Right now, the blockchain game scene isn’t seeing the adoption everyone was expecting, especially after the big market hit of NFTs. 

However, a 2022 report from Crypto.com found that “Blockchain gaming is estimated to grow to $50B by 2025, a growth rate 10x of traditional gaming.”

This means there’s a huge opportunity for game developers to create and market these new types of games. Even though popular web3 games like Axie Infinity and The Sandbox are well-known in the crypto community, they haven’t made a big impact on mainstream gamers yet. 

This untapped market presents a significant chance for growth and innovation in the gaming industry. As users get more used to these crypto games, we can expect a surge in other, lesser-known games in the next couple of years. 

Examples of existing blockchain and web3 games

  • Axie Infinity. Players collect, breed, and battle creatures called Axies. Players can earn cryptocurrency by winning battles and selling Axies.
  • Gods Unchained. It is a trading card game where players collect and trade cards, battling each other to win matches. The cards are NFTs, giving players true ownership and the ability to trade them.
  • Star Atlas. It is a space exploration game where players build spaceships, form alliances, and explore the universe. The game’s economy is built on blockchain, allowing players to own and trade in-game assets.
  • FootballCoin. This is a fantasy football game where players create teams using blockchain-based player cards. Players earn rewards based on the real-life performance of their chosen footballers.
  • Decentraland. Welcome to a virtual world where players can buy, sell, and build on virtual land. The land and other assets are owned as NFTs, and players can create various experiences within the world.
  • The Sandbox. Another metaverse where players can create, own, and monetize their gaming experiences. Players use blockchain to trade virtual real estate and in-game items.
  • CryptoKitties. A game where players collect, breed, and trade virtual cats, each represented as an NFT. The game’s novelty lies in its focus on digital collectibles and breeding mechanics.
  • Splinterlands. A digital card game where players build decks to battle each other. Cards are NFTs, allowing players to trade and sell them, with each card having unique stats and abilities.
  • Illuvium. An open-world RPG where players capture and train creatures called Illuvials. Players can battle with their Illuvials and earn cryptocurrency by participating in the game’s economy.
  • My Neighbor Alice. A multiplayer builder game where players can buy and own virtual islands, collect items, and meet new friends. The game’s assets are NFTs, providing players with true ownership and the ability to trade items.

The core problems with traditional gaming

Traditional gaming has several issues. When game studios shut down, players lose their in-game purchases and downloadable content (DLC), which they cannot recover or resell. 

The centralized nature of the gaming industry means that studios and publishers control all aspects of the game, leaving players with little say or ownership. 

Additionally, traditional games offer few opportunities for players to make money, limiting their ability to earn from their gaming efforts. 

Blockchain gaming addresses these problems by giving players true ownership of their in-game assets and the ability to trade or sell them, creating new economic opportunities.

The promise of blockchain gaming

Blockchain gaming offers solutions to key problems in traditional gaming by ensuring true ownership of in-game assets and enabling reselling. 

In these games, items and characters are represented as NFTs, which players can trade or sell outside the game. Axie Infinity exemplifies the economic potential of blockchain games. Players earn cryptocurrency by collecting, breeding, and battling creatures called Axies, with some earning significant income.

There is a distinction between partial and fully on-chain games. Partial on-chain games, like Axie Infinity, use blockchain for asset ownership but rely on central servers for gameplay. 

Fully on-chain games, however, store all game assets, mechanics, and states on the blockchain, ensuring greater transparency, security, and player control. This approach provides a more decentralized and empowering gaming experience.

According to DAppRadar, most blockchain games don’t have much over 100k users, but any blockchain tool don’t provide the whole image and none have listed all the web3 games in existence. 

web3 games blockchain games

Traditional Games vs. Blockchain Games

DifferenceTraditional GamesBlockchain Games
Ownership of assetsPlayers do not own in-game items; these are controlled by the game developers.Players have true ownership of in-game assets, which are represented as NFTs.
Reselling and tradingIn-game items cannot be sold or traded outside the game.Players can buy, sell, and trade their assets on various marketplaces, even outside the game.
Economic opportunitiesLimited opportunities for players to earn money.Players can earn cryptocurrency through gameplay, creating new income streams.
Security and transparencyGame data and assets are stored on centralized servers, which can be vulnerable to hacks and data loss.All game data and assets are stored on the blockchain, offering enhanced security and transparency.
Player controlGame developers and publishers control all aspects of the game, including asset distribution and game rules.Players have more control over their assets and can participate in governance decisions in some games.
Persistence and availabilityGames and servers can be shut down by developers, causing loss of access to in-game items.Assets exist independently of the game; even if the game shuts down, players retain ownership of their items.
DecentralizationCentralized control by game developers and publishers.Decentralized systems allow for community-driven development and decision-making.
Innovation and customizationLimited ability for players to influence game development.Greater potential for player-driven innovation, customization, and creation of mods and plugins.
InteroperabilityAssets and progress are confined to a single game.Potential for interoperability, where assets can be used across different games and platforms.

Fully on-chain games

Fully on-chain games are games where all aspects, including game assets, mechanics, and states, are stored on the blockchain. This means that everything in the game is decentralized and transparent, providing players with unparalleled control and security.

Storing all game data on the blockchain offers several benefits:

  • Transparency: Players can verify all transactions and game mechanics, ensuring fairness.
  • Security: Blockchain technology protects against hacks and data loss, making the game more secure.
  • Player control: Players have complete ownership and control over their in-game assets, which they can trade or sell freely.

An example of a fully on-chain game is Dark Forest, a real-time strategy game that uses zero-knowledge proofs (zkProofs) to create a “fog of war.” This ensures that players can keep their strategies confidential while maintaining transparency on the blockchain. This innovative approach demonstrates the potential of fully on-chain games to provide unique and secure gaming experiences.

The future of web3 gaming

Fully on-chain games have the potential to transform how players engage with, own, and control their gaming experiences. 

By decentralizing game mechanics and assets, these web3 games ensure player sovereignty and foster community collaboration. The future of gaming could become more inclusive and democratic, where players have a meaningful say in game development and governance. 

As blockchain technology advances, we can expect an exciting digital frontier that prioritizes transparency, security, and player empowerment. This shift promises to create richer, more immersive gaming worlds that truly reflect the desires and creativity of the gaming community.

Are web3 games the future of the gaming industry?

Web3 games have the potential to revolutionize the gaming industry by offering players true ownership of in-game assets through NFTs and blockchain technology. Unlike traditional games, web3 games allow players to trade, sell, and own their items, providing economic opportunities that were previously unavailable. 

Platforms like Axie Infinity and Decentraland showcase the benefits of this new model, attracting a dedicated community of players and developers. 

While still in the early stages, the growing interest and investment in web3 games, crypto games, and the metaverse indicate that they could play a significant role in the future of gaming. 

As the technology matures and becomes more accessible, web3 games could set new standards for transparency, security, and player empowerment, potentially transforming the gaming industry into a more inclusive and decentralized space.