To many crypto enthusiasts blockchain gaming is the logical next step of gaming evolution and probably the best thing to happen since the invention of sliced bread. Yet, despite all the obvious advantages blockchain gaming has to offer, there's a strong case to be made that so far each and every blockchain game failed to achieve mainstream adaptation. While I think that there are some blockchain games out there that might be able to make the jump into the mainstream market all of them suffer from at least one major problem that's holding them back. Today I'm going to look at the top 5 reasons blockchain games failed and fail to achieve mainstream adaptation.
1) They don't actually offer much of a game
This might seem like the most obvious reason there is and still it's something that a lot of crypto gaming advocates completely ignore. Simply put: If you want people to enjoy and play your game you have to offer them an actual game in the first place. Yet a lot of so called blockchain games barely offer any game at all. Those "games" seem to be more about investing crypto currency into stuff and than hoping that someday you'll get more crypto out of it than you put into it.
I'm not even talking about the obvious scams and ponzi schemes out there but "games" people actually take serious and even promote on this very platform. Take a look at Upland for example. The game basically comes down to buying virtual properties with real world cash and than hoping that someone else will pay even more money for that same property some day. I know they are still in an early development state but even if everything on their roadmap was already implemented it would still boil down to that same concept. It's still all about spending money on stuff and than hoping that some day you'll get your investment back and then some.
The problem is that to us crypto enthusiasts this doesn't really sound too bad. We invest money into strange stuff all the time and every once in a while we actually happen to make quite a profit. But anybody just looking for a fun game to waste their time on would never touch a title like that. Without actual fun gameplay blockchain games will never make it to the mainstream market.
2) They require you to link a wallet to even start the game
This is something that Upland actually does really well. While it is a blockchain game you don't have to worry about setting up a wallet or anything else to play the game. Still a lot of blockchain games out there think it's a great idea to greet their potential new players with a prompt to link their wallet, oftentimes even asking for a specific one.
Again, if you already are an avid crypto enthusiast linking your MetaMask is like asking somebody for their name or email. If you are new to the blockchain world or just found that cool looking game you want to try then that's the point where you'll just turn your back and look for your entertainment elsewhere.
Crypto games need to realize that in the mainstream world being a blockchain game is a disadvantage and not something that you can use to promote your game. They need to make their game accessible without even realizing that they are powered by a blockchain. They need to first hook up the player and then slowly start explaining the benefits of their technology, how to setup a wallet and so on. As long as crypto games are blockchain first, game second they'll never succeed in the mainstream market.
3) They require an upfront crypto currency investment to play
This is somewhat linked to the second reason but comes with its own problems. A lot of crypto games ask their players to make an initial investment to start playing the game. Generally speaking there's nothing wrong with that, most games need to be bought first in order to be played. The key difference here is that mainstream games are payed in Fiat and that's something everybody should have access to. Asking for a certain crypto currency investment dramatically narrows the amount of potential players for a game because anybody looking to play that game will have to first acquire the specific currency and then get it to their linked wallet.
Take Dencentraland for example. I started playing it the day it came out, walked around a little and then out of nowhere found a treasure chest containing a T-shirt and some other stuff. When I wanted to pick it up I was asked to pay a transaction fee in what ever their ingame currency is called. At this point I hadn't played enough to deduct if I even enjoyed the game, I had no concept of the worth of what I just found compared to the transaction fee I was asked to play and thus I simply closed the tab and never played again.
This is something where even some of the best crypto games on the market fail. Gods Unchained for example offers great gameplay, doesn't need a linked wallet to play and offers a pretty decent new player experience. Once you want to sell your first card though you not only need to link a wallet (which would be fine at that point) but you also need a small amount of ETH in the wallet. While you don't have to actually spend any ETH on gas simply expecting mainstream players to first acquire ETH and transfer it to their wallet will probably be asking too much at least for now.
As long as blockchain technology isn't broadly known and adapted any blockchain game that wants to make it in the mainstream market needs to at least offer a way to make the first investment in fiat currency or even better don't ask for any upfront investment at all.
4) They fail to communicate in proper English
In the crypto world we come together from all around the globe and as long as it's somewhat apparent what anybody is trying to say we don't care too much about stuff like grammar and spelling. While this is something I really enjoy about the crypto space it's a huge problem in the mainstream world. If you can't communicate in proper English a lot of potential players will think you are a scam or completely ignore your game in the first place.
Games like Knight Story or Dark Country CCG are perfect examples for that problem. When I tried Knight Story I sometimes had problems to even understand what they where trying to say. With that kind of English most players will uninstall the game before even finishing the tutorial. Dark Country on the other hand really looks promising and personally I'm looking forward to playing it. Still both their website and the posts they make on publish0x sport such a bad grammar that most mainstream players would never consider to try the game or even spend any money on it.
This might seem like a small issue and in crypto space it probably is, in the real world though this is going to cost blockchain games a lot of potential players.
5) They look and feel like a fourteen-year-old made them... 15 years ago
While this statement might be a tad bit too harsh it still holds true for a vast amount of blockchain games currently on the market and even in development. A lot of developers seem to be under the impression that art and presentation of their game is not as important because they are a crypto game. Again, in the crypto world, this actually seems to be the case. Games get away with looking like they were made 20 years ago because they offer an interesting blockchain integration. In the mainstream market this is not going to work though. Players will look at the game and simply turn away because of how awful it looks.
This is even true for bigger titles like Decentraland or The Sandbox. The concept behind those games is amazing, having all those different games connected in one multiverse sounds amazing. But as long as this multiverse looks as bad as it does people will still prefer to play games that are not connected but at least look like they were made in the current decade.
Despite all I've written before I'm still a huge fan of blockchain gaming and I'm a hundred percent positive that we will see mainstream adaptation sooner or later. The question remains how long this is going to take and which (if any) of the current titles will make it to the mainstream world. In the coming weeks I'm hoping to take a closer look at some of the more promising blockain games out there, talking about what's currently holding them back and what they might be able to achieve in the future.
Thanks for reading and if you feel like I'd be happy to hear about your point of view in the comments.