Let’s be honest, blockchain gaming (also known as GameFi) is a minefield. It can be very difficult to navigate this space without being burned in some way, and to new blockchain gamers, it can be extremely daunting. What should I play? Why? And can I trust it?
In this article, I will cover my own thought process for what I look for in a good blockchain game. I will start with a disclaimer: Blockchain gaming has no guarantees, and so even if you are extremely careful and follow all the advice in this guide, or in other guides, you can still lose money. Don’t invest what you aren’t willing to lose completely. Alright, now onto the article.
We will cover:
- How to find new games
- Clarity and Transparency
- Social media presence and Community
- Enjoyability (do you have fun playing it)
- Entry cost
- Tokenomics and Play-to-earn ability
How to Find New Blockchain Games
For new users, it can be difficult to know what is out there in terms of GameFi. Luckily, there are some ways, often community-driven, to help you learn about new games. The first way is Playtoearn.net. This website is a great resource to learn about new games being released. They have an app you can use, as well as a semi-active Discord to help discover what is out there. About 90% of blockchain games I come across have already been listed there. I use this as a directory of information on games but it doesn’t speak to the quality or earnability of games. I would recommend this as a good starting place, but to then extend your research.
Another way to discover new games is through Discord channels or Twitter. Some like Token Gamer’s Discord are good at reviewing and promoting the better gamers that are out there. As always, be careful when someone is promoting a new game, and do your own research!
Clarity and Transparency
Once you have found a game that looks interesting to you, it’s important to do some additional research. Some key things here are checking out their website and whitepaper to discover what you can about the game. If the quality of the website is poor, don’t expect better from the game. Read through the whitepaper to better understand the project.
You should be looking to see how easily they communicate what their game is, and the direction they intend to go. If things are vague, or they don’t go into detail that is usually a red flag for me. The more detail, the more comfortable I am with trusting a project. One thing to point out here is that anyone can claim anything. A good whitepaper isn’t enough for me to support a project, but a bad whitepaper is enough to turn me away.
Social Media Presence and Community
The next thing that gives a glimpse into a game’s success is how they handle their social media. Do they give regular communication on patches, sales, updates, drops, etc.? Are they responsive to questions asked of them? There is nothing worse than finding a project that has potential that won’t answer your questions. Communication is the hidden hero to the success of projects, and if they have poor communication I don’t want to give them my time or money hoping I’ll hear something eventually.
The community is also a great indicator of a game’s health. Is the community helpful, or toxic? Usually, when there is toxicity in a Discord server it means two things: One is that the mods/devs do a poor job of handling their community, and two that there is likely an underlying problem with the project itself. Toxicity is usually found in bad projects, not good ones, so keep an eye out for frustrated gamers, it’s often a bad sign.
Enjoyability (Do You Have Fun Playing?)
If you don’t have fun playing a game, why play? Well with the possibility of earning money, the need for enjoying a game has become lessened or blurry. Before GameFi became a thing, if you didn’t like playing a game, you’d stop. With GameFi this is trickier because you could have assets tied up in the game that has become boring.
What should you do? Well in my opinion if you don’t like a game, you should get out. Do what you need to to make an ROI (Return on Investment) and then leave. If it will take forever to get an ROI, then cut your losses. It isn’t worth playing a game you hate just to make a little money. You will find better games out there that are more fun and could have a better earning potential. Blockchain games can be fun, and we should expect them to be, don’t give your money to games that aren’t.
Entry cost can be a big barrier to whether I play a game or not. There are clearly successful games with high entry costs (I’m looking at you Axie Infinity). Personally, I won’t play a game that requires me to pay over $100 to buy-in. Why should I when there are successful games with an entry fee of $0? Often the games with high entry fees only survive if they can continue to convince people to buy-in. This creates a shaky foundation for the game and severely limits the player base.
Tokenomics and Play-to-Earn Ability
Tokenomics are crucial for blockchain games. With traditional games, it was all about making the game fun to play, and yes that is very important in blockchain games too, but if you can’t earn from them, then they aren’t play-to-earn (P2E). I have found many games that have ticked the previous boxes; They were transparent and clear, had a good social media presence and a good community, had a low buy-in cost, and they were fun, but when it came down to their earnability, they failed.
As a rule, as soon as I realize the game’s earning potential isn’t there or very minimal I stop playing it. If I wanted to play a fun game with no earning potential, there are thousands of candidates already out there, so I don’t waste my time on blockchain games with no earning potential.
There are many different models games attempt to use to allow their players to earn. I won’t get into them, but usually, they are around earning crypto in-game that can be sold, or earning NFTs in-game that can be sold. It’s important for you to be crystal clear on how you will actually make an ROI from the game. To do this, do your research in the game’s tokenomics. Read carefully how NFTs or crypto are distributed. These details matter, and will affect if you’ll be successful or not in the games that you play.
To be clear, most games do not survive this vetting process. There are thousands of blockchain games out there, and for every one that gets through the process, ten more (at least) fail.
The games I choose to play fit all or almost all of the above categories discussed, but if a game fails in two of those categories I most likely ditch it. As always in crypto, it’s important for you to do your own research and to feel comfortable with the projects you choose to invest your time and money into.