In November of 2018, I decided to research all the blockchain games that were currently in development. I then distilled that list into my top five, based on which I thought had the most potential and looked the best. Here we are, nearly two and a half years later, so let’s see if I was right or wrong, and how the games are doing today. If you haven’t seen my prediction video, you can watch that here:
1. 9Lives Arena
9Lives Arena is right up my street — it was in 2018 and it is now. I’m an MMORPG fan and I love PvP, so when I came across this title, I reached out straight away. I had the chance to look at the absolute barebones client and it definitely showed promise. It did feel a long way away from release and though I backed it on Kickstarter, I knew it was unlikely to see any return in the near future. So, how has it been going?
I was initially worried. The news section of their website hasn’t had an entry in approaching a year, but their Medium page sees more regular updates. I’ve found it tricky to grab any concrete information on anticipated release dates or substantial progress, but there has been content added and even rewards given for players at the top of the Alpha leaderboards. I was the 26th backer for this project and we even run a competition with him back in 2018, so naturally, I’m rooting for them. The current state of the game is hard to gauge; it looks great and the premise is the same, but the major updates that are reported on are largely periphery. If I can get hold of the client (I can’t even find out what alpha stage we’re in and I don’t get entry until Alpha 3) then I will do a more substantial deep-dive.
2. Gods Unchained
Even in 2018, with Gods Unchained unreleased, I felt as if it had the best shot at success. It was playing to the card game audience, which had been growing comfortably for several years, and still is. Card games also interact tremendously well with blockchain, as the recent wave of NFT hype has shown us. So, was I right?
Mostly. Honestly, I’d expected Gods Unchained to be a little more popular than it is, but it’s by no means doing poorly. It has a cult following and there are even people playing it to make money. There is a constant stream of content from different users, though there’s more of a focus on financial gain and returns than how good the game is — the curse of blockchain games, particularly with NFTs. It’s not a viral hit yet, but the number of active players and how active it is on Reddit and social media suggests it’s doing well. I’ll take a point for this one.
3. War of Crypto (Renamed War of Crypta)
War of Crypta seemed like the sort of game that could easily take off. There were plenty of similar-style games already available and popular on mobile platforms, so adding blockchain into the mix seemed like good sense. This is another game I invested in early, but due to a lack of an Android client, I was unable to partake. Where is WoC now?
I’m pleased to say, it’s still going. With so many reservations about the first wave of blockchain games being thinly veiled cash-grabs, I am pleased we’re three for three. WoC has seen regular updates and appears to have a reasonable player base. The game is also tremendously well-received on the App Store, with an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 with over 2,000 reviews. I will do a hands-on with this as soon as I have access to an iPhone. This is, in fact, my biggest criticism: in nearly two and a half years, there’s still no Android client, though one appears to be on the horizon. I bought in knowing one was in the works, but had I known 28 months later I still wouldn’t have any way of playing, perhaps I’d have acted differently.
4. Hash Rush
Hash Rush is a sci-fi RTS which has a beautiful art style, simple but detailed foundation, and seamless integration of blockchain. The visuals, the models, the sounds, the singular camera angle and field of view… there was so much that impressed me about this indie project that I could see that with the right fanbase, it’d likely propel itself to success. Well, did it?
First thing’s first, it’s still going strong and is currently undergoing a redesign. There are regular updates on what’s happening behind the scenes and I’m impressed with how far the game has come. The player-base is seemingly a little lacking, with an underwhelming amount of content and discussion about Hash Rush. However, this undeniably talented team has now merged with another outfit to create Vorto Gaming, a new blockchain gaming studio. Though I’m not an avid RTS player, I want to see this one take off as it’s a work of art and created with clear care and passion.
5. Project Genesis
In my video back in 2018 I said I couldn’t understand why no one was talking about Project Genesis. The visuals, animations, and sounds were of triple-A quality, and yet the team behind it was somewhat of an enigma. I could never find out that much about the team or the game, despite speaking with them! I haven’t looked into this game since late 2018 and I expected this to be my downfall. Was it?
No, but it’s complicated. The game is an unprecedented success in a number of areas: firstly, it’s out. It might be an early access game, but it’s out and on Steam no less. Secondly, the graphics are still stunning and the concept is still superb. Thirdly, the developers are not only active with updates, they even reply directly to people leaving reviews or criticisms — and I see that as a real positive. However, it isn’t an unmitigated triumph. The reviews are middling at best, with the general consensus (although not expressly laid out this way) being that the game suffers from overambition. The only servers are U.S. West which means many players are lagging. The FPS gameplay is said to be clunky and unfulfilling, which isn’t overly surprising for early access. However, what’s most damning for me is, as is the case for many of the other projects, the lack of player-base. Except, this really does suffer more than most. The Steam Charts suggest that the all-time peak of consecutive players is twenty-three. The average number of players in the last thirty days is 0.8 with a peak of fourteen. It may be early access, and I do think it shows extreme promise, but that is horrifying.
My biggest fear for blockchain games, primarily back in 2018 when everything was still rather unchartered, was that most of the games were developers trying to get their hand in the crypto cookie jar and the games would never see release. Though I’m sure that’s the case for many projects, the five I picked above have not fallen to that fate. Overall, I’m pleased with how the games are going, if a touch disappointed in the progress made. However, most of these studios are indie at best and miracles cannot be expected of them. The future for blockchain gaming is brighter than it was in 2018, and in due course, this projects will be in good company.
What blockchain game are you most excited for? Are there any hidden gems I ought to look out for?