For many, blockchain gaming is a brand new area that burst through the clear blue sky in 2021. However, for some of us, it has been a laborious wait for it to rear its head. In 2018 I spoke to the same handful of developers on a weekly basis and movement was so sluggish I had to spend a lot of my time speculating.
Well, I want to get back to my roots of speculating. I have analyzed 2021 to within an inch of its life, though I suspect there are nooks and crannies I’m still yet to find. There were prominent trends that the media clung to like koalas — Play to Earn (P2E) of course top of the tree — and for good reason: P2E is responsible for the boom in interest. The games are typically the focus of articles, but it is the blockchains that underpin it all that is the focus of this one
So, here are the 2 blockchains we believe will reign supreme this year in blockchain gaming and one dark horse.
Binance Smart Chain ($BSC)
In 2021, starting around Q2, two chains rocketed to the top of the blockchain game charts by users, one after the other. The second was the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) which has been quietly growing at an alarming pace. Perhaps due to the top games primarily using other blockchains, BSC doesn’t quite get the attention it might. Yes, Alien Worlds — the game at the top of the leaderboards for much of last year — now uses BSC too, but the chain lacked its own titles.
Then, in Q3 and Q4 of 2021, we saw a plethora of BSC-based games enter the charts, a trend that has comfortably continued into 2022 and shows no signs of tapering off. In the last 30 days (as of 6th January 2022), 14 of the top 25 blockchain games by users are either solely on BSC or multichain and BSC is one of them. Fourteen. A ludicrous display of dominance, and for prosperity, those games are:
- Alien Worlds (Primarily WAX)
- Bomb Crypto
- MOBOX: NFT Farmer
- X World Games
- The Crypto You
- Elfin Kingdom
- Thetan Arena
These games may not have the wild user numbers of the top five, but many of them are relatively new releases — or at the very least new to the limelight — and haven’t had the time to grow as the likes of Alien Worlds and Axie Infinity have. This is also an interesting indicator of where indie developers are gravitating to. I believe BSC will have a fantastic year.
WAX has been a favorite of ours for a while and it’s one of the chains we both awarded and discussed in our Blockchain Gaming Awards 2021. Not to mention our earlier, rather comprehensive article titled, “Why WAX Is a Force to Be Reckoned With in Blockchain Gaming“. So, it’s no surprise we expect them to flourish in 2022, but I’ll unpack why.
Firstly, two WAX games (albeit multichain), Splinterlands and Alien Worlds, fought for the top spot and put out some incredible numbers last year. Between the two of them, they had over 5 million sales, $40 million trading volume, and millions of active users. This highlights just how well-suited the WAX blockchain is to gaming, given how transaction-heavy they are.
This is without mentioning other success stories like Farmers World which managed $180 million in trading volume — yes, you read that correctly — and just under 1 million sales.
As for 2022, there is a WAX gaming studio allegedly in the works and many games in development. Not to mention, they have a bridge with BSC and a joint venture, Blockchain Brawlers, which is a tick in both chains’ columns. As blockchain interoperability becomes a staple requirement, as I believe it will over the next few years, these sorts of collaborations will be commonplace, WAX and BSC are just early.
The Wildcard: Efinity
Enjin was one of the first blockchains to be gaming-centric and they received a lot of attention, as their price has shown. However, Enjin being intrinsically linked with Ethereum meant it suffered their pitfalls. The transaction-heavy beasts blockchain games are meant this did not play well. However, Enjin’s Polkadot parachain, Efinity(which you can learn about here), has overcome those difficulties and could pave the way for a meatier role.
Enjin’s mobile wallet and their Unity SDK are the best in the business to my eye and Efinity might be the last component necessary to see them soar into the DappRadar Games charts.
Blockchain gaming in 2022 has the potential to outperform 2021, even dwarf it. That seems absurd to say given the growth we saw over the last 12 months — really the last 9 — but that too is an indicator. Those who chalk P2E up as a flash in the pan will be disappointed and instead we will see those sorts of mechanics implemented into more complex gameplay loops and traditional gaming projects.
Leading the charge with that sort of adoption will be BSC and WAX. Efinity is contenders too but they may be a longer-term bet. There are many other chains in the conversation — Hive, Polygon, and Ronin, to name just a few — but I believe there are two clear frontrunners. Given the volatility of crypto, it would only take a single, gargantuan success for another chain to bring that chain to the forefront, but that’s par for the course and part of what makes our sector so enthralling!