Engaging with others in the crypto space can feel like tribal warfare at times; my chain is going to the moon, but your chain is a scam. It wasn’t always like this. There was more of a wide-eyed curiosity some years back, but then it started to change. Many people decided to become maximalists for their preferred chain, deciding that only one could see true success.
There are cases in which that may be true, but blockchain gaming does not house them. In fact, we are headed in the opposite direction and it’s for the better.
Multi-Chain Support is Not Cognitive Dissonance
Banks have a clever, albeit devious approach when it comes to customer acquisition. They learned quickly that if you have a child’s bank account, that child will likely stay with the bank for decades into adulthood. When it comes to competing blockchains, a similar outcome has been seen: Whichever one was invested in first is the one that gets all the investor’s loyalty. But, blockchains are not sports teams; crypto ought to be a meritocracy.
This topic has come up for me on a number of occasions. Since 2018, I have been invested in and supported two “rival” chains pertaining to blockchain gaming and I have never felt any cognitive dissonance about that. The success of one chain does not demand the failure of the other. That is, it is not a necessity that one fails for the other to succeed. This concept of a single winner has been seen before with the formation of the internet, insofar as people were betting who would control it all. No one has complete control, even though there are entities with significant power, and I suspect this will be true of crypto too.
As for blockchain gaming, I see no reason why it wouldn’t fragment further, with different chains specializing in different purposes. But, blockchain gaming has even more incentive to facilitate cross-chain interoperability.
Blockchain Interoperability is Crucial for Gaming
If you had any doubts about blockchains working together in gaming, you only need look at the DappRadar games charts to dispel them. Both the blockchains and the game developers know that blockchain interoperability is central to success and it has fast become an in-vogue term in the space.
Currently, the top 3 blockchain games by users over the last 30 days are Alien Worlds, Axie Infinity, and Splinterlands, respectively. Alien Worlds uses both WAX and Binance Smart Chain (BSC), Axie Infinity uses RONIN and Ethereum, and Spliterlands uses Hive and WAX. By straddling multiple chains, games have access to wider audiences, the individual benefits of each chain, and a more stable future. But, the benefits are to be had for all involved, including players.
If a blockchain game has all of its assets as NFTs that the players can own, but is on an obscure and isolated chain, it is — for all intents and purposes — barely a decentralized game. The value of gaming NFTs will not only rise with their rarity, but how widespread their application. If a rare skin for a game spans multiple titles on multiple chains, it will be worth more than one that only applies to a single game. Blockchain interoperability has many upsides and being value creating is one of them.
In 2021, you could have looked at the top 20 blockchain games every month and concluded there were two big players when it came to chains that new games pick: WAX and BSC. That is, the number of entries on the list using one of these two chains is substantially higher than any other. So, WAX and BSC are rivals and battling it out for dominance, right?
Absolutely not. They have gone the polar opposite direction and collaborated on a Play to Earn (P2E) game, Blockchain Brawlers. And this is the least important joint venture they have in the works. Phase 4 of Blockchain Brawlers in Q2 2022 marks the opening of the Binance and WAX bridge, allowing people to transfer their NFTs between the two networks.
This sort of interoperability of blockchains will only increase in frequency in 2022. It’s important that crypto’s passionate and supportive community fully sheds its archaic, tribal mindset and instead enjoys the fruits of collaboration; all involved will be happier for it.