We've already seen the impact of blockchain on video games.
With the advent of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), unique digital assets linked to in-game content, players can buy and own in-game items—and sell them, just like physical goods.
However, the future looks even brighter for crypto gaming.
Many crypto-powered games are currently in development, and they promise to deliver new kinds of gaming experiences. Here are the upcoming crypto games that we're most excited to play in the months ahead.
The Sandbox started life as a critically acclaimed mobile game back in 2012, but it's taking on an entirely different approach for its new 2021 release. It's in 3D now—and it's built on blockchain. This voxel-based game creation suite lets you design and monetize unique assets, environments, and experiences, and share them with other users.
Where the blockchain comes into play is with the ability to sell your created assets, as well as earn and spend SAND currency and buy permanent in-game LAND plots. Even before its upcoming public alpha test, The Sandbox has already made millions selling LAND and other NFT items, and brought in big brands like The Walking Dead and partners including Square Enix and Gemini’s Winklevoss twins. It’s primed to be one of the biggest blockchain games around.
Horizon Blockchain Games' first title is a collectible card game called SkyWeaver, which comes with both investment and a social media push from Reddit co-founder and executive chairman Alexis Ohanian. Like PC-based blockchain rival Gods Unchained, SkyWeaver builds upon the gameplay premise of Blizzard Entertainment's Hearthstone, as you assemble a deck and battle against other online players.
Rather than sell booster packs with random cards, the Ethereum blockchain-based SkyWeaver will offer up individual cards at fixed prices—and then users can sell and trade as they please using an integrated marketplace interface. SkyWeaver will be playable on mobile, PC, and web, and is currently in private beta with no target release date announced.
Hash Rush is billed as a "play-to-earn" game that pairs real-time strategy gameplay with an Ethereum blockchain core, as you construct a base and attempt to defend your colony and Crypto Crystals from coming attacks. Want more Crypto Crystals? Of course you do. You'll be able to mine them from "crypto veins" in the game world.
Specialized bounty campaigns will let you earn tokenized rewards that you can freely sell and trade as you wish.
The PC game has a great visual style and seemingly quite a bit to do beyond mining, although we're curious to see whether the core gameplay loop offers more of a hook than mass accumulation.
Hash Rush is currently in a closed pre-release playtest, which you can register for, although it's not currently clear when a full release is due.
As crypto gaming starts to catch on and find an audience, we’re seeing more and more developers come over from the traditional gaming space. Case in point: Big Time Studios is a new startup featuring veterans of Call of Duty, Fortnite, and other major franchises, and they’ve raised $21 million to create an NFT-powered online role-playing adventure called Big Time.
What we’ve seen so far looks lavish and beautiful, and grander in scope than previous blockchain-powered games—which makes sense, given the team’s experience and funding. We’ll see whether they create an experience as compelling as traditional online role-players, now paired with the allure of rare NFT items.
Big Time will also have streamlined NFT custody processes for users who don’t want to bother with a wallet. It will launch into early access in 2022.
5.Guild of Guardians
Guild of Guardians is a buzzy mobile dungeon crawler that has more than 135,000 people on its waitlist as of this writing. The cooperative action game will see players band together to bash monsters and earn crypto rewards in the process, and it has already generated millions of dollars’ worth of NFT sales before the game is even publicly playable.
Gods Unchained creator Immutable has signed on to publish the Ethereum-based game, and gaming giant Ubisoft is a supporter: Guild of Guardians developer Stepico is part of its Entrepreneurs Lab accelerator program. Between the mobile format and exciting on-the-go combat, this could help blockchain and “play-to-earn” gaming break much further into the mainstream. Expect it in 2022.
Bitcoin isn’t where most blockchain games live, so that makes Infinite Fleet an intriguing anomaly on this list.
Developed by Pixelmatic and published by Exordium, Infinite Fleet is a PC massively multiplayer online (MMO) space combat game driven by NFTs, which will be used for the collectible in-game spaceships.
Liquid Network’s sidechain will be used to help the game scale for potentially large sums of players without dealing with Bitcoin’s throughput limitations, and the game has already raised some $7.2 million in funding as of April 2021.
We haven’t seen a lot of the actual gameplay just yet, ahead of a beta test planned for late 2021, but the anime-inspired look is appealing and the project definitely has ambition.