We've already seen the impact of blockchain on video games, leading to unique experiences in which players own digital assets, allowing them to buy and sell just like physical goods. However, the future looks even brighter for crypto gaming.
Many blockchain-based games are currently in development, and they promise to deliver new kinds of gaming experiences. Here are nine of the upcoming games that we're most excited to play in the months ahead. If you just can't wait, be sure to check out our list of the best blockchain games you can play right now.
Fortnite is still one of the biggest games in the world (and one that has some ties to crypto), but Satoshis Games sees an opportunity to improve on the battle royale formula with a blockchain twist. Enter Lightnite, a Bitcoin-driven shooter experience set in an eye-catching, low-poly world—one that rewards players for certain actions by granting them (or taking away) a small amount of Bitcoin.
Lightnite uses the super-fast Lightning Network payments layer to handle Bitcoin microtransactions; you’re rewarded for notching up a player kill or picking up a rare item on the battlefield, while being killed yourself incurs costs you some of your hard-earned satoshis.
There will also be a non-Bitcoin version of the game available for a less-crypto-inclined audience to play, with the developers hoping that they’ll eventually migrate over to the main build. Lightnite has a cool look and alluring environment design, and we’re looking forward to trying this one out ourselves. Early access is pegged to start in May, ahead of a late-year beta and early 2021 full release.
Collectible card-battlers are a popular choice for the first wave of blockchain games, with the mechanics of non-fungible tokens making them an obvious parallel to ownership of physical cards. Dark Country’s spin on the formula is to shift away from traditional fantasy in favor of an American gothic aesthetic. That’s not all, either: it will also feature a handful of different play modes.
In addition to a familiar-looking PvP competitive mode resembling Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering, Dark Country will also have an auto-battler mode like Dota Auto Chess and Teamfight Tactics, as well as a tactical “living board CCG” experience. Immortal Games also plans to reserve 10% of all pre-sale revenue to fund esports initiatives. Dark Country is set to work with EOS, Ethereum, TRX, WAX, and other cryptocurrencies, and should hit public beta sometime this spring.
Image: Horseman Go
Horseman GO claims to be the “world’s first decentralized, autonomous game” (DAG), relying on smart contracts to maintain its in-game economy. That’s neat, but what’s the game all about? Well, Horseman GO (no relation to Bojack) lets you both raise and race horses, giving you control over both the training and competitive drive of your digital steed.
All of the in-game spending runs through the self-governing Jockey Club, a central wallet that’s used for daily operations and bonus rewards—and everything is visible on the blockchain, allowing for full transparency. The game will initially launch on EOS, with plans for an open beta starting sometime this quarter. Cogito also plans to expand the game to other public blockchains further down the line.
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.
The Sandbox started life as a critically acclaimed mobile game back in 2012, but it's taking on an entirely new approach for its new 2020 release. It's in 3D now—and it's built on blockchain. This voxel-based game creation suite lets you design 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. A land presale starts in a few weeks, with a release of The Sandbox's Game Maker planned for Q2 2020. With big partners like Square Enix and Klaytn and a $2 million fund to entice artists to create for the game, this could be one of the biggest blockchain titles on the horizon.
We may never actually own homes in San Francisco, but at least we can buy virtual property in the Bay Area and elsewhere with Upland. This mobile game is built around the idea of owning digital property in real-life cities, letting you buy, sell, trade, and enhance places based on real city maps.
Beyond that core, EOS blockchain-driven idea, the game also incentivizes ownership with special challenges that task you with acquiring certain collections of buildings and more. Upland is now in open beta with a full launch coming later this year, along with the ability to exchange the in-game money for fiat currency at some point down the line.
Blankos Block Party
One part LittleBigPlanet and one part homage to customizable vinyl toys, Blankos Block Party is an intriguing project from Mythical Games. The team is comprised of game industry veterans from the likes of Activision and Oculus, and has raised $35 million to date to deliver on its vision for blockchain-driven gaming.
Players can create their own colorful little characters, as well as building play experiences for others to enjoy. The digital vinyl toy figures could be a big draw for collectors, especially with some limited-edition figures limited to one unit across the entire game—and yes, you'll be able to verify that via the blockchain. We should see Blankos Block Party in 2020.
Set to launch in July, Neon District is a free-to-play cyberpunk role-playing game that delivers a captivating-looking world. There's a lot going on here, including turn-based combat, character customization, puzzle mechanics, collectible card elements, and a single-player narrative approach. As for the actual storyline, Blockade Games hasn't said too much yet.
Every bit of gear in the game is a non-fungible token that you own and can freely sell through the game's Ethereum-based marketplace, whether it's a gun, shoes, or hair styles—and there are rare items too, such as a one-of-a-kind playable boss character. “Neon District's content will roll out in seasons, with the second season set to follow sometime after this summer’s initial launch.
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 alpha, which you can register for, although it's not currently clear when a full release is due.