Last December, it was revealed that blockchain-based collectibles game Blockchain Cuties was planning to integrate the TRON (TRX) network, sparking further interest in the game that already supported Ethereum (ETH) and EOS (EOS).
The move made sense, as TRON recently revealed a massive $100 million blockchain gaming development fund designed to spur game development on the TRON network. Since that time, Blockchain Cuties has run several successful collectibles sales to raise funds and even turned TRON’s founder, Justin Sun, into a digital squirrel.
In speaking with the CEO of Blockchain Cuties, Vladimir Tomko, we learned that the transition onto TRON was made with the direct support of the TRON development team, which helped work through bugs associated with making such a move. Tomko emphasized that while early, the game is already seeing dividends from the network expansion.
We believe that our decision to implement TRON by the end of 2018 was worth it despite the unexpected bugs in the game. Firstly, because we ended up being the first fully featured cryptogame on TRON. And secondly, because we are happy about the active and curious players that have been joining us because of TRON’s help with marketing. We have enjoyed every part of this collaboration, even the challenging moments.
While awareness of blockchain gaming — and crypto in general — continues to grow, it’s clear we are just scratching the surface of the consumer-driven applications.
Blockchain Cuties is described as an adventure game that allows players to collect and battle with puppies, lizards, bear cubs, cats and other real and fantasy creatures. Each creature as a non-fungible token, which can be transferred into liquid digital currencies like ETH or TRX via a peer to peer marketplace, fueling the game’s internal economy and driving real value into the digital assets.
And this is where Tomko sees the real potential behind the new form of gaming infrastructure.
Blockchain/NFT-driven gaming will create a new labor market. It gives people a chance to earn legally, whether you are under 18 or older. Blockchain’s first home is cryptocurrency but there are other ways to engage with the blockchain outside of the stressful trading business. Entertainment is the answer. Players and game developers are on the same page when it comes to cryptogames. This relationship – the way players push developers and developers respond – will define the evolution of this industry.
Tomko’s points echo what Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam said back in October when discussing the progression of the gaming industry and the importance of modding culture.
Ehrsam asserted that by leveraging the blockchain, games can build entire platform ecosystems that allow for truly scarce assets to gain real-world value through primary and secondary marketplaces. While streamers and professionals are able to earn money playing video games, a blockchain system with real-world transferrable asset value would allow any gamer to earn a living virtually.
The potential of this virtual economy is significant when you consider the numbers.
It’s currently estimated that the value of the virtual item market, which is driven by regular and non-transferrable in-game items, is currently at $70 billion with only 2.5% of the more than 2 billion gamers currently paying for virtual goods. No better example exists than Fortnite, which made $2.4 billion in 2018 alone.
However, despite the size of the market, the current reality is that major publishers lack any incentive to forego billions of dollars a year in controlled microtransactions to adopt a blockchain system that mainly benefits users. It’s far too profitable for these companies to keep their economies closed, keeping the cash flow in a singular direction.
The reality of blockchain gaming is that adoption is simply just not there yet to attract major game development. Tomko notes that there is a lot less hype than there was in 2017 and first half of 2018, and that is showing in the relatively low daily active user numbers seen across all games.
There are two global blocking factors in the place right now, one – lack of “killer dapps” – complex, easy to use and engaging products; and two – huge entry barrier for people without crypto – it’s not an easy task to start playing a blockchain game if you only have fiat money on your credit card.
Tomko highlighted a number of steps the industry can take to further build awareness and drive adoption.
It’s important not to scare off players with too many complications. That’s why we at Blockchain Cuties have fought hard for the in-game wallet. Blockchain Cuties’ internal wallet, which is integrated with BEST RATE, a service that allows users to accept fiat money, helps reduce this friction – it doesn’t urge users to download or install anything, instead offering everything in one place.
Added adoption will likely come from the two hottest elements of the gaming ecosystem, esports and streaming, and early progress has already been made in both areas.
Fan Bits, a new platform that enables content creators to build and sell their own non-fungible crypto assets, is already integrated into Twitch. Additionally, Fnatic, a pro esports organization based in London that fields teams in numerous games, recently partnered with World Asset eXchange (WAX) to release collectibles and merchandise using WAX’s e-commerce platform.
While both examples are relatively small steps toward bringing blockchain gaming mainstream, the foundation and technical requirements needed to bring mass social adoption are certainly being built.
For Blockchain Cuties, the strategy is clear: focus on advancing the applications of the game’s technology while continue building the young ecosystem. Brick by brick, we might all just might be gaming on the blockchain in the future.
Disclaimer: This article’s author has cryptocurrency holdings that can be tracked here. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Always conduct your own due diligence before making investments.