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The State of the Blockchain Game Sector | August 2020

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DappRadar

High transaction costs are still affecting Ethereum blockchain games

Welcome to DappRadar’s regular monthly reports – in conjunction with the Blockchain Game Alliance –  on the state of the blockchain game sector. 

The Blockchain Game Alliance is a non-profit organization counting over 150 members and committed to promoting and spreading awareness about the advantages of blockchain technology within the game industry, and DappRadar is providing its industry-leading data to assist in this goal.

Key Trends

During August 2020, the average number of daily active unique wallets playing games across the blockchains tracked by DappRadar was just under 23,100. 

This total was marginally up compared to July (+1%), and up 8% compared to the year’s low point of May. 

But it remains down compared to the start of 2020. During January, the average daily total was almost 26,600 active unique wallets.

Of course, this trend is the accumulation of the performance of all the individual products tracked, some of which have performed well, some not. The most significant impact, however, remains the high transaction costs of operating on the Ethereum blockchain; a process that started in early May and peaked in early September.

Back in February, Ethereum was the #1 blockchain for gaming with an average daily activity of over 10,000 active unique wallets. By August that had dropped 85% to under 1,400 daily active unique wallets.

Given this situation, it’s perhaps remarkable the entire sector hasn’t experienced a sharper decline. 

Let Jon Jordan take you through the report

Splinterlands’ growth spurt

One reason why this hasn’t been the case has been the growth of a handful of games, notably Splinterlands, which started the year running on the Steem blockchain but since 1 June has been running on the Hive blockchain. 

Indeed, since that transition, the game has gone from strength to strength, attracting a new audience as well as re-engaging its existing audience. 

The result is Splinterlands has experienced month-on-month growth throughout 2020, rising from around under 4,000 daily active unique wallets in January to over 6,100 in August. 

It’s been the most popular blockchain game since early June. 

The only other blockchain game that’s experienced growth – albeit at a lower level – is mobile property game Upland, which runs on the EOS blockchain. It’s now regularly attracting over 2,000 daily active unique wallets. 

However, the most popular game running on EOS remains Crypto Dynasty (previously EOS Dynasty). It’s experienced a steady decline in its audience from around 4,500 daily active unique wallets in May to under 3,000; something that’s reflected in the overall decline in gaming activity on EOS. 

The result is that at the end of August, Hive overtook EOS to become the most popular blockchain for gaming in terms of raw daily activity. 

Something new

Other trends in the sector arise from some of the lower volume blockchains, at least in terms of the gaming activity.

WAX, which runs on the EOSIO SDK, continues to experience growth, although the majority of its dapp activity arises from collectibles rather than games per se. Despite its enterprise focus, IOST also supports a couple of games. 

The big change during August in this area was the rise in activity on Thundercore. It offers a range of simple HTML5 games through its Hub mobile app, which has head-to-head competitive wagering modes, and have been attracting hundreds of daily active unique wallets. 

It’s a reminder that blockchain gaming can take different forms, as well as pointing to the emergence of new platforms, something we’ll no doubt see more of as projects such as Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain and Matic Network’s scaling solution gain traction later in 2020.

For real-time daily activity and revenue data from the blockchain games sector, go to DappRadar’s Games category

Developers should also check out DappRadar’s new Developer Area, which provides details about how to onboard with new blockchains, information about development tools, and everything you need to ensure your dapp is making the most of DappRadar’s audience. 

For more information on the Blockchain Games Alliance, including its activities, check out the BGA website.

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