Weekly insight into blockchains and Web3 apps
In the past seven days, hyper-casual mobile blockchain games have brought more than 1.7 million users from Web2 into Web3 gaming. Eight of the current top ten blockchain games on DappRadar are mobile-first and let players collect rewards that can be used inside the game or exchanged for cash.
If you’re looking for the next Spotify, Google, or Amazon on the blockchain, DappRadar can help with our weekly Dapp Trends articles. With so much happening across various categories and verticals, it’s crucial to know which blockchains, games, finance dapps, and NFT projects generate value and build audiences for the right reasons.
On the road to the mass adoption of blockchain technology, crypto, and NFT-infused games that solve the user onboarding riddle will play a pivotal role. Dapp games like Gameta, Benji Bananas, Upland, and Trickshot Blitz let anyone with a mobile device earn crypto with little prior knowledge, investment, or risk.
Using daily activities like hyper-casual mobile games as a hook ensures users find fun once they interact, while solid tokenomics can encourage everyday use and retention.
- Games flex blockchain tech
- Who’s not on mobile?
- Who’s on Android?
- Who’s on iOS?
- Not all about money
- Evolution of dapps
- How to earn in mobile blockchain games
Games flex blockchain tech
Just as the summer of DeFi gave us more refined finance and yield generation mechanics and opened up decentralized finance for the masses, blockchain gaming serves to onboard millions of people to Web3 through casual gaming.
Cheap and fast micro- transactions, super fast load times, a stable tokenomic model, and slick UX are critical for any blockchain game to onboard users and, more importantly, retain them. What’s more interesting is how games are testing new frontiers for blockchain technology, such as in-game chat and native marketplaces, and moving to mobile-first games.
One further reason for the rise in the popularity of blockchain games is the saying “bleed in the bear and run in the bull.” The idea that stacking crypto and investments in a bear market pays off in the bull is almost proven at this point. Gamers appear to have latched onto a medium they understand as an entry point into Web3. The trend is evident, with 80% of the top ten blockchain games having mobile applications.
Who’s not on Mobile?
- Axie Infinity (Available but not downloadable from app stores)
- Alien Worlds (Desktop only, does work on mobile but not optimized)
Who’s on Android?
Who’s on iOS?
Interestingly, two OG games, Alien Worlds and Axie Infinity, don’t have mobile apps in the respective app stores. However, there are workarounds for Axie, and the team is also working on an official Axie Infinity app.
Alien Worlds launched at the start of 2020, just as NFT and blockchain gaming hype kicked off. Its simple mechanics allowed players to mine its native token TLM while exploring planets. It has been accused of being heavily bot-driven in the past. Nonetheless, Alien Worlds maintained its position in the top 10 dapp rankings by users on DappRadar and has a raft of updates on the horizon.
These two games carry a more OG status; as such, it’s not surprising that they maintained their performance as new entrants kept arriving. What’s more interesting is to see if they can stay healthy and keep growing their audiences while expanding the game to keep it fresh and engaging.
Not all about money
One important nuance here is that casual mobile games traditionally attract users looking to kill some time with a fun mechanic. The sounds, graphics, and feasibility of progressing through levels play their part in the game’s addictiveness. Earning is the kicker. On the flip side, crypto-native players see both sides of the coin.
Recently we saw two breakout games on the Near blockchain in Solitaire Blitz and Trickshot Blitz. These two games come from Joyride Games and reward players with RLY tokens, which can be used and exchanged for fiat. They are built exclusively for mobile and are available on iOS and Android. They are responsible for over 750,000 active blockchain game users in the last 30 days.
Another example is the conversion of the free-to-play mobile game Benji Bananas into a play-to-earn game that rewards users with the coveted APE coin, native to the Yuga Labs and Bored Ape ecosystem.
Moreover, the mechanics of these games are well known and popular and dont throw up any massive language barriers. Benji Bananas is an endless runner, Solitaire is perhaps the most tried and tested game mechanic in the world, and a proven time passer, while PVP pool is driven by challenging physics and a desire to win.
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Evolution of dapps
At DappRadar, we recognize that a player’s ability to judge a game dapp needs more than raw data. We are working on ways to improve blockchain game tracking and give more rounded information. Ideas being discussed include showing player reviews, the initial investment required to play, and earning potential of a game.
While free tokens for playing simple games sound appealing, it’s not sustainable unless tight economic controls are in place from the beginning, hence why, over the last 18 months, we have seen countless games rise and fall.
They either pulled the rug on players or simply couldn’t make the tokenomics sustainable. Dapps of this nature needs to generate revenue to continue distributing free tokens.
OG games like Axie Infinity have also refined their tokenomics model as entry costs and the price of SLP became too high, forcing players to look elsewhere. Not to mention that the team behind Axie Infinity, Sky Mavis, built its Ronin blockchain and Katana DEX to facilitate Axie and any future games most cost-effectively and efficiently possible.
How to earn in mobile blockchain games
Most mobile-friendly blockchain games give in-game rewards based on an internal token or jewel to bypass app stores’ rules and regulations regarding crypto and NFTs. For example, the VeVe NFT marketplace uses Gems with a value equivalent to one dollar.
This allows games to reward players with a fictional in-game currency they can spend and use within the app or exchange for fiat cash. Taking rewards out usually involves downloading or logging into a different platform and syncing the two together. This process also needs to be as smooth as possible.
The word ‘game’ carries with it its meaning for different people. For those used to multi-million dollar triple-A titles, blockchain games will almost certainly fall short. Although things are advancing in that area, the games we see currently are reminiscent of early 2010 mobile games and mostly display simple and fun game mechanics, backed by friendly UX and a good level of design.
Arguably, the mass adoption of blockchain applications and cryptocurrency can only be realized once complicated blockchain procedures are abstracted away and users can onboard in seconds. While DeFi gave the industry more complex financial tools, it did little to ease user onboarding journeys.
Blockchain games could be the key to unlocking the true potential of blockchain, smart contracts, and financial independence. With mobile-first games coming thick and fast in 2022, driving record numbers of users to dapps, we can expect 2023 to be even more interesting.
The above does not constitute investment advice. The information given here is purely for informational purposes only. Please exercise due diligence and do your research. The writer holds positions in various cryptocurrencies, including BTC, ETH, and RADAR.