Blockchain games and digital ownership of in-game assets is still in its infancy in 2020. In the last twelve months several blockchain gaming projects made headlines, including Gods Unchained and Axie Infinity. In addition there have been many announcements involving mainstream brands and companies, ranging from Formula 1 to Ubisoft and from Astro Boy to Samsung. However, blockchain games only attract a few thousand players per day.
Financial investments, easier on-boarding, better blockchain technology and the development of better software development kits will help to push the blockchain gaming market forward. There’s great potential, and mainstream gaming companies are watching.
In 2020 many new games will launch, and probably even more will be announced. In the next decennium development will continue on existing games, while other projects will be finalized. Let’s take a look at 28 blockchain games of which I believe you need to keep your eyes on.
Age of Rust
Where many blockchain games are really build around simple concepts, Age of Rust wants to be seen as a traditional game. In the post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure game players need to explore abandoned space stations and mysterious cavers on far away worlds. Age of Rust offers puzzles in which players can earn digital items and cryptocurrency tokens. In addition there’s exploration, adventure, gathering items, and even combat. Owners of the Age of Rust MFT token can already play an early version of the game.
Why you should keep an eye on Age of Rust?
Because this game is one of the best looking blockchain games on the market, while it’s also a very unique game.
Alterverse Disruption is the first of multiple games set in the Alterverse universe. In this first person adventure game players need to fight on a fleet of Disrupter Battleships in space. Players can go a solo raids or do this co-op. In addition there are adventure quests and there will be a battle royale mode. In the different game modes players need to shoot zombies or each other. Progress made in this game can be carried over in the yet to be released Alterverse titles. The economy of Alterverse Disrupter is driven by the Enjin blockchain, and as a result virtual items can be used in multiple games.
Why you should keep an eye on Alterverse?
Alterverse Disruption will soon be launched in early access, and the game is only in its alpha phase. Gameplay might look a bit old fashioned, but thanks to the Enjin blockchain progress will never be lost and can be carried over into new games. Disruption is just the first game in the Alterverse. Graphics wise I even get a bit nostalgic.
When we’re talking about games and about blockchain games in particular, one of my key criticisms is the lack of polish. Often blockchain games are just too simple to compete with bigger titles in the games industry like Tomb Raider, Fallout and Warcraft. From that perspective A1 Fighters is just a small game, comparable with the titles you used to play on Newgrounds. However, A1 Fighters does not present itself as the pinnacle of gaming. This simple looking online battle royale game allows players to battle for cryptocurrency tokens. It’s a marketing tool for blockchain startups to airdrop their tokens and have gamers engage with their brand.
Why you should keep an eye on A1 Fighters?
Because it’s gamification of engagement driven marketing using blockchain technology. It’s like advertisements in video game form. Wouldn’t it be nice if we would no longer shill referral codes on Twitter, but instead shoot each other online to reap the rewards?
In 2019 gamers have been breeding so-called Axies, digital creatures from the blockchain game Axie Infinity. The game really lacked proper gameplay, but game studio Sky Mavis has been working hard. Now there’s an alpha test to have gamers battle each other and battle through the adventure mode of Axie Infinity: Bloodmoon Rising. This version of Axie Infinity is playable both on desktop and mobile devices.
Why you should keep an eye on Axie Infinity?
The team is now working to expand its Axie Infinity universe with a racing game. They are creating a racing game set in the voxel art world of The Sandbox. And there’s a lot more happening with Axie Infinity, with for example its land sale still going on.
Battle Racers is a blockchain-powered arcade racing game build on the Decentraland blockchain. Players get to design, build, race and battle with miniature cars on all kinds of crazy tracks. Each car is build using eight different components, which can be earn by gameplay or bought on the marketplace. Cars that have been performing well, can be tokenized and sold on the marketplace as well.
Why you should keep an eye on Battle Racers?
During 2019 Battle Racers has launched a several partnerships with other blockchain games, including Cryptokitties, Neon District and Axie Infinity. The game is currently in early access and the first digital items can already be sold. The team also organized its first tournament, paving the way for more to come.
Blankos Block Party
One of the game we really hardly know anything about is Blankos Block Party. The game was revealed in March as a blockchain-powered party game, but according to the latest rumors the team had a change of heart. Reportedly the game is now a user-generated gaming platform, drawing inspiration from games like LittleBigPlanet and Super Mario Maker.
Why you should keep an eye on Blankos Block Party?
Because Mythical Games already raised 35 million dollars to create their game. The game is created to appeal a mainstream audience.
Brave Frontier Heroes
There aren’t many mainstream brands in the world of blockchain games yet, but Brave Frontier Heroes is a first step. Brave Frontier is a very successful free-to-play mobile role playing game, and with Brave Frontier Heroes the series is making its move into the blockchain market. Game studio Double Jump.Tokyo will basically modify its successful blockchain game My Crypto Heroes. However, this new creation will be visually more impressive with a different battle interface. Characters from the Brave Frontier series will take the center stage, even though familiar faces from My Crypto Heroes will be included as well.
Why you should keep an eye on Brave Frontier Heroes?
The developers have proven themselves with My Crypto Heroes. Now they will ditch any reference to crypto, and embrace a mainstream mobile gaming brand. It’s not Final Fantasy, but Brave Frontier has 38 million fans. This project has lots of mainstream potential.
If you want to play a Pokémon MMO then Chainmonsters is the closest you will ever get. German development studio B-Side Games started Chainmonsters as a singleplayer role playing game, but they kept building. Now it’s an online multiplayer role playing game, inspired by the Pokémon series. Players can battle, trade and explore the world while catching new monsters, combining abilities, and become the best trainer. Thank to the impact of a meteor, the chainmons have become aggressive. Professor Satoshi wants to find a cure, and needs your help. Chainmonsters features online battle, dungeons and adventure quests.
Why you should keep an eye on Chainmonsters?
This game has been in development for quite some time. Thanks to the underlying blockchain technology, players can play the game on desktop computers and mobile devices. Chainmonsters is scheduled to launch in 2020.
Crypto Space Commander
Crypto Space Commander is a so-called sandbox space MMO in which players are free to pursue any role they deem fit. Players could be mining for resources and selling them for profit. Or they could be exploring space and find new victims to raid. Clearly CSC is not everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s a game that really tailors a niche. They already did a partnership with Star Trek, allowing players to buy virtual space ships based on the famous television series. This made game studio Lucid Sight over 135 thousand dollars.
Why you should keep an eye on Crypto Space Commander?
The space MMO is only in its early days. The developers want to have the 1.0 version completed during the summer of 2020, after which development will start on a mobile version of the game. This mobile version should be completely compatible with the desktop game.
Even though Dissolution is currently only in its alpha testing phase, this tactical first person shooter is already available on Steam as a free-to-play game. Initial reviews have been mixed, but there’s space for growth. Literally. In this shooter humanity is fighting an artificial intelligence, presented in the shape of a robot army. The game allows online and splitscreen PvP as well as local and online co-op. It’s quite a competitive game compared with many other games powered by the Enjin blockchain. The blockchain-element of Dissolution is mostly hidden in cosmetics and in-game items, ranging from guns to armor.
Why you should keep an eye on Dissolution?
Besides offering several first person shooter game modes, Garage Studios is working on space ship combat. In addition there will be a singleplayer campaign coming in January, while also adding a PvP combined arms game mode and a new social area. By the end of 2020 Dissolution will get its first MMO features.
Formula 1: Delta Time
Animoca Brands is becoming a major brand in the world of blockchain games. They’ve acquired a wide variety of mainstream licenses, and one of them is Formula 1. Even though the company has sold a variety of virtual cars for their upcoming racing game, real gameplay is still missing in action. Formula 1: Delta Time currently allows players-to-be to buy digital cars, drivers and car parts.
Why you should keep an eye on Formula 1: Delta Time?
It’s not yet clear what type of gameplay Formula 1: Delta Time will get. Perhaps it’s a racing game like the traditional F1-series, but something top down like Micro Machines would also be lots of fun. Nonetheless, Animoca Brands wants to launch Delta Time in early 2020.
One of the biggest names in blockchain gaming at the moment is Gods Unchained. This collectible trading card game is build around the play-to-earn model. Everybody can join and earn cards to in turn can be sold on the blockchain. Individual cards can be cosmetically upgraded and bought on the open marketplace, while new cards can be bought in packs during an active season. Currently Gods Unchained is the blockchain-version of Hearthstone with excellent gameplay and a solid presentation.
Why you should keep an eye on Gods Unchained?
The Genesis season has ended and those cards will never be distributed again. In the coming months the first season of Gods Unchained will kick off, alongside a new game feature which will allow players to use their cards to generate an event-based unique cosmetic or card.
Hash Rush is an online fantasy RTS in which players build, fight and trade their way to victory. Players need to manage a small mining colony, battle monsters and trade resources. Bounty campaigns allow players to earn blockchain rewards. Successful players will earn tokenized rewards, in-game items, bonuses and other prizes. The game is currently in an early alpha stage.
Why you should keep an eye on Hash Rush?
This game is still early in its development, but is already a very solid product. The game is following the play-to-earn principle, which means that players will earn blockchain rewards for investing time into Hash Rush. In addition this game is a strategy game, to some extend reviving a genre that’s almost forgotten. (despite the Warcraft 3 and C&C remakes of course)
Light Trail Rush
When it comes to racing games, the concept is always so very simple. Light Trail Rush however, does something very different. In this online multiplayer racing game in space the racer in pole position is drawing the road for other players. Gamers earn points be shooting each other or staying in pole position. These races are only finished when a player reaches a certain amount of points. Light Trail Rush is really a fun and chaotic take on the racing genre. Blockchain elements in this game are limited to cosmetics
Why you should keep an eye on Light Trail Rush?
This game brings an unique take on the racing genre. Gameplay is very solid and above all it’s just fun to play. Light Trail Rush will see a full release in May 2020.
In this list with blockchain-powered games Lightnite is perhaps an outsider. This online battle royale game isn’t build on a blockchain, but uses the Lightning Network. Every time players shoot each other, they will earn or lose a little bit of bitcoin. Earnings can be paid out, or they can be used to buy digital cosmetics. Basically Lightnite is a bitcoin-powered version of Fortnite.
Why you should keep your eye on Lightnite?
The game isn’t playable yet, but in January a singleplayer mode will be released. Two months later the game will get a multiplayer mode, while May 2020 will see the game’s official early access release. During the year more work will be put into the game, with the final version being planned for release in January 2021.
NBA Top Shot
The team behind Cryptokitties isn’t only working on a new gaming-focused blockchain called Flow, but also on a new game. NBA Top Shot is an officially licensed basketball game with digital collectibles. The collectibles are focused on NBA history and iconic moments and players. These can be used in-game during head-to-head games, leagues and tournaments. Building a proper team is one of the key aspects in NBA Top Shot.
Why you should keep an eye on NBA Top Shot?
The biggest American sports association that’s also internationally loved is the NBA. An officially licensed blockchain-powered game based on this major brand is huge for blockchain gaming. On top of that Dapper Labs is working to become a big name in blockchain gaming. NBA Top Shot could be one of those games reaching mainstream and pushing adoption forward.
Neon District is a free-to-play cyberpunk turn based role playing game. Players need to battle through store driven missions to collect characters, gear, parts and an in-game currency called juice. Battles fought using a trading card game mechanic, and players need to adjust their tactics in order to progress. As players level up characters and gear, they choose new abilities and effects to change their powers on the battlefield. The game looks really gorgeous and is set in a rich universe full of lore.
Why you should keep an eye on Neon District?
The Neon District: Season One will launch on January 27th. It has a full solo campaign filled with crime syndicates, genetic modifications, and morally questionable characters. Season Two is planned for the summer of 2020, and will include a new chapter in the story as well as a co-op game mode.
There aren’t many games in this list who are as anarchistic is Neon Chronicles. This side-scrolling idle battle role playing game is build on open-source technology and powered by a player-driven blockchain network. Therefore nobody can turn off the online world of Nine Chronicles as long as players keep the game alive. The game is running on its own blockchain, and is therefore not yet compatible with for example Ethereum or EOS-based marketplaces. Game studio Planetarium has been testing an early version of the game this month.
Why you should keep an eye on Nine Chronicles?
Even though the gameplay of Nine Chronicles reminds me a bit of mobile idle battle role playing games, it’s technical background is impressive. The concept of player-driven blockchain network and blockchain economies is great, and this could potentially be the future for game launchers on desktop computers. Every major gaming company already has its own desktop launcher, and network performance could be greatly increased using this technology.
Pizza Heroes is the first online action game on the Tron blockchain set in a three-dimensional world. This game will get a variety of game modes, but the first one is a defense horde mode in which a team of players need to hold off an invading horde of evil forces. It’s not a serious game. Besides the game’s funny characters, the enemies will be evil potatoes and malicious meatballs. Players can dress up their characters with digitally owned clothes, which provide for example offensive perks or extra armor.
Why you should keep an eye on Pizza Heroes?
The Tron blockchain has often been criticized as a scam. Justin Sun hasn’t always been the best spokesman, and it’s time that the Tron blockchain gains some proper usability. A good looking action game like Pizza Heroes could just be what Tron needs to shine.
The Sandbox 3D
The Sandbox lives up to its name as it’s literally a sandbox game in which gamers can make their own games or create and monetize voxel assets. It’s not without reason that for example the team behind Axie Infinity is now making a racing game set in the cubed world of The Sandbox. The team launched an editor called VoxEdit earlier this year. Assets can already be exported and sold on the blockchain, basically making this game into a blockchain-version of Minecraft. You can even create items in VoxEdit and export it into Minecraft, if you want this.
Why you should keep an eye on The Sandbox?
After the success of Minecraft it’s hard to say that The Sandbox will have a similar successful fate. However, Minecraft did proof that user generated content can be a driving force behind the success of a game. Getting paid for these creations is something else though. The Sandbox allows every gamer to become a paid content creator, and that’s an awful lot of power that should not be taken likely.
The Six Dragons
It’s not fair to compare The Six Dragons with a role playing games like The Elder Scrolls. However, because of its open world aspects and first person view the comparison is easy to make. The Six Dragons really sets itself apart by introducing blockchain-powered item ownership, crafting and enchanting. Every item that’s found, created or bought inside or outside the game gets stored in the player’s blockchain wallet. Players get to venture into randomly generated dungeons, or just become a trader or farmer and make money that way. In this role playing game the story is not set in stone, and players can create their own legacy.
Why you should keep an eye on The Six Dragons?
Developer BlockPegnio is slowly expanding its alpha test. They recently announced the development of solo PvP battles, two-versus-two battles, an esports mode, and a two to four player co-op mode. Whether this modes will actually be finalized into the game, is something only time can tell.
Skyweaver is an online collectible card game in which players own digital cards. Players can earn new cards by winning online battles and climbing the charts. Therefore this is a typical play-to-earn game. Each card is minted on the blockchain and can be traded with other players or collectors on for example the OpenSea market. Skyweaver is currently in a private beta on desktop and mobile devices. It’s running on the Ethereum Rinkeby testnet.
Why you should keep an eye on SkyWeaver?
Game studio Horizon Games wants its card game to appeal to a broad audience. The team wants to make the on-boarding process for new players easier. In addition they will reveal a new economy design in the near future. In 2020 the game will move from testnet to the main Ethereum network.
Soccer Manager Elite
Soccer Manager Elite is an evolution of the SM Worlds real-time online multiplayer game. This time around the game is build on the Xaya blockchain, giving managers full ownership over their team and their players. In every game world there’s only a limited amount of clubs, and all clubs are owned by shareholders who in turn appoint managers. This way the game can be played by thousands of players worldwide. Club value, and player values can increase or decrease, and the reputation of a manager can make him more wanted.
Why you should keep an eye on Soccer Manager Elite?
Currently there are 80 thousand people playing Football Manager 2020 on Steam. Yearly this game sells millions of copies. Soccer Manager Elite also delves into that football manager fantasy, but gives players real value and ownership. This adds a whole new social dynamic to the game, based on actual performances. SM Elite is not only interesting as a game, but also as a social experiment.
In terms of gameplay Sorare is one of the least interactive games on the list. In this collectible card game players need to create a team of football players. Based on their performance in the real world, players will earn points. It’s basically fantasy football, but cards are limited and can increase or decrease in value according to the performance of football players. Currently football players from German, Spanish and Belgian leagues are included in the game, and more players and teams will follow.
Why you should keep an eye on Sorare?
Fantasy football is already quite big in Europe, even though it’s a small market compared with fantasy baseball and fantasy football in the United States. However, the concept of digital card ownership and making money will appeal to a wide variety of football fans. Gambling on football matches is already a multi-million dollar market. Many of these football fans would like to invest twenty, fifty or one hundred euro in an effort to earn more money in return.
Spells of Genesis
One of the godfathers of blockchain games is Spells of Genesis. This action card puzzle game looks like a simple mobile game, but actually was the first games that allowed gamers to own a virtual card from the game. The original Spells of Genesis is almost two years old. More interestingly the game is powered by the Bitcoin blockchain.
Why you should keep an eye on Spells of Genesis?
EverdreamSoft is re-launching their flagship title on the Ethereum blockchain. First they will sell some cards, and later in 2020 the game will be launched on its second blockchain. Not only is Spells of Genesis a solid game that’s still fun to play today, it’s also a showcase for a multi-blockchain software development kit that the studio has been creating.
Blockchain gaming platform Xaya has Taurion as one of its flagship titles. This game is clearly inspired by the Dune series, as players choose a faction and fight over limited resources. The game world is autonomous and ever-changing. Players need to gather resources. This can be done by actually mining them or stealing them from other players. Therefore combat is also part of the game. Players can form factions, create their own adventures, social code, and political order. Betrayal is surely part of the game, but so is revenge.
Why you should keep an eye on Taurion?
Currently Taurion is still in an early development phase. By download the Xaya game platform, players can sign-up to play Taurion. If you ever played games like Dune 2, EVE Online and Civilization, then this game could be right up your alley.
Tides of Magic
With Tides of Magic we have another collectible card game in this list. This game differentiates itself from the competition by using tokens from other games. This way it’s possible that gamers who have an Axie from Axie Infinity can use the same token inside Tides of Magic as a special card. The team behind Tides of Magic has already made partnerships with the developers of games like Ethermon, Axie Infinity, Flowerpatch and Cryptopunks.
Why you should keep an eye on Tides of Magic?
These developers really put effort in setting up collaborations. It will be fun seeing all these items come to live in a card game. The team will start with a closed private beta on January 10th. Later in January the game will get an open beta for everybody. That will also be the moment that cards can be auctioned on any ERC-721 marketplace, like OpenSea. Card packs can also be bought from the official website.
War Riders is an open world battle arena game in which fight over crypto rewards. The developers describe the game as an MMO about earning cryptocurrency and blowing up cars. Players get to design their own vehicles from scratch to mine resources and battle with players. Players need to find Benzine (BZN), which has a real world value.
Why you should keep an eye on War Riders?
In January the team behind the game will start the sale of mid-grade vehicles, followed by regular vehicles later in 2020. This game is basically Mad Max combined with Destruction Derby, and you can earn crypto for having fun with this game as well. That’s a win-win in my book.
Also published on Medium.