The Rise and Fall of Blockchain Games: A Critical Analysis

The Rise and Fall of Blockchain Games: A Critical Analysis

The year 2023 proved to be a tumultuous period for the blockchain gaming industry, with more than 30% of announced games being reported as discontinued or canceled according to data from the Big Blockchain Game List. This revelation is disheartening for enthusiasts and investors who believed in the potential of blockchain games. As of January 2024, the Big Blockchain Game List encompasses a total of 911 games, with 334 currently live and 577 still in development. However, it is crucial to examine the reasons behind the significant number of discontinued projects.

Funding challenges and adverse market conditions arising from the crypto winter are the most commonly cited reasons for the discontinuation of blockchain games. Many projects chose to silently cease their operations without making formal announcements, leaving players and investors in the dark. This lack of transparency further damages the credibility of blockchain games as a sustainable and reliable form of entertainment. The industry must address these concerns to regain the trust and confidence of stakeholders.

The growing trend of games integrating with multiple blockchains, also known as multichain, is evident in the statistics. In the second half of 2023, 17% of the 162 discontinued games were labeled as multichain. This shift indicates developers’ willingness to explore different blockchain networks and leverage their unique features. BNB and Polygon emerged as the top choices for integrating with multiple blockchains, accounting for 11% and 10% of discontinued games, respectively. Ethereum, Sui, and Solana also played significant roles, representing 6% each.

Interestingly, the proportion of discontinued titles on Polygon surpassed that of Ethereum in the H2 2023 update. This shift could be attributed to the increased number of discontinuations from projects like Sui, surpassing incumbents like Wemix. It is essential to analyze this trend further to determine the specific reasons behind the preference for Polygon as a blockchain platform. Understanding these preferences can assist developers in making informed decisions regarding their game development and integration strategies.

One standout case in the world of blockchain gaming is the discontinuation of the highly anticipated game “Goals.” Despite securing a substantial amount of funding, totaling $55 million, Goals decided to discontinue its integration with blockchain technology. This decision raises questions about the viability and sustainability of blockchain games, even with substantial financial backing. It is clear that funding alone is not enough to guarantee success in this nascent industry. Developers must reconsider their strategies and address the underlying challenges to avoid further disappointments.

In Q4 2023, the Big List witnessed the addition of 65 new blockchain games, indicating that despite the challenges, innovation and development in this space continue. Among these new additions, 11% embraced the multichain approach, reflecting the ongoing trend of games integrating with multiple blockchains. Single-chain deployment also saw significant growth, with Arbitrum leading the way at 9%, closely followed by Optimism, Immutable, and Ethereum at 8% each. StarkNet and Avalanche also made notable contributions, accounting for 6% each.

In a survey conducted by the Blockchain Game Alliance, industry professionals expressed their optimism for the entry of traditional game studios into the domain of web3 gaming in 2024. This sentiment is shared by Yat Siu, the executive chairman of Animoca Brands, who views the current period as a “cleanup year” for the blockchain gaming industry. Despite the challenges faced in 2023, Siu remains a staunch believer in blockchain games and envisions a robust year ahead in 2024. However, it is crucial for the industry to address the issues faced in the past year to create a sustainable and thriving ecosystem for blockchain gaming.

The high number of discontinued and canceled blockchain games in 2023 is a cause for concern. Funding challenges, market conditions, and a lack of transparency are just some of the issues that have contributed to this disappointing trend. It is imperative that the industry learns from these setbacks, adopts best practices, and fosters an environment where blockchain gaming can flourish. By addressing the underlying challenges and leveraging emerging trends, the blockchain gaming industry can pave the way for more successful and sustainable games in the future.


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