What are blockchain-powered games?

An introduction to one of blockchain’s fastest growing use cases.

boxes representing blockchains

While blockchain has a variety of applications, gaming is definitely one of the most popular use cases. Blockchain-based video games offer the fun of traditional gaming, while incorporating tokenization and the blockchain to tap into the benefits of web3. Over the past year, web3 games have experienced a massive surge in popularity. According to an April 2022 DappRadar report, the use of blockchain games has increased by over 2,000% since Q1 2021, and 52% of blockchain activity is now related to gaming. 

Games built on blockchain networks integrate self-custodial wallets such as Coinbase Wallet. Players  use their self-custodial wallet to ‘sign in’, enabling them to collect the fungible and non-fungible tokens that the game might use. Fungible tokens are typically rewarded to players for engagement and/or achievement, coining the term ‘play-to-earn’ gaming. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are typically used to represent in-game items. Unlike traditional gaming, which uses centralized servers to store information such as gaming profiles, web3 games give players the ability to take true ownership of their gaming accomplishments and in-game content. 

An important distinction between blockchain-powered games and traditional games is that players can monetize their in-game content by trading what they earn while playing. Using decentralized exchanges, players can swap fungible tokens earned while gaming for other cryptocurrencies, such as ETH or USDC. They can also sell their gaming NFTs through various NFT marketplaces. Blockchain-based gaming makes all of this possible, as players are no longer confined to centralized servers that contain their gaming achievements, and can access a wide range of applications allowing them to monetize their experience.

While some games are initially ‘free-to-play’, players generally will need to fund their wallet with the native token of the game’s blockchain in order to cover gas fees and other costs required to get started. For example, if you want to play a game built on the Solana blockchain, you would need SOL tokens in your wallet. This means that prior to playing, it is important to fund your wallet, which you can do by using Coinbase Pay to transfer  tokens from your Coinbase account to your wallet address, or buy more tokens with fiat and deposit them directly into your Coinbase Wallet.

Popular Networks and Games

Polygon

Polygon is an Ethereum scaling solution that has gained significant gaming attention. Polygon Studios launched a $100,000,000 fund to bolster gaming on Polygon, helping developers to create projects and take advantage of the highly scalable network that features minimal gas fees and EVM-compatibility. There are many exciting and popular games built on Polygon, such as: 

Pirate Nation

Pirate Nation, a light-hearted game filled with high seas adventure, treasure, and unique characters. Players send NFT pirates on adventures where they collect materials for crafting, treasuries, and pirate gold. Pirates gain experience and can level up from their adventures. 

The Sandbox

The Sandbox is a popular community-driven gaming ecosystem that recently deployed on Polygon. The Sandbox features partnerships with roughly 400 major brands and public figures - spanning music, entertainment, fashion, and sport. The Sandbox metaverse is composed of thousands of NFTs called LAND, which represent plots of virtual land that players can build on. Within the Sandbox metaverse, players, designers, and artists can create, share, and monetize various NFTs and gaming experiences.

Battlebound

Battlebound is a web3 game studio building on Polygon, founded by gaming veterans from Riot, Blizzard, and Ubisoft. The studio's first project, Evaverse, is a Compete-to-Own gaming platform featuring hoverboarding racing, along with Cosmic Cup, a pet NFT battle race mode.

Crypto Unicorns

Crypto Unicorns is a pet-collecting and farming web3 game on Polygon. NFTs are used to represent both unicorns and land. The game is constantly expanding, with jousting, racing, and team RPG battle mode coming soon.

Solana

Solana is another popular blockchain network for game developers, as it features rapid transaction speed, extremely low gas fees, and a strong NFT community. Solana Ventures is supporting the development of GameFi on the blockchain with a $150,000,000 fund. Coinbase Wallet enables users to explore the world of games on Solana, as it supports Solana SPL tokens and NFTs alike.

Ev.io

Ev.io is a multiplayer, first-person shooter game built on Solana. The game features various battle modes including ‘Team Deathmatch’ and ‘Capture the Flag’. In-game NFTs increase a player’s power, such as skins and weapons, allowing them to earn token rewards through in-game achievement. 

BNB Chain

BNB Chain, an EVM-compatible network with low gas fees, is one of the most popular blockchains for gaming. BNB Chain features an ecosystem home to many engaging web3 games. Many games built on BNB Chain have integrated Coinbase Wallet, including:

Thetan Arena

Thetan Arena is a popular multiplayer online battle arena (‘MOBA’) game. Thetan Arena’s main characters (Heroes) are NFTs, and the game provides beginners with free Heroes that can be used to get started. Thetan Arena has offered exclusive promotions to Coinbase Wallet users in the past, such as the Thetan Arena Loot Campaign.

MOBOX

MOBOX is a community-driven gaming platform that combines automated optimized DeFi yield farming & MOMO NFTs to create a gaming metaverse known as MOMOverse. MOMOverse is a whole new world of fun where MOBOXers can create and explore in a world of infinite possibilities. MOBOX Avatars represent MOBOXers in the MOMOverse. Within MOMOverse, MOBOXers can occupy whatever role they wish, such as being a farmer, shopkeeper, or builder. MOMOverse includes MOmarket, an NFT marketplace, and MOsocial, a network of many social games including guild wars.

Avalanche Subnets

Avalanche is another thriving ecosystem of blockchain-based games that work with Coinbase Wallet. Ava Labs recently partnered with major video gaming company GREE to expand gaming offerings on Avalanche. 

Swimmer Network: Crabada

Avalanche supports subnets, such as Swimmer Network, which is a dedicated blockchain for gaming. Swimmer Network hosts Crabada, a GameFi project based in a world filled with NFTs that represent fierce fighting Hermit-Crabs. Players can earn rewards through activities such as mining, looting, breeding, battling, exploring, crafting, and more.

Gala

Project GYRI, as Gala's L1 blockchain is currently known as, is specifically designed to handle the transaction throughput needed for games to grow and scale while providing provable and verifiable ownership to token holders. With the ability to scale horizontally to handle an infinite number of games, Project GYRI is designed to be the backbone of the Gala Ecosystem. Spider Tanks utilizes Gala's Blockchain.

Spider Tanks

Spider Tanks is a PvP brawler game where players compete in several fast-paced, team-based game modes to climb the ranks and receive SILK token rewards based on their wins each day. Gamers can own a wide variety of NFT Tank Parts that can be creatively combined to craft the perfect arena machine. Player-owned Maps and Planetary Nodes let players own a piece of the arena-- rewarding SILK for any battles their NFTs help facilitate. Many NFTs can be upgraded using Components to make them more powerful in the arena and potentially reward more SILK.

Coinbase and web3 gaming

Gaming as a use case for web3 is rapidly growing as demonstrated by the increase in on-chain gaming activity. Since we are still early in the development of web3 gaming, make sure to keep up with Coinbase’s newly featured games. The Coinbase Wallet team is hard at work, partnering with game developers to add support for Coinbase Wallet, with new integrations launching on a daily basis. Coinbase supports users and developers alike - through the industry’s most trusted centralized exchange, paired with a self-custodial wallet widely integrated by decentralized applications - providing an unparalleled user experience.