Top 5 Blockchain Games - Aug 2022
The blockchain gaming space is evolving faster than two Axies juiced up on a smooth love potion cocktail. It is transforming the balance of power across a variety of blockchains and putting GameFi at the top of many minds, motivating investors to reach for their wallets like gunslingers in Red Dead Redemption, with over $23 billion in total investment to date.
For many, this industry is already well-established, but it's worth remembering that Axie Infinity was first released in 2018. This is a young and vibrant space, still in the early phases of development.
This article will look at our take on the top 5 blockchain games in August 2022. We base this judgement on a number of different criteria. Some of those criteria are purely personal choice, so make sure to comment if you agree or disagree.
Judging Criteria for Top Games
1) Unique monthly players
How many unique wallet addresses have interacted with the game smart contract. This gives an idea of popularity and overall active user base.
On DAppRadar, there are a clear 5 games currently standing above the rest in terms of monthly users.
2) Global trending & future potential
The game may be big, but is it on a steady decline? Like the Roman Empire, clinging onto power, is the demise of this game only a matter of time?
On the other hand, is this game an exciting upstart with a proven quality and a likely powerhouse?
Looking initially at Google Trends data, we can see that the top dog is still Axie Infinity. Though falling to a much lower level compared to the previous 9 months, it still gets a lot of search volume. Interestingly, the search origin includes many more diverse countries outside of the normal Venezuela and Phillipines. Their reach to other markets is increasing.
Upland returns lots of fuzzy data, as it is a search term used in many other contexts, so not included here. Illuvium is on the rise, and picking up more interest and discussion. The sandbox also gets a lot of interest, second only to Axie, while only ranking 35th for unique users (The Sandbox still in Alpha 3 stage).
3) Total volume (last 30 days)
This is simply the total incoming value to the DApp smart contract. Players speak with their wallets and this factor cannot be ignored. Games that might have a smaller user base can punch above their weight in terms of the volume of transactions they generate.
Axie Infinity is still there at the top. Players just can’t get enough of that smooth lovin’ and the pleasure of breeding mutant fighting fluffies.
The Sandbox is in at number 2. It generates significant volume through land sales, and requires a much smaller user base to generate much larger individual transactions, while at a lower volume compared to many other games.
On BNB chain and Avalanche are the mining powerhouses, benefiting from low gas and allowing for high volumes of transactions.
4) Core loop and fun factor
The move away from blockchain games being solely an economic pursuit has been happening as we move past the first adopters and get wider developer engagement. A game being well-constructed and having a core loop that allows for ongoing return gameplay is a critical factor in any judgement. This is the final and highest weighted factor.
Top 5 Blockchain Games - August 2022
1 - Axie Infinity
Publisher: Sky Mavis
Platform: PC / Mac
Blockchain: Ethereum / Ronin
Game Token: AXS
So let’s start with the first NFT game developed and released to the public. Aaaand, still undefeated blockchain gaming heavyweight, Axie Infinity. Even though numerous contenders to their throne have appeared, Axie continues with unstoppable momentum, like an oil tanker captained by a drunk narcoleptic, it cruises forward fuelled by speculation and economic play. However, it’s also attracting more players due to its increasing playability. Overall, no criticism can go to the Axie team, who have continued to improve the game, with “Axie Infinity: Origin” giving free Axies, opening up the game to a much larger potential audience.
The competitive Axie scene, whilst sounding a bit weird, is actually quite vibrant and taking up some of the slack left by the exodus of economic players. Economically, the game is in decline, but from a gameplay and fun perspective, it seems to be only getting started.
2 - The Sandbox
Category: Metaverse / World Building
Platform: PC / Mac
Blockchain: Ethereum / Polygon
Game Token: SAND
While not pulling in the raw numbers of players compared to some other games, they are only in Alpha release stage, and investing for the future. Their appeal to brands is huge, attracting some big names, and the potential for top advertising dollars. This is an essential part of any blockchain game ecosystem. Their NFT offering is diverse, with options for players of any budget to get involved in some way, though if you want to pick up a cheap bit of real estate, forget it. Prices on OpenSea start at 1.2 ETH, going up to 17,000 ETH.
While still only in Alpha (Alpha 3 launches 24th August), players can access 90+ experiences, level up, earn SAND and complete quests. 10,000 Alpha passes exist, so it might be a good time to get involved, if this is your thing.
3 - Splinterlands
Category: Collectible Card Game
Publisher: Matt Rosen
Platform: Browser / iOS / Android
Game Token: SPS
While difficult to get into from a tech perspective, Splinterlands is a well made game with rapid auto-battling and quick game turnarounds. Perfect for those gamers with goldfish-like attention spans, or who see this game as the filler between other activities. It has some surprising depth, and better players can generally find a way to win, which is why I probably lose most of my games. The onboarding is excellent and I think they will continue to pick up players.
Matt Rosen, the guy behind Splinterlands is a smart dude, with extensive game development experience and a solid understanding of what makes a good CCG.
Editors top picks
It looks like there’s a few clear top games, but it wouldn’t be particularly unique without including some editorial freedom. My top picks for August are two games that I have looked at and really enjoyed. I can see them picking up significant interest due to a combination of great looks, excellent gameplay and founding teams with incredible pedigrees for amazing game development and understanding delightful core loops. Plus I really am a sucker for great artwork.
4 - Gods Unchained
Category: Collectible Card Game
Platform: PC / Mac
Blockchain: Ethereum L2
Game Token: GODS
This game has to be one of the sleepers slowly gaining momentum and holding onto newly acquired players due to its strong core loop, depth and incredible artwork. I could play this game for the artwork alone, and considering I’m a huge Magic: The Gathering fan, this is not surprising. Chris Clay, formerly one of the big dons at Wizards of the Coast was heavily involved in the development of Magic: The Gathering and you can see his influence drizzled all over this game like a peppery olive oil on a delicious salad of artwork, animation and gameplay. It lacks some of the finesse of Magic, but that is a game with decades of experience and innovation.
Immutable X powers the Gods Unchained game and it has big backers, such as Coinbase. Throw in a few ex-Google and Riot Games brains and you have a powerful blend of talent. Keep your eyes peeled and watch this game rise.
5 - Illuvium
Category: Open World Autobattler
Platform: PC / Mac
Blockchain: Ethereum / Immutable X
Game Token: ILV
I’ve been watching Illuvium for a while now. It’s described as an open world, exploration autobattler, and while not yet live, the world looks incredibly compelling and beautifully atmospheric. While many games promise a rich roadmap including many milestones that look like veeeery stretchy targets, Illuvium has a clear vision and the roadmap looks manageable and achievable.
Their founding team is strong and they have some good backing. The concept and world art is incredible. With Rogier Van De Beek involved as lead concept artist, the world has so much life and personality, with a mix of stylization and realism. It looks like Rogier has really found his home and producing incredible work at a frenetic pace.
The game economy also looks to be well-designed, with a view to the future and some proper sink mechanics to avoid rapid economic inflation. I believe this game will launch with traction and stickiness. If they manage to keep expectations in line with deliverables, the community will grow rapidly.
There’s more to gaming than revenue generation and user base, but they act as a useful compass to see how a game is trending. With blockchain gaming continuing to grow and new projects being launched almost daily, this list will continue to evolve.
What do you think? Do you agree with the list or think something else should be up there. I would be interested to hear your thoughts.