Learn about blockchain games and the top five titles you can start playing now

While the still-evolving blockchain industry is quite entertaining by itself, games powered by the technology are emerging with the potential to revolutionize the entire gaming industry.

Let’s explore what it’s all about and discover the top blockchain games you can start playing now if you haven’t already.

First things first: What is so special about blockchain games, and how are they different from your usual video games?

Blockchain technology provides players with greater control over in-game assets and other data, unlike traditional games, where both the assets and data are controlled by a centralized party – the game developer.

Blockchain game players can sell their assets (in the form of NFTs) on specialized marketplaces and transfer them, along with their data, to other platforms. This is possible thanks to the decentralized nature (often misunderstood) of blockchains.

The level of decentralization may vary depending on the blockchain, which is essentially a database. Consequently, the level of control and security for players and their assets might also depend on the underlying blockchain. For example, while Bitcoin (BTC) is considered to be the most decentralized blockchain, Ethereum (ETH), often touted as the second-most decentralized, is home to some of the biggest blockchain games, as Bitcoin is not very friendly for game developers (for now).

Meanwhile, developers and entities responsible for running some other blockchains might have greater control over these platforms.

Poorer graphics, richer players

Additionally, blockchain games provide players with new opportunities to earn money while playing. This has led to the emergence of multiple play-to-earn (P2E) games, giving birth to the GameFi (game + finance) sector, where new in-game economies are being experimented with.

For example, one of the latest trends is play-to-airdrop (P2A). In the crypto industry, an “airdrop” refers to the initial distribution of a token to eligible network users. In blockchain gaming, a player becomes eligible to receive a new token, which will later be used in the game’s economy, simply by playing the game.

However, blockchain games still lag behind their traditional counterparts in terms of graphics, user experience, and scalability, as these aspects are limited by the current capabilities of blockchain technology. Additionally, to start playing blockchain games, you'll need to learn new skills, such as how to open a crypto wallet and how to store and trade your assets on different platforms.

Despite these obstacles, some blockchain games now claim to have millions of players and are already profitable, generating millions in monthly revenues.

Let’s take a look at some of the top blockchain games, ranked by the metric called Unique Active Wallets (UAW), which refers to a unique wallet that interacts with a blockchain game.

Note that UAW is not the same as a unique player, as one person can have multiple wallets. Nevertheless, UAW is one of the main criteria for measuring the success of a blockchain game.

Here are the top five games that had the most UAWs in the past 30 days, as ranked by DappRadar.

Top 5 blockchain games

top blockchain games
The original list has been edited to leave only standalone games and exclude gaming studios. Data as of May 16th, 2024. Source: dappradar.com

1. MotoDEX

MotoDEX is a motorcycle racing game that uses NFTs as in-game assets. Players can develop their riders, improve tracks, and get paid for their efforts. For example, character owners receive a share of the bets, while track owners are paid for hosting tournaments. However, the game has dropped in popularity over the past month, and according to the 7-day UAW metric, MotoDEX is now ranked 6th.

2. Pixels

Pixels is a rising star in the blockchain game industry, gaining significant traction after their play-to-airdrop program this year. It is a farming game where, as the developers put it, "you own what you build" and can earn rewards for it. Pixels is also developing a platform where users can build their own games and integrate digital collectibles.

3. 5Stars

5Stars is a free-to-play fantasy football game where players compete in arenas, predict outcomes, earn points, and win prizes. A certain amount of starcoins are distributed to the top players, which can be exchanged for NFTs or gift cards.

4. Another World

Another World is a crypto-based metaverse project where users can create virtual identities and trade different assets, such as property. Players are rewarded with crypto for completing tasks.

another world game
Source: @anotherworldgm

5. Trickshot Blitz

This multiplayer game compares itself to skill-based games like Bingo and Solitaire. It offers multiple tournament formats and weekly challenges, encouraging players to learn trick shots to achieve higher scores and earn tokens.

The game is on-chain

Meanwhile, DappRadar’s top blockchain game rankings also list multiple game development studios, such as PlayEmber (2.03 million UAWs in the past 30 days, a 151% increase over the month), Matr1x (1.63 million UAWs, a 42% increase), and BoomLand (0.8 million UAWs, up 76,124%).

PlayEmber, for example, offers games such as Bitcoin Cards, a card trading game that allows players to earn BTC, while Matr1x is known for Matr1x Fire, “the first mobile shooting game in the Metaverse.” BoomLand is the creator of Hunters On-Chain, an action role-playing game.

The fact that the ranking does not include Axie Infinity, a Pokémon-inspired digital pet universe and once the most popular blockchain game, highlights the nuanced and evolving nature of the blockchain game industry.

According to DappRadar, Axie Infinity operates on centralized servers, requiring fewer on-chain actions, which results in lower UAW numbers (103,000 in the past month) compared to its real user base. According to Active Player data, Axie Infinity had over 342,000 active players in the past month. At its peak in January 2022, it had around 2.8 million monthly players, per the same source.

Therefore, the game is still on for the blockchain game industry, as previous leaders are being replaced by new ones experimenting with innovative ways to incentivize gamers.