Why It’s No Fun Playing Blockchain Games

A game, even one based on blockchain, is only as successful as the number of people playing it. Witness CryptoKitties, considered the first game built on blockchain, which wants to reach one billion users.

But even CryptoKitties has to fix its “leaky bucket” first, said co-founder Benny Giang.

Giang used that term at Monday’s Hack.Summit in San Francisco. The “leaks” are the players who sign up but then don’t play. Giang said his company is determined to provide a better customer experience to those potential users to get them playing.

The biggest weakness with crypto games today is a lack of entertainment and interaction features that engage players.

“People here at this conference get excited [about CryptoKitties] and sign up on our website,” Giang said. “I guarantee you, we’re going to have so much drop off. [A] very, very small [number] of people will actually jump through all these hurdles to actually play this game.”

Creating a better customer experience was the main theme of Monday’s two crypto gaming discussions. Gaming companies developing on blockchain know they are often a person’s introduction to a blockchain product; if they can make it a positive experience, that person will likely continue to participate and encourage others to join in.

“If everyone is creating something that is truly valuable, then people would start taking this a little more seriously,” said Axie Infinity COO Aleksander Larsen.

Today

s Experience

That’s not what’s happening, says conference participants. The multi-step process of signing up for a crypto game can be daunting. Buying a crypto coin, adding it to a wallet and waiting for transactions to clear takes time. The process is not intuitive. “Signing up for Facebook or Airbnb is like one click or a couple of clicks and it’s so easy. It allows for billions of people to sign up without a problem” said Giang. “But with blockchain or decentralized apps, we’re faced with this UX issue that’s an extremely big hurdle.”

Another turnoff? Paying for transactions within a game. “Nobody wants to play a blockchain game where you have to pay a transaction fee for anything,” said Larsen.

Rising “gas” prices for transactions on Ethereum have caused “a lot of users who are playing CryptoKitties to take a break or take a pause,” Giang said. “It’s a really big issue that could balloon into a lot of different things.” A gas price is an internal fee for processing a transaction on the Ethereum network. That fee can vary based on different variables.

Some participants said the biggest weakness with crypto games today is a lack of entertainment and interaction features that engage players.

Hayden P.

A blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiast

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