Blockchain gaming - Current state

A lot has been said and done about the feasibility of web3 gaming. Hyperbole stuff like “Decentralized games”, “P2E is the future of gaming”, etc are great marketing content but fall short rapidly when examined closely. After seeing loads of money being invested into such projects, I was curious as a gaming PM to understand the thesis behind them. This post looks at the feasibility of various projects and the ideas behind them. While I don’t intend to take sides, I personally haven’t seen a legitimate use case for mixing blockchains and gaming yet. On a high level, the use cases can be classified like this:

  1. Decentralized financial stuff inside games
  2. Asset sharing and interoperable games
  3. Game dev DAOs
  4. Decentralized game distribution infra
  5. ACTUAL decentralized games

Popular ways to bake in financial mechanics inside games are usually in the following manner:

Apart from baking in financial mechanics, another common use case for blockchains inside games(or games inside blockchains) is interoperability and asset sharing between games.

If you can’t put the games on blockchain (they require ridiculous amount of compute and we have ETH doing 15txn per second) or money inside games, people have also tried to structure game studios as a DAO

Decentralized game distribution infrastructure is a legitimate use case (any decentralized file distribution for that matter) but beating incumbents like Steam would be a long and arduous task. You can maybe operate in a niche - SEGA emulator games on IPFS/Filecoin.

Finally, most of the web3 games are currently centralized and don’t use any meaningful decentralization mechanism.In most games, the NFT’s are traded/stored on-chain whereas the game is still centralized, controller and developed by a single body. The wider decentralized gaming infrastructure will need peer-to-peer game clients (run by the players), decentralized storage layers, dedicated execution layers etc. This is a legitimate use case where we are super early.

Games built and hosted on smart contracts with procedurally generated worlds have some cool possibilities which can be only accomplished inside a shared state machine like EVM. Check out Dark Forest for an early example on this. It is a universe-traversing, planet-capturing, real-time strategy game. The inspiration for the Dark Forest game is based on the novel of the same name, The Dark Forest. It is an open-source game, and all interactions within the game are validated by the Gnosis (previously xDai) blockchain.

It is also the only game to utilize zkSnarks as a mechanic - the in-game fog of war.


Blockchains are useless for most games, but they can be used to enhance certain aspects, in specific cases. Censorship resistant game distribution, asset sharing, games on smart contracts are some areas where it may work. Current NFTs, GameFI etc are justifiably hated by the larger gaming community for the fact that they don’t add any real value yet.

Did I miss any use case? Am I short sighted about something? Do let me know by writing to me here or tweeting to me here

· crypto, gaming, web3, opinion