An unusual traffic clogged the Ethereum network in December 2017. The network experienced day long delays for transactions that usually are completed in minutes. Fear not, this was not the work of a sophisticated hacker syndicate. The network was clogged by the Internet’s favourite obsession — cats. And this time, they were in their crypto version.
The technology of blockchain, that provides a decentralized software fabric to conduct and publically record transactions on, is witnessing a new application — that of games. Spearheading this trend is CryptoKitties, a game by Canadian game developer Axiom Zen, which focuses on virtual pets that can be bought, sold, and reproduced in exchange of Ether.
Yet another blockchain based game, Etheremon, that offers a chance to catch, breed and send digital monsters into battle, has launched a beta version. And in February, CryptoKitties launched in China and on mobile phones.
An increase in game application on the blockchain causes some sleepless nights to developers who worry whether the platform is capable of handling the increased traffic. However, the emergence of fully functional blockchain games is essential as a Proof-of-Concept. Some of these games would probably die, as more advanced games are launched. But, the technology powering all these games isn’t going anywhere.
“We think that blockchain games unlock new categories and possibilities, with Blockchain, gaming suddenly becomes open, transparent, portable, and extensible.”, said Arthur Camara, a developer at Axiom Zen.
Make no mistake, a blockchain game involving kittens is not a cute joke, it is serious business, as CryptoKitties recently raised over $12 Million from traditional finance investors.
It isn’t hard to explain fascination with blockchain kittens. Each “cat” has its only unique DNA. The cats can be bought, sold, traded and bred to generate entirely new cartoon kitties with a combination of their parents’ features and traits. Additional items like spots, fluffy tails, and wings can be inherited and recorded on the blockchain.
A total of 1.5 Million people have played CrytoKitties since its launch in November 2017. Transactions of over $40 Million have been conducted in the game, which makes it go head to head with the world’s gaming industry.
Is this the future of gaming?
From a business perspective, there’s definitely money to be made. Total sales were recorded at $12 Million just a few weeks after launch, with some cats being sold for as much as $100,000. A popular venture is to utilize the blockchain for trading in-game assets. Cryptocurrencies has also be integrated to use in-game. The latter option is well-suited for developers who build online games. It’s likely that game studios with build their own digital assets to facilitate such changes.