A successful game, even one built with blockchain, is only as successful as the number of people playing it. 

For example: CryptoKitties, considered the first game built on blockchain, wants to reach 1 billion users. But its co-founder, Benny Giang, knows that while a lot of people sign up, there are a number of reasons why many aren’t playing.

He calls that the company’s leaky bucket.Speaking during this week’s Hack.Summit, Giang said his company is determined to provide a better customer experience.

The multistep process of signing up for a crypto game can be daunting.

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.

Gaming companies developing on blockchain know they are often a persons introduction to a blockchain product. If they can make gaming 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.

Jumping Hurdles

The multistep 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 and is not intuitive. Signing up for Facebook or Airbnb is like one click or a couple of clicks and its so easy. It allows for billions of people to sign up without a problemsaid Giang. But with blockchain or decentralized apps, were faced with this UX issue thats an extremely big hurdle.

Developers also believe that having to pay for transactions within a game hurts the customer experience. Nobody wants to play a blockchain game where you have to pay a transaction fee for anything,said Larsen.

Rising gasprices for transactions on Ethereum have caused a lot of users who are playing CryptoKitties to take a break or take a pause,Giang said. Its 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.

Robbie Ferguson, co-founder and COO of Fuel Games, the maker of Etherbots, said games like his and Axie Infinity introduced some sort of user activity.He believes for the industry to reach the next level, it needs to take a step towards real games which are indistinguishable from the kind of triple-A video games youd see normally, except they have all these advantages of then being immutable and provably scarce.
The Next Level

Viktor Radchenko, founder of the popular crypto wallet Trust Wallet, says specialization of blockchain companies will lead to better experiences and wider adoption of blockchain gaming applications.

There are lots of people trying to build their own blockchains. Instead, I think every team should be focusing on building a small module or application thats going to help the whole community grow,Radchenko said. Im glad there are lots of game developers that are just trying to polish the game experience, building really amazing animations, [focusing on] the game playing and the gamification itself and not [focusing] on scalability solutions.

It’s really important to find the people who are creating good stuff in a space so that we dont have to do everything,” added Larsen. “I dont think we should have to make a wallet. I dont think we should have to build a scaling solution. I think we as game developers should focus on creating a really great product.

Nick Bastone
Nick Bastone worked in startups at Square and Indigo Fair. He now covers tech for Inside.com and writes for publications across the Bay Area.