Hurdles holding back crypto games

published on 30 September 2021

✍️ @themikesteez


The reason I am so damn bullish on blockchain gaming is because I believe it’s the best vector for mainstream crypto adoption.

But while crypto in general has a lot of barriers, so does the crypto gaming sector.

According to top video game academic Joost Van Dreunen, “talent – not capital or technology – will be the primary bottleneck” of crypto gaming.

“Across all major blockchain game makers,” he writes, “there are roughly 1,000 full-time people. The most visible blockchain game companies have a combined valuation of $9.4 billion and employ only 492 people in aggregate.”

And while I agree with him, I think there’s a much bigger barrier to mainstream crypto gaming adoption…

The complexity of getting started, which is a UX/UI issue that plagues all of crypto right now.

Most newcomers to crypto start with a centralized exchange (CEX) like Gemini, Binance or Coinbase to buy their first crypto.

And for most people, it stops there.

It personally took me an entire weekend and countless YouTube videos to figure out how to set up a MetaMask wallet and use a DEX (decentralized exchange) to swap for altcoins.

At the time of this writing (and for the foreseeable future), setting up a crypto wallet like MetaMask is a prerequisite for crypto gaming.

This doesn’t even take into account learning how to purchase gaming NFTs, bridging assets, and playing the games themselves.

So we lose a lot of potential gamers right from the start.

Since I launched this newsletter, a lot of my friends have wanted to get started playing crypto games but find it takes too many steps.

Contrast that to playing a non-blockchain game:

  • Download an app on your mobile device
  • Sign in to Steam on a PC
  • Load a game in a console and pick up a controller

One reason NBA Top Shot is so popular is because it’s easy to use for people not fluent in crypto. Creating an account is simple and all you need to buy NFTs is a credit card. The experience is pretty much like any other web2 experience.

I think crypto gaming – and crypto as a whole – needs its own Steve Jobs, a visionary who can simplify the user experience so the tech fades into the background while the desired operation (i.e. playing a game) becomes intuitive and easy to execute.

Agree? Disagree? Want to talk more about this idea? Do you think a mainstream game dev will achieve this before a crypto-native? Email me at or tweet me @themikesteez

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All investment strategies and investments involve risk of loss. Nothing contained in this magical newsletter should be construed as financial or investment advice. We’re just two brains connecting through cyberspace and shooting the shit about the wild world of blockchain gaming, where buzzwords like “crypto” and “NFTs” roam freely. Any reference to an investment's past or potential performance is not, and should not be construed as, a recommendation or as a guarantee of any specific outcome or profit. Remember to do your own damn research and don’t just ape into things like I did with all those shitcoins from the Spring 2021 bull run.

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