Crypto-native games promise a unique player experience. Because every player is free to augment the game with their own code (staying within the base rules), each time the game is played, it can evolve into something entirely new. A very basic core game can lead to many emerging strategies and shifts in player experience.
But this experience comes at a cost. Players need more than a basic understanding of blockchain, enough technical know-how to write code (or at least use someone else's), and a wallet loaded with tokens. These requirements limit your potential playerbase severely.
If you want to build a crypto-native game that is accessible to the average gamer, you need to do three things:
- abstract away blockchain concepts with good in-game analogies
- allow for no-code game augmentation
- support tokenless gameplay
One example: instead of "smart contracts", call them "rules" -- players add their own rules to the game by deploying smart contracts.
Players can still write their own code, but provide a drag-n-drop interface for combining common concepts within the game. You could do this with something like the Scratch programming language which is designed to teach children how to code -- players can drag blocks around to design the logic of the underlying smart contract. You could also use more pre-made concepts that package together bigger ideas instead of low level programming keywords (i.e. "charge each player 10 tokens" instead of "for each player, subtract 10 tokens, increase active player's balance by number of players * 10").
Normal gamers don't have a wallet loaded with tokens ready to go, but they're familiar with the concept of joining a game lobby. On Koinos, I would implement the game contract to allow for anyone to deposit Koin for the duration of the game, fueling free access for players who don't hold their own tokens. This is uniquely appropriate on Koinos as the "host" won't lose any money to gas fees, they're just trading the opportunity cost of liquidity for the prospect of a fun game with friends.
P.S. Games don't need to be crypto-native to offer freedom to players, but it helps to understand the extreme ends of the spectrum so you can pick and choose which elements to adopt for your game.