DeGame > GameFi
I was recently introduced to an excellent article by @gubsheep on crypto-native games. This is a really interesting category of games that are uniquely enabled by blockchain (you could probably build a game with the same properties off-chain, but it would be a ton of work).
There are 3 main properties of crypto-native games:
- all game data is stored on chain
- all game logic is executed on chain via smart contracts
- everything is open source and extensible
(the article offers two additional points, but they're generally extensions of the above points--give it a read if you want more detail)
In practice, this means that your game client is just a thin layer on top of the blockchain. Players just use your game client for visuals and as an easy way to read chain data and invoke smart contracts. Developers can extend the game openly with plugins, mods, alternative clients, automations, or anything really. As long as the custom extensions play within the rules of the core game contracts, it's fair game.
Blockchain's first killer app is DeFi, so as games are built on chain, they naturally want to capture the best parts of DeFi innovations. The problem is that most games choose Fi(nance) side over De(centralization). The result is play-to-earn: generally un-fun games with "guaranteed" profits for those who grind within your game.
Crypto-native games are the alternative. By fully embracing decentralization, you sacrifice control over your game's future and your role in that future. But as long as players think it's fun, this kind of game is effectively immortal. You can close up shop and even actively attempt to prevent people from playing, but DeGames take on a life of their own in the hands of the community.
P.S. There are a few cool examples of crypto-native games today. I'm working to get some of their creators on the podcast.