Game Over: More Than 30% of Crypto Games Have Been Discontinued

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Game Over: More Than 30% of Crypto Games Have Been Discontinued
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Recent research from blockchain gaming group Game7 reported that nearly 50 crypto games stopped development in 2023. But new data collected by Big Blockchain Games List creator Jon Jordan, who also writes for BlockchainGamer.biz, suggests that the number of crypto games that have been shuttered or halted is actually much, much higher. 

In fact, it’s well over triple Game7’s initial number.

Big Blockchain Game List found that 248 crypto games were discontinued or became inactive in the first half of 2023, and 162 were discontinued in the second half of last year. This means that an estimated 410 blockchain games went dark last year, making up over 30% of the 1,322 games that have ever appeared on that list. 

Decrypt has reached out to Game7 for comment and an update on its previous data.

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The most common reason cited for marking a game as “discontinued” is a prolonged period of no updates or activity—meaning, a game simply went radio-silent across all its social media channels and website for months on end. 

Other games, like Blankos Block Party, Gran Saga: Unlimited, The Harvest, Pixelcraft, Lost Archive Plus, Oath of Peak, and Arcane Magic, have been marked as “canceled” because they’ve made public announcements about stopping development—typically citing market conditions, a lack of funding, or both as the reason for their shutdowns. 

In the case of Blankos Block Party, the Mythical Games team quietly announced the desktop game’s closure in December, just a year and a half after a splashy Epic Games Store launch. Now, the NFL Rivals developer is planning a Blankos Mobile game instead. 

Some blockchain games have been marked discontinued because they’ve deleted all their accounts and disappeared. And a few have abandoned their blockchain plans to become a cryptoless game, like Neopets Metaverse and Immortal Game. Neopets CEO Dominic Law previously told Decrypt that they ditched crypto because most of their fans simply don’t care about it, while Immortal’s team said that they transitioned their game away from blockchain because of “heavy cheating.”

Which blockchains saw the most losses? According to Big Blockchain Game, Binance’s BNB Chain saw the most games shut down across 2023. Polygon games also made up a notable amount of games discontinued, as well as the Ethereum mainnet and Solana. In the second half of 2023, nine games on Sui were reportedly marked as discontinued. 

The chains that saw the most games disappear or become inactive do align proportionately with their relative sizes, on the whole. Game7’s previous report found that Polygon and BNB were the top two chains with the most games, with Ethereum’s mainnet coming in third and Solana placing fourth. 

It’s worth noting, however, that this fresh data is not completely comprehensive. A large portion of games that shut down in 2023 were marked as “unknown” or “other” when it comes to their respective blockchains. Prior Decrypt research found that this is a common issue, however, as many blockchain games do not clearly state what chain they are using on any of their social media accounts, websites, whitepapers, or other related documents.

And with games that are so early in development, there often isn’t much blockchain-based data to interpret when teams haven’t launched any NFT collections or tokens, so it’s possible that some of these now-discontinued titles marked as “unknown” had simply not chosen a blockchain to build on before their shutdowns. 

While the number of abandoned or canceled blockchain gaming projects was substantial given its comparatively small market size in 2023, its discontinuation rate of roughly 30% is in line with the broader gaming industry. A 2023 report found that 43% of (non-crypto) mobile games are canceled during their development—and that 83% of mobile games “fail” within three years.

The broader gaming industry also had a difficult year when it comes to game cancellations, studio shutdowns, and mass layoffs. 2023 saw an estimated 10,500 game industry layoffs, according to the Game File newsletter. 

And 2024 isn’t off to the greatest start either. Minecraft Legends has just stopped development updates, while Twitch, Unity, Discord, and Archiact have already laid off thousands of staff combined. Last year’s economic and strategic challenges for the gaming industry may not lessen anytime soon.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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