Remember when CryptoKitties caused congestion on the Ethereum highway? Congratulations, you’ve been in the cryptosphere for over a year. But since then, the number of users of the digital-cat-breeding platform has dropped significantly to fewer than 1,000 per week, just 1 percent of the numbers the network enjoyed in its heyday in December, 2017.
Now, CryptoKitties is trying to revive itself with a partnership with Gods Unchained—a blockchain based trading card game —to deliver on one of the long-running promises in this niche: the ability to take a digital item from one game and use it in another. This isn’t possible in regular games because such in-game items only exist within the game itself: the code can’t escape its creator. Yet when it comes to blockchain-based equivalents, they exist independently of the game and can be sent from one game to another quite happily. Dapp–and gaming–fans have been eagerly waiting for this functionality for a while, and if successful, is a huge shot across the bow of traditional gaming companies. But alas, like so many other dapps, it fails to deliver on its promises.
For those who only own real-world cats with all the agro that comes along, CryptoKitties is a dapp on the Ethereum blockchain where users buy, sell and breed digital cats. Each CryptoKitty has its own genetic code which is passed along when a kitty is bred with others. The pets are stored in the users own crypto wallets so—while they can be used in-game—they literally exist outside of the game. In fact, this is what opens up the door to using the cute pets, or any other digital tokens, in multiple games.
In a press release, Mack Flavelle, chief creative officer at Dapper Labs—which creates CryptoKitties—said, “The ability to use your digital asset across multiple platforms is one of the blockchain’s most promising superpowers.” It also revealed special edition CryptoKitties and Gods Unchained talismans will be created in what it called a “groundbreaking event.”
“The potential for items to find new utility across experiences is huge,” Flavelle told Decrypt, adding, “Imagine a player bringing their favorite item with them into title after title. That relationship could span years––their entire gaming career––and grow more special with every in-game achievement and final boss battle.”
But the reality is a bit more disappointing. For those hoping to actually use their digital assets across multiple platforms, they’re going to have to wait a little longer. “The Gods Unchained cards themselves can’t be used in CryptoKitties,” said Flavelle. It turns out the CryptoKitty-themed cards are just that, something new to collect but ultimately is limited to the one game. You can’t send them to the CryptoKitties game and trade them with other users—the functionality we’ve been hoping for. So, what gives?
Users can bring their limited edition CryptoKitties into the Gods Unchained platform by purchasing a “Cat in a Pack” which lets them turn their CryptoKitty into a Kitty-styled gaming card. This looks a lot like one crypto collectible from one game is being used in another game—but that’s not what’s happening. In effect, the user is paying for a Gods Unchained gaming card using a CryptoKitty. They are not able to use their CryptoKitty in the Gods Unchained game and then send it back, which is, again, what we’ve been waiting for. So, it’s thumbs down from us.
While there are 17 times more Ethereum dapps than EOS dapps, there are half as many people using them. If any can start demonstrating interoperability, it might kickstart a revival in user numbers. Flavelle said, “CryptoKitties is where we let people experience the new possibilities blockchain technology empowers, and we’ve wanted to showcase interoperability for some time.” In doing so, it could rise CryptoKitties to its former heights and this could even strangle Ethereum again as it still hasn’t learned to scale. But, by the looks of it, the cat has yet to get the cream.