Deep Dive
September 29, 2023

Competitive Gaming - Obstacles to Overcome

Competitive Gaming is within our reach, all we have to do is overcome the last obstacles.

Evolution Held Back

Recent years have been revolutionary for the entire competitive gaming industry. The players have spoken, and their actions have shown what they truly strive for: games filled with meaningful competition against other humans, in a skill-based environment. However, as the competitive gaming niche started to gain traction and new games began to enter the market, players began to notice issues stemming from the traditional gaming industry that effectively limited further development of the competitive niche. In this short blogpost we will focus on identifying and explaining the areas that hinder further growth of competitive gaming, either directly or indirectly.

  • Social dynamics and lack of meaningful human interaction
  • Competitive spirit atrophy and the popularity of rpg-like games
  • Walled Garden and its consequences
  • Omnipresent Pay-to-Win mechanisms
  • Monetization issues

Social Dynamics

Back in the day, games were all about having fun, whether you were playing alone or with friends sitting right next to you. Games like Mario Bros. and Jazz Jackrabbit were perfect examples, where you could either team up or go head-to-head with your friend. However, nowadays, it seems like most games are either all about solo gameplay or online gaming without much real human interaction—unless you invite a bunch of friends to your lobby. This setup often isolates players, making it challenging to connect and have those social moments. A perfect example here might be esports titles like CS:GO, where you either invite your friends or are automatically assigned to a team of strangers who might not provide you with the time of your life, as there are no meaningful rewards and "punishments" involved.

While the shift toward competitive gaming has been happening for a while now, it's likely that we've reached a point where some players have realized the limitations of solitary gaming and have started seeking out social interactions through competitive games, building up momentum needed to create a change.

The direction is set; now all we need is the proper implementation.

Competitive Spirit Atrophy

Over the years, gaming has shifted from being a source of entertainment shared among friends to becoming a predominantly solitary experience. A critical aspect of this transformation is that the primary opponent in most games is now AI, not a human player. This shift has gradually stifled the competitive spirit in most players, leading to a situation where competitiveness was not a significant factor to consider while creating new games.

While playing against AI opponents might be enjoyable, it lacks that essential human competitive element that we naturally crave. These days, it's rare to find old-school arcade or console games where you can compete against someone sitting right next to you; we may have titles like Overcooked or For the King, but those are rather niche compared to a wider trend in the industry. The closest experience to meaningful competition can be found in Battle Royale or esports titles, where players can engage in competitive gameplay against other humans. However, this domain still struggles with its issues, the primary one being the mismatch in aligning incentives with the reward system.

Walled Garden

Accessing competitive gaming titles from the esports world has become relatively simple and convenient in recent years, but this ease of access has not always been the norm in the broader gaming industry. The introduction of gaming consoles marked a significant shift in the industry, accompanied by changing consumer demographics and needs.

In the past, only a limited number of kids had the opportunity to play on consoles, while the majority was left with older forms of entertainment. This created a more exclusive gaming community that influenced the types of games being developed leading to the following scenario - over time, there was a growing emphasis on single-player games designed to immerse players in the game world, rather than focusing on competition against other people.

The differences that emerged during that era are readily apparent when comparing console and PC games to those designed for mobile devices. Console and PC games prioritize storytelling and various role-playing elements, while mobile games tend to emphasize casual and hyper-casual gameplay that can be enjoyed during brief gaming sessions. Although this creates two totally different types of players, both groups begin to seek a similar goal - meaningful competition.

Pay-to-Win Mechanisms

One thing multiplayer games, especially mobile titles, often struggle with is Pay-to-Win features, significantly limiting the number of dedicated players.

Why would you even bother playing a game where all your skill and strategy can be completely undermined just by buying in-game boosts with fiat money?

Buying items that only enhance the external appearance of in-game items or maps is very common, as it aligns with the trend of personalizing the player experience and does not influence the final outcome. However, if purchased items can alter the game itself, it significantly impacts the in-game mechanics and the potential player base.

The problem with Pay-to-Win features is that they're not always obvious to players at first, making it seem like you can just strategize your way to an advantage. However, once you're really into the game, it becomes clear that you can only keep progressing if you buy in-game boosts or items. This situation leaves the player with two choices: either pay for further advantage or give up on the game because you can't move forward without it.


The success of the esports industry clearly demonstrates the significance of competitive gaming in today's world. When you observe how the World Championships are organized and the impressive prizes awarded at major tournaments, it becomes evident that there is a strong incentive to hone your gaming skills and strive for excellence. However, there is a notable issue with this monetization approach.

The esports industry often prioritizes professionalism over enjoyment, creating a situation where only players who reach a world-class level can monetize their dedication and hard-earned skills. But what about the remaining 99% of players who struggle to reach the top? If we do some quick math, it's apparent that the vast majority will never achieve the highest level, and they might never get the opportunity to monetize their gaming abilities.

Various attempts have been made to help gamers monetize their skills, such as offering paid coaching or providing rewards for participating in systems like FACEIT. However, these initiatives are typically quite limited, and only a few esports titles offer effective ways to monetize skills via FACEIT leaving many players with untapped potential.

The Solution

The first wave of on-chain gaming provided everyone with a long list of lessons to learn from. Those who have done their homework can now implement all the ideas and solutions necessary to finally bring on-chain gaming to the masses.

One of the lessons everyone has to learn is that blockchain games move along a spectrum, which means those games can greatly vary in their setup. Just because a game uses blockchain technology doesn't mean every match has to be played on the blockchain or involve NFT assets. There's a range of possibilities, like storing match history on the blockchain while the gameplay itself is on centralized servers. Alternatively, players could earn collectibles in the form of NFTs for winning games that aren't entirely on the blockchain. Imagine a widely-known esports title rewarding players with NFTs for their achievements or stats; for example, every Pentakill in League of Legends would now be commemorated in the form of an NFT you can showcase in your profile.

The integration of blockchain technology into gaming will be so smooth that players will not even realize they are using blockchain technology while playing games. This is exactly the goal of Elympics: to focus on bringing enjoyable gameplay that players would immerse themselves in without thinking about the technology.

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