Some people just aren't that into digital cats.
Once the only major ethereum application (or dapp) to see a large number of users trading "crypto collectables," CryptoKitties is seeing new competition from projects seeking to issue their own tradable code on the blockchain. Zombies, countries - even crypto celebrities - are now creating whole new markets for exchangeable goods.
Indeed, earlier this week, more than $10 million in ether was documented to be circulating within ethereum games, according to data collected by DappRadar.
"If 2017 was the year of the ICOs on ethereum, 2018 is the year of the crypto games on ethereum," Iuri Matias, developer of ethereum dapps framework Embark, tweeted.
Maybe it should be no surprise, since the items being traded have produced incredible price tags. For instance, the most expensive cats on CryptoKitties are currently worth 100,000 ETH per cat, or $93.4 million at today's prices.
Simon Powell, developer of CryptoCountries, one of the games garnering a significant amount of attention, told CoinDesk:
"We're in the middle of the crypto gaming craze."
And while CryptoKitties is still, by far, the most successful game according to transaction count, it has markedly ebbed since its peak in December. Entering February, some alternatives are attracting higher volumes.
Here are the top-grossing games giving CryptoKitties a scare.
The slick interface and money-making potential of CryptoCountries puts it first in line as the top-grossing ethereum game today.
Billed as offering "world domination on the blockchain," the game allows users to purchase countries on a digital map in what amounts to a twist on the board game classic Risk. Should another user place a higher bid, the country then moves into their control, and the user that was outbid then receives the profit made on the higher bid.
In the past week alone, 35,768.51 ether has passed through CryptoCountries' system, compared to 1,551.16 on CryptoKitties.
Currently, the most expensive country is Japan, which costs 709 ether, $658,508 according to current metrics.
When asked what's driving the interest in CryptoCountries, Powell said, "Same thing that drove the internet craze, it's new, it's fresh, it's now.
"We are seeing a new kind of game concept that is made possible by the ethereum blockchain," he said.
2. Crypto-All Stars
While it's currently in second place based on volume, Crypto-All Stars is expected to be a big hit, having already amassed tweets from some big names in the industry.
And litecoin creator Charlie Lee sang the praises of the game on Twitter, saying, "Move over CryptoKitties. We now have Crypto-All Stars to clog the ethereum network!"
Lee, whose card is worth $25,705 according to CoinMarketCap, might not be wrong. Following the company's announcement, the game attracted 1,866.01 ether overnight - notable since the platform is still in beta.
Crypto-All Stars works similar to CryptoCountries: bidders can buy the digital collectable from the current owner in a running auction. However, if a user can verify themselves as one of the Crypto-All Stars, that user can receive royalties to the tune of 50 percent on all fees gained from the trading of their image.
Lee, for one, said he'd be giving 4 percent of all those proceeds to the Litecoin Foundation.
"The year is 2020, and the Crypto-All Stars have gone to war with the CryptoCelebrities," tweeted the account of CryptoPunks, poking fun at a feud that will likely seem ridiculous to outsiders.
Much like Crypto-All Stars, CryptoCelebrities allows you to trade the hottest names, but unlike the former dapp, it isn't limited to crypto industry celebrities. Leonardo DiCaprio, Vladimir Putin... if you can name them, CryptoCelebrities is putting them on the blockchain.
But, though the pool of choices is wider for users of CryptoCelebrities, the prices for its assets aren't yet as high. So far, ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin's card is in a three-way tie for most expensive asset with U.S. President Donald Trump and Telsa and SpaceX founder Elon Musk at $142,047.
Second on the list is pseudonymous bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto at $116,030.
Notable about its design, however, is that CryptoCelebrities hard-codes a value increase into its contracts, so with each new purchase, the value of the contract goes up incrementally.
Probably the closest game to CryptoKitties by design, EtherBots recently sold out of its pre-sale tokens three days early, overtaking CryptoKitties in transaction volume at the time.
The game allows users to purchase "crates" for building cute, customizable robots that can then be bought and sold on the marketplace. On top of that, EtherBots adds a competitive element, allowing users to battle the bots of other users in duels and tournaments - a feature many think will make the game even more popular than others before it.
The pre-sale, which netted over $1 million according to a press release, allowed gamers access to cheaper materials and some special features, including exclusive access to Lamborghini-inspired robot-parts.
In the announcement, the company also said the tokens will be tradable on game asset exchange OPSkins by next month. That the game itself is due to launch on Wednesday, Feb. 21st at 10pm PT.
"See you on the moon," the website states.
Sad kitty via CryptoKitties