One of the most commonly asked questions by new players is, “How do I value my Kitty?” While it’s impossible to set an exact price for a Kitty — they are collectibles, after all — there are things that make some Kitties more sought-after than others.
So what do experienced players look for? There are three primary things to consider in a Kitty: rarity, utility, and appearance.
Some kitties have set limits or caps that will preserve their scarcity over time. Other Kitties are rare because they’re difficult to create.
There can only ever be 50,000 Gen 0 Kitties — we set that rule at the start of CryptoKitties, and thanks to blockchain technology, we can never change it — and as of November 2018, the Kitty Clock, the account we used to release a new Gen 0 every 15 minutes, has closed (again, according to the plan we set out when we launched the game).
Over that year the Kitty Clock produced 34,928 Gen 0 Kitties, and, as of December 2018, we've minted an additional 3,087 Gen 0 Kitties on top of that. We're holding the remaining Gen 0 Kitties (about 12,000 at the time of writing) to release for special events and campaigns.
Higher-generation Kitties can be created through breeding, but new Gen 0 cats cannot, which makes their scarcity and value secured over time.
Each Fancy has a cap, which means that only a certain number of each kind of Fancy will be produced. For example, the SantaClaws Fancy has reached its limit, so if you want that Fancy, your only option is to buy one. They can no longer be bred. If more people join the game and want to start collecting Fancies, the demand will grow without an increase in supply, making the value of those Fancies increase.
Kitties are numbered according to the order in which they were born, so the low ID numbers indicate that a Kitty was born early in the game. As we get more and more Kitties, the Kitties with only four or five digits in their number will really start to stand out. Those early IDs can’t be recreated, and owning one of those Kitties is like owning a little piece of CryptoKitties history. Collectors love low serial numbers, and we’re already seeing those low-ID Kitties selling for significantly higher prices than comparable high-ID Kitties.
Exclusive Kitties are a special type of cat that cannot be created through breeding. They are usually dropped into the game on special occasions by the developers (who have reserved 5,000 kitties for purposes like this). Exclusives include kitties like Genesis, Cathena, the three BugCats, the eleven KnightKitties, and the sixteen Golden DogCats. Historically, these are some of the most valuable Kitties in the game.
There were a hundred Founder Cats that started the game. There was Kitty #1, which was Genesis, and then there were 99 jaguars (#2 – #100). These are the only Gen 0 jaguars in existence, so all jaguar cats have a direct ancestral link to these founder cats. As a result, there seems to be extra appeal in jaguar Kitties for most people. And the Founder Cats themselves are among the most highly-valued Kitties in the game.
Every once in a while, Kitties accidentally get released with artwork mistakes. When this happens, the developers will fix the error for future kitties but they won’t go back and change the artwork on kitties that were already created. You want some examples? The artwork for serpent, onyx, ganado, pouty, and calicool have all been tweaked slightly. There were two Kitties that should have turned into Negato Fancy cats but accidentally came out as normal Kitties (#537559, #537593). There were a few early Kitties (#21391, #21392) whose artwork doesn’t match their genes at all. When these mistakes happen, it can actually increase their value for collectors.
Of all the Cattributes that we see in this game, half were released through Gen 0 cats and half have been discovered through mutations. Mutations (or “ascensions”) only occur a small fraction of the time, and only when two specific traits are combined through breeding. For example, if you breed a salmon Kitty with a shawdowgrey Kitty, you have a small chance of creating a cloudwhite Kitty. (After that happens, however, the cloudwhite Kitty may pass on its cloudwhite trait as a normal gene.)
Because mutations are more challenging to create than basic traits, they stay rare in low generations for a much longer period of time than basic traits. In particular, low-generation Kitties with multiple mutations or high-tier mutations (i.e. mutations of mutations) are particularly hard to come by.
Some Kitties are valuable because they’re useful.
The more a Kitty breeds, the slower it gets at breeding. The amount of time a Kitty must wait between breeds is called its cooldown. The slowest speed is Catatonic, and those Kitties must wait a week between each of their breeds. Kitties with faster cooldown speeds are considered more useful because they can create several offspring before they become Catatonic.
Low-generation Kitties are useful because they have offspring with quick cooldowns. This is because a Kitty’s cooldown at birth is determined by its generation. For example, a Gen 2 Kitty will always be born with a Swift cooldown and a Gen 20 Kitty will always be born with a Slow cooldown. To get low-generation offspring, you need low-generation parents. (A Kitty’s generation is one generation higher than its highest-generation parent).
For each trait, a Kitty has one gene that determines the visible Cattribute and three hidden genes that may potentially pass to offspring.
The more mutations you can pack into a Kitty, the better your odds are of passing on those mutations (and maybe creating higher-tier mutations too!). This can be useful for creating rare Kitties or Fancies.
Kitties that have multiple traits required for creating a Fancy are very useful (as long as that Fancy is still in production). Even if you don’t want to go for a Fancy yourself, you can sell or sire Kitties that are useful for creating Fancies. Fancies themselves are very useful for this same reason – you can use Fancies to breed Fancies.
Whether a Kitty is beautiful, ugly, or hilarious, a striking appearance is a great way to catch a buyer’s eye. Aesthetics are highly subjective, of course, but here are a few things to think about.
Some colors go great together, like bananacream with pastels or onyx with bright highlights. Other colors clash terribly.
Some colors are safe, like cloudwhite, because they go well with almost anything.
Other colors refuse to play nice with anyone.
Some colors have great names that inspire feelings of success, like gold.
Other colors have names like babypuke.
There’s a whole rainbow of colors to choose from. Please use them responsibly (or don’t).
The eyes and mouth of a Kitty are the most expressive part of a Kitty’s personality, and can often make or break a Kitty’s “look”.
“Family Jewels” are awarded to the first Kitties who introduce a new Cattribute into their family, and those jewels may be passed on to their descendents. Jewels are not only beautiful, but they link your Kitty to pioneers in CryptoKitties history.
When it comes to appearance, no two people will have exactly the same taste in Kitties. But over time, we’ll see overall market preferences for certain traits or combinations of traits. Already, it’s pretty clear that American buyers prefer wingtips over crazy eyes. But that doesn’t mean that a crazy-eyed cat can’t defy all odds and get added value by winning a gold medal in a Kitty contest. Because he can. And has.
Beyond the factors of rarity, utility, and appearance, there’s also an “X-Factor” that can create added value to Kitties. This X-Factor may take any form, like sentimental value (your first Kitty), celebrity value (Kitty #19143), or even something completely random (a Kitty’s name makes you laugh). Whatever it is, it’s always going to be impossible to nail down an exact price for each Kitty because we each get to appreciate these Kitties in our own way. These Kitties are truly unique, and not just unique in an “ERC-721 non-fungible” kind of way. They’re unique in the many ways we can love each one.