Blockchain Gaming: Promising Opportunity?

Dominik Olech
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Blockchain technology is slowly becoming mainstream over the last years. The video game industry achieved this some time ago. However, the successful implementation of these two branches together is still not achieved. 

Of course, we already have popular CryptoKitties, which are a quite successful example of a blockchain approach toward gaming. But this game didn’t get popularity among mainstream gamers, and in the cryptocurrency world, it still mostly considered as a curiosity. What raises a question: is merging those two industries a good idea?

Two ways

To find a way to integrate these two divided industries, we should first ask: how can they profit on such fusion? At first glance, both are doing quite well. Blockchain is becoming a more and more popular trend around the world, with private companies and governments interested in implementing it. Yet, despite a wide range of areas where this technology can be used, it is still mostly associated with the cryptocurrency industry.

On the other side, we have video games, which recently grown up and stopped becoming associated with childish fun or hobby for geeks. Companies like Ubisoft or Electronic Arts are now the major players on the entertainment market, and platforms like Steam or Epic Games Store are gathering millions of players every day. 

We may divide two possible approaches to merging those two worlds together. The first one is focused on developing a game strictly connected to the blockchain world – both in the context of the technology and the specific lifestyle-related to it. The second one relies on using blockchain as an implementation upgrading already existing systems in gaming – just like it does in many other industries.

Crypto inspiration

Let’s start with attempts to create blockchain-based games, which became a more popular trend. Even recently, we were writing about F1 attempt to develop its own game in the recent Weekly Update. This particular example is based on non-fungible tokens – the same technology used in CryptoKitties. What differs NFT from the ordinary cryptocurrency is the uniqueness of every specific token. It makes this solution a perfect one for blockchain game developers who are interested in games basing on collecting some assets. Players acquire unique collectibles and may exchange them with other participants.

However, such a genre is only a small part of the video game industry. What are the perspectives for other, more popular types of interactive entertainment? As for now, the number of incoming (or already released) blockchain games is still low, and rather insignificant – but it is constantly growing. What is notable, most of the announced productions are strictly connected with blockchain not only in terms of technology but also base gameplay idea and aesthetic on the cryptocurrency world as well.

For instance: incoming real-time strategy multiplayer game called Hash Rush is set in the fantastic world where space tribes are mining resources called Crypto Crystals. The player leads one them, and all resources acquired in the game are able to by buying or sell among the other participants. Some games go even further: Neon District is set in a dystopian cyberpunk world where cryptocurrencies are a significant part of the society. And since cypherpunks, fathers of the industry, take their names from this setting – it suits pretty well.

Tokenization ideas

The other approach is implementing blockchain into already existing games. As in any other industry which gained profit from using this technology, it may effectively increase the performance of some processes. In the case of video games, it applies especially to micropayments, which are trending in gaming recently. Many games already have designed in-game currencies, and tokenization provided by blockchain suits perfectly for this role.

One of the recent examples comes from a popular multiplayer game called PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). Game’s developers made a partnership with Refereum – startup, which specializes in crypto game marketing. Players earn a blockchain-based token, which later can be spent for in-game purchases. 

The more complex blockchain solution is going to be implemented into a game called simply The Sandbox. The game is similar to popular Minecraft, and it allows players to create their own worlds. Blockchain technology will allow us to monetize those creations and trade them with other participants. 

Sustainable development

Providing blockchain solutions to existing games might be more effective than building utterly new ones entirely on this technology. No matter how blockchain is fantastic, it won’t match everywhere. The cryptocurrency industry got us used to show it as a universal solution, but sometimes it is better to stay with some checked methods.

On the other hand, integration between the cryptocurrency industry and video games was somehow inevitable. Both simply have similar target groups, and many people related to one of them used to have some experience with the other (like Hal Finney, who began his career as a games developer). And as long as attempts to create blockchain games aren’t predicated by trend forcing implementing cryptocurrency everywhere, but follow the actual idea for attractive gameplay, then both industries will be happy to see such production.

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