Gaming has come a long way from the 16-bit graphics of the past. Want to play online with friends? All you need is the right hardware and a web connection. Purely in terms of accessibility, we’re at a stage where the majority of the world’s population can indulge in virtual entertainment.
For better or worse, it’s become incredibly easy to jump into gaming. However, the world of gaming is constantly in a state of flux, with many new technologies influencing the scope of modern video games.
From the proliferation of crypto mining to sweeping changes in international law, digital currencies, and peer-to-peer verification, technology is growing exponentially, causing drastic changes to how we do business, value art and design, and even how video games are made.
Blockchain technology, the proverbial backbone of all cryptocurrencies, is transforming many aspects of gaming. But just how influential is blockchain technology? Will it affect the future of all online games? For the moment, there are no definitive answers to these questions. What is clear, though, is that blockchain technology has already provided evidence of its influence.
From the creation of an entirely new genre of video games to the introduction of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain technology is used for a variety of functions in online gaming. Below you will find several examples of the implementation of blockchain technology in video games, as well as potential considerations for the future.
The rise of play-to-earn
Pay-to-win and free-to-play epitomize the current state of video games. Profits for gaming companies are at an all-time high, with the video game industry earning more than movies and music combined. Historically, the average consumer hasn’t been given many ways to share in those profits, which is why play-to-earn games are rapidly garnering attention.
If you want to play online and earn money whilst doing so, esports and streaming used to be the only ways to get paid for playing games. However, thanks to blockchain technology, it’s now possible to earn an income by simply playing a game over time.
Based on the idea that players should be allowed to invest in the games they purchase, this new genre is known as play-to-earn games . Players are given a chance to profit from these games, proportionate to the time and energy they’ve invested in them.
Asset ownership and NFTs
If you spend a lot of time playing one game in particular, what better way to show your dedication than to own a portion of the game itself? Due to the growth of NFTs, ownership of in-game assets is becoming increasingly common.
Multiple studies have shown that roughly half of all game development companies are now looking at blockchain technology as a viable solution to the monetization woes of the past. By keeping a game’s profits within the game itself, gamers are afforded the opportunity to invest in something they are passionate about.
Major gaming companies, like Ubisoft and Square Enix, for example, are jumping on the NFT bandwagon, ushering in a new age of digital transactions. If such a move means the reduction of microtransactions and pay-to-win elements, gamers will surely welcome such a fundamental transformation.
Due to the transparent nature of blockchain transactions, peer-to-peer financial systems are highly secure. All transactions can be viewed by anyone, making fraud and other forms of criminal enterprise incredibly hard to pull off. Blockchain-built games can avoid many types of cybercrime, such as hacking and other prevalent exploits, as they use a decentralized payment model.
The value of any currency largely depends on how secure it is. Blockchains are quickly becoming one of the safest ways to monetize a game. As we’ve already mentioned, recorded transactions are public knowledge, which leaves little room for manipulative tendencies or abusive practices.
Blockchain technology also answers the question of intangible value. How do you judge whether an in-game item should cost a specific amount? Instead of developers and publishers dictating the answer to that question, blockchain technology creates organic in-game economies, where the ‘free market’ becomes the only dictator of price.
On its way to becoming the world’s largest entertainment industry, the world of gaming has experienced its fair share of ups and downs, from failed products to groundbreaking new technologies. Microtransactions, loot boxes, and unfinished games have all been met with major controversy, while VR, cryptocurrencies, and mobile gaming have witnessed unprecedented growth.
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology clearly aren’t going anywhere. Though their adoption rates are fairly slow when it comes to online games, the benefits are more than compelling enough to speed up the process. However, all things considered, NFTs are still a fairly new technology, which means that it will take some time before the majority of consumers are on board with such a radical change from today’s industry standards.