Online gaming is a multi-billion-dollar industry with equally billion-dollar technologies supporting it. One of said technologies is the notorious, and now über popular blockchain.
The blockchain is a shared ledger that’s used to record transactions and track assets online. Nobody owns the blockchain; every application and transaction on it is processed by multiple computers around the globe, making it one of the safest spaces on the internet. According to Grandviewresearch.com article on the global blockchain technology market, it will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 82.4% from 2021 to 2028.
Incidentally, online gaming will become one of the biggest contributors to this growth. And here’s why:
Faster and safer payments
Cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency created on the blockchain. No banks own it and the encryptions and cross-checking functions offered by the blockchain ensures that it’s the safest traded currency online. This fact is especially relevant now that the number of online gaming scams has risen, especially in categories like iGaming and mobile gaming where the currency is often exchanged.
Plus, since crypto doesn’t go through any third-party processor, the transactions made using the currency are done much faster.
You can have your fiat money exchanged for crypto on trading platforms like eToro and Coinbase. A lot of online games like CryptoPop and OX Universe already support crypto purchases in-game. There are also online retailers like GamesOnly.at that allow people to purchase games and online store credits (like Steam gift cards) using crypto.
More control over games
Gaming developers and providers don’t have complete ownership of their assets. For instance, miHoYo, the publisher of the hit mobile RPG Genshin Impact, has been working to discredit hackers that are selling copies of their in-game currency (called “Primogems”). And though miHoYo can penalize players who have been caught participating in this illegal activity, they have no real way of stopping the hackers from selling Primogems.
It’d be a different story if the game was built on the blockchain. The blockchain can’t be tampered with, so there would be no way Primogems could be copied and resold.
Some developers and providers can’t even publish their games because third-party regulators won’t allow them in their location or platform. An example of this is online poker — a skill-based game that has contributed billions of dollars to the US economy. However, it’s still banned in most states. This is why Poker.org shares that poker providers are looking into crypto to allow more people to play online in the US. People can simply exchange their money for crypto and use the digital currency to enter tournaments. Crypto’s decentralized nature allows the asset to check and regulate itself, banishing the need for third-party intervention.
Total ownership of in-game assets
Many online games make us believe that when we purchase them or something on their platform, it’s completely ours. Case in point: the Primogems in Genshin Impact. You may buy them from miHoYo but, legally, the publisher still owns them. This is why they’re allowed to ban players who trade illegal copies of it.
But if the game was created on the blockchain, you will have total ownership of anything you buy. It’s like purchasing a property and its deed. Let’s take the blockchain game CryptoKitties as an example. If you buy a crypto kitty from another player, that crypto kitty is yours. Not even Dapper Labs, the game’s developer, has jurisdiction over your kitty. Moreover, things created and bought on the blockchain won’t disappear unless you, the owner, delete it. So, if CryptoKitties was deleted on the blockchain, for instance, your purchased kitties would still exist.
Affordable game development
With the introduction of the blockchain, a new gaming category was introduced: gaming decentralized applications (DApps). Gaming DApps don’t just operate on the blockchain, they’re built on them, too. CryptoKitties is an example of a DApp built on the Ethereum blockchain.
DApps are a good option for developers with great gaming ideas but don’t have the resources to build them. After all, a DApp guide on Medium.com notes that the tools you need to build a DApp are most, if not all, free. You can get repositories from Github, for instance. Ethereum base builds are also free to access (and later modified).
From secured payments to affordable developer tools, the blockchain has offered much to the gaming industry. And with the growth of both fields, more collaborations will surely follow in the coming years.