Though they aren’t of a similar age, both gaming and Blockchian technology have come a long way since their humble beginnings. In 2021 and beyond, the possible benefits of Blockchain technology in gaming are many. A marriage of the two fields would resemble a miniature tech revolution, one whose outcomes would work in favour of all involved parties.
The the more mature business of gaming having grown from 16bit Super Mario, to Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games like the very successful PlayerUnknown BattleGrounds (PUBG) – which are played online and who’s gameplay strive to achieve a flow that is as close to life like as possible.
As the technology that develops and supports gaming has evolved, taking the industry to new heights, market-caps have also been on a steady up tick ever since. According to Mordor Intelligence, the gaming sector was valued at USD $162.32 billion in 2020, and is forecast to grow to USD $259 billion by the end of 2026. To put this into perspective, the global gaming market – formally known as Interactive Entertainment – was valued at USD $20.8 billion in 1994.
As for the Blockchain and digital assets arena, it’s been a very bumpy ride since its birth in 2009. Fast forward to now, and you’ll see the market basking in the heat of a bull run. This comes after the crypto currency market managed to do more than claw its way back from what detractors saw as the beginning of the end for digital assets – the market has soared to new all time highs since then. This boils down to use cases. For the most part of the early days of digital assets, many of Blockchain’s backbiters claimed that these assets had no significant uses beyond criminality and being a high risk instrument of speculation.
As the gaming industry has grown, there has been an increased focus on customisation and scarcity or uniqueness. The proliferation of this trend has brought to the table a demand for fairness, as these games – with characters that don’t die or chase after one predetermined objective – tend to have a life-like flow to them and incorporate tradable in-game assets. This results in emotional stakes that are fairly high.
For individuality through customisation and scarcity to work in gaming, there has to be transparency and trust between gamers and developers – as modern games have digital economies layered into the gameplay. The fact that developers have total control of these in-game economic structures may not sit well with gamers in the coming years.
The challenges don’t end there, security is a fast growing issue around MMO type games – more especially since the advent of in-game purchases. In its current state, the gaming industry is unable to provide bank-level security to player funds that are stored in gaming accounts. Add to this the fact that the majority of gamers will make these in-game transactions from devices that they haven’t secured properly against hacking – and games being hosted on private, centralised servers – and you have the right kind of situation for cyber criminals to exploit.
This is where Blockchain technology comes into play, it’s as though the two were made for each other. Right from the very beginning, proponents of Blockchain touted the novel creation as the only viable answer to the problem that is a lack of accountability – which plagues many industries apart from gaming. Creating a trustless online environment where two strangers can transact instantaneously, in a manner that is easy to verify and the history of which can be erased or altered is exactly what the gaming sector needs.
By leveraging Blockchain’s transparent ledger, games can facilitate in-game trading that is secured by the fact that healthy blockchains have no single point of failure. The reduced cost of transactions and the absence of middle men is also a feature that seems tailored to meet the needs of the gaming industry.
Blockchain technology also addresses the issue of verifiable scarcity or uniqueness of digital assets. With the advent and ballooning use of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT), a player who purchases a scarce or unique item in a blockchain integrated game can rest assured that the items purchased are in fact original. This is because each NFT is recorded on the ledger as a unique token with individual characteristics, therefore, it is not – like Bitcoin – bound to a one-to-one value.
This aspect of Blockchain tech’s foray into gaming is already happening and has been for a number of years now – with Cryptokitties being one of the most renowned.
Block chain Gaming Now & In The Future
The integration of Blockchain holds the potential to enhance the lifelike gameplay experiences that franchises like PUBG deliver to their audiences. Furthermore, even simpler games like online casinos and lotteries have already started to board the block chain boat.
The rapidly growing Virtual Reality segment is also likely to drive demand for better transparency and security, further fueling the creation of an online entertainment ecosystem that runs on the very bare minimum of required middle men – if any at all.