Gaming: blockchain’s not-so-secret weapon
Will gamers be the ones to turn blockchain into a mainstream technology?
Blockchain technology has been used to expand different markets by building other dapps in different areas: cryptogames, gambling, there have even been government people trying to implement the technology for things such as medical insurance (although they haven’t been exactly successful) among others, but none of them have proven to be the winner in how to implement blockchain on a bigger scale. We know many things have been said about which of all sectors will be the one to change the status of blockchain as something only a segment of people know and turn it into a mainstream technology.
If a couple of years ago hope was placed in finances and how the different protocols are digital forms of currency, today the picture looks quite different as cryptocoins have faced different obstacles like government regulations, and gambling dapps—mostly—and game dapps take the lead in the rankings. You’ve read this probably 1 or 1,987,546 times, but what about one more time?
How is blockchain technology useful for games and what limitations can it help to overcome?
In November, Gameunculus published an article about how gaming needs blockchain to move forward into the future as the latter could end non-blockchain games’ bad monetization of in-game assets, to name just one limitation.
Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX) ran a study using gamers and devs as subjects. The results were not surprising really as 62% of gamers said they would spend more money on buying items in games if they could virtually transfer them into other games. Boom! you have a huge audience just there. As for game devs, 84% of them said they would create in-game items if they were compatible for different games, since reselling them in other games raises their earnings. But a concern that surpasses the aforementioned is the following question: Why spend money for in-game items that are ultimately fully controlled by games’ publishers? Same goes for accounts.
Let’s read a story about a certain game that by going free-to-play for all managed to get more than 120M users in less than a year: Fortnite, a company that has managed to make more than 1,2B in revenue—puting different new skins and items for sale almost every day—since it came out. When other games like Call of Duty and Battlefield followed Fortnite’s monetization model, the game’s steady growth began to slow down noticeably. Again, one of the biggest reasons for players not buying new skins and other items is that they’re not transferable in-between games and that technically, you don’t even own your account there. Forbes calls blockchain the silver bullet when it comes to the problem of unnecessary publisher control among other things like game-to-game transferable items, or when a character in your favorite game is available for a certain amount of time—if you face this situation on blockchain, the character is yours forever, or at least until you decide what to do with it.
Ok but, what about the other way around?
Now we are turning the tables and trying to answer the question of why blockchain needs gaming. We all know that the north here is mass adoption. We’ve stated that the use of blockchain tech in gaming holds many advantages over console or pc gaming ones and that there’s a number of reasons why both players and devs would commit to in-game items if they were built on any blockchain—well, that’s implied in the WAX study mentioned earlier—and throw more money at games at the same time. Remember for a second that the gaming industry is a billion-dollar industry, fueled by millions of people—and communities from all around the world.
Both TRON and EOS for example are aware of the phenomenom that is the gaming community and its reach capacity, for which they have created funds dedicated solely to help build gaming dapps. TRON Arcade’s funds are around the $100M and EOS VC funds are over the $1B mark.
Console and pc gaming tech share a thing or two with blockchain—the use of digital economies for example—and we’ve already seen that they seem to complement each other too. Video games have contributed in the adoption of technology as they demanded a series of improvements back in the late 80’s—and continues to do so. This series of upgrades occur in different aspects from visual effects, computer graphics and making hardware advances for playing games. The mechanic improvements have been enjoyed by people outside the gaming community as they have helped to improve other techs in general--faster computers, high-def everything, etc. which consequently made such technologies so popular they are now mainstream.
We know blockchain tech has the potential to solve almost every obstacle pc and console gaming have, which would manifest in the entire gaming community adopting blockchain to do their favorite thing: playing videogames. The industry nerds helped carried other technologies--like computers-- towards mass adoption, so you see why it could also be the bridge that helps establish blockchain high in the game. It would help develop a big number of technological improvements (blockchain is not prepared yet to accommodate such a large number of users a community like gaming has) and it would make blockchain’s adoption really smooth. That being said, console and pc games are still unknown territory to many—just like blockchain is. So in terms of audience, gamers are right on the money. Though they have skyrocketed on the last 15 years, they're still a niche in the sense that it is a market that people (other than the gaming community ) don't know much of.
“Dapper Labs uses the power of play to deliver blockchain-based experiences that are made for you and ready for the real world” claims Dapper Labs’ website. Like them, many different companies have turned to creating games through the blockchain protocol, and games dapps occupy 5 out the top 10 dapps on ETH, and on EOS and TRON, game dapps are second only to gambling dapps. Though most of them have a really small number of every-day players—a few games have thousands of DAU, like EOS Knights and Epic Dragons—these are dapps that move millions of dollars (investments, sales, collectibles,etc). Another appealing characteristic of gaming as an important sector in blockchain is that when gamers became connected (MMO games) through the internet, virtual communities arose uniting people on opposite ends of the world because of one and one purpose only.
So, what’s blockchain’s main obstacle to reach every household?
Volatility in the financial aspect certainly doesn’t help, but getting into this protocol is way too complicated for regular folks out there. The process, so to speak, that’s involved in adopting it is far from simple and it’s a huge wall between running happily on blockchain fields and sticking to current gaming limitations. Installing a connection like MetaMask that connects your computer to the decentralized web will grant you access to all dApps without having to run an Ethereum node, crypto games included. MetaMask will also manage your wallet, enabling you to send and receive Ether. But you can bet that if you ask anyone on the streets about it they’ll probably tell you they’ve never heard of it. Even more so, go and reread that sentence to any of your noncrypto friends. They’ll probably tilt their heads back and forth, just like a puppy does when they hear a sound that they don’t fully understand.
What about Enjin?
Enjin is not among the top crypto currencies out there, nowhere near actually, as it stands currently at #104 in crypto coins rankings. This coin didn’t just come out of nowhere: you crypto game fanatics out there made it happen—that includes you too, Gamie. This coin relies solely on games. Yep, no other use here guys so if you’re here with ulterior motives—like business or gambling—better kick the curve pal, this is games all the way.
As Gameunculus’s article about Enjin stated, the coin is a good example of how blockchain can benefit from gaming. Enjin Network is the world’s largest social gaming platform with 20M users and it supports some of the most popular games like World Of Warcraft, Minecraft, Battlefield, World Of Tanks and many others. Enjin appreciated the advantages that blockchain has brought to gaming and have recently developed a number of crypto-based products, which the intention of changing the crypto gaming world.
Enjin’s Early Adopters program helps developers create their games on blockchain, integrating them into the Enjin Multiverse of games. Enjin Coin and ERC-1155 token standard (also developed by Enjin) bring together different games into a single system with universal payment and items that are easily transferred from one game to another, tackling one of mainstream gaming’s main issues. This is actually how gaming can benefit from blockchain, and by doing that the latter benefits from the first.
As Enjin’s website reads, their “modular platform enables you to explore endless use-cases for blockchain technology”. That’s what blockchain needs for mass adoption–evidence of how day-to-day activities (specially gaming) can be improved by the use of it.
It’s a mutual feedback between blockchain and gaming; gaming needs blockchain for distribution and ownership, and blockchain needs gaming as players belong to a much stronger community than that of finances, to name one. Just picture the entire gaming community dive into crypto. Can you imagine all the benefits?!
We just have to wait
Games and blockchain are a match made in tech-heaven, and even if games become partially decentralized, it’s already a major step for running on any blockchain. You gotta start somewhere, and building game-transferable items looks like a logical beginning for some. Even though there’s no real gameplay, since all blockchain games have simple mechanisms and a short life cycle, serious improvements are needed to lure gamers (a much larger crowd than, let’s say, the same gambling losers that keep game dapps away from being the most popular dapps out there) into Gamie’s world and out of other technologies, thus increasing blockchain’s popularity.