Blockchain is about more than just Bitcoin. This is clear to most who have taken some time to study this new technology. While transactions and record keeping, along with verifiability and consensus building, are core features of blockchain technology, there are any different ways in which these functionalities can be applied. As Bitcoin continues to grab attention, blockchain is now also disrupting the gaming industry and some have touted this development as signalling the tipping point for mass adoption.
The gaming industry already boasts a host of technological innovation around graphics, gaming engines, and other tools, but now developers have access to a new technological avenue. As it stands, blockchain could drastically restructure the industry, uproot the monopolistic console market, create a multiverse across games and make the gaming experience more immersive.
Ubisoft, one of the biggest players in the game, had previously said that it sees a “nascent ecosystem flourishing in many different directions exploring new possibilities to envision relationships with the gamer, and between them.”
So what exactly does blockchain bring to the table?
When we consider the different ways in which blockchain technology can be relevant for gaming, we might think of NFTs, smart contracts, transactions, computing power and value creation. Imagine being in a virtual world, building something and then being able to sell it to someone else. This would not make sense if ‘assets’ can be copied, but blockchain takes care of that problem.
NFT’s, for example, or non-fungible tokens, are a relatively new feature in the crypto world – although in the earliest of days there was some experimentation being done with coloured bitcoins. The central differentiator here is the fact that each individual token is unique, similar to a collectible. It has value if there is demand, but unlike with Bitcoin, one NFT’s value does not necessarily equate to the value of another.
Learn more about investing in NFTs
In the gaming world, there is a great appetite for achieving new levels of capability, unlocking new characters or functionalities, or collecting unique objects (similar to what we saw during the Pokemon craze). Blockchain makes it possible to transact value between gaming worlds, own virtual territory or real estate, create innovative market places in virtual empires and so forth.
NFTs allow gamers to truly own and capitalize on their achievements.
Of course, rather than plugging blockchain tech into existing games, it’s also possible to gamify the blockchain itself. Released in 2017, CryptoKitties is a blockchain-based video game where players to purchase, collect, breed and sell various types of virtual cats. This is thought to be one of the first applications of blockchain for purely recreational purposes.
Watch this space
When designing a blockchain, there are always a number of trade offs that developers need to consider. It’s about finding a balance between decentralization, scalability and security. It may take some time before blockchain protocols can be integrated with games that depend on speed and seamless transitions.
The gaming industry is always changing. From coin slot-based arcade machines, to early Atari consoles, to CD-ROM games, and those large SEGA disks, to downloadable games and cloud based platforms, new technologies seem to be adopted every ten years. Will blockchain be the next big thing?