Cryptocurrencies have continued to gain momentum over the past several years, turning heads and making headlines. Although not all news is good news — for example, the recent Twitter heist where hackers were able to use a money flipping scam to take off with over $100,000 worth of Bitcoin — the growth of the decentralized banking market has made many consider the possibilities of cryptocurrency going forward.
But banking isn’t the only industry being infiltrated by crypto: game developers are starting to experiment with blockchain and how it can be used to build video games. Crypto games like CryptoKitties, a game where users trade virtual cats, have made a huge impact while remaining relatively simple. How? By introducing unique new solutions to persistent and controversial problems in video game development.
A New Way To Play
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have a certain appeal because they use blockchain to enable users to exchange money securely without having to go through a centralized source, like a bank. The blockchain system allows people to trade money in a pseudo-anonymous, direct form online. It’s like being able to hand someone cash while being miles away.
Applying this idea to crypto games, the system allows for game assets to be shared on a public blockchain instead of stored in centralized servers. Players would be able to see the core basics of games they are playing and accessible assets opens up worlds of possibility for both players and developers.
Keeping Gameplay Fair
Gambling and “fair” play have been an extremely hot topic for gaming in recent years, specifically what can be classified as gambling and whether or not loot box mechanics are fair to players and should be regulated. Video game companies can potentially face heavy fines for deceptive odds and different industries can have different licensing authorities that help mitigate unfair play. People familiar with online casinos like Betsafe in Canada may know that authorities like these will release regular recommendations and opinions on the most secure and fair sites to visit for the benefit of players.
But as considerate as these practices are, many argue that they take time, levels of bureaucracy, and don’t prevent other forms of legal pay-to-win gameplay that put players at a disadvantage. Blockchain games offer a level of transparency that invites players access typically reserved for creators, allowing them to look into the coding of the game itself.
The liquidity of blockchain games is not just good news for the statistical integrity of games, but also the longevity of games. Having a decentralized way to host games means players don’t have to rely on online servers that may eventually be shut down or updated. Accessible game assets and tokens also mean easy transfers from game to game so that in-game collectibles and purchases become more valuable and can be shared.
Limitations of Blockchain
Right now there are hundreds of crypto games available that use open-source blockchain. As more games are made and technology improves, changes are being made constantly to what crypto games are capable of. Where scaling and UX were once major concerns, now developers can utilize blockchain more than ever.
If you’ve played some of these games, you’ve probably noticed that they have made leaps from initially being very minimalist to becoming slightly more complex and entertaining. CryptoKitties hinges on the concept of buying and selling digital cartoon cats and more recently made games may feature 3D landscapes and dynamic designs, typically built around card games, puzzles, or collector challenges.
Blockchain games have continued to evolve, and the scalability of some open-source networks has expanded wildly with the market. And it is an expanding market. Crypto games have become a billion-dollar industry and are starting to break out on the smartphone scene where their popularity is making waves.
The Future of Gaming
It’s hard to predict exactly what medium will dominate the gaming industry in the coming years with video games only continuing to become more mainstream. Mobile games were the leading source of industry earnings in 2019, but interest in VR and AR continues to climb while consoles prepare for another release. Even as virtual gambling and online slots revenue grow, gamers turn to video games to wager real-world money on in-game purchases every day.
Maybe not a dark horse, but a sudden and fast-climbing competitor, crypto games seem to be not just holding their own in 2020 but overcoming roadblocks that were speculative concerns just a year ago. For crypto, the future’s looking bright, and who knows what blockchain innovations we may see next!