By David Drake
Gaming is emerging as one of the most attractive industries for blockchain application. Just this week, Ripple, a cryptocurrency company, announced that it is launching an ambitious project that will see blockchain technology integrated in video games.
In what appears to be an impact investing model, Ripple has announced that it is setting up a $100 million fund for game developers to make this happen. Once it’s up and running, this plan could see Ripple overhaul the gaming industry, making it possible to develop in-game marketplaces for virtual goods.
According to Joseph Oreste, founder & CEO of Qupon, the popularity of gaming among diverse demographics already sets the stage for success of such ventures.
He says, “Gaming is very popular for both youth and adults alike. There are billions of dollars spent globally and I believe distributed ledger, tokenization and cryptocurrencies provide a new playground for the gaming industry. It will be interesting to see the innovative ways gaming will be adapted to distributed technology.”
But Ripple isn’t the only firm seeking to make a mark in the gaming industry. Increasingly, gaming firms are embracing blockchain technology as a way of appealing to their online communities, as well as distributing content and products.
Recently, an Australia-based video game developer partnered with HashCash Consultants to provide cryptocurrency exchange and tokenization services for the gaming industry. At the same time, Tron Foundation is looking to shape the look of the next generation gaming industry through blockchain.
The Foundation has made public its plan to bring together leaders from the blockchain and gaming industries for discussions on how the gaming industry can be revitalized. On its twitter update, Tron Foundation will soon hold a session with leaders to brainstorm ways of transforming the next generation gaming industry.
Bridging the Gap
According to an executive from Ripple Xpring, Ethan Beard, integrating blockchain in the gaming industry will enable game developers to serve different kinds of players. Beard noted that for a long time, video games had adopted new technology quickly, yet game developers have been facing the challenge of facilitating an economy that is capable of serving all players.
The new fund was established by Ripple and will be managed by a San Francisco firm called Forte. The company offers game developers with tools for integrating blockchain. On the other hand, Xpring advances the XRP ecosystem by serving as a gateway to access tools and funding for developers. Forte was established by leading gaming executives this year and is funded and advised by big Silicon Valley big shots that include Battery Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Coinbase Ventures.
Brett Seyler of Forte notes that game designers, more than any, have to make sense on the many currencies, siloed systems and item types that feature in many games the manage the complexities within the gaming economy effectively. Mobile gaming is huge and at the moment, the best way to monetize video games is through in-game transactions.
Disclaimer: David Drake is on the advisory board for most of the firms mentioned or quoted in this article.