By David Drake
If blockchain was ever going to disrupt any industry, it would be gaming. Populated by technology whiz-kids and millennials, blockchain will only add further appeal to an arena that’s already appreciative of innovation.
The entire spectrum of gaming is conducted by online communities. Already, mega-games require the use of digital coins. These are often bought using fiat currencies then converted into game dollars or coins. As such, blockchain will boost services provided by gaming companies as noted by Steve Grossman, CEO of Planet Digital Partners.
“We see blockchain adding a whole new dimension to the gaming industry on many different levels — to extend the life of a game, to make it more interesting to gamers and to provide experiences that couldn’t have been provided before,” he says.
As demonstrated in the game ‘Cooking Mama’, blockchain will enable gamers to share digital assets with other users, an aspect that gaming consoles have restricted for years. In this game, the use of a private encryption key allows users to change algorithms relating to expressions in the game and retain ownership rights to recipes created.
Often, games are isolated from each other and the transfer of coins remains an impossibility. According to Rahul Sood, CEO of eSports gaming company, Unikrn, blockchain could make this possible.
He says, “The ability to liquidate or trade assets into other games would be great, and blockchain could really allow that. Blockchain could disrupt the space in that these virtual items could be traded using blockchain technology and players’ whole virtual economy could be built on it.”
This feature would expand the gaming space and will likely attract players to other games they wouldn’t ordinarily play due to additional spending. Blockchain will also provide game manufacturers and owners with a way to track transactions recorded by gamers. At Unikrn alone, there are over 850,000 accounts which translate to voluminous transactions that need to be tracked. The transparency factor innate within blockchain – with the use of its DLT – will allow for ‘forensic wallet tracking‘.
“We can see where money is coming from on the platform and we can stop anyone who cheats or games the system,” adds Sood.
The technology is also capable of preventing game hacking through accounts where gamers access each others’ accounts and steal digital coins and personal information.
While blockchain should never be considered a one-size-fits-all scheme for games, there have been mixed reactions to using the technology. This is not necessarily due to the potential the tech has, but rather how it can be integrated seamlessly into existing operations. Though the idea is noble, early innovators have had difficulty in adopting and retaining blockchain.
There have been issues with scalability, cost, and speed and these hinder adoption. But TRON, a successful blockchain platform, intends to use its already established platform as a go-between for blockchain and the gaming industry. The TRON Foundation aims to do so through a $100 million gaming fund and its intervention could potentially attract several communities.
Already, 10 companies have expressed interest in the impact investing project and TRON has launched a distribution system that can withstand the numerous transactions in the gaming domain.
“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,” notes Joseph Oreste, Founder and CEO of Qupon.
Like with any other area of innovation, change is never easy. The gaming industry has already demonstrated appreciation of how blockchain could improve the gamers’ experience. What is left to do is to overcome existing challenges, and with stubborn efforts from companies such as TRON Arcade, it won’t be surprising to see the market level up.
Disclaimer: David Drake is on the advisory board for most of the firms mentioned or quoted in this article.