The expansion of blockchain technology has brought additional use cases to crypto, and the gaming ecosystem is yet another example of an industry that is benefiting from its development.
Game developers working on major popular titles and the biggest livestreaming websites have turned their sights to using the blockchain to push cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens and usher in a new age of Web3 with unique digital assets that allow players to explore crypto games.
We’ll dive deep into the idea of blockchain gaming, how it continues to grow in recent years and how the Bitcoin blockchain plays a major role in its development.
Why Use Blockchain Technology and Crypto Gaming Platforms?
So why should traditional gaming consider using blockchain technology? Here’s a simple way to think about it: as the metaverse becomes a reality and we start to shift our lives to the digital world even further, we’ll face technological challenges such as deepfakes, counterfeit digital goods, and other scams. Blockchain gaming gives players more control over their experiences and gives them a way to own their own virtual in-game assets. Plus, decentralized gaming platforms use crypto tokens and NFTs to reward players to engage further, incentivizing them to return and build value.
In traditional video games, people often don’t own their own assets, which belong to the virtual world and server. Blockchain technology gives players the ability to trade and sell these items. To hear MapleStory developer Nexon tell it, the player economy in the game needed to be revolutionized by adding the blockchain to add real-world value to the gameplay. Rather than having players trade items for cash on the black market, Nexon is developing a legal way for these gamers to own their own assets.
What do In-Game Assets Like NFTs Mean For Blockchain Gaming?
Non-fungible tokens are a key feature of blockchain gaming. As outlined above, they lend the users of the metaverse a sense of agency. Even Bitcoin has found its way into these blockchain games, with many choosing to build games around those ecosystems.
Among the first NFTs were Cryptokitties, which were in turn influenced by video games like Neopets that feature virtual pets a user can collect. Throughout the development of NFTs and their pervasiveness in North American culture, they have been blended with gaming avatars. A number of collaborations have arisen between gaming companies and NFT platforms looking to start bids for their assets. Some have given interviews, saying that these tokens should be treated as art and as collectibles, so if the value of a token falls significantly after a sale, the collector should not be expecting to turn a massive profit.
Bitcoin rewards attached to these blockchain games can be a fun way to engage the community, build retention and give players constant reasons to return. They can also improve immersion, give access to a decentralized community, and highlight a playful future for the next generation.
As blockchain technology advances, so has gaming built on these platforms. Instead of simple web browser games such as delivering pizza, modern blockchain games have additional features and could even be in three-dimensions and a whole host of genres. There are games with complex narratives and worlds, using blockchain technology to push through secure transactions, prevent fraud and allow people to own virtual property in the metaverse. That’s not all: blockchain of course comes with interoperability, so that players can transfer assets in between platforms and games, building their own cyber-portfolios. We’re already in the future and we’re staring at it right now.
Entrepreneur Mark Cuban bought the very first Neopets NFT, which exists in a portfolio and as an image on the website. Enthusiasts swarmed to a Discord server early on to discuss the potential of this technology. MapleStory has looked at the possibility of including Bored Apes in landscapes familiar to gamers such as Kerning City. Brands are considering NFTs like they once considered baseball card collections. They’re a way to flaunt possessions but also to preserve culture. There’s a kind of social cache and cultural currency involved in becoming an NFT person, and the tokens and platforms have grown alongside this endeavor, respectively.
Gaming Projects on the Bitcoin Blockchain
The Bitcoin blockchain also hosts a variety of gaming projects. One example is Spells of Genesis, a mobile game which takes the fun elements of trading card games and puts them on the blockchain. Players can own, move and trade cards on the blockchain, using the technology’s immutability and transparency to check the authenticity of these products. The game also takes full advantage of the decentralized quality of the blockchain to offer players a marketplace to sell goods and gain real-world value.
Another example of bitcoin games is THNDR Games, a Lightning-powered gaming platform that takes classic arcade games and lets people earn bitcoin as they play. They have reimagined Tetris, Solitaire, and even the classic game Snake. A lot of blockchain games rely on human nostalgia. These kinds of play-to-earn titles are part of blockchain gaming’s appeal. Whereas with regular video games, you may accumulate massive wealth and can’t take any of the money with you out of the game, with blockchain games, the time you invest in the game just might allow you to reap the rewards.
There’s far more to come. Blockchain gaming is a relatively new space and some of these projects have been built on various protocols, as companies experiment with what works for them. One upcoming project that looks fairly intriguing is called LightNite and it is, as you might have guessed, a Fortnite clone from Satoshi's Games. Built on the Bitcoin blockchain, LightNite is a battle royale that features non-fungible characters and equipment that people can buy and sell. The developers have included features that Fortnite fans will recognize, including season passes and ranked systems and there are plans to allow many people to explore the world at once across two deathmatch maps.
Gaming Industry Changes with Web3 Adoption
For decades, the video game industry has designed siloed experiences. For solo players, people looking to dive into a game as they would a single novel. The last few major hits on consoles have been centered around this idea, and now we're seeing how mega hits like "The Last of Us" can be adapted into something like an HBO series.
But games are also interactive, multiplayer experiences and at times, the number of people who can be logged into one game at a time can exceed millions. With blockchain’s ability to facilitate secure transactions, establish greater trust in assets and give players the sense of agency they seek, it can give these gamers tools to improve the experience even further.
Additionally, there’s been a lot of discussion of the role that generative A.I. will have in our lives as its input and reach expands. Some of that dialogue looks at the amount of fakes and dupes that A.I. will produce. This is exactly where blockchain gaming and technology can come in. With verified transactions and assets that have unique identifiers, blockchain games will stamp out a lot of these scams and counterfeits and make gaming safer overall.
The Future of Blockchain in Gaming and Blockchain Games
As we move deeper into the Web3 space, there's often talk about Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash” and they also look at how many people across the world watch others playing video games for a living. “Snow Crash” has made it into blockchain gaming. Former Twitch executives have started investing in the space to see where the future of blockchain-based gaming goes. Bitcoin investment and the proliferation of non-fungible tokens have all given players more control over their gaming experiences and assets, and a way to enjoy popular games.
The underlying blockchain technology has shown industry leaders the advantages of blockchain. Soon more of your favorite games will be using crypto to create a secure environment for game developers. The gaming community will have more ways to earn money, more gaming systems, and more crypto assets.