One of the hottest trends in the online world today, blockchains and cryptocurrencies were created in 2008, but back then few people could have imagined that this new technology would impact so many industries and markets just over a decade later. What initially seemed like something that would only be used for financial transactions and investments, turned out to be a powerful tool for developers and publishers, and today blockchains are completely changing the way we play video games.
If you’re still unfamiliar with this new trend, here’s a quick explanation: blockchains serve as public ledgers for cryptocurrencies. A blockchain consists of a sequence of records called blocks, each one containing data from previous blocks, cryptographic hashes, and timestamps, which make it almost impossible to be hacked or defrauded. The first blockchain was created as the public ledger for Bitcoin, the world’s first functioning cryptocurrency, but since then other blockchains were created, originating new cryptocurrencies as well.
Games based on a blockchain are called crypto games, or blockchain games, and the video game industry is certainly one of the industries that have been benefiting the most from this new trend. An important market within entertainment, gaming has become one of the world’s most popular forms of digital media, and blockchain technologies are paving the way for plenty of opportunities to arise, both for games and developers.
Since blockchains are completely decentralized structures, developers finally became able to reward players for their time and effort invested in gaming, by creating new exciting experiences with play-to-earn features. Thanks to content monetization and cross-game interoperability, players can now have total control over any aspect of the game, from creation rights to governance decisions. With alternatives increasing year after year, as new games are constantly released, blockchain gaming is showing us that decentralized environments are the future of the video game industry.
Players finally being contemplated
It’s undeniable: gaming takes a lot of time and effort, whether it’s developing a character, searching for the best equipment, or farming for gold, and all of us gamers have at least once grinded for hours in a game. Despite all this dedication, all we ever received was the privilege of using in-game assets. We were never truly compensated for all this effort, and certainly never owned anything related to the game.
But blockchain gaming has been tackling exactly this issue. As decentralization, total control, and true ownership are key concepts behind these games, players can be rewarded for their dedication, and can finally own their share of a video game, whether it’s in the form of items and equipment, virtual worlds, or money in the form of cryptocurrencies. This decentralized structure also grants gamers control over governance decisions within the game, allowing them to earn money through play-to-earn features.
A recently released game based on the Ethereum blockchain is a good example of decentralized environments. Developed by Animoca Brands, The Sandbox is an interactive adventure game in which players can build virtual worlds, design characters, items and sceneries, and create interactive adventures that can be played by other gamers. All content created within the game can be monetized as non-fungible tokens that can be sold in the game’s marketplace, using The Sandbox’s own currency.
Monetizing video games
Unless you have been stranded on an island for the past couple of years, you’ve probably already heard about non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. These tokens are units of data on a blockchain, representing a unique digital item, such as songs, video clips, or items within a video game. They also act as smart contracts, providing proof of ownership and allowing monetization of said content.
NFTs are the basis of blockchain gaming, and most games available today incorporate them in some way – usually as different assets like collectible cards, characters, items, or equipment. One of the most popular games in recent months, which make use of NFTs, is Splinterlands. Last month, the game reported more than 420,000 active users, and over $55 million in transactions. Based on the Hive blockchain, with collectible-card gameplay similar to Hearthstone, Splinterlands has players summoning warriors and monsters with these cards, and battling against each other in multiple game modes for real-money rewards.
Thanks to the emergence of blockchain games, at last players can become more active in the gaming community, by truly owning their assets, and through content monetization make money off gaming. With the rise of this technology, we’re looking at a bright path ahead, in which both developers and gamers can thrive in decentralized environments.
Last Updated: September 28, 2021