Blockchain will revolutionize the gaming industry, DeFi in gaming will bring a drastic change in how multiplayer game economy works! – you might have heard or read statements like these online. Gaming based on Blockchain and DeFi has seen an increase in popularity, and NFTs are being used in cryptocurrency-based games such as CryptoKitties which was made on the Ethereum blockchain.
Blockchain seems to have a promising future in gaming, but can it break into the mainstream games such as GTA, various sports games like FIFA, NBA, shooters such as Counter-Strike and competitive MOBA games like DoTA2 and League of Legends?
This topic is somewhat complicated. On the one hand, there is a possibility and a case to be made for NFTs, blockchain, and decentralization to be used in games such as the ones listed above.
As it stands, gaming companies that sell you their products through various means (microtransactions, loot boxes, etc.) retain the ownership and rights to these items. Once your account is banned, you can kiss all of your hard-earned (or bought) precious items goodbye.
It’s not just bans, however. Games can (and have) shut down due to a lack of popularity or support from their developers. But what if you actually owned the items you bought? What if you owned that StatTrak M4A4 Howl (sold at $26.000) through the NFT technology.
It would be a truly unique item that could be traced back to the person who initially got it, making them more authentic and real than ever before. Now, think about the possibilities when pro players and popular internet personalities would get items with their own, personal imprint on these items such as various character skins, equipment, and other cosmetic items.
These could then be sold and re-sold at even higher prices, making ESports much more profitable. These items could be used as donations, at auctions, and many other possibilities, creating decentralized economies within games where gaming companies held the right to everything before.
On The Flipside
- Blockchain and NFTs are still in their infancy. The gaming industry is much older than these technologies, and there are still many issues with bringing them into mainstream gaming.
- Creating decentralized economies within mainstream games sounds great… but only for the players. There aren’t many benefits that gaming companies could reap through a truly decentralized market.
- There is the question of whether games should remain just that – games. Do players and games really need all of these additions and potential complications that come with them?
Many blockchain projects currently reward early adopters and contributors with their tokens. In a similar way, early access games could incentivize players to play and test their games by rewarding them with various tokens, be they ENJIN, Ethereum, or whatever else. Instead of asking you to pay in order to play their early access games, developers and publishers could gain a much larger initial player base by incentivizing them with rewards that they can earn by various means. Bounties and similar missions are the first things to come to mind. This means that they could potentially save a lot of money on regular marketing, and instead focus on gaining new users and players through rewards that they can earn in-game, and not just in-game cosmetics and items – but also tokens that can be traded outside of the game for real money.
Of course, developers can’t only rely on tossing money to their players and hoping that they stick around. The quality of the product matters the most, in the end.
There will always be players who will want to stick around for these rewards, but it ultimately won’t matter if the games are actually really bad. In fact, there are plenty of new games that are trying to use blockchain, NFTs, and DeFi as their selling point, but they are mostly shovelware and games that look like they belong in the early 2000s.
One such example is an MMO called The Six Dragons which uses ENJIN tokens as their currency. It promises a truly decentralized market and the game (which is still in its alpha phase) can be downloaded and played. However, the first thing you would notice if you download the game is how outdated it looks, feels, and plays.
Likewise, most other games are similarly poor in quality aside from a few that seem to show some promise, such as Gods Unchained. All of these blockchain games have one thing in common – very small playbases.
This brings us back to our initial point of “Quality is king”. No one will play a game if it isn’t fun or good by any measure, no matter how much money they can earn from it. There’s also the fact that like the many blockchain projects that inspired these games, they depend on their popularity to succeed.
In the end, the use of technologies such as blockchain and NFTs in gaming brings a lot of promise… in theory. Trading Card Games, games with various collectible skins and items such as CS:GO and DOTA2, MMOs, and even games like Pokemon could greatly benefit from these technologies, but would the general public be receptive to this? Would the average gamer care about NFTs, about a decentralized market?
Gaming companies and developers might be able to gain some serious profits by implementing small fees to trading, purchasing, or selling items, but is that really the direction we want gaming marketplaces to go in?