Blockchain technology has far reaching consequences for not only banking and finance but also healthcare, real estate, logistics and many others. We have already discussed how distributed ledger technology is going to impact each of these sectors in the future, so let’s take a look at a new area that stands to gain a lot from blockchain technology – gaming. Some experts argue that the blockchain revolution for gaming could be as huge as the emergence of online gaming was about a decade ago. So let’s see what all the buzz is about.
Cross Universal Characters
Gamers love to personalize the characters that they build for every game and that is why it is very frustrating for them to begin from scratch every time a new game is released. With blockchains, users could port all of their character data from one universe to another. This would make for a more personalized and immersive experience for the player and also allow for character arcs stretching several different video games.
From Virtual Items to Digital Assets
Players who have played multiplayer online games like Counter Strike and Team Fortress know that in-game virtual items like skins and hats could be very valuable in trading. Rare items that are acquired within these games sometimes command hundreds of dollars in aftermarket sales. With blockchains, these items would not have to be limited to the confines of a single video game. Users would get complete control of the item that they own, making these virtual items more like actual digital assets that can be traded or stored. Using blockchains to store these virtual items would also make for a more secure storage for these items as blockchains are decentralized and therefore, much harder to tamper with than centralized databases.
Facilitating In-Game Payments
Blockchains would also make it easier to pay for additional DLCs and other in-game purchases without having to share one’s personal details. This is very important as we have repeatedly seen that centralized companies are quite bad at protecting their user’s personal information. This would also be beneficial for game developers as it would provide them with more funds to focus on serving the needs of many players as very few people pay for these games currently. For example, in a
$41 Billion dollar mobile gaming industry, half of the revenue is generated from 0.19% of the users.
Making Money with eSports
eSports is a multi-billion industry that is growing very quickly as more people get access to decent hardware for running games and an internet connection that offers high throughput and low latency. One of the things that draw people to eSports is the competitive aspect of these games where players can compete with the best players from around the world for “ranked” matches. With blockchains, these ranked matches could be monetized so that the stakes are increased. This model of betting on your skills as a player is certainly going to be very appealing for users as it makes the experience more immersive.
FirstBlood is one such blockchain project that is focusing on creating a platform for eSports betting. It is built on top of Ethereum and uses smart contracts to automate the fund transfers. FirstBlood never holds any of the funds in a competition, but instead uses Ethereum’s smart contracts to hold these funds in escrow. Once the outcome of the match is decided, funds are released to the winning party. Since the process is completely decentralized and automated, it is very resistant to tampering of any kind.
FirstBlood’s service can be deployed online or on a PC. After launching the FirstBlood client, users have to pick a game that they want to play a ranked game in. Then they need to have FirstBlood tokens to make bets and send funds in escrow before they can play against their opponents in a winner takes all match. The game process is supervised by FirstBlood participants, and the winner receives a reward in the form of tokens. The platform uses several Witnesses nodes to check the game’s performance and prevent failures often associated with the API. Received tokens are sent and stored through the smart contract system. When the match takes place, witnesses connect to the game API, analyze the results and transfer them to the First Blood smart contract system. Finally, the tokens, i.e. the winnings, are sent to the winner, and witnesses obtain rewards for the rendered service. However, if the result is disputed, it must be considered by the Jury Voting Pool (JVP).