Blockchain & Crypto

Blockchain in Gaming – Is the Future Already Here?

The past few years have witnessed an unparalleled hype surrounding cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Yet, apart from El Salvador, which has embraced Bitcoin as legal tender, genuine applications of blockchain and cryptocurrencies remain relatively scarce. However, according to experts, gaming might be the domain where blockchain delivers significant value.

Blockchain in Gaming - Is the Future Already Here?

Nowadays, many online bitcoin casino use cryptocurrencies for transactions. However, aside from faster and anonymous transactions, blockchain doesn’t offer much of an advantage. However, in the realm of traditional video games, blockchain could really disrupt the entire industry.

Benefits for the Gaming Industry

Currently, potential enhancements to the gaming experience, digital item trading, and the actual back-end infrastructure of video games are conceivable.

Digital Item Trading

In recent years, games have evolved, with microtransactions becoming a central feature, particularly in free-to-play games. Players can purchase digital items within games, often with cosmetic utility, for real money. However, lacking a marketplace, trading these items often occurs outside the game’s environment, much to the developers’ dismay. Blockchain could introduce a more transparent and fair system, alleviating concerns about fraud.

Blockchain-Structured Games

Another application arises with blockchain games, video games operated on a blockchain. These games can be decentralized or hybridized. Decentralized games entirely run on the blockchain, permitting changes only with community approval. Hybridized structures incorporate a central server, with item trading occurring through a decentralized marketplace based on the blockchain.

Currently, the focus of the gaming industry leans toward the latter option due to its perceived greater potential. Scarcity can be introduced, enticing players to make more purchases, fraud becomes virtually impossible, and items are transferable beyond individual games.

Blockchain in the Metaverse and Multiverse

Since the rebranding of the Facebook conglomerate to Meta, the metaverse or multiverse has been a hot topic. Indeed, blockchain application is central here too. In such a multiverse, players create avatars to represent themselves, interacting with virtual places and other players. If the digital currency in such a multiverse can be exchanged for cryptocurrency at any time, digital life can be better integrated with real life.

Moreover, blockchain can blur the boundaries between different games. If digital items from one world can be traded with those from another, interoperability can be achieved. However, cooperation between developers of different games is essential for this, such as allowing a skin from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to be used in Mario Kart.

A Shift with Drawbacks

Like many other applications, blockchain gaming also comes with numerous drawbacks. For instance, the implementation of off-game trading platforms via blockchain might primarily aim to avoid taxes and circumvent legal restrictions.

Moreover, such marketplaces risk compromising the gaming experience itself. For example, if one must invest hundreds of hours in a game to obtain a specific item, its value diminishes significantly if the same item can be purchased for five euros on an external marketplace. This benefits neither developers nor players. However, blockchain could potentially offer a middle ground, mitigating this issue. As all transactions on the blockchain are traceable, developers can verify an item’s origin. Thus, a certain in-game action may still be required to utilize an item, preventing players from simply buying their way to success and preserving player motivation.

Additionally, there are inherent weaknesses in the blockchain system itself. Scalability issues often arise when simultaneously maintaining security and decentralization. Moreover, many blockchain networks are relatively slow, with transactions taking too long for practical use in many games.

Furthermore, the infrastructure for gaming seems insufficient. Currently, each game requires a private key. If lost, all game progress is irretrievable. Additionally, costs are incurred with each transaction, discouraging many players, as seen with the well-known blockchain game CryptoKittens.

Blockchain in Gaming – A Glimpse into the Future

Gaming could serve as a significant testbed for further exploring the future of blockchain. However, few developers currently embrace this trend, and numerous obstacles hinder blockchain gaming from becoming a mainstream phenomenon.

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