Will Gaming Work on the Blockchain?
CryptoKitties, whether it was a good idea or not, was not good for the Ethereum blockchain and, at times, accounted for over 10% of all activity on the blockchain and subsequently, gas prices and therefore transaction cost had to increase due to the network being clogged.
Whilst CryptoKitties caused a significant negative for Ethereum in the short-term, in the long-term, they’ve actually helped to benefit how gaming functions on the blockchain and inspired the development of new projects like Enjin Coin. Enjin Coin is an Ethereum token that’s designed to be utilized in gaming and function with low gas fees, unlike CryptoKitties, but would allow for much more ease when making games that can explode into a huge craze.
The large majority of video games are built to include a virtual currency that can be used for purchasing, often, cosmetics inside the game. These virtual currencies function a lot like cryptocurrencies but without the blockchain aspect, meaning they aren’t as secure as one may believe they are, vulnerable to hacks and theft, and often not tradeable. Utilizing the blockchain to store these virtual currencies and, potentially, some data surrounding them allows for secure usage of the tokens within games. Due to this, there are unlimited use cases. Not only could the blockchain be used for the virtual currencies, but it could also be used for the items inside a game – take a trading card game, you could store the values of each individual trading card on the blockchain and use the blockchain to determine what happens, eliminating the risk of someone cheating or abusing a flawed system. This allows for added security and for players to have more confidence in the game’s system.
Gaming may also have some negative side effects on blockchains, but that is dependant on how it’s implemented. If all metadata was to be communicated over the network, transaction fees would be high and the transaction would contain lots of data and the network would be clogged again, like with CryptoKitties. Scalability is a big factor in determining some of the negative side effects, many major blockchains are looking at scalability and trying to work on improving their scalability, so that it, hopefully, won’t be as much of an issue in the future.
Trust-free ownership. Being able to own what you own is an important factor. Being able to trust that you trust a game is an important factor. As more and more games start to utilize the blockchain, they will adopt this system with trust-free ownership.
A perfect example of a game built on the blockchain is Gods Unchained, they are aiming to be the first ever esport on the blockchain. If you’ve ever had the joy of playing Hearthstone, the concept may look familiar to you, players get cards and they battle with them. If you’ve played Hearthstone then you know how big of a market this is and how popular that game is, demonstrating the potential for this game.
The execution of how Gods Unchained will function is a perfect example of how games should work with the blockchain – the main game itself will run on a centralized platform, providing speed and reliability, that every game needs, but what sets this game apart is that card ownership is on the Ethereum blockchain and is decentralized. To get these cards, every player is assigned default cards, but you can then buy packs of cards from the game developers and shall, eventually, be able to sell, trade, and transfer cards with other users. The important thing with the game is that the users own the cards, not the company, unlike many other games.
In conclusion, gaming, when implemented properly, will work tremendously well on the blockchain, greatly improving the user experience, but when implemented poorly, it can have significant consequences and not function properly. Blockchains and gaming go hand in hand and may well be the future.