Eyes in the gaming world are right now firmly focused on blockchain, but what does that mean?
While speculating on the future of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin is popular in the press, there is less examination of the technology behind it.
Blockchain is relatively unknown as a mass market tool, but that hasn’t stopped the gaming community from using it as a catalyst. Already, developers are integrating blockchain with gaming software, and new cryptocurrencies or “tokens” are fueling a new generation of buying power – leading to operators’ excitement over its future.
Blockchain has a vast number of potential implementations, and developers have pondered its use in a huge variety of contexts, ranging from supply chain to elections. There are very few technical limitations on the technology.
Yet, adoption is still – relatively speaking – very slow. None of the sectors in which blockchain is now frequently used have been enough to bring the technology into consumers’ everyday lives. The public’s lack of understanding of blockchain could be in part responsible for this, but there is also the fact that no new problems have developed yet that only blockchain could solve.
Gaming shows huge potential as the catalyst for blockchain. Often used as a stepping stone to in-play buying power and then gambling, it is enjoyed by a vast number of people globally. More importantly, those who engage in gaming are likely to have a greater technological understanding of blockchain than other members of society.
The popularity of esports and the growing gaming economy could mean that applying blockchain technology in the sector could be the sector’s big break.
Diverging from tradition
There is a level of discontent towards traditional banking that has generated a huge following for cryptocurrency in recent years. But the potential for finance to be blockchain’s big break was scuppered by greed, as Bitcoin mining became a virtual gold rush.
There is still the possibility that cryptocurrency will be blockchain’s killer application, especially in light of a new and more measured growth pattern. However, the issue is more likely to lie with the environment in which blockchain is being used as opposed to the technology’s application itself.
The potential for the gaming environment to provide the perfect platform for blockchain has the right factors in place: a bigger target audience, and one that is far more open to technological innovation and change. Gaming’s ecosystem is made up of the right kind of people and the right scope for a technological shift to be channeled through them.
This is beginning to take place already, but we have yet to see whether it really does take off as it has the potential to. As it stands, players based in the US and China are the two biggest markets for blockchain gaming; the audience as a whole is estimated at some 2m people as it stands.
Start of a revolution
The potential is there, although this is rarely the issue when it comes to implementing blockchain technology. A number of blockchain applications are already taking aim at the gaming space, but developers are fast to admit that their projects are a drop in the ocean.
Despite a lot of money being put into blockchain in gaming, it is not yet being widely adopted. The complexity of the technology and the current sub-par user experience means that the games are generally less attractive to gamers that other traditional platforms.
Developers are now looking to create a completely new genre of games on blockchain, to take out the element of competition between blockchain-based games and traditional gaming.
Currently, more than 650 games on the market have been built on blockchain, some of which were presented at the Crypto Games Conference in Minsk earlier this month. It is unrealistic to expect the entire gaming world to suddenly shift to blockchain, but there are areas that will certainly benefit from this new, much more transparent way of using data.
The technology has everything that is needed to improve the gaming sector and it could finally be the big break blockchain has been searching for.