Deep Dive
October 20, 2023

Arcade - Golden Era of Gaming

How Paid Competitve Gaming can revive the gaming industry

Gaming as Entertainment

In a previous blog post we’ve touched upon the issue of how gaming has become one of the main sources of entertainment in todays’ world. History has demonstrated that playing games like hide and seek or role-playing scenarios are deeply embedded in our nature as humans. They serve as essential avenues for children to learn social skills and gain experience in social interactions.

This is precisely why digital games have evolved into a major entertainment industry. However, a gap exists between the games we know today and the earliest prototypes of gaming consoles that introduced digital competition - the era of Arcade Gaming.

Arcade Gaming

The era of Arcade machines is often said to be the Golden Era of gaming. While the significant factor here is often the nostalgia of times long lost, the claims are closer to the truth than we may presume. All it takes is to look at the core principles of gaming as a concept and how Arcade machines hit the bullseye of what gamers really longed for. To truly understand how Arcade games achieve such success we have to ask ourselves a key question.

Why do we play games?

Most would readily respond that games are for enjoyment, entertainment, or escaping reality. These answers certainly hold merit, but they're also rather broad. After all, we can find fun or amusement through various means. So, what sets gaming apart? What often lurks beneath the umbrella term "fun" is our desire to socialize and, for many, engage in a competitive endeavor that isn't as formal as a tournament, yet still raises adrenaline and stirs the spirit of rivalry. Consider this: would playing a game alone be as enjoyable as with company? Even using arcade machines as an example, would a given title offer the same thrill solo as it would with a group of friends enthusiastically cheering us on?

This is the essence of Arcade gaming – it provided the competition and social interactions that everyone craved. Instead of isolated gaming sessions at home, where we endlessly try to top our own high scores, arcade gaming offered an informal competition open to all who approached the arcade machine. Suddenly, arcades became hubs of competitive entertainment, akin to gladiatorial arenas for those willing to invest hours to conquer leaderboards and gain social recognition. There is one more thing that stood out - the skill-based nature of arcade gaming.

Replaying a level ad infinitum in the privacy of one's room costs practically nothing, which in turn dampens the incentive and thrill of the game. Now, what if every replay required a quarter or a dollar? How differently would you approach the game knowing that every failure comes at a cost, and the better your skills, the longer you can extend your playtime?

The essence of arcade gaming lay in the synergy of skill-based gameplay and the introduction of a replay cost. This created an environment where improving one's skills and mastering a title were the sole paths to gain an advantage. This setup proved to be precisely what players craved. But how did we drift away from this concept? Is there a way to rekindle the excitement and competitive spirit embodied in arcade gaming?

It seems we’ve already found the solution.

Skill-Based Gaming

Today’s competitive games are often constructed around skill-based dynamics. However, skill is just one piece of the puzzle. To delve deeper, we need to grasp the essence of skill-based games, how they contrast with Arcade gaming, and how our attitude towards games has evolved.

The example of skill-based games are esports titles where the only way to gain advantage is by mastering the skill set. Games like League of Legends or CS:GO illustrate this perfectly. Winning hinges solely on skill, and any money invested merely alters the aesthetic, adorning weapons or characters with different skins. Additionally, players only bear the potential loss of ranked points, which can be reclaimed by winning following matches. In this scenario, there's no unrecoverable loss stemming from defeat. The expense of losing lies in the delay of climbing up the ranked leaderboard.

Another consideration revolves around the absence of effective monetization for players across all skill tiers. Again, drawing from esports titles, we observe a landscape where only the top 1% of players can meaningfully monetize their skills. This raises the question: what incentives are in place for players on lower levels of game mastery?

PCG - The Revival of Golden Era

Paid Competitive Gaming (PCG) is the solution to all problems current skill-based games are struggling with. The problems outlined above precisely show what is wrong with the competitive gaming stage right now. These include the absence of effective player monetization, resulting in diminished incentives, and the lack of tangible consequences for losing matches. This is precisely where Paid Competitive Gaming takes center stage, offering a solution that addresses these concerns head-on. It accomplishes this by introducing an innovative paradigm shift to the gaming industry, essentially bridging the gap between the current scenario and the golden era of competitive gaming. But what exactly does Paid Competitive Gaming entail? Let's consider a practical example to grasp the essence of PCG.

A prime illustration of Paid Competitive Gaming is the game called Template Run, which we've made open-source to showcase the simplicity and user-friendliness of building with Elympics. Template Run is a fully customizable game where any given number of players engage in competition by putting their resources at stake in order to win the main prize. For instance, imagine a scenario where the entry fee is set at $1 and the game's settlement occurs after every playthrough. In this case, the two players contribute to a prize pool totaling $2, which is subsequently awarded to the victor after settlement, minus a modest developer fee.

While this concept may seem straightforward, it's fundamentally transformative, particularly when contrasted with modern competitive games. Take Battle Royale or esports titles as examples, where each match typically generates intangible gains such as experience or points. Implementing PCG in games like League of Legends would require every participant to pay an entry fee, forming a prize pool settled post-match and awarded to the winning team. In the case of Battle Royal titles like Call of Duty: Warzone we would see a similar mechanic, effectively changing the competitive nature of the game. Here, being eliminated would not only mean a loss of time but also a loss of the entry fee. Conversely, emerging victorious would carry not only the gratification of success but also a financial reward directly deposited into the player's wallet.

The Road Ahead

Present landscape of competitive gaming often democratically opens doors to gameplay, especially in the domain of esports. Yet, the monetization of this industry remains largely confined to the gaming elite limiting the incentives on lower skill levels.

With the introduction of Paid Competitive Gaming, Elympics creates a novel paradigm in competitive gaming that offers an opportunity for individuals to monetize their game mastery and dedication at various tiers of game mastery. The implementation of PCG is the paradigm shift in terms of players' engagement in competitive titles and the glory shared across every social media platform creating a flywheel effect for a given title.

The forthcoming wave of highly successful competitive games will stem from an emphasis on rewarding the player by creating proper monetization incentives, positioning Elympics at the forefront of this evolutionary journey.

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