Deep Dive
October 27, 2023

Blockchain in Gaming - Developer’s Perspective

Discover what blockchain technology holds for the gaming industry

Evolution of Social Contract

In the previous blog post, we discussed in detail the issue of social contracts becoming more challenging to handle as society becomes increasingly digital. If you haven't read the article yet, you should definitely take a look before proceeding further.

You can find the article here - Blockchain in Gaming - Player's Perspective

If you have limited time to read another article, let me briefly introduce you to the concept of Social Contracts and the ongoing process of their digitization.

Social contracts refer to the unspoken agreements and rules that govern our daily interactions. They encompass actions like helping others and being polite, essentially forming an integral part of the society we live in. Social contracts extend to become the core mechanisms that govern societies through these unspoken rules we all follow. However, as society becomes more digital, social contracts need to evolve to adapt to the needs of the digital world. Modern society heavily relies on platforms that are reshaping the familiar rules we all knew and followed. A prime example of this transformation is found in services like Airbnb, Uber, Fiverr, not to mention social media. We now find ourselves entrusting tasks to strangers we'll never meet in person, staying in the homes of others, or relying on unknown individuals to drive us home.

The same transformation is occurring in the realm of gaming, an integral part of our digital lives. As games and their economies evolve, players need a digital social contract that suits this form of entertainment, with human interaction at its core. This presents one of the primary challenges that competitive gaming faces today, and blockchain technology is emerging as a leading solution to address most of the associated issues. Let's explore why.

Digitizing Social Contracts with Blockchain - Developer’s Perspective

In the following paragraphs, we will explore the many advantages that stem from digitizing social contracts. Through their implementation on blockchain and the establishment of immutable rules using Smart Contracts, we can revolutionize the functioning of these contracts. The list below outlines the range of benefits we will investigate in detail.

  • Next-Level Monetization
  • Freedom of Incentives
  • Composability and Interoperability
  • Secure Environment
  • Seamless Deployment
  • Low Cost of Experimentation

Next-Level Monetization

From a developer's point of view, making money from a game can be quite challenging, especially when the game is based on the Free-to-Play model and only a small portion of users are open to making in-game purchases. However, in the world of blockchain gaming, there are numerous opportunities for monetization due to the flexibility in implementing various money-making strategies. This includes generating income through in-game item sales, incorporating royalties to earn a small portion from each asset traded on the secondary market, or even adopting an arcade-style model where players pay a fixed cost for each gaming session called Paid Competitive Gaming, which you can read more about here - Paid Competitive Gaming - Battle Royale with Prize Pools

Freedom of Incentives

Blockchain gaming offers game developers and creators more freedom in designing unique incentives compared to traditional games, which often have restrictions in this aspect. For example, developers can incorporate in-game rewards that are easily convertible into real currency, like dollars, or provide players with items that they can sell within the game's secondary marketplace. These are some common instances, but the potential for innovative incentives is practically limitless, limited only by the creativity of the developers.

Composability and Interoperability

Designing games exclusively for a single platform can significantly shrink the potential player base. For instance, take the game Bloodborne, which was only available on PlayStation, limiting its audience despite being connected to the popular Dark Souls series. Similarly, in the realm of blockchain gaming, many games are confined to a specific ecosystem or platform, severely constraining their potential user reach. But there's an additional challenge. Developers must also bank on the long-term success of not just their game, but the whole blockchain ecosystem it relies on. If that ecosystem falters, all the projects connected to it suffer or vanish. However, with blockchain interoperability, developers can tackle this issue by introducing cross-chain (cross-platform) accessibility. This not only expands the Total Addressable Market (TAM) but also lessens the risk associated with depending on the success of a single blockchain.

Secure Environment

Game developers sometimes hesitate to adopt blockchain technology due to concerns about potential problems like cheating, fund theft, or exploitation of the system. To alleviate these concerns, battle-tested standards are introduced to make game development with blockchain as secure and user-friendly as creating traditional games for centralized platforms such as Steam. By open-sourcing ready-to-use frameworks, SDKs, and libraries of smart contracts, developers gain access to standardized tools for building games from the ground up. This approach guarantees players a high-quality experience, minimizing issues often associated with games created by individual developers.

Seamless Development

In addition to prioritizing player security, blockchain gaming emphasizes equipping developers with top-tier industry tools. This includes the incorporation of well-known resources from the traditional gaming sector, such as the Unity engine, which helps to streamline the transition from traditional gaming to blockchain-based gaming, minimizing potential issues. Through the utilization of readily available frameworks and features like In-Game Oracles and adaptable smart contracts, developers operate within an environment where numerous challenges associated with game development have been resolved, with these solutions readily accessible for implementation.

Low Cost of Experimentation

The requirements of blockchain gaming differ from other facets of blockchain technology. Game development demands a rapid iteration pace to resolve issues, thereby creating an efficient feedback mechanism. Additionally, the need for cost-effective experimentation using both testnet and mainnet blockchains is vital. This necessity is addressed in several ways. For instance, dedicated blockchains designed for minimal transaction fees and swift settlements, like Arbitrum Nova or Immutable X, serve gaming's paramount significance. Other solutions include optimization methods that aim to reduce gas costs for individual transactions or eliminate gas usage altogether, by minimizing the required number of transactions.

Closing Thoughts

Incorporating blockchain technology could mark a significant turning point in the gaming industry. Particularly, it addresses the concerns surrounding Free-to-Play games, which have increasingly emphasized extracting value, often through implicit microtransactions or carefully designed addictive features. This shift in approach has altered the perception of games, transforming them from sources of entertainment into soulless consumer products. With blockchain technology at the heart of the next generation of games, developers and creators gain access to a variety of transparent monetization options. This enables players to immerse themselves in titles driven by continuous competition rather than manipulative addictive elements.

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