One could argue that gaming is an art form. One could also argue that blockchain technology is a tool for redefining the old and the new. So what happens to an art form when a new tool emerges? Innovation and reinvention.
Blockchain is commonly used as a buzzword in the crypto and wider business space, but its significance should not be understated.
Supply chains are a fundamental aspect of many businesses. With the implementation of blockchain, suddenly the supply chain has been reinvented to become more accurate, concise, and effective.
Whereas previously minerals and resources could go missing, now the blockchain can trace everything – providing the supplier with the means to ensure the chain runs smoothly.
This is just one industry blockchain is disrupting, but it’s also disrupting the gaming industry.
Here is a look into how blockchain is able to reinvent today’s games, the games of the past, and the games that are yet to come.
The Six Dragons
Fantasy role-playing games (RPGs) have been taking the world by storm for some time now.
From old-school classics such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time to massively multiplayer online (MMO) phenomenons like World of Warcraft all the way through to modern classics like The Witcher 3 – fantasy RPGs truly represent some of the best game development the world has ever seen.
Even RPGs with a less fantastical focus such as the Assassin’s Creed series or Red Dead Redemption 2 have touched millions of players worldwide.
The driving force behind any reputable RPG is narrative, with graphics coming in a close second. But where is the innovation if the only genuine advancements the player can see is graphics? How do game developers press forwards? How do players feel more in tune with a game? The answer could well be blockchain.
Blockchain technology is an immutable ledger which records all transactions on a permanent basis. Its main usage so far has been in cryptocurrency, though as cryptocurrency – for example non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – began to merge with gaming in terms of in-game currencies, so too did blockchain.
An in-game item can be considered an NFT, and if an item is an NFT, it can be recorded on the blockchain to prove ownership and authenticity. This in turn opens up new avenues for game design.
Take The Six Dragons for example. It is the first game to successfully implement blockchain technology using Enjin’s software development kit (SDK).
In doing so, in-game items can be stored on the blockchain – for example, a rare sword. This sword then belongs to the player indefinitely. This concept is powerful because it provides tangibility and exclusivity to the player – they don’t just have an item in-game, they own the item.
The same player could then sell that item for fiat or crypto – giving them an avenue to make money themselves – or they could retain the item for bragging rights.
NFTs have been the first step in blockchain gaming innovation, but the innovation does not end with this concept. It has much more powerful implications.
Sneak peek inside your home in The Six Dragons with the new @enjin tab enabled so you can easily find your blockchain items! Find a nice home with a view, enjoy watching your collectibles inside a huge world and prepare for your next battle! #blockchain https://t.co/Pp87F8UAjS pic.twitter.com/M0erEQIOV3
— The Six Dragons (@thesixdragons) March 22, 2019
Fungible and non-fungible tokens are the crux of any blockchain-based game.
Many will remember the nostalgia of Pokémon and how infectious the game series was. Pokémon has gone on to inspire countless games, particularly the likes of Etheremon and ChainMonsters.io.
ChainMonsters is a retro game, but it is also a new game because of the integration of blockchain technology.
The player chooses their starter ‘Mon’ before embarking on a journey to collect, train, and battle with other players and their Mons. Back in the days of Pokémon, the game would play out in a similar fashion, but it was limited to one save.
If the game data became corrupted, it was game over. Not only does blockchain remedy this situation by storing all information, but the Mons are also kept on the blockchain as assets.
This means your starter Mon, in theory, could never be lost because it is directly associated with your account and Ethereum wallet address.
The Pokémon game series enabled players to trade Pokémon because the objective was to catch them all. In ChainMonsters, the player can purchase a Mon from another player without needing to trade one of their own.
ChainMonsters, which is still in beta, will offer the ability to have a player-driven marketplace. If you are lucky enough to catch a legendary Mon, you could sell it for a sizeable amount of Ether.
Not only this, but ChainMonsters has its own ‘hot-potato style’ auction on a legendary Mon called Aetherian. The highest bidder will own the item for a short time until somebody outbids them.
Once you are outbid, your Ether is returned. Though there is additional monetary incentive to bidding which is that when you are outbid, you will receive an additional 50% of the price difference as a revenue share.
This concept enables people to experience owning an incredibly unique item while earning revenue at the same time. It is a powerful concept made possible because of blockchain technology, demonstrating that even when a game is retro and still in beta, it is still innovative.
— ChainMonsters.io (@ChainMonsters) April 25, 2019
Crypto and blockchain are slowly reinventing the fabric of games as we know it, but they have the capability to take it much, much further than owning items indefinitely.
It is one thing to own an item, but how about using it in another game altogether? This is the concept of a gaming multiverse (or metaverse) and the true power of blockchain.
The prospect of obtaining an ultra-rare sword in a fantasy RPG and owning it indefinitely is enough to get seasoned gamers giddy, but the prospect of using the same ultra-rare sword in a different game is enough to give the same gamer goosebumps.
If the possibility of using items between games is fully established, the wider implications are wild. If the games worked through a one-time payment which opened all of the games within a multiverse to the player, then it could be feasible to have items split across games contributing to quests split across games.
So, perhaps you need to obtain a rare ruby from a merchant in a medieval world that could then be traded to a space pirate in another game who will give you a weapon needed to take down a boss in a third game.
While this might seem overly complicated, it is also incredibly innovative. Imagine a gaming multiverse where the player was travelling between dimensions on a quest of immeasurable proportions – this concept is real innovation, real improvement, and offers real tangibility.
??Cluster Bombs ??
This #ProjectGenesis combat ship weapon requires a charge but is homing capable and effective at long range. They're already a favorite for damage output but come at the cost of rate of fire and weapon cool down. #gamedev#madewithunreal#UE4 pic.twitter.com/rOi55LPvyQ
— 8 Circuit Studios (@8circuitstudios) May 8, 2019
It remains to be seen whether gaming multiverses and metaverses will incorporate these ideas, but what was previously implausible is now completely plausible.
Interested in reading more blockchain gaming-related stories? Discover more about Sliver.tv, Theta, and tokenised bandwidth sharing with our introduction on the topic.