2017 was a landmark for cryptocurrency and blockchain: many virtual coins have risen in price; the press has started talking about them. But the average man in the street still finds it difficult to answer questions about what kind of technology it is and how it affects everyday life.
One of the easiest ways to conquer the masses for the blockchain can be the interweaving of its developments into the game world. No wonder there are so many new companies that raise funds on the development of gaming services through ICO.
It can be assumed that gamers are a great target audience for such blockchain applications as cryptocurrency. Even before their appearance in public space, they used game coins to purchase virtual items. Such money circulated only in their fictional ecosystem. Experienced players have known virtual money much longer than ordinary people.
Many game portals have their own electronic points or coins, which can be used to pay for games. They have digital wallets where you can keep that kind of money. An example is the service Steam.
Gamers are well versed in the virtual economy, which often goes beyond the limits of the game. Some objects or pumped game accounts are sold on the forums and estimated in real money. Gamers are the perfect early followers of cryptocurrencies; they even know those that are meant only for gamers.
Startup Bountie from Singapore plans to create an online gaming platform, where the players will be rewarded with internal cryptocurrency for the time they spend on the site. It also got the name Bountie. Later, they will be able to exchange the received coins for new games, goods with symbols, tickets, and seats in the gaming tournaments.
On the Bountie’s website, there will be registers of victories and losses, which gamers can use as a portfolio when they try to become part of a strong team in eSports tournaments. The creators of the startup hope that their ideas will allow popularising Bountie coins and distributing them widely in the gaming community.
– Virtual currencies can only be used in one ecosystem, – tells Lex Na, the head of the project Bountie. – Unlike them, cryptocurrencies can be exchanged for real money, converted into other cryptocurrencies through appropriate platforms.
An Australian company Game Tester is planning to provide small development companies with one common platform, where people can try new games, find errors and discrepancies, and give feedback. For this, players will receive GTCoin tokens, produced by the company itself. They can be used to buy other games, items within games. All earnings and expenses of GTCoin users will be recorded in the blockchain.
Game Tester is in the process of concluding agreements with game publishers and distributors. The founders’ ideas extend far: they will try to build an affiliate system so that you can buy something corporeal for GTCoins (for example, a gaming laptop). Vendors will return the GTCoin coins to the company by exchanging them for fiat money unless they want to become holders of these tokens, which is entirely possible.
– We assume that the majority of companies producing hardware will want to receive money in a local currency, – explains David Dobson, the co-founder of Game Tester. – And we are ready to give them this opportunity.
The company Enjin headquartered in Singapore decided to focus on buying and selling game objects. The volume of the market for trading virtual items from games is estimated at $52 billion. The representatives of the company Deutsche Borse, which manages the exchange for trading game objects Swapster since 2015, are talking about it.
Enjin has recently entered into a partnership agreement with the NRG platform, specialising in the organization of eSports events. Enjin will distribute spread and popularise token among the subscribers of NRG, who are interested in gaming parties, tournaments, and ready to buy goods with symbols.
Another exciting project is the Russian company Playkey, offering game streaming service to the subscribers. They can play any resource-intensive games, requiring expensive equipment, but the entire load will lie on the company servers. The founders of the company hope to transfer the site to decentralized solutions over time. Miners can earn money in the project, sharing their power with gamers for Playkey tokens.
Major game publishers are also exploring blockchain. For example, last year, famous game studio Crytek announced the launch of the token Crycash, which is used to pay rewards to people playing free Warface. These coins can be used in other games and transactions.
Aside from the influence of hype, how blockchain can be useful for the gaming industry? The need for cheaper transactions is one of the actual demands of developers. Therefore, all startups – Enjin, Game Tester, Bountie – promise players simpler and cheaper international payment systems.
– We needed a digital system, which we could implement on our platform, – clarifies Dobson. – We don’t want to depend on such systems as Visa or Mastercard and on banks to transfer money.
The platform Game Tester attracted about 150,000 of users, and this number increases by 5,000 people every day. The company intends to make sure that players can get small payments ($1-2) instantly. If you add commissions to such payments, the whole line of business will become meaningless.
Using your own coins significantly improves profitability. Traditional forms of payment like PayPal don’t give such an opportunity. The same problem is familiar to players. They often get angry and write negative reviews, when they find out what commissions the sites selling downloadable games take from them. The introduction of the blockchain into the gaming environment will allow carrying out calculations within the games in such a way that the developers will get 85% of the profits (and not 70%, as it is now).
Programmers need transparency and security of the blockchain which are not present in centralized systems. Centralized databases are easy to hack or falsify. The game world with real financial calculations is a favourite target of hackers.
The Steam platform, where 67 million active users are registered, is often attacked by cybercriminals. Different methods are used: fake member accounts, password theft, and other hacking options.
Blockchain-based game startups allow many existing game developers to take advantage of this innovation, without transferring their platforms into a decentralized environment. For example, the Bountie project allows its partners to connect via API to its capacities. This will shift the multiplayer and tournament components to the blockchain, then no one will need to create independent solutions.
The platform Game Tester provides an opportunity for small companies with a low budget to carry out marketing research in their environment on a ready user base. Every player who gets GTCoin tokens will be marked in the blockchain, where the test results can’t be faked or spied. Developers will understand in which groups of gamers their products are most popular and what to focus on in marketing and advertising without wasting the budget on things that will not bring profit. Besides, they can promote their applications among the subscribers of Game Tester for a share of profits from the paid services.
This will give an advantage to the young independent studios, where there are lots of talented developers, which (without a large budget) don’t have the opportunity to please the players with their applications.
In a world where there are 1600 types of cryptocurrency, it became harder to promote the new tokens. Thus, some of them may not settle down even in the gaming world.
It is unlikely that the market will survive the influx of ICO projects from every gaming company on the planet. Probably, companies in this industry will have to consolidate efforts and unite. The gaming industry will not be able to accept all virtual coins available. Apparently, several leaders will form in this area: 2 or 3 specific game currencies, which will become the benchmark for the entire market.
The more players will use specific tokens, the higher the price. And the more willing the newcomers will be to choose them. It’s still difficult to predict, which altcoins will become central figures in the market. This is a matter of the near future. In a few years, it will be clear, which cryptocurrencies most gamers will bet on.