It’s often said that video games push technology more than anything else. The ecosystem and communities behind video games are massive. As we enter a new generation of gaming, developers are looking to advancements made in blockchain technology to integrate with online gaming. The potential that blockchain brings to this market is enormous. Here are some of the biggest ways blockchain technology could change video games.
Traditionally, video gamers have identified each other through their in-game avatars, and whatever names they have decided to use. Depending on a platform, they may have an ID that they use for all of their games. Blockchain technology is making leaps towards what they refer to as a Digital ID. In the greater scope, a Digital ID could be used for everything from keeping track of birth documents to managing your government taxes. In this application, a Digital ID system could be used in a gaming ecosystem. These IDs could keep track of all of your games across different platforms, as well as your achievements and reputation, and allow you to compare with other gamers regardless of their chosen platform. It would help fight video game piracy, and allow for automatic verification of purchased games. There truly is no telling what could be built on top of these systems if they take off.
Prevent Cheating and Detect Bot Usage
Online gaming is a serious business. Every online game has some level of monetization, even if they are free to play. It’s no fun to have your game ruined by those that are exploiting the system through hacking, the use of bots, or other unfair advantages. Players need to know that the environment is fair and safe, otherwise, they quickly move on to another game or platform. Therefore, measures have to be taken to ensure that no one is cheating in online play. Blockchain could be used to detect people running bots, or otherwise digital assistance in their games, like auto-aiming scripts for first-person shooter games. Algorithms could also be used to detect all gamers’ Digital ID systems, and make sure they are not out of place in the game’s levels, as hackers can go “out of bounds” on the levels and cause mayhem. Bots would also not be able to have a Digital ID, so they would be easier to detect, and if they were given a Digital ID somehow, the ID would be labeled as a bot and permanently banned from all online games. It’s a system that would be built gradually over time, but greatly assist in detecting cheaters and any malicious code.
The trading of digital in-game items has long been a challenging pursuit for video game developers. Digital items such as weapons, or in-game currency can be sold for real world dollars and there are many marketplaces that are dedicated to this. This economy poses a problem for many developers because it leaves a lot of potential for hacking, real-world human abuse in operations like “gold farms”, and otherwise scamming to receive in-game items. All of these problems have the potential to ruin a game. Blockchain poses a few interesting ways to combat these issues and provides a system for honest exchange. Blockchains are open ledgers that anyone can view, but cannot change. Right away, this would allow for the tracking of items and currency directly from their source to every owner along the way. Much like a Digital ID, items that are stolen or hacked can be traced back to the original owner and his digital consent, meaning stolen items will be returned to their rightful owner. Marketplaces will be secure and based on agreements made by two people, as private key systems are commonplace in blockchain, meaning ownership is always provable.
With the rise of free to play games, consumers are expecting more for free. Games like Fortnight and DOTA have taken the world by storm and are completely free to play. Developers that want to charge for their work are finding themselves unable to compete with oftentimes inferior games, because those games find bigger fanbases. So this leaves the question of monetization. While in-game items and aesthetic options, or “loot crates” are now the traditional ways of monetizing free to play games, blockchain technology offers other options. Each developer has the option to launch their own in-game coin or currency that if limited, or “capped” could grow in real world value as they are used more in the in-game economy. There is also the ability to use a transparent mining system that the gamer would opt into. While they are playing, a low CPU miner could be running in the background, returning cryptocurrency to the developers. These are just a few examples, and many more are being tested every day.