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  • Writer's pictureJulija Kazanavičiūtė

Blockchain - Disrupting the Gaming Industry

Updated: 4 days ago

Probably the one thing that unites all gamers is the assumption from grandpas and aunties that we are technology gurus capable of breaching into NASA on our lunch break. And it doesn’t matter if you’re an occasional gamer or a hardcore one, they don’t even care if you use pc, console, or mobile phone for it, you are the all-knowing messiah of technology in their eyes.  


Chances are that your technological expertise is limited to turn-it-off-and-on-again solutions, and you have no clue how anything works. In that case welcome, this is an article that speaks your language of gaming and will reward you with trivia-worthy knowledge of technology. 


Blockchain technology in gaming 

Before we begin, some clarification of what we mean by gaming and blockchain. In the case of this article, we will be exploring only the blockchain technology application methods of the most popular games today. This article does not cover current Web3 games or metaverse games, but if that sounds like something that you would like to read about, subscribe to our newsletter and we’ll notify you when the next blog post covering this topic is released. Now let’s get started with the main question: 


What does the future hold for today’s most popular games? 

One straightforward solution that blockchain technology integration could bring is data portability among platforms. Currently, all the progress you make in a game played on Xbox can only be saved and reloaded on Xbox devices. So, if you have an Xbox at home and there is a PlayStation at the office, you cannot continue playing the same exact game in both places. Blockchain technology enables data portability among devices and makes your life easier in cases like this. The transfer is done through a self-sovereign digital identity, that does not rely on a single game platform but belongs to the user himself. In other words, the game progress made on PS could be reloaded and continued on Xbox.  

You could argue that this example is quite rare since most of the gaming community members prefer to game at home where there is a sole console option and that is true. But even if you play on the same device sometimes you might want to switch between servers. A losing streak on League of Legends’ EUW server might make you want to try your luck in the EUNE server, you know, just to prove to yourself that you can do better than 0/10/3. But only when it’s time to pick a champion, do you see that there are barely any of them in this cobwebbed account. Eventually, you pick one decent enough to get you through the upcoming match and even gain a chest containing an ultimate skin. A quick burst of surprise and triumph disappears when you realize you can’t show it off on your main account. While blockchain technology cannot fix your gaming skills, it can help with the skin problem. Using blockchain, all in-game assets can be made transferable between accounts and your skins can follow you from server to server. This is the case of ultimate ownership where assets are unconditionally mine and do not belong to the game developer.


If we were to take a step further into this utopian world of gaming the transfer possibility can become even more preposterous. What if an AK-47 rifle from CS: GO could be transferred to your GTA V game? Or a Firework launcher from GTA V to your CS: GO account? Currently, this is prevented by certain compatibility and operability problems between games, but blockchain technology provides means to solve them.  


And if transferring between consoles, servers or games is not impressive enough, how about the most brutal example that blockchain technology provides – discontinuing a game altogether? How would that work? Great question, I would love to answer. Decentralized decision-making puts all the power into the hands of community members, in this case, the gamers themselves. So theoretically if a death to a game is proposed and confirmed by the majority of eligible voters you could end it with one press of a button from your sofa.  


The other side of the coin 

I am sure all four examples of data portability, ownership, interoperability, and decentralization have stirred some questions about how it would work or not work, how it could be used for good or for evil, and how gaming companies would never agree to some of them. And yes, all these questions and opinions are completely valid, so let’s explore the other side of all the previous ideas starting from the bottom and going all the way up the list again.  


Sure, knowing the popularity of cancel culture and the absurdity of dank memes, the power to destroy a game is likely to be put into action by the gaming community. For all we know, it might even be used by Karens and super moms as a last resource to protect their children from playing video games. But at the same time, if we had this option of decentralized decision-making back in 2014, maybe Flappy Birds would still be on the app stores and the world would be a better place.  


However, the world would probably not be a better place if Zeus’ from Dota 2 ultimate ability could be used in Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode. Having a character that can deal damage to all enemy heroes on the map would be complete powerplay in a game with a “last standing” goal. Blockchain technology could open a gate to pure havoc in the gaming industry and although interoperability sounds cool, there would have to be many rules instated to keep the games fair. 


As we talked about earlier, having more control over the in-game assets does not have to extend into other games. Simply being able to transfer your weapons and skins among servers and accounts could still be a cool thing. But this raises two problems. Firstly, being able to have your full desired inventory on every account limits the money-making machine of the game. A transferred skin is a skin not soled. Secondly, ownership of assets opens the secondary markets which means even less profits for the company and more opportunities for scammers. 


While we’re on the money-making topic, how do you think Play Station and Xbox would take the news that they now have to share not only the games but the profits for acquiring those games too? If you want to play NBA 2K24 on both Xbox and PS, you need to buy the game twice, but with blockchain technology enabling data portability, the profits for those companies will be cut in half. 


Final Thoughts 

Blockchain technology, although often associated only with crypto, has many use cases and the four examples presented in this article are only a tiny particle of it. Many of them are still theoretical and need to be carefully thought out and tested before they can reach the market, but nonetheless, blockchain and the whole Web3 concept are already becoming a part of our daily lives.  


If you’re interested in how blockchain technology can be applied in other areas of our lives, check out our article about blockchain use cases that extend beyond crypto.

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