Updated: Jun 30, 2022
From art and fashion to e-commerce and healthcare, there is no denying the massive adoption of blockchain across various industries. But if there is one market where this technology is deeply entrenched, it is online gaming.
As of October 2021, there were more than 1 million virtual wallets linked to decentralized gaming apps each day, accounting for a whopping 55% of blockchain technology’s total activity, according to data gathered by global apps store DappRadar.
Similarly, a British study on blockchain adoption in the online gaming industry found that nearly six in 10 of the gaming developers surveyed in the U.K. and the U.S. have already begun using the technology for their projects, while over two-thirds of gaming studios anticipate blockchain to be a key part of the industry within the next two years.
The most common adoption of blockchain in online gaming is through the play-to-earn (P2E) model. P2E often intersects with non-fungible tokens (NFT), which are cryptographic digital assets representing real-world items.
In P2E, players can earn rewards such as armors, digital skins, avatars, and in-game currencies. Blockchain enables ownership of these assets, which essentially gives them value. In return, players can trade or sell those assets in exchange for fiat currency. The most popular P2Es are Axie Infinity, Decentraland, The Sandbox, and Pegaxy.
Unlike traditional online games where assets earned are still owned by the creators, P2Es allow the players to have an ownership over the assets that they earned or purchased. P2Es also make monetization easier than regular video games.
So, why are developers crazy over blockchain and why do experts believe this technology will revolutionize the gaming industry?
Benefits of blockchain adoption in the gaming industry
While tokenization isn’t new to online gaming, blockchain offers liquidity to in-game assets through non-fungible tokens that represent in-game currencies. Gamers are given the chance to turn their in-game assets such as skins or shields into tradeable assets.
In blockchain, data is sent to a transparent ledger that makes it immutable. Anyone can check the ledger for verification, boosting the trust factor among the players, developers, and distributors.
Blockchain is one of the most secure technologies for storing value. It is difficult to hack since it adopts high-level data encryption technology. Additionally, the immutable nature of in-game assets from blockchain-based games helps solve the issue of theft and deter the sale of counterfeit items.
Challenges of blockchain adoption
As with any technology that is relatively new, blockchain adoption in the gaming industry is also facing roadblocks. One of which is speed. Blockchain is facing a so-called “trilemma” of security, scalability, and decentralization. Of these, you can only pick two.
That means games that are fast and decentralized run the risk of having low security, while those that are decentralized and secure tend to be slow. This trilemma is affecting speed since an online game needs to be fast while blockchain technologies that support it such as Bitcoin and Ethereum operate slower than centralized networks.
Another challenge, albeit not exclusive to online gaming adoption, is regulatory. There is much uncertainty regarding policies and regulations surrounding the technology. While there are many countries that are adjusting their regulations to accommodate blockchain, regulatory scrutiny remains high for this technology.
In conclusion, blockchain is revolutionizing the online gaming industry. The technology enables developers to promote a healthy competition minus the constraints of traditional gaming publishers while incentivizing players through in-game assets that they can own and trade for real-world money. Despite the challenges, it appears that online games will continue to drive the massive adoption of blockchain technology.