Blockchain in Video Games

dr.Gachet

dr.Gachet

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#1
Now, there are a lot of computer games using cryptocurrencies in one way or another. However, despite the growing number of such games only a small number of these games actually use Ethereum or Bitcoin mechanism to provide a blockchain gaming experience. In most of these games, blockchain and cryptocurrency go as ‘latest fashion’ to existing gameplay dynamics without which it is quite possible to get by.

It is not necessary to search far for examples: the five most popular crypto-related games on the Google Play Store — Alien Run, Blockchain Game, Miner Simulator, Itadaki Dungeon, and Spells Of Genesis — would work well without any kind of blockchain or crypto element.

Crypto elements can be easily added to video games without spoiling what made them fun in the first place, as a kind of crypto layer. There are three main ways of using crypto in n video games: as a payment reward, as a gimmicky promotional tool, as a genuine gameplay modifier.

Background

Crypto games have become popular at the end of last year with CryptoKitties, the Ethereum-based cat-breeding game. With the opportunity of breeding digital cats, the Ethereum-based company made millions of USD using the program.

However, the first game that could be considered a crypto-game was Dragon’s Tale, a multiplayer online role-playing game with the option to stake Bitcoins on the outcome of minigames. Dragon’s Tale was developed by Andrew Tepper in 2010, but, officially, it was released on July 12, 2013.


The Dragon’s Tale game used Bitcoin just as a virtual gambling chip. But the most important thing is that it was the first game that has integrated the crypto space and video games, and it continues to be played to this day.

Launched in September 2013, Huntercoin is another one early crypto game, running on a fork of the Namecoin blockchain. Huntercoin's players got opportunity of mining internal cryptocurrency (HUC) — they have collected coins in the game world and then transfering them to one of several randomly generated ‘banks,’ which would actually transfer them to the players’ crypto-wallets. Over time, in 2016, game being transferred into the upstream Bitcoin core code, but the game is still popular, showing the enduring appeal of its game world and mechanics.

However, since it has been demonstrated that games could be left to run without being subject to direct control from a centralized server, the rest of the gaming world has been slow to catch up.

In 2013 — 2014, gambling sector actively began to develop crypto space, although online casinos didn’t offer really video games as such. There were many Bitcoin-based gambling websites, such as BitZino, SatoshiDice, Bitino, and Bit777.

Providing crypto-coins as a reward for playing certain online games is the another one trend of this period, although there were few games developed specifically with a blockchain in mind. In 2014, HYPER cryptocurrency was offered with the Counter Strike and Minecraft.

Next 2015 year finally provided a modest increase in the number of games offering cryptocurrencies as a game reward or as a means of payment. It was at that time when platformer FlapPig, multiplayer racer TurboCharged, and fellow platformer SaruTobi has been released. While these games also didn’t use cryptocurrency technology in particularly imaginative ways, their increasing numbers indicated that the idea of crypto video games was a popular.

Another outburst in the use of cryptocurrencies and blockchains in gaming was observed in 2016. There were both increasing amount of games with Bitcoin rewards, for example BitQuest and Grabbit, and the release of the popular card-trading game Spells of Genesis. Developed by the Swiss-based EverdreamSoftm, Spells of Genesis offered its own BitCrystals (BCY) currency and actually was the first game that used the Bitcoin blockchain to store the collectable cards. This breakthrough was built upon in 2017 with the launch of real-time strategy game Beyond the Void and the trading-card game Force of Will. Released in April 2017, the latter game based on the Ethereum blockchain and offered its own Nexium (NXC) cryptocurrency. Significantly, this use would be repeated by the now-famous CryptoKitties, the largest Dapp on Ethereum a mere week after its launch on November 28.

Crypto as Carrot in Front of Gamers

Despite CryptoKitties providing a proof-of-concept that blockchain and cryptocurrencies could be exploited to deliver a novel gaming experience — for example the breeding/trading of unique digital pets, the most common use of cryptocurrencies in games today still revolves around rewarding players.


The game includes in three interrelated sub-games, with the first (mini-game based) sub-game earning players the right to play in the second, mining sub-game. As the name suggests, players who participate in the mining game essentially permit their computer to be used to mine Jewel, the cryptocurrency created especially for AllMine. Players will have the option of trading their Jewelz for other cryptocurrencies or for fiat money, but here's where it gets interesting, because they will also be able to use their coins to fund purchases in the third sub-game, where they will their built "Utopias" — farmstead-esque settlements.

In this game the only way to upgrade your Utopia is to spend the Jewelz you earn. It actually means that the most engaged AllMine players won't be earning much profit, as their coins will mostly be pumped back for transforming their Utopias.

There are a lot of games similar to AllMine which use cryptocurrencies just as a carrot in front of gamers to whip them with a purchase-shaped stick.

Bitcoin Price Dependent Games

Given the number of companies offering platforms with crypto-reward option, the number of games with reward in coins likely to be abundant in the near future. However, there are a lot of developers who just make money on the prevailing crypto-hype.

They have simply added a Bitcoin or crypto association as a way of achieve extra profit, even if this crypto option doesn't make much sense gameplay-wise. For example, in January, the action-RPG Imperatum relised "Crypto Update" video game that was equipped with a "Bitcoin Mode" — whereby if the bitcoin price increases enemies become more fiendish and item drops become more frequent. The bitcoin price dependent mode could potentially destroy the game's enjoyability if BTC's price collapsed or if it rose to lunar highs.

Human Mining
So, the majority of video game developers use cryptocurrency only for rewards/incentives or for marketing. Are there games using blockchain actual technology at full power you might ask? Yes, such games are. There are some signs that blockchain has been making a difference to the intrinsic gameplay and workings of some games and it is expected that that number would increase further in the near future.

First of all, there's CryptoKitties, which uses Ethereum blockchain to ensure that the digital cats players breed are entirely unique, owned only by the player, and cannot be erased, reproduced, or seized. In the similar to CryptoKitties CryptoFighters, UnicornGo, and Tencent's Let's Hunt Monsters, players battle with their unique fighters, and have to buy them in official marketplace.


Unfortunately, there are very few games which use blockchains and cryptocurrencies in order to furnish something other than unique characters owned entirely by players. However, Huntercoin multiplayer online cryptocoin game gives hope that the developers will have original ideas as to how cryptocurrencies can be merged with video games.

This game provides the first ever example of 'human mining,' in that players mine its currency (HUC) by traveling across the massively multiplayer online game world and finding coins. The game also provides the first example of a truly decentralized game server, where the developers unable to influence the game’s unfolding except by changing the underlying code.
 
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Carly Swinson

Carly Swinson

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#2
WOW. I never knew it was possible to earn crypto currency while enjoying a video game. nice information Dr. i will definitely look into it.
 
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