You’ve most likely heard of blockchain when people are talking about cryptocurrency. But what exactly is a blockchain, and what is its potential for use in the future?
While blockchain does play an important role in cryptocurrency, it isn’t actually a form of monetary transaction. Blockchain is, in essence, a database, but it differs from traditional databases in how it is structured.
Rather than formatting data into a table that can be accessed and edited by a third party, blockchain segments data into blocks, or sets of information. Once the block is full, it is closed and linked to a previous block. This forms a chain that functions as an irreversible timeline, rather than an open cloud of information.
Why is this important? Because blockchain data is by nature decentralized. This means no one has ultimate control over what happens within the chain because there is no central location to host it.
Like a hive mind, data is shared throughout the chain, so tampering with it in one area would be evident everywhere.
This concept can be beneficial in many areas, and online gaming is no exception. Blockchain promotes decentralization, ownership, and resistance to censorship.
This means developers can create a game environment but hand it off to the community to determine the path forward for the game. This would be an ideal situation for MMORPGs because it would be community led rather than dictated by the developers.
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What Does Blockchain Mean for Gaming?
Because of the nature of blockchain data storage, it allows for a complete record of all in-game elements, as well as a detailed ledger of how they move around. Blockchains introduce a unique marketplace for customizations within video games based on actual player activity and preferences.
Most existing blockchain games allow players to create items to sell or trade within the online marketplace. So, for example, if there’s a certain skin in your favorite game, its monetary value would be based on community demand for it, and there would be a public disclosure of how many of that type of skin are in existence.
In certain games, the blockchain also allows for community-hosted servers that change the game according to player preferences.
Blockchain gaming is ideal to use both as a financial instrument and as a tool for community involvement.
Why is Blockchain Good for Gaming?
Blockchain gaming makes it possible for players (and developers) to earn huge amounts of revenue quickly. When players earn cryptocurrency and NFTs as rewards, and this data is stored in real time within the blockchain, it means transactions of digital assets can occur quickly and securely.
Another benefit of blockchain gaming is the ease of accessing a player profile from anywhere on the globe. Some of the other benefits of blockchain gaming have already been mentioned, like ease of customization and community involvement.
These factors are pushing innovation in the gaming industry forward to blockchain adoption. After all, anything that can significantly increase revenue seems like it should be pursued and built upon.
And it sounds like fun to earn money playing video games, right? Sure, maybe, but many gamers don’t like the idea of turning their hobby into a hustle, especially since game mechanics and quality are often compromised for the sake of robust blockchain integration.
For this reason, not everyone is convinced it will increase the quality or appeal of video game play.
Still, the decentralization push of blockchain gaming allows communities to take control over many aspects of the games. This is a night and day difference from the old days, when games could simply be forcibly removed by their developers.
Is Blockchain Gaming Different than Crypto Gaming?
Cryptogames are games where cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin or Ethereum is in circulation within the blockchain during the game, and players are specifically looking to earn rewards during gameplay in the form of either currency or NFTs.
All crypto games are blockchain games, but not all blockchain gaming is considered crypto gaming. The main difference is that pure blockchain gaming is focused on the decentralized aspect of the game, rather than the reward aspect.
The cryptogaming model has an inherent predatory aspect due to its shady history of cryptocurrency scams and malicious hacking attempts. It can also encourage lazy game design, as developers may create games as a cash grab attempt.
What are Some of the Most Popular Blockchain Games?
This page ranks the most popular blockchain games by the number of users, total value of assets, and the trade volume of these assets. Currently, blockchain gaming is seen primarily as a financial venture built alongside cryptocurrency projects.
Other games that have achieved some sort of decentralized server embody some of the ideas of blockchain gaming as well. But the future of blockchain gaming has the potential to transform the way online games are created and enjoyed by players and developers alike.
The landscape of the video game market is constantly changing. The blockchain push within the industry is coming from the side of game developers with purely financial motivations, and it has encountered some resistance among gamers.
Some of the goals of blockchain gaming bode well for the future of the video game market, but shady crypto gaming projects point toward a darker future. It’s important to remember if you like a game and are having fun with it, even if you’re playing to earn money, that’s a successful game no matter how you slice it.
If you have any thoughts or experiences with blockchain/crypto gaming, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!