The gaming industry is enjoying tremendous growth, exceeding $162 billion today and expected to grow to $295 billion worldwide over the next five years. Once dismissed as a fad due to the abundance of hardcore games, mobile gaming has significantly boosted the industry’s growth in recent years, with more than 2.5 billion mobile gamers worldwide in 2020. The total number of mobile gamers has dwarfed even more traditional gamers such as PC and console gamers.
Cryptocurrencies are used for in-game purchases
Bitcoin has embarked on a crazy journey this year. At the start of 2021, the price was around 29 thousand dollars and skyrocketed to all-time highs in mid-April, hitting over 63 thousand dollars. Then, some of Elon Musk’s comments started a process that brought the price down to about 43 thousand dollars. Despite the recent drop, Bitcoin is still trading around 150% above January 2021 levels, and investments in the blockchain are increasing exponentially from year to year. This inevitably led to renewed interest in game developers looking to incorporate blockchain and cryptocurrency-powered technologies.
Josh Chapman, the managing partner of esports and video game venture company Konvoy Ventures, commented on the subject as follows:
“There are 2.6 billion people playing video games and thousands of studios, all with digital assets and digital IP. For example, the founders of Blockchain Capital have had great success in trading digital assets in Second Life. They used this experience to determine the value in a brand new digital currency, Bitcoin, and invested heavily in it.”
The addition of blockchain promises a decentralized gaming future where items earned or purchased in one game can be transferred and used in another game, adding real-world value to digital in-game assets.
“Some of these in-game assets can cost thousands of dollars each due to scarcity,” said Craig Russo, director of innovation at Polyient Games. “It connects your sword or weapon to the blockchain, allowing you to own it, remove it from the game, and sell it for profit on the open market. “
The current central nature of video games also means that players don’t really own the in-game items they earn; If they stop playing a particular game or if a game’s servers are compromised or shut down by its developers, everything they collect during the game is lost forever. We saw this game earlier this year when a massive fire in France destroyed around 30 servers connected to the hugely popular MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing game) Rust. As a result of the incident, thousands of players lost their saved data that was not backed up off-site.
Popular brands transition to Blockchain and NFT
Atari, one of the true pioneers of home game consoles, announced that he entered the NFT world with the creation of an entire section dedicated to the blockchain called Atari Blockchain. The company says in a news release that the division aims to “focus on the enormous possibilities of crypto and blockchain-enabled games.” The company has also launched its own Atari Token, which will be used to purchase digital goods on the Atari VCS console, Atari games on the blockchain, and third-party games or apps such as opeansea.io, Sandbox, or Decentraland. The company says it will continually seize opportunities in blockchain games, NFTs, and blockchain-based online worlds.
PlayStation maker Sony is working on The Six Dragons, a long-awaited RPG game expected to launch on PlayStation 5 this year. The game features over a billion randomly generated dungeons and over 300 items that players can trade, sell or keep. The game’s item trading and crafting take place on the Ethereum blockchain, making it one of the first versions of the mainstream gaming platform to include NFTs.
As stated on the website of The Six Dragons: “What makes this experience unique is that almost all the elements in the game are decentralized using the power of innovative blockchain technology. This means that players really own their game assets, they can freely trade them with other players, sell them for real-world value and use them in different game universes,”