Video Games on the Blockchain: Crypto and Digital Assets
The Future of Gaming
It looks like the days are coming when you can turn your hobby into a job, or at least a part-time one. Between daily rewards, ranked rewards, item ownership, item creation and blockchain tournaments, blockchain gaming can give players who are skilled multiple ways to earn a side income. And if you combine this with streaming and sites like Vocal, you might be able to do really well financially.
But for this article, let's take streaming out of the picture. What would it take for a game to offer enough rewards that a pay-to-earn structure would work. It depends on how the coins are distributed, the items that are in the game and why gamers would pay for these things with with fiat.
For daily rewards and ranked rewards, this is a nice bonus for doing well or staying active There are a lot of games, especially mobile, that utilise this now. You can collect your daily bonus each day if you log in. The difference with blockchain is you would own the coin you were given and could trade it (or sell it) to other players. But unless there are incentives to hold and buy the coin that you are getting, it will be hard to have any value of them. It will be up to game developers to give bonuses for holding these coins (like access to levels, avatars, titles or gear) and this could help encourage an increase in the worth of the coin. It is the same idea when you talk about ranked matches. You can reward the top players every season but there still needs to be a “value” to the coins. This is the balancing act that game developers need to accomplish, how do you give away something for free that is worth real money. But it can be done if the coins are given out scarcely and the player can save time if they buy them. There is the option to grind for the coins, or if you are skilled, win them, but you can also buy them and get to the level of everyone else. This is what makes an online economy. By having coins that can get you things in game that would take you time to grind for, you can give reasons for players to buy them.
However the best way for blockchain gaming to be a career is in digital ownership and item creation. I know it sounds funny to some, but owning a rare digital item can be as valuable as owning a stock in a good company. With blockchain gaming, in-game items can truly be rare and thus have real world value. For example you can have 1,000 copies of a piece of a specific piece of armour. That means only 1,000 players can obtain and wear this armour, and if you are one of the lucky ones who grinded for it, you can sell it on the marketplace. The armour can be high in stats or even give your player a different look aesthetically, and these are things that bring value to it. With an MMO or card game (there are already a couple of blockchain card games popping up) this can lead to a digital economy where top players get paid well. There will be rarer and harder to earn loot that will sell for a lot of money. World of Warcraft already proved that a digital economy of virtual goods can thrive, and with blockchain, it can really be expanded on. Every item that you find from a raid will be limited, and if the game is popular enough, these items can be quite expensive. There needs to be a balance so the game is not only play-to-win where only the top players are making money, but it can be done. And it does not need to be only the developers who are creating these rare items. You can allow people to make items and sell them this can also lead to a creation market. There are a lot of talented designers out there who can make items that do not give any stat boosts but have a cool look to them that can sell well on the open market. This creates another job for gamers and people playing your game.
In-game items that are only aesthetically different is the easiest way to give worth to your items without making the game too heavy on the play-to-win side. You can give characters new skins or pets that have a unique look to them. This way, everyone can compete without spending money, and if you choose to, you can get something that gives your character a special look. This is one of the reasons that Fortnite is so successful. It leaves the game free-to-play for all players while finding a way to make money.
The goal is to get to the point where your game is play-to-earn, which is a new model that I think will be the norm when it comes to gaming. Why play a game where you cannot keep or sell your items when there are games that you can? There are lots of ways blockchain gaming can pay, but we will need a game big enough for it to have value. We are not there yet, but I am starting to see titles where you can make money from them by playing everyday, and there are some, like Skyweaver, that are close to releasing their beta.
It is only a matter of time before an AAA title gets released that will have enough value in-game where players can at least make some nice income on their weekends with blockchain gaming. And who knows, some players might be able to make a real good living off of this and that does not include streaming or posting about their content on sites like this one.
Will this be the year we see one of this games released? And if you could make a living from playing a game would you be interested?