Blockchain gaming refers to the integration of blockchain technology into the gaming ecosystem, bringing about new possibilities for ownership, interoperability, and transparency within digital gaming experiences. A blockchain game is any game that uses blockchain technology to enhance or rearchitect traditional video games. The point of blockchain games, no matter the genre they come from, is to redefine the relationship between players and game creators to be fairer and more transparent. That said, there are varying degrees to which blockchain technology can be implemented within video games.
Traditional video games typically store player data, in-game assets, and progress on centralized servers controlled by the game developers or publishers. In contrast, blockchain gaming leverages decentralized and distributed ledger technology to revolutionize various aspects of gaming.
Key features of blockchain gaming include:
- 1. Ownership of In-Game Assets: In blockchain games, players have true ownership of their in-game assets because these assets are represented as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the blockchain. NFTs are unique digital tokens that can represent anything from characters and weapons to skins and virtual real estate. Players can buy, sell, and trade these assets both within and outside the game.
- 2. Interoperability: Blockchain gaming enables interoperability between different games and platforms. Players can use their acquired assets across multiple games that support the same blockchain standards. This fosters a cross-game ecosystem where players can carry their virtual possessions and achievements seamlessly from one game to another.
- 3. Transparency and Immutability: The use of blockchain ensures transparency in the creation and distribution of in-game items. Smart contracts on the blockchain govern various aspects of gameplay, ensuring fairness and eliminating the possibility of fraud or manipulation. Once information is recorded on the blockchain, it is immutable, meaning it cannot be altered or tampered with.
- 4. Tokenization of Virtual Economies: Many blockchain games have their own in-game currencies or tokens, often backed by blockchain technology. These tokens can be traded on external cryptocurrency exchanges, providing players with the opportunity to earn real-world value from their in-game activities.
- 5. Player-driven Economies: Blockchain gaming fosters player-driven economies where the value of in-game assets is determined by the players themselves. Rare and desirable items can attain real-world value through trading and transactions facilitated by blockchain technology.
- 6. Community Engagement: Blockchain gaming often involves a strong community aspect, where players actively participate in the development of the game through governance mechanisms or community-driven content creation. This level of engagement is facilitated by the decentralized nature of blockchain ecosystems.
How does crypto gaming work?
To gain insight into the mechanics of blockchain gaming and the advantages it offers, one can explore the innovative tools at the disposal of crypto gaming developers. In particular, a comprehensive understanding can be derived by examining the functionalities of crypto wallets, smart contracts, and blockchain tokens.
These tools play pivotal roles in reshaping the gaming landscape, ushering in a new era of player empowerment, digital asset ownership, and decentralized economies within virtual realms.
Collectively, the integration of these tools into blockchain gaming not only transforms how players engage with virtual worlds but also opens avenues for novel gaming experiences. Through crypto wallets, smart contracts, and blockchain tokens, players experience enhanced security, true ownership, and unprecedented interoperability, setting the stage for a decentralized and player-centric future in the gaming industry.
Crypto wallets serve as digital repositories for players to securely store and manage their blockchain-based assets. Unlike traditional gaming setups, where in-game items are confined to a closed ecosystem, crypto wallets enable users to have direct ownership of their virtual possessions. These wallets facilitate seamless transactions, empowering players to transfer, trade, and utilize their assets across various blockchain games.
Smart contracts are self-executing protocols that operate on the blockchain, automating predefined conditions without the need for intermediaries. In the context of blockchain gaming, smart contracts govern aspects such as asset ownership, in-game transactions, and the execution of specific game mechanics. This ensures a transparent and tamper-proof environment, where the rules of the game are encoded in a secure and decentralized manner.
Blockchain tokens, especially non-fungible tokens (NFTs), represent unique digital assets within the gaming ecosystem. Each token is distinguishable and can denote items such as characters, weapons, or other in-game elements. These tokens, recorded on the blockchain, provide players with verifiable ownership and the ability to trade assets across different games or external platforms. The tokenization of in-game assets introduces a novel dimension to gaming economies, where the value of virtual items is determined by market dynamics and player-driven demand.
Digital currencies and items constitute a familiar element in the realm of online video games, often acquired through various means such as defeating bosses, completing quests, engaging in gameplay, or exchanging them for cosmetic enhancements. Similar functionalities are fulfilled by blockchain tokens, whether they manifest as fungible units (akin to Runescape’s “gp”) or non-fungible entities like in-game items.
Presently, conventional in-game currencies and items are centrally managed and distributed by the game’s publisher through a proprietary backend server. This centralized control dictates ownership, usage rights, and the overall handling of players’ digital assets. However, the landscape shifts in the realm of blockchain games.
In blockchain-based gaming ecosystems, in-game assets backed by blockchain tokens redefine the standards for digital asset ownership. When an in-game item takes the form of a non-fungible token (NFT), ownership is unequivocally transferred to the player. This ownership is secure and immutable; the asset cannot be arbitrarily confiscated or deleted. Importantly, players are granted the autonomy to exercise fundamental rights over their possessions, such as selling, trading, or using them for transactions—actions that don’t necessitate explicit permission from the game developer. This decentralization of asset control marks a significant departure from traditional gaming models, enhancing player agency and establishing a new paradigm for ownership in the digital gaming landscape.
A counterpoint to the broad adoption of blockchain tokens within games is the assertion that game publishers retain the ability to render an asset valueless by eliminating its functionality within the game. While this argument holds merit, it underscores a pivotal shift in the landscape of digital ownership when tokens become the prevailing norm in gaming. Historically, ownership in the digital realm was a bestowed privilege—a choice made and sanctioned by the game’s publisher. In the context of blockchain games, however, ownership transforms into an inherent entitlement that must be consciously revoked, fundamentally altering the dynamics of digital asset ownership.
Tokens extend beyond representing mere in-game currencies and items; they also serve as a means to orchestrate the activities of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) and attribute membership and governance privileges to players.
The fundamental concept of a DAO token, irrespective of its specific implementation, can be distilled into three key elements:
- 1. Token Distribution: Tokens are disseminated to players based on diverse criteria, ranging from specific in-game achievements to quantifiable data points that reflect a player’s commitment to the game (e.g., event completion or time spent playing).
- 2. Voting Weight: Each token is assigned a designated vote weight, determining its influence in governance processes. Whether adhering to a one-vote-per-token model, a one-vote-per-player approach, or another governance structure, tokens serve as the medium through which players exercise their voting rights.
- 3. Voting on Proposals: Tokens play a pivotal role in the democratic process within DAOs by being utilized to cast votes on proposed changes. Proposals are defined by customizable parameters, encompassing the scope of potential alterations and delineating the eligible participants who can propose or vote on specific matters.
Token voting provides players with a means to influence the trajectory of a game, serving as a potent tool to foster player enthusiasm, drive effective game design choices, and delegate specific aspects of game development.
The central challenge associated with DAO tokens revolves around striking a balance between optimizing game development efficiency and preserving a coherent creative vision while fully embracing player participation. For instance, implementing a collective voting system for intricate aspects like gameplay balance or comprehensive update specifications in multiplayer online games may prove impractical.
These tasks are better entrusted to specialized game analysts and developers possessing profound insights into the game’s dynamics. Conversely, decisions regarding cosmetic aspects, such as skin design, lend themselves well to token-based governance. Allowing any player to propose, design, and vote on skin concepts not only facilitates creative engagement but also ensures the fulfillment of latent demand—a mutually beneficial scenario for both game designers and players.
The realm of game governance through tokens remains an expansive design space, largely untapped and teeming with untapped innovation. Game publishers are encouraged to harness this emerging technology to empower players with the capacity to actively shape the outcomes of the games they hold dear.
Technical Limitations in Blockchain Games
Addressing the current challenges in building blockchain games is essential for these games to meet the expectations of mainstream gamers. Overcoming issues like scalability, high transaction costs, and user-friendly interfaces is crucial, alongside considering environmental sustainability and ensuring seamless cross-platform experiences. The goal is to make blockchain games as accessible, enjoyable, and environmentally friendly as traditional games, providing a seamless and inclusive gaming experience for everyone.
Barriers to Entry
Traditionally, blockchain games have offered subpar player experiences in comparison to conventional games, primarily due to the early developmental stage of the foundational blockchain infrastructure. Players frequently encounter the necessity of establishing a third-party wallet and funding it with sufficient network tokens solely to cover transaction fees before initiating gameplay.
Additionally, any in-game activity that involves a transaction mandates players to individually authorize transactions, presenting a significant obstacle that disrupts the immersive gaming experience and introduces minor yet impactful impediments to achieving a smooth user interface.
Scalability and Game Lag
Although the ultimate objective is to have blockchain games entirely based on smart contracts, the current constraints on blockchain scalability pose a significant challenge in adopting this approach.
The limitations stem from the fact that video games typically involve computational and latency demands that contemporary blockchains struggle to accommodate. Attempting to construct a computation-intensive blockchain game exclusively on the blockchain today would likely result in gamers encountering game lag—a notably vexing issue for the gaming community.
Connectivity and Disconnected Ecosystems
The blockchain landscape is dispersed across various unconnected layer-1 and layer-2 environments, resulting in fragmentation. While blockchains serve as a common backend for all games built upon them, a disconnection persists between, for instance, an Ethereum game and a Solana game. Players contend with the use of different wallets, and avenues for bridging messages from one blockchain to another remain limited.
This issue shares similarities with the fragmentation seen in traditional gaming ecosystems, exemplified by the necessity of creating separate accounts for platforms like Steam, Epic, and Riot. However, the root cause differs.
Traditional games often incentivize closed systems, while blockchain games are inherently more open. The primary challenge lies in the absence of a robust cross-chain infrastructure, despite ongoing efforts by various teams to address this gap.
Innovative solutions for Blockchain Games
In response to the challenges faced by blockchain games, a wave of innovative solutions is emerging to enhance the gaming experience. Developers are actively addressing issues such as scalability, user interface complexity, and cross-chain interoperability to pave the way for a more seamless and player-friendly blockchain gaming landscape.
These efforts reflect a commitment to unlocking the full potential of blockchain technology in gaming and creating an environment where players can fully enjoy the benefits of decentralized and transparent gaming ecosystems.
Wallet Account Abstraction
In essence, wallet account abstraction revolutionizes the player’s wallet experience by eradicating the constant requirement to manually sign transactions. In specific scenarios, it also has the potential to eliminate transaction fees, especially when the application opts to cover them. This proves particularly beneficial for seamless digital asset transfers, where a blockchain transaction is invariably needed on the player’s side.
Ultimately, the overarching objective is to eliminate the backend wallet impediments, ensuring that players engage with blockchain technology without being constantly aware of its presence. This advancement aims to create a more immersive and user-friendly environment, fostering widespread adoption and acceptance of blockchain gaming.
Blockchain and Layer-2 Scalability
Progress in blockchain scalability, coupled with the rise of layer-2 environments, contributes to overcoming computational obstacles for delivering a high-throughput Web3 game. This translates to a scenario where gamers are relieved from enduring prolonged network congestion and steep network fees, two factors that have a substantial impact on the overall player experience.
These advancements pave the way for a smoother and more efficient gaming environment, where transactions occur seamlessly without the hindrance of network-related delays. Additionally, the reduced dependence on on-chain processing fosters a more cost-effective gaming experience, making blockchain gaming increasingly accessible to a broader audience. As the industry continues to embrace these scalability solutions, the potential for a truly immersive and frictionless Web3 gaming landscape becomes increasingly promising.
A prominent blockchain oracle in the industry offers a variety of development services aimed at enhancing the efficiency, transparency, and seamlessness of Web3 games. The infrastructure provided by this industry leader empowers blockchains, wallets, and smart contracts to perform functions beyond their native capabilities, ultimately enhancing the interoperability, transparency, and overall rewarding nature of blockchain games.
The effortless transfer of digital assets between diverse blockchains, the universality of player identity and logins irrespective of the blockchain in play, and the utilization of cross-chain smart contracts allow game publishers to harness the unique strengths of each blockchain—whether it be scalability, data storage, security, decentralization, and more.
Automating smart contracts is crucial for enhancing the crypto gaming experience. In its absence, players are compelled to exit the game, manually authorize transactions, and incur fees just to resume playing.
In certain blockchain games, players must initiate and conclude game sessions, paying transaction fees merely to claim their rewards. These manual tasks disrupt gameplay immersion and contribute to suboptimal player experiences.
The absence of automation poses a fundamental challenge for developers incorporating smart contracts into core or ancillary gameplay. Automation solutions address this challenge by empowering game developers to autonomously execute transactions, updating the game state on behalf of players—a prerequisite for any game to achieve widespread acceptance in the mainstream gaming community.
Future of Blockchain Gaming: Ownership & Connectivity
The future of blockchain gaming promises a dynamic evolution, characterized by increased integration of innovative technologies, enhanced user experiences, and broader mainstream adoption. As scalability solutions continue to mature and interoperability becomes more seamless, blockchain games are poised to offer players unprecedented levels of ownership, verifiable scarcity of in-game assets, and collaborative participation in shaping the gaming landscape.
With ongoing developments in smart contract automation, cross-chain infrastructure, and player-driven governance, the future holds the potential for blockchain gaming to redefine industry standards, fostering a vibrant and inclusive ecosystem that captivates players worldwide.
At its essence, blockchain technology and the broader Web3 ecosystem offer connectivity, ownership, and empowerment to an increasingly digitalized world. Blockchain games, much like their traditional counterparts, play a pivotal role in players’ lives. Whether driven by the friendships formed, aspirations for achievements, or the allure of immersive virtual realms, players find compelling reasons to fall in love with a game.
The foundational concept of crypto gaming revolves around the belief that these gaming experiences can be elevated. Through the lens of Web3, we have the capacity to craft expansive and interconnected digital universes, granting players sovereign ownership of their accomplishments.
This paradigm shift not only enables players to contribute meaningfully to the games they invest considerable time and dedication in but also fosters a sense of community where players become integral stakeholders in the evolving narratives of their favourite virtual realms. In embracing Web3, the gaming landscape evolves into more than just an entertainment platform; it becomes a collaborative space where players shape, own, and contribute to the digital worlds they hold dear.
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