Blockchain continues to grow in gaming
The integration of blockchain within the gaming industry is an experiment that has been ongoing, and continues to pick up some steam.
The introduction of ‘Huntercoin’, which claims to be the first real blockchain and decentralized strategy Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) game, which was introduced way back in 2014 with retro style cute graphics.
The game started as an experiment to gauge the decentralized ledger technology’s ability to support the gaming industry.
The game became a success, spawning other players to join the race. A rapid evolution has grown the adoption of blockchain in the gaming industry, as new platforms are surfacing in greater numbers year after year.
The founders of Upland, a monopoly-like game dealing with real-world properties, have said their intention behind launching the game was to maximize awareness of the benefits of blockchain and its various applications, saying:
Crypto and blockchain, these concepts are still very complicated. The mission of our company is to bring blockchain to the ... masses.
It has been consistently reported that the biggest problem facing blockchain gaming is the speed of token exchange. Cryptokitties, a game that makes it possible for players to grow and trade virtual cats on the Ethereum blockchain launched in 2017 is a testament to this.
The Ethereum blockchain is fast, but with a block time of 17 seconds, games built on the blockchain have restrictions on token movement which can cause lags and require very careful design to prevent user experience suffering.
Constant interaction between players with attendant movement of tokens is challenging under the Ethereum blockchain's current speed limited.
However, while blockchain games today are usually restricted to activities such as trading and creating assets, what has not received as much press is the potential back-end savings in bandwidth or server maintenance for decentralised games.
US-based chipmaker AMD recently announced that it has joined the Blockchain Game Alliance (BGA) to develop new gaming platforms based on blockchain. Additionally, AMD also partnered with blockchain firms Robot Cache and Ultra.
Commenting on the move, Joerg Roskowetz, Head of Blockchain Technology at AMD, said:
Blockchain technology brings broader choice, security, and flexibility to both gamers and publishers. Next-generation blockchain game platforms will give gamers access to exclusive online content, and provide new ways for them to truly own it. They will also provide game publishers with new channels to distribute digital game content. (Our emphasis)
Hopefully, we’ll see something mainstream on a platform like Steam or Twitch that really puts the power of blockchain in the context of the average gamer.
In Australia, Immutable Games (Formerly Fuel Games) has been responsible for the run-away success of blockchain powered card game Gods Unchained, which has not been the subject of any criticisms over delays and which delivers a smooth and impressive user experience. Immutable recently raised AUD$15M in a fundraising round for future development of Gods Unchained.
As more game developers increasingly explore the capabilities of blockchain within their gaming systems to uncover ways in which cryptographic assets can be incorporated into the way technological resources and gameplay are provided, the future of blockchain gaming will only grow.