The Symbiosis of Online Gaming and Cryptocurrency

In the early days of the gaming industry, people gathered into midways to play games. These arcade stores house a machine that takes in coins and allows you to play a game called Pinball. The goal of the game was to keep the ball from falling using levers that bounce the ball back up. Usually, pinball machines have leaderboard scores and gamers compete for the highest score. Along with arcades, video game consoles were also introduced. This time, you can play video games at home. Everyone knows this little Italian plumber jumping under boxes to save the princess or a circus game where you jump over rings of fire or else you lose. In the late 70s, home computers were also introduced. These big electronic boxes were used for bookkeeping, programming, homework, word processing, etc. but it was also used for video games.

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How the Gaming Industry Helped the Development of Cryptocurrency

Fast forward in 2003, Nexon developed this game called Maple Story, a free-to-play Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (commonly known as MMORPG) which had digital transactions that helped play the game. It was considered a success as the gaming industry saw a financial opportunity. Over a year later, Blizzard developed World of Warcraft (known as WoW), another MMORPG considered to be one of the most successful multiplayer games online. WoW is a hack-and-slash type of game where you get to create a character, choose a certain “class”, go on adventures, kill monsters, and collect “gold”. “Gold” is used in-game to make purchases and transactions in WoW which include items for battling or customization options like skins, hair dyes, or clothes. This pivotal moment in the gaming industry saw what people could consider an early form of cryptocurrency or digital money.

The gaming industry generated a revenue of $137.9 billion in 2018 alone. Online gaming like League of Legends and Overwatch has a multimillion value and it is predicted to make $325 million by 2021. With a lot of multiplayer games online, the gaming industry has seen a mutual relationship with digital currency with microtransactions and digital currency.

Enter the Blockchain Technology

The gaming industry wasn’t oblivious to the recent trend of cryptocurrency. There has been a considerable amount of games that considered using crypto money in video games. Back in 2017, a popular crypto game called CryptoKitties used cryptocurrency (as the name suggests) to help breed player-owned unique cats. Dragon’s Tale, which was developed in 2013, used cryptocurrency that “allowed players to stake actual Bitcoin on the outcome of a variety of minigames.” They were simple integrations of cryptocurrency but yet it proves that cryptocurrency can be easily adopted by the gaming industry.

Digital transactions in games are commonly used as a reward system for getting objectives. Cryptocurrency can be used as a reward for players. Allmine is a puzzle game that uses cryptocurrency called Jewel. It allows players to play a cryptocurrency mining game which rewards players with cryptocurrency. Some of these mined cryptocurrencies go to the developers who can reinvest the cryptocurrency to make game adjustments. Allmine then allows players to use the cryptocurrency to play another sub game where they can breed monsters for fighting or crypto mining called Utopia.

The Relationship of Cryptocurrency and Gaming Industry Today

Although online gaming has always been familiar with digital currency, there has been a few games that created a cryptocurrency-based platform aside from the ones mentioned above. With the current games available, cryptocurrency is usually added as another payment option aside from fiat money. Yet, blockchain technology has more uses for online gaming.

Multiplayer games online have always been susceptible to hacking. With high efforts to attain rewards, high ranking players are always subjected to hacking of any form — whether their characters get deleted or their owned items get transferred or deleted. Blockchain having a decentralized platform can help increase security with its personal unique keys for each player. Allmine showed an example of how cryptocurrency can help players with their online purchases and help developers create more games for players. By removing the need for bank accounts, crypto money gives access to all players and removes the issues of microtransactions. Blockchain also has the capacity to change gaming experience. Video gamers are usually familiar with the concept for digital money and by providing players with unique encryption, players can receive easier access to exclusive items compared to traditional platforms.

Cryptocurrency has yet to transcend from its symbiotic relationship with video games to experience full adoption. The gaming industry has proven to be a boon to the economy and although cryptocurrency has proved to increase revenue, blockchain technology has more creative spaces for cryptocurrency for the gaming industry. And it’s certainly on the rise.

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