Nov 08, 2021
Some might wonder what a technology as sophisticated as blockchain can bring into the “trivial” world of gaming. Firstly, blockchain technology has the possibility of having a use case in every sector of the modern world. Secondly, the video game sector is immensely large. In fact, it is larger than the movie and music industry combined, and it is only growing. Though it doesn't get the same attention as the movie and music industries, there are over 2.7 billion gamers worldwide. That is about 26% of the world's population. In 2020 only, the gaming industry generated $155 billion in revenue, which is a staggering figure compared to the $32 billion and $21 billion revenue generated by the movie and music industry. The gaming industry has evolved from humble beginnings. From the days of playing Super Mario on a 16-bit gaming console, the gaming industry has now evolved into a warehouse of emotion-churning, engrossing virtual reality games that reward precision and planning. Games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), Fortnite, Roblox, Call of Duty, are massive multiplayer online games (MMOs) where players’ characters are customized to their own personality and hence need to live in a fair world. These games have high emotional stakes and are very close to real-life dynamics. Most of these games are streamed online and players use virtual assets like real-world resources to achieve specific goals and establish their superiority. Gaming is quickly becoming a world sport. As the industry keeps experiencing rapid growth, new problems have emerged. These problems did not exist a decade ago since the games were not as close to real life as they are now thanks to the advancement of technology with virtual reality (VR) headsets and 5G data streaming capabilities. These problems need to be addressed before they hamper the growth of this mammoth industry. The current problems of the gaming industry are a lack of transparency and trust between game developers and players. The games often have an economy inside them. This in-game economy is completely controlled by the developers, limiting user rights and control over their in-game assets even after spending real money to acquire them. Users also want fairness and transparency when it comes to transactions and ownership of assets.
The crypto space continues to expand, with new developments rolling out. First, it was cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, then came smart contracts and dApps, which led to the explosion of Decentralized Finance (DeFi). Defi offers a global, open alternative to every financial service you use today; savings, loans, trading, insurance, and more accessible to anyone in the world with at least a smartphone and internet connection. Furthermore, every sector of DeFi brings users to a new reality of what can be achieved on the blockchain. From exchanges to wallets, NFT’s, and of recent GameFi, all of these giant leaps have pushed the world closer to letting go of the traditional finance system and achieving the aim of a truly Decentralized Financial system.
GameFi combines decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with blockchain-based gaming. What GameFi aims to attain is to revolutionize the gaming industry current system, from the “play to win” and “pay to win” gaming model the majority of us grew up knowing and replacing it with a “play to earn model” that rewards players and allows them real ownership of in-game assets, thereby solving one of the biggest issues faced by the gaming industry today. Most of the iconic games we know today operate the “Play to Win,” which means; gamers play the game to scale levels and eventually defeat a boss level; after that, the game is won, and all the assets you have acquired while playing the game would have no use to you once you are done playing the game. What GameFi does is that it leverages NFT technology and allows game players to ‘tokenize’ in-game assets; for example, a game could represent your unique character or avatar as an NFT, also Digital items you acquire while playing the game could also be NFTs. You can then swap or trade your NFTs with other players for profit. To swap, create, and implement NFTs within a game, the game developers create smart contracts( self-executing pieces of code stored on a blockchain.) that make up the rules for the NFTs used. Besides tokenizing in-game assets as NFTs, the play-to-earn model may also allow users to generate an income stream through playing. Typically, a player is rewarded with tokens and occasionally NFTs, earning more the longer they play. GameFi projects have tokens that players can buy to facilitate their performance in the game, or they can be traded like a financial asset on the blockchain. In addition, GameFi has deployed several mechanisms such as staking or collecting rare items as NFTs that can be traded within an NFT marketplace.
Blockchain has been a boon to many industries that lack accountability. At the core of this technology is the ability to create a trustless environment that facilitates immutable transactions between two strangers over the internet. Blockchain essentially provides a decentralized, transparent ledger that is cryptographically stored on various nodes spread across the world. No single entity controls the network, no single database to attack or hack, and no possibility of reversing the transactions once made. The low cost of transactions makes it easier to transfer money, or any other tokenized asset across the world. These transactions do not go through any middleman, and hence the transactions are near real-time.
Gaming platforms are hosted on centralized servers, and transactions are often made on mobile phones or desktops without adequate security measures. Also, assets held in gaming accounts are liable to be stolen. They are not as secure as our bank accounts, however valuable a gaming account may be. Blockchain is known for being the most secure way of storing value. They are designed to be unhackable. Storing digital gaming assets on a blockchain would enhance the security for a player who has worked hard to collect them.
Depending on which game is played, users can increase their earning potential by dedicating time leveling up and improving their characters, creating monetized structures on their land that other gamers pay to use, or competing against others in tournaments.
Since all in-game assets acquired are NFTs, all the items you own in the game are truly yours. The developers of the game you’re playing won’t have any say in what you can do with them, and it’s almost impossible to take it away from you.
Due to the nature of the blockchains Distributed Ledger Technology, it is easy to keep tabs on all NFT transactions, and Players can easily prove ownership of their in-game items; also, these items cannot be counterfeited.
Some games also include DeFi elements such as staking, which allows players to lock away certain tokens to earn interest and other rewards.
Gaming is a global sport, and Players from different countries routinely play games with metaverses such as Fortnite, Call of Duty, Roblox with each other. GameFi, with the aid of decentralized finance, Players would aid the transfer of their assets without taking days for processing payments and jumping through the legal hoops. Blockchain would enable instant payments across the world. This means there would be no restrictions as to when and what kind of in-game assets can be transferred between players. Game-native cryptocurrencies can be sent and received without the need for intermediary settlement, clearing, or custody.
GameFi is one of the easiest ways to get into the cryptocurrency community.
Axie Infinity: If you have been anywhere near the NFT space recently, then Axie Infinity coming up top should not come as a surprise to you. Axie Infinity is a Pokemon-inspired universe where you can buy, take care of, breed, and trade digital monsters called “Axies.” Axie Infinity runs off its own specifically built sidechain so that it can optimize gameplay and scale effectively. Among GameFi projects, Axie Infinity has the most expensive collection of NFTs, mainly due to the size of its community. It is also the highest-ranked GameFi project by market cap. Axie Infinity became particularly popular in the Philippines, where many users started to live off its play-to-earn model. Many players are making between $200 to $1000 (USD) per month, and some even more than that, depending on the market price and time invested.
Alien Worlds: Alien Worlds is a DeFi NFT metaverse where you can collect and play with unique digital items. In this game, players join an alien universe consisting of several planets where they must fight for scarce resources and mine the game’s native cryptocurrency, trillium (TLM). Players can also battle each other, go on quests and earn additional income by renting out their land to others. Alien world was the first blockchain game to break 100,000 users, and they currently boast over 2.5 million users; this is credited to its free-to-play nature as players of the game can earn on it without making any initial investments. Players of Alien world earn a crypto asset known as TLM by mining for trillium in the game or completing other activities. With the right tools, players can earn well over $300 monthly from this game.
MOBOX: MOBOX is an NFT gaming ecosystem that combines yield farming in DeFi with gaming NFTs, creating a free-to-play, play-to-earn gaming model. The native NFTs on MOBOX are dubbed MOMOs and can be acquired through mystery boxes. Users who receive these NFTs can decide to trade them, stake the NFTs to farm MBOX tokens, or use them as collateral for other uses throughout the ecosystem's games. Players can earn MBOX tokens without spending any money. MOBOX has several game modes such as the MOMO Farmer that lets players yield farm and earn tokens, also the Trade Action is more educational and competitive, featuring a weekly risk-free trading competition and finally, the core game, dubbed MOMO Token Master, lets players rob their friends and foes of gold coins by battling one another.
Lost relics: Lost Relics is similar to every other Role-Playing Game. The in-game mechanics are similar to the Diablo game series. Of all the games on this list, it is suitable for hardcore action and adventure-loving gamers. It’s a hack-and-slash type of game where players can go monster hunting. Each successful kill earns you a drop ranging from weapons to accessories. These items can then be traded with other players online for real money. In this game, you can fight monsters, complete quests, invade dungeons, as well as collect the rarest loot. These items also have a blockchain type, which is the one that allows you to generate revenues. With enough time and dedication, you can make about $100 every day from playing lost relics.
Lightnite: Lightnite is an upcoming free-to-play multiplayer third-person battle royale shooter for PC with in-game rewards integrating blockchain and NFT technology protocols that enable players to own and trade what they earn or buy in-game for Bitcoin cryptocurrency, and a minimalistic low-poly & cartoonish design offering several game modes like team deathmatch or a battle-royale game mode for solo and squads teamplay. There is a competitive mode where players instantly earn or lose their assets in the arena. All in-game items and gear are tokenized in a blockchain using the Bitcoin sidechain Liquid network. This means items have a strong real value that players can increase as they win battles while decreasing scarcity and then trade their profits in a public marketplace. There is also a casual mode where players just play for fun and prestige, and there is no loot.
The Sandbox: The Sandbox is a project with massive potential and is poised to bring millions of new users into the crypto market while also offering a good investment opportunity. The sandbox is a virtual world built on the Ethereum blockchain, where players can build, own and monetize their gaming experience. The game has been available on iOS and android app stores, amassing about 40 million downloads for the non-crypto version. This goes to show that the game already has an existing fanbase; this makes it one of the most anticipated crypto projects. The game is about creating an immersive metaverse, where players create virtual worlds and in-game assets without a central authority. Within the sandbox metaverse, lands are pieces of digital real estate that players can buy to create experiences. Players can populate their land with in-game assets to create unique gaming experiences and monetize these experiences for other players in the game. It’s important to know that each land is an NFT on the Ethereum blockchain; this makes them capable of ownership and tradeable. At the moment there is a capped supply of 160,000 lands in the SANDBOX and some have been put up for sale already to the public. Companies such as Binance, The Walking Dead, Rollercoaster Tycoon, the smurfs, cryptokitties, and ATARI have purchased a ton of virtual land in the sandbox metaverse.
Iluvium: Illuvium is an upcoming Ethereum-backed auto battler game where players can wander into dangerous places to hunt and capture NFT beasts, known as “the Illuvials' ', to battle in the arenas or sell them in the marketplace for profits. The game combines traditional RPG collection games, fight mechanics of the Auto Battler genre, and vast landscapes seen in open-world games. Illuvium provides players with an immersive gameplay experience, and it is easy to play for players of any age. Although Illuvium has blockchain-based elements, it is more akin to a full-fledged video game. It’s accessed through a downloadable desktop app, but also has a range of supporting DeFi applications surrounding it, including a yield farm and decentralized exchange. Although both Illuvium and Axie Infinity feature collectible in-game characters that can be battled, traded, and upgraded, the scope of the game world differs somewhat. On one side, Illuvium is a 3D role-playing game with a gradually revealed storyline and a massive, open, explorable landscape. The earning mechanism for Illuvium is not known as of now because the game has not yet been released.
Star Atlas: Star Atlas is an MMO set in the year 2620. The universe has been colonized and balkanized. Three factions split control, while somewhere in the deepest, most dangerous sector of space, something extremely valuable lurks. Although that sounds like many games already out there, there’s a key difference: Star Atlas is powered by blockchain technology, which means that in line with the spirit of GameFi the players truly own the stuff they win or buy in the game. Players can earn in-game currency ATLAS and POLIS, buy anything from ships to space stations to land, and go on missions. The Star Atlas ecosystem is built on two tokens. The first, ATLAS, is the typical in-game currency. Players can earn ATLAS by doing various activities, like mining ore, going on missions and selling it in the in-game market, or even by selling their assets. POLIS, on the other hand, is a governance token that means you get to play the other aspect of the game that has to do with the governance of the Star Atlas ecosystem. Star Atlas has layers of governance built in that are controlled by players, from local corporations and guilds to giant regional DAOs. Any player holding POLIS can make decisions about the game and perhaps most interestingly, outvote even the creators of the game as we have seen in various DAOs(decentralized autonomous organizations).
Mirandus: Mirandus is an epic fantasy RPG set in a massive world ruled by five player-monarchs. In the game, players have absolute freedom of choice: they can set out into the wilderness alone to try their fortunes against the monsters of the deep woods and dungeons, join with one of the monarchs to serve as a knight in their court, or set up shop in one of the five great cities of the realm. Player ownership of in-game assets is a central mechanic, with players holding land deeds that allow them to claim parts of the wilderness and set up holdfasts ranging from small farms to massive cities. In Mirandus, you decide who you will be and choose your own quest in the epic fight against evil. The studio's most ambitious release to date, Mirandus, gives players a wealth of strategic options; as earlier mentioned, a player can decide to: set out into the wilderness to try their fortunes against the monsters of the deep woods and dungeons; join with one of the monarchs to serve as a knight in their court, or set up shop in one of the five great cities of the realm. Player ownership of in-game assets is a central mechanic, with players able to claim parts of the wilderness and set up holdfasts ranging from small farms to massive cities. The five citadels, issued as 1/1 items (Earth, Sky, Moon, Sun, Stars), grant the owner a kingdom and capital city within Mirandus. The smallest land holding, a homestead, costs approximately $50 in GALA tokens and is a 1/1000 NFT. However, Mirandus does not have a playable build yet, and there is no set release date for the full release of Mirandus. The current plan is to have an alpha release around the end of 2021. At its release, landholding Mirandus will be available for PC and MAC OS.
Townstar: Town Star is the flagship game of Gala Games. Town Star is a competitive farming game from the company behind Farmville. Each week, the top players on the leaderboard win big prizes, and every day, players complete challenges to unlock and collect TownCoin play-to-earn rewards! The goal is to grow, gather, and craft your way to build the most efficient and productive town possible. Your items and currency are stored on the Gala blockchain and can be bought, sold, and traded for Gala and/or other cryptocurrencies. You will earn additional on-chain items just by playing the game, and these items can be bought, sold, and traded among your fellow players. Townstar is currently available to be played on a browser.
The gaming industry has evolved alongside technology making it more available to the ever-growing community of consumers globally. From the humble beginnings of the 6”11 feet tall arcade games standing at the corners of restaurants to the impressive 13cm tall Xbox series X games sitting in the various houses of gamers to the mind-blowing 2.2billion mobile gamers(accounting for 28% of the world population) supporting the industry globally, no doubt gaming industry has come a long way.
The introduction of blockchain technology promises to revolutionize the way the world operates and the gaming industry is not an exception. The application of blockchain to gaming has brought about concepts like play to earn to gaming and it is geared up to completely change the way the world looks at gaming.