The latest wave of incoming blockchain-enabled games promise AAA experiences for gamers, potentially exposing 2.5 billion people to crypto.
Regular readers will no doubt be aware of the high expectations currently being placed on the shoulders of blockchain gaming. For advocates of blockchain technology, there is the hope that tapping into the estimated 2.5 billion gamers worldwide will provide a huge leap toward mainstream adoption.
Blockchain and distributed ledger technology continue to make inroads into all kinds of industries as an increasing number of people discover and gain an understanding of the benefits that it can bring. From supply chain efficiencies through certification of authenticity and provenance to the immutable nature of information stored on a blockchain, the technology is already seeing ever-increasing interest.
In the last month alone, there have been announcements from firms associated with global brand names like Coca Cola, international shipping giants working with the Port of Rotterdam, and national governments such as the Philippines regarding blockchain technology implementations. However, this impressive growth is still somewhat organic in nature despite the promotion of the technology by industry leaders and political advocates such as Chinese President Xi Jinping. It also does little to increase blockchain and cryptocurrency awareness among the general public.
The theory is that getting blockchain in front of a potential third of the world’s population, many of whom are already comfortable with in-game payments and currencies, could be the push that finally takes the technology mainstream. This may well feed back into increased adoption of cryptocurrency from gamers who are exposed to the underlying technology through blockchain gaming.
What blockchain can do for gaming
Some believe that the integration of blockchain technology has the ability to revolutionize the gaming industry. Known for its progressive nature, the gaming industry has been fairly quick to get on board, as Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a press release shared with Cointelegraph:
“The potential of blockchain and cryptocurrencies reaches far beyond the financial sector. Given the readiness of the gaming industry in its continuous evolution, especially in new technologies. […] Blockchain is becoming an essential part of game development and is set to change the global gaming industry.”
Blockchain brings a number of benefits to gaming, some of which are inherent blockchain attributes that apply to many industries. The transparency of blockchain technology can bring provably fair gameplay. Its security, meanwhile, can guard against fraudulent play or hacking. But perhaps the biggest evolution that blockchain has brought to gaming came with the development of nonfungible tokens.
Essentially, NFTs allow players to own their in-game items, characters and abilities and then trade these items with other players. CryptoKitties was the first game to implement NFTs, but the link between cryptocurrency and trading in-game items goes back way further than that.
At one point, Mt. Gox became the biggest Bitcoin (BTC) exchange in the world, but it fell victim to one of the most infamous Bitcoin exchange hacks of all time. However, the website first started as a card-trading platform and got its name from “Magic: The Gathering Online” (eXchange). One could say that the path of gaming and blockchain technology has come full circle.
Time to roll up the sleeves
So far, Cointelegraph’s coverage of blockchain gaming has been focused on venture capital investments in gaming platforms, NFT pre-sales for forthcoming games, and technologies springing up to support the industry, such as decentralized exchanges for NFTs and platforms enabling developers to easily implement blockchain tech.
While there have been a few game reviews, these have generally been of sample games to show how the technology has been implemented. But if bringing gamers to blockchain technology can increase mass adoption, then Cointelegraph is ready to install the latest graphics drivers and start the grinding. This means expanding the gaming coverage to include the exciting developments in the space from the gamers’ perspective, with one eye firmly on the blockchain technology, of course.
As a little teaser, here are just a handful of the games that will be looked at.
Age of Rust
Age of Rust is a first-person, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi adventure developed by SpacePirate Games. Featuring drop-dead gorgeous graphics, it combines exploration, stealth, combat and puzzles galore, some of which form an in-game treasure hunt with a prize fund worth 20 BTC.
While some puzzles are of the standard “move-the-block-to-reach-hidden-switch” type, others will require specific crypto-items in combination with one’s cognitive powers to solve. These can be collected in-game, traded, bought and sold. As part of the EnjinVerse, an ever-growing collection of games that allows in-game items to be shared, some of the items can be discovered within other games using the platform.
The game is blockchain to its core, and SpacePirate Games founder and CEO Chris LoVerme told Cointelegraph that: “One the reasons why we decided to build the game is to start to break down the walls that exist between gamers and crypto-based platforms.” The early beta release of the game is scheduled for this fall.
Neon District is a cyberpunk-themed role-playing game and the flagship release from developer Blockade. As players battle through enemies in a sci-fi dystopian environment, they collect unique items and abilities, all of which are represented as NFTs that can be bought, sold and traded with other gamers.
As Cointelegraph reported, the game has gone through a number of unfortunate delays, the latest of which was last month when the company announced a move to Ethereum layer two solution Matic after its original platform went AWOL.
However, there are plans to release Neon District experiences on web and mobile later this year, with a full release of Season One on Steam slated for 2021. Rest assured, Cointelegraph will be there to beta test this one when it becomes available.
Infinite Fleet, the highly-touted, massively-multiplayer online space strategy game from Samson Mow’s Pixelmatic, has been making headlines recently through various successful funding rounds.
The game will see players take control of a fleet of large spaceships protected by multiple small AI-controlled fighters. Featuring collaborative gameplay mixed with crypto incentives, Infinite Fleet unites gamers to defend against an invading alien threat. Moreover, Mow has described the game as: “The first proper video game to truly bring together gaming and crypto assets.” While the alpha test is still some way off, Cointelegraph will be getting involved and reviewing the game as soon as possible.
Hash Rush is a real-time strategy game where players must collect resources, build bases and manage armies. It features classic RTS mechanics, such as fog of war and an increasingly challenging opponent.
While an open beta version is currently available for anyone to download, the developer has prioritized gameplay for now, so blockchain features are still in development. However, the first elements of blockchain integration are promised to come online soon, and the eventual aim is to offer a “play-to-earn” model for those who want it.
The Sandbox has been around in one form or another since May 2012 when it was released on iOS. The latest 3D blockchain-enabled iteration has already been making news with its pre-sales of LAND packages and its recent native SAND token sale on the Binance Launchpad. It’s billed as a community-driven platform where creators can monetize the gaming experiences they create in an open-world sandbox environment.
The public beta of the game is slated to launch later this year, but in the meantime, Cointelegraph has been given access to the Game Maker Closed Alpha, a review of which will be landing on screens rather soon. Cointelegraph-themed gaming experiences will become available when the full game launches.