Game experts agreed that blockchain technology is bringing something essential to the gaming industry during the annual gaming conference at SMX Convention Center, Pasay City on October 25.
Various game experts from game development studio, game publisher and blockchain company discussed how blockchain can become a “game changer” in terms of scalability, interoperability, security, and how it can provide a long-term and sustainable ecosystem in the gaming industry at GameFest 2018, a 2-day conference precursor to the Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit 2018.
Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP) has partnered with Alto, a Singapore-based company that provides a decentralized platform to develop blockchain-based games, to empower game developers, artists and designers and educate them on how the technology can impact the current gaming industry.
Should your game even be on blockchain?
The speakers made a really fine job addressing one of the most important issues that a lot of companies and people seem to overlook due to the hype surrounding the blockchain industry.
MagnaChain CEO Hal Bame could not have said it better,
“If your business doesn’t work and have a real need to have blockchain technology in it, don’t do it. It’s the same thing with your game. If your game would not truly benefit from having blockchain technology involved in it, don’t do it.”
Altitude Creative Director and Co-founder Luna Javier, who has 16 years of game design experience under her belt, noted succinctly,
“Only use blockchain if it adds real value to your game. It must use blockchain technology in an interesting or in a meaningful way. It should make sense to use that technology for your game. If it doesn’t make sense, why do it?”
Adoption of blockchain technology
Controversies follow blockchain technology like wildfire, and while its potentials are difficult to refute, real-life challenges in technology adoption are much harder to ignore.
According to Hal, 1 out of 3 people in the world can be considered as a gamer where a person has some sort of interactions with a game. Though the term gamer is loosely used here, it could not be denied that the number looks really good on paper. However, before one can even start playing a crypto game, one needs to have an ethereum wallet—or any wallet that can store and hold the value of the cryptocurrency used within the game—and most importantly, one should know how to use it.
Ownership of virtual or digital assets
One of the benefits that blockchain technology can contribute to the gaming space is its ability to endow “ownership” to the users. It enables users to own the item in a verifiable and transparent manner, which means that if a user decides to sell his/her item, anyone can verify its ownership and no one can refute that ownership or steal the said item. Most importantly, no game publisher or game development companies can revoke ownership of that item should they decide to do so.
“It has never happened in the history of gaming. Players have never truly owned an asset…ever,” Hal noted.
Game publisher’s role in the blockchain industry
Ronnie Tan, managing director of global mobile game publisher and developer Gumi Asia, noted that with the emergence of blockchain games, game publishers would need to find themselves a new role to co-exist with the new industry since the concept of blockchain is to remove intermediaries from the picture.
Interesting and meaningful crypto games
Luna cited three interesting crypto games that possess real gameplay and were able to leverage blockchain technology in a meaningful way; namely, Axie Infinity, Neon District and CryptoWars. These blockchain-powered games possess a repertoire of collectible units that can be used for combat. Axie Infinity has Axies, fantasy units or creatures that are tradable and can be used to fight each other within the game. Neon District has more or less similar characteristics, albeit rather sophisticated gameplay. The game is still being developed and is designed in a curious blend of roleplaying game (RPG) and trading card game (TCG). Finally, CryptoWars brings something new and exciting to the whole gaming landscape by having the game run on smart contracts where players can attack other player’s base and involves cryptocurrencies as a prize to territorial wars. This really takes on a new meaning to the phrase: “the stakes are high.”
P2P in-game item rental
Have you ever imagined renting or borrowing an item that will allow you to easily beat dungeons that would otherwise be impossible without the said godly item? Alto Chairman and Co-founder Gabby Dizon sure did. He envisioned seeing a future where games running on blockchain will allow users to rent items with each other for a certain period of time, after which items would be safely returned to the lender.
The future of blockchain-enabled games
The conference ended with a flourish as a group of notable game experts tackled the hype surrounding the blockchain industry.
“When you look at blockchain and how attractive it should be for gaming, it’s actually almost a necessity,” Hal noted.
Play-to-earn concept in blockchain games
It is not a new concept for gamers to earn money from playing games. Phil Tossell, founder & game director of Blockplay Limited observed that most players at this time expect to make a return. However, Paul sees the future where blockchain games can be seen as a way to earn money as a niche market. According to him, a lot of people that are really invested in the economics of the game would want to make it work, but he still sees this as a niche where people play just for the sake of it and not as a means to earn money.
Investment in blockchain games
Finally, to those game developers who are aiming to put their game on the blockchain, Joony Koo, partner & director of business development of Block Craftera, parted a sound advice,
“When it comes to blockchain and crypto, it’s not how you make money. If you do something really well, [and] It’s something really good and meaningful—whether it’s business or ecosystem—if you do that right, money will follow.”
Joony shared that in order to attract investors, developers should focus on an aspect of blockchain that potentially can change the future. Luna, on the other hand, advised the public “not to hop on blockchain train just because there’s money in it” and to conduct research first because the process can be very expensive and technically difficult.
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