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blockchain, blockchain, blockchain
it's as if there wasn't a word more buzz-wordy in some sectors of the video game industry since we heard about micro-transactions
and just like micro-transactions we still might need to find better ways to use them
blockchain is a fascinating technology, most of us know about it from crypto-currencies
but basically it's a distributed database that is increasingly hard to tamper with
making the information stored in it immutable
there's a ton that blockchain allows us to do for games, from a design perspective, and even a monetization perspective, that we just couldn't do before
but sadly video games are pretty much not using it for any of those things
instead they are just kind of using them in games only to process payments with cryptocurrency and as a platform to exchange crypto-assets
now ¿what do we mean by that?
well, from not long time ago a bunch of companies have appeared in the industry offering blockchain games
but taking a closer look it seems that many of them were just using that technology only to process payments in cryptocurrency
or were basically crypto currencies themselves
others required purchasing things with Ethereum or some other crypto currency to be able to play
and many were making use of something called crypto collectibles
so before we talk about all the cool things games can do with blockchain, first we've got to talk about this stuff
crypto collectables are simply in-game objects that use blockchain for three things
to ensure that the player rather than the game company owns the object
to guarantee the rarity of the object
and to assure the player that the object is unique and non duplicatable
so with that let's take for example Crypto Kitties
which is perhaps one the most popular games that make use of cryptocurrency and blockchain
essentially, in it you pay Ethereum to buy what appears to be a picture of a cat
but these images are actually crypto collectibles owned solely by the player, each is unique and has different traits that makes them more or less rare
like a fluffy tail or a silly moustache
the underlying thought being that the value of the rare or discontinued traits will go up over time
now, at this point you might be asking, what can I actually do with those crypto cats?
well you've got two options
sell them or breed them
if you choose to sell a cat, you up for auction for a price in Ethereum, and when it sells Crypto Kitties will take a cut
if you choose to breed it though you still pay Crypto Kitties a small amount of Ethereum upfront for the privilege
although the explanation given by the FAQ said that: the birthing fee is paid to the programmer who calls the function to give birth
what happens in reality is that once you pay to breed your kitty
the traits of the two cats you'r breeding are randomly rolled together
and out pops a new cat with some combination of those traits
cats with rare traits have a higher chance of creating new cats with rare traits too, and their lineage is preserved
so if a cat comes from a long line of felines with desirable traits, it's much more likely to impart those traits into its crypto kittens
but at the end of the day you can probably see through this
literally all you can do with these Crypto Kitties is sell them or breed them
there isn't anything else you can do with them, no game elements or game mechanics involved in the process
instead the participants pay for the privilege of having the company that created these crypto-assets control the only exchange for them
but, what else could we do with blockchain in games?
we saw that we can create things like real player ownership
or true scarcity in an online game
this opens up a ton of super fun possibilities
one prospect that seems incredibly exciting comes from the fact that blockchain serves as sort of a shared ledger
but besides being used as a ledger for money, it can also serve as a ledger for events
imagine an MMORPG, where items gain power not by leveling them up or combining them with other items
but rather by the heroic events they were involved in
imagine for a moment someone starts a game using a simple iron sword
then progress and level, and eventually uses it to slay a boss named Grill'Mig
suddenly this simple iron sword becomes Grill'Mig's Bane
and with the name change it gains some extra stats
eventually like all gear the character outgrows it and the player decides to sell it
some upcoming player buys it and as they level they farm a ton of ghouls
and now it becomes Ghoul Slayer the Bane of Grill'Mig gaining more stats
but eventually this player too out grows it and sells it
the weapon passes from Player to Player, each time accruing new heroic associated with it
or unlocking achievements that no single player could ever do alone
eventually it becomes one of the most coveted swords in the game because it's unique
and any player who examines it can see the name of all the players who ever wielded it, and what deeds they did
and if the designers were really clever, the sword would also benefit from having been used by characters that later did heroic deeds
so when your character slays that final raid boss: "god dragon of nightmares". all of the sudden your first training sword
no matter who currently has it
levels up and becomes: "the heirloom of the great": "insert your character name here!"
that's awesome!
and it's something that blockchain lets us easily do
these design possibilities that are inherent to using blockchain could be used in games
and not just to exchange crypto collectables
which might have limitations compared to regular exchanges used with other crypto assets
even if we're only concerned with monetization
in addition to micro-transactions, blockchain offers us better possibilities there as well
imagine we made a game and gave it away completely for free
no micro transactions, no endgame purchases, no loot boxes, nothing!
the only catch was that while you were playing the game would ask permission to borrow your GPU to mine Bitcoin
now, it's well known that for most crypto mining, ASIC rigs are way more efficient than anything else
but for those crypto enthusiasts out there, let's assume we're mining a new ASIC resistant coin
if that was done, and our hypothetical game caught on getting hundreds of thousands or even millions of users
we could fund development simply by players playing, we could create true free-to-play, without showing ads or other aggressive ways of monetization
the promise of blockchain is vast and the possibilities it brings to games incredible
the only remaining question is, will we see all those possibilities being used in the future?
only time will tell
thank you for watching
and we'll see you in the next one
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