BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY IN GAMING
I started playing online video games around 2005 with Counter Strike, soon moving onto World of Warcraft, League of legends, then a lot more. I changed my games very often and I kept being annoyed of all the progress I was losing by starting a new game. Sometimes I rather skipped a new release thinking that I don't want to level another character from 0, doing all the boring introductory levels. It would've be so nice to have blockchain technology around at that time.
I started to gain interest in blockchains in the beginning of 2017 when Bitcoin was on its first big breakthrough. Learning more about this new technology made me raise questions about how else it could be applied. After drawing out the basic advantages of blockchains, it was obvious that it could be greatly used in the global gaming world.
The gaming market capitalisation is over $100 billion. With the current limitation between games and platforms, only a fraction of this is created by trading and selling in-game items by players and therefore a very small share is gained by the players. Games that don't enable the players to freely trade or sell items they earned in-game, limit the player’s ownership.
The players only own their items within that particular game, on their specific account, but they don't have true ownership over them. Therefore, if the player’s account is disabled or the game becomes unavailable, the player loses their in-game achievements and virtual earnings.
Blockchain technology could provide solutions to the above-mentioned issues within the gaming market, to shift more of the market gains to the players by enabling them to have complete control over their in-game assets. Being able to sell and buy in-game goods across different games allows the player to easily migrate between games while keeping some of their progress, and allows them to potentially gain monetary profit from their virtual earnings and time investment.
The project utilises the blockchain technology's aspect of decentralisation of ownership for virtual goods in the video games via tokenization to create a cross-game virtual economy. The project is based on a non-existing, hypothetical permission-type blockchain built upon a custom consensus. This consensus algorithm is the main focus of the project.
The goal of a global gaming blockchain is to allow games to participate on the network, representing full nodes or "miners". The blockchain utilises a gaming token that can be used in every participating game as a currency by the players. There is a controlled amount of tokens available across the network which games are allocated to, based on a set of parameters. Games compete against each other for token share amount. Player activity and satisfaction spent within a game rewards the game a higher share. Tokens, then, are freely allocated to the players by the game owners based on their sets of rules.
The research of this project mainly focused on the creation of a working, justifiable algorithm that distributes the tokens amongst the participating games in a way to create a balanced global gaming economy between games while creating a healthy competition amongst them and drawing in new ones.
Games can connect to the network after an application process that tests the games to ensure their compatibility with the rules and ensure that the token distribution system is not exploited. Example: A game with high activity and high reward with very small challenge level should not provide more tokens than a game where player are more challenged for the same time investment. The player satisfaction function is responsible to calculate this.
The consensus of this hypothetical blockchain was built in Unity using C#. The token allocation algorithm was tested with a dummy game created for this project. The game can be set to large variety of different settings to represent different types of games.
There are lots of other factors to consider to continue this project to become a near publishable piece but in overall conclusion, the idea is well justified with the testing methods to create a global gaming economy where the games still have their own designer freedom in their microeconomics while the system's consensus balances the virtual macroeconomic.
- I would be thrilled to continue working on this project so if you are interested, please reach out as I could use some more ideas and brains to take this further.
An Investigation into Utilising Blockchain Technology in Gaming to Create a Player-Motivation-Driven Global Gaming Economy