Is crypto gaming the future of video games?
Both video games and cryptocurrency have seen an explosion in popularity over the last decade, with gaming now being a multi-billion dollar form of entertainment that grosses more revenue than the TV, film, and music industry combined.
And cryptocurrency has gone from its humble beginnings of 10,000 Bitcoin being used to buy two pizzas to one coin being worth over $60,000.
As the world moves into a more digital age, it looks like the next big thing in video games will be crypto gaming. While this sounds very confusing and slightly worrying, it could turn out to be one of the biggest advancements that we’ve seen in gaming for a decade, although I have to admit that EA and Ubisoft being overly keen on the concept does raise some red flags.
With all of that being said, you might be asking “what exactly is crypto gaming?”, well here is everything you need to know and why it could become the future of gaming.
Both the video game industry and its players are always chasing the latest trend to jump on. The last few years have seen the battle royale genre explode in popularity with games such as Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty: Warzone being played by hundreds of millions of gamers across the world.
Shortly before that, we saw the arrival of AR games such as Pokemon Go which saw millions of us finally having an excuse to leave the house as we searched for our favorite Pokemon in the real world.
And before that was the rise in popularity of MOBA games such as League of Legends. All of these trends took place in the 2010s which shows that the latest trend is only the hot new toy for a short period of time.
Outside of gaming another trend has taken over the internet, particularly on social media, and that is cryptocurrency, and there is a good chance that you’ve either invested in it already or are considering with 11% of the US population having purchased a cryptocurrency coin or token in the past.
While cryptocurrency has slowly been gaining popularity over the past decade, it became much more popular in 2020 and 2021 during the pandemic.
Whether this was from the stimulus cheques or due to people having more time to research it while being at home is unclear, but popular cryptocurrency coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are now worth more than they ever have been, and many “Alt-coins” such as Dogecoin and Shiba Inu have become some of the largest coins on the market today.
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Moving back over to video games, and more importantly, the ones mentioned earlier in this article you will notice one consistent trend that each of them shares, they are all free to play games.
This means that players can play the entire game without spending any money on them. Developers are able to do this by implementing microtransactions into the game, usually cosmetic items such as character skins.
Games such as Fortnite have generated billions of dollars, which has proved that this business model can be very successful and this can lend itself well to how crypto gaming will likely work.
The blockchain is a digital distributed, decentralized, public ledger that exists across a network that is what makes cryptocurrency possible.
This has allowed cryptocurrency coins to explode in value as they are not regulated and controlled by individual countries, governments, and banks.
Cryptocurrency consists of thousands of different coins and tokens, with more “stable” coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum being the most known, but plenty of other coins and tokens exist that have gained a lot of popularity, such as Shiba Inu.
One downside about cryptocurrency, when compared to more traditional forms of currency, is that anyone can create their own token for not a lot of investment.
This has been great in some aspects as many people and companies have been able to create their own tokens with real-world use that provides value, but plenty of others have also created them with the intention of scamming people, typically through the pump and dump method, which is when people generate hype and excitement for a token to drive the price up before dumping all of their tokens at its peak for maximum profit which drives the price back down and makes the token worthless for every other holder.
But, it isn’t just currency that can be bought and sold on the blockchain, recently the NFT community has risen in popularity and opened up a new market that will play a large role in crypto gaming.
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) is essentially proof of ownership that can’t be replicated or stolen. Many NFTs that are sold are digital art pieces, but can also include music or other digital items.
On paper it all sounds like a bit of a weird trend, some digital images are selling for millions of dollars, and it has become as much about trading to make money as owning them.
When it comes to microtransactions in a video game, such as buying a skin in Fortnite, although you have purchased it you never really own it.
The skin is tied to your Fortnite account, but Epic Games could ban the account and you lose access to it, and when the servers eventually go offline then the skin disappears with them.
This is an instance where games such as Fortnite could thrive in the crypto gaming space. By using the blockchain, players could actually own their items in-game, which would also give them a real-world value that would allow them to be traded amongst players, perhaps newer players could finally add the Renegade Raider to their collection if they have the cash to buy it.
Currently, this is the most logical way that games could adopt blockchain technology and a company such as Epic Games would make the perfect company to lead the way to bring gaming into the new era.
Microsoft is already leading the charge early on when it comes to AAA companies that are beginning to adopt the technology. Earlier this year they partnered with Enjin, a prominent company in the crypto gaming community, to bring NFTs to Minecraft.
Players can play a browser game to earn NFTs which can then be brought over to the MyMetaverse Minecraft server. While Minecraft hasn’t seen widespread adoption of the blockchain and NFTs, this is a great proof of work that shows how crypto gaming could work when it becomes more widely adopted by both gamers and developers.
Another use of NFTs could be in a game similar to Pokemon, where you have to collect characters and build and train your team to battle.
By using the blockchain players could own their characters which could then be traded and sold, the possibilities are endless. A recent example of this is Blankos Block Party, with its characters being playable NFTs that can be earned in-game and traded and sold on the marketplace, giving NFTs one of the first real-world uses in video games. Blankos Block Party is free to play and earn, so it is certainly worth checking out.
We have already seen crypto games be released, ranging from the previously mentioned NFT based games, and pay-to-earn games. Many of these games utilize specific tokens that are designed for crypto games, including Decentraland, Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, Gala, and Enjin Coin.
At least as of right now, these tokens are typically among the best performing tokens every day. While there are a few different pay-to-earn games available right now, which would take too long to dive into all of them, let’s take a look at Coin Hunt World.
Coin Hunt World is very similar to Pokemon Go in its design. Players need to go outside and capture floating keys that can be seen on the map instead of your favorite Pokemon.
By doing this, you can place them in the vault and earn Bitcoin and Ethereum. While it will take many hours to make anything close to a good level of money, it is actually paying you to play the game rather than the other way around.
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Due to the trend of crypto gaming and the metaverse, which has become the latest buzzword on the internet thanks to Facebook’s recent rebranding, many of the tokens that are part of this space have survived recent dips in value, making them a great potential investment opportunity, however, don’t take this as financial advice.
The possibilities for crypto gaming are endless and, assuming the trend doesn’t die off as fast as it has begun, the gaming industry could look like a very different place over the next few years and although I don’t know how to feel about cryptocurrency integrating with video games, it is exciting to see progression in the industry for the first time in a while.