blockchain & games

How Blockchain Technology is Changing the Face of Gaming

by Lily White
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You might be more familiar with blockchain technology as being the driving force behind cryptocurrencies, but it has applications far beyond this. The entertainment industry, particularly the gaming sector, is famous for backing new technologies. After all, this sector relies on novelty and being at the cutting edge of technology to keep its consumers entertained. With that in mind, we’re going to look at some of the fascinating ways that blockchain technology is being used to create more exciting, more engrossing, and more equal gaming experiences.

Understanding Blockchain Technology

Blockchain Technology

The blockchain is the driving force behind many online games

Before we get started in the ways that blockchain technology is being integrated into the gaming industry, it’s important to understand how blockchain technology works. The blockchain is built up of three components, the first being blocks. It’s easiest to think of a block as a box full of data, it will usually contain a list of transactions with timestamps, as well as a link to the previous block and its own unique code called a hash. All of this is stored inside that one block, or box in this analogy. In the example of cryptocurrency, the transactions would be monetary ones, but in a game, they could be the trading of tokens.

 

The next part of the blockchain is called the cryptographic hash. This is an algorithm that takes a number as an input and produces a completely unique code as an output. In the case of our cryptocurrency box, the input would be the data stored inside the box. This would go through an algorithm and a cryptographic hash would be created, which serves as a sort of digital fingerprint for that particular block. This is the core part of blockchain technology that makes it so useful, it’s impossible to replicate that digital fingerprint, ensuring that if a block appears in the blockchain it is because it is supposed to be there.

The final part of the blockchain is the distributed ledger. This is part of the blockchain that is accessible for everybody to look at and is part of what makes blockchain technology so safe. The ledger is constantly updated by a network of computers that are spread out across the world. Each one of these computers has a copy of the entire chain and they interact with one another to create and store new transactions within the blocks in the chain. As no single person or company owns the blockchain, it makes it incredibly resilient against tampering.

These three core components of the blockchain are non-negotiable, every blockchain has them. However, there are plenty of other things that can be added to the blockchain depending on the needs of the consumer. For example, smart contracts are a common addition that helps to speed up private transactions. Now that you know the basics of blockchain, it’s time to take a look at how gaming companies are putting this technology to use.

Secure and Transparent Transactions

A sector that blockchain technology has existed in for some time, or more specifically cryptocurrencies, is the online casino industry. This sector was an early adopter of cryptocurrencies as a payment method, as it became apparent that they could offer their customers even greater security if they made transactions in Bitcoin rather than in fiat currency. This is because all cryptocurrency transactions are recorded on a public ledger that it is impossible to tamper with; the blockchain. This means that all transactions that occur in cryptocurrency occur exactly as intended and can’t be subject to fraud. This makes cryptocurrency the sensible choice for bitcoin casino Canada where players can use sign-up bonuses to boost the amount of cryptocurrency that they have at their disposal to play with.

Whilst the casino industry was a pioneer of using cryptocurrency for its extra safe credentials, other gaming companies have followed suit too. CD Keys is a games seller that allows its customers to pay using cryptocurrency because of its digital contracts. These contracts occur between the crypto account of the vendor and the buyer, enabling the transaction to happen instantaneously. These contracts are recorded on the blockchain so that when CD Keys sells a PC game to its customer, there can be no dispute as to whether the money was received or not. This helps to cut the amount of time that a company like CD Keys might have to spend on simple payment disputes, allowing them to direct their profits to more important parts of their operation.

Play to Earn Gaming is Levelling the Playing Field

Remember those boxes we talked about earlier? One of the extras that can be added to a box or block is an NFT. This stands for non-fungible token and it functions as a way for people to actually own digital assets. In the instance of a game, an NFT could be a character, a weapon, or a valuable item of some description. By using the ledger, players can prove that their in-game item is indeed rare and authentic, making it impossible for people to cheat one another out of in-game assets, or actual money.

This element of technology has become particularly useful in play-to-earn games where players can earn these tokens through gameplay. As cryptocurrencies exist outside of the world of gaming, this means that if players become good at a game that has a crypto-based economy then they can earn tokens which can be exchanged for currency in the real world. This has been transformative for players in countries with a volatile currency or struggling economy, as cryptocurrency is decentralized and thus totally independent from banks. Some players have found that they’re able to make more money playing play-to-earn games than they would be able to in a full-time job. This technology could help to level the playing field between less economically developed countries and the rest of the more developed world.

The Ability to Play Across Platforms

There are all kinds of games that allow players the opportunity to play across various different platforms nowadays, but this takes a great deal of effort on the part of the provider. Blockchain is unique in that if games run on blockchain technology, they will almost automatically be playable on multiple platforms. Whilst the user interface will need tweaking for different models and screen sizes, the bare bones of the game already exist on the blockchain.

This interoperability allows players to seamlessly use their digital assets across not just multiple different platforms, but even multiple different games. If an NFT has a certain value in one game and it is traded for cryptocurrency, then that exact value can be redeemed in another game without a player losing any of the asset’s value. This helps to make the world of crypto gaming a more exciting and inclusive place, where players can switch between games without having to painstakingly climb their way up the ladder.

Resistance to Hacking and Cheating

Everybody hopes to game in a world where cheating doesn’t exist, but sadly it’s incredibly difficult to combat. Cheating is big business and with the rise of Esports gaming, people are willing to pay top dollar to get their hands on cheat codes. After all, one brilliant cheat code could make the difference between winning and losing a huge prize at an Esports tournament, as long as the player doesn’t get caught. In the world of more traditional gaming, huge gaming companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars ensuring that the companies creating cheat codes and mods get shut down, but it remains incredibly difficult to eradicate cheating completely.

In the world of blockchain gaming combatting cheating is actually considerably easier. This goes back to the ledger that we talked about earlier. In a blockchain game, everything will be stored in the ledger, including transactions, assets, and trades. Because the blockchain is so well encrypted, it’s incredibly difficult for hackers to manipulate records, meaning they would probably be better off spending their time making money on a play-to-earn game, than trying to hack blockchain data. This way of storing data allows everybody to take ownership of their online gaming experience, making it not just more difficult for cheats, but somehow less acceptable to attempt to cheat also.

Blockchain certainly has a lot to offer to all kinds of industries and it’s fascinating to see what the gaming industry is doing with this powerful technology. There will certainly be many more developments to come and we can’t wait to see what those might be.

 

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