Gaming on the Blockchain

Region: Europe
May 12, 2021, 10:00:00 AM Published By Emily Clark

We’re all familiar with Atari. After all, they’re the ones behind old favourites like Pong, Pac-Man and Space Invaders.

But did you know that they’ve created their own blockchain division? They use this technology to develop games and cryptocurrency that players can spend on items.

Atari’s digital token (ATRI)

Think of what Atari is doing like a digital arcade, where you can spend tokens on prizes. Sadly, there’s no PacMan coin though!

Instead, Atari are pushing their own “Atari token” (ATRI), which can be used as payment for digital goods. This includes content from its own console and third-party games and applications.

ATRI runs on the Ethereum blockchain. It aims to become a universal payment for the interactive entertainment industry. It also gives developers and publishers new options for monetisation of their products.

Disruption or keeping the peace?

This all leads to one question: will blockchain technology disrupt the gaming industry?

It certainly looks like it. Moreover, experts say that blockchain will change the face of the industry. While many say that blockchain is “overhyped” and won’t be able to deliver on its promises, experts say otherwise.

Not only do they believe blockchain to be revolutionary, but they also believe it’ll completely restructure the industry. For example, it can make games more immersive and enticing for players.

Blockchain could also be beneficial in how it manages in-game currency that requires real money. This isn’t new to the industry, as free-to-play games made up 80% of all global gaming revenue in 2018. Specifically, it could be useful in setting boundaries and fairness surrounding in-game currency and asset trading.

However, there are concerns surrounding blockchain’s scalability. Most notably, how it’ll survive against more established systems and games. It’s difficult to know for sure at this stage, as it’s still early days for blockchain’s progression.

The rise of blockchain gaming

Despite the scalability concerns, blockchain gaming has proven to be popular among players.

For example, 2017 saw the release of CryptoKitties. The game was developed by Axion Zen, and as the title suggests, very much had to do with cats. The purpose of the game was to breed, buy and sell virtual cats. It may not sound like much, but the game was so popular that it ended up slowing down the Ethereum platform.

Also, apparently a virtual kitten was sold for over $100,000 which sounds pretty out-there, but it happened!

Another example of a popular blockchain game is Axie Infinity. Inspired by the Pokemon franchise, Axie Infinity is a game where you can raise, battle and collect fantasy creatures known as “Axies”. Additionally, you can also earn in-game resources and trade them for actual currency.

Types of blockchain games

Blockchain games have two types – decentralised and hybridised. But what’s the difference between the two?

A decentralised game is one that’s run completely from a blockchain. This means that the developer cannot adjust or change the game. Instead, the decision is down to a certain body (e.g. an individual, organisation or group).

On the other hand, a hybridised game will run from a central server, but its assets are traded through a decentralised marketplace.

The only similarity between these two is that blockchain will collect in-game assets. From there, it’ll make them completely ownable, thus creating legitimacy and permanent value.

The big bosses step into blockchain technology

Blockchain gaming hasn’t only been noticed by players. Gaming giant Ubisoft recently partnered with Tezos and became a corporate baker on their blockchain.

Ubisoft is one of the first large companies to show interest in blockchain technology. The company believes blockchain has great potential in bringing new opportunities to both players and developers. It will also spread and promote the technology’s adoption.

Another major developer interested in blockchain is Nexon. The Japanese company recently announced that it had made a large investment into Bitcoin (BTC). Specifically, they purchased 1,717 BTC for around $100 million. This was at an average price of $58,226 each after fees.

Nexon stated that it believes BTC offers long-term stability and liquidity, as well as sustaining the value of cash for future investments. Moreover, that it is likely maintain its value, even if it isn’t widely regarded this way.