Blockchain in gaming then and now: new possibilities for players and publishers

March 22, 2022

It seems blockchain has been all around us for years. That’s true.

However, the way people apply this technology and what new possibilities it opens up are changing like Christian Bale and his looks in movies.

Especially as it relates to the gaming universe.

Let’s take a look at blockchain some time ago and today, and see what has changed and how players and businesses can benefit from it right now.

Going back five years: what blockchain in gaming was about?

To get the answer to this question, we talked to Doug Dyer, our VP of Gaming and Entertainment at Innovecs Games, who’s been in the industry for over 25 years, and saw the evolution of blockchain himself.

And, first of all, he says that “initially blockchain was all about the trust. That’s thanks to its decentralized nature, where everyone is involved and there is no one who tells you what to do.

Five years ago, blockchain was also about the tokens, Bitcoin, Ethereum. It was about the coins and, primarily, about the cryptocurrency or the place where to put the cryptocurrency on, and people were using it as mining, trying to generate revenue, or for e-commerce.
Doug Dyer
VP of Gaming and Entertainment at Innovecs Games

Security is another thing. Primarily, blockchain was meant to protect transactions and help players make secure in-game purchases with cryptocurrency. It prevented key hacking and illegal trading of cryptocurrency.

All the while, blockchain has allowed players to remain anonymous, enjoying Dogecoin games without confirming their identities. No worries about exchange rates, the possibility to play and earn money from everywhere, and receive payments just immediately, all of these were the original advantages of blockchain.

However, years have passed. And blockchain technology in gaming has turned upside down, opening up a very great amount of new possibilities.

Blockchain of today: how much has it gone beyond its original nature?

Getting back to 2022, we observe that blockchain has gone far beyond just cryptocurrency. Everyone – from kids to adults – has heard about NFTs, play-to-earn games, GameFi, Metaverse, gamification, and more blockchain-related words.

Today, blockchain is something more, something wider than just crypto, it’s more about the platform that is a background for many more assets.

Now, five years later, we are in a place where we’re actually using it [blockchain] as a real platform. I mean you’ve got the ability for artists to get out there, so blockchain and NFT art is huge right now because artists can publish their game assets on their own, there is authentication.
Doug Dyer
VP of Gaming and Entertainment at Innovecs Games

Just take a look at some of the highlights from the Blockchain Game Alliance 2021 Q3 report prepared in collaboration with DappRadar:

  • The industry tracked the daily average of 1.54 million Unique Active Wallets (UAW): almost half of them were connected to blockchain games.
  • The revenue the in-game NFT assets generated in 2021 reached $2.32 billion, which was 22% of the entire NFT trading volume in the industry.
  • Axie Infinity – an NFT-based video game – surpassed CryptoPunks and NBA Top Shot, becoming the most traded collection and generating $2.5 billion.

Through the example of Axie Infinity, it’s easy to track the dynamics. In 2022, it still remains one of the most popular NFT play-to-earn games globally with over 2 million active daily players which is twice more than in 2021.

Key terms that characterize the blockchain of today's

Play-to-earn games

Play-to-earn games allow you to turn your gaming experience into a revenue-generating stream. They not only provide people with engaging gameplay but also encourage them to earn some money. How? By purchasing/reselling in-game digital assets – NFTs.

Axie Infinity is the best example. Here are some others:

  • Aliens World
  • Mobox
  • The Sandbox

Pay-to-earn games

Pay-to-earn games, as compared to Play-to earn, require the players to invest some money before starting to enjoy the game and earning crypto. By investing money, we mean purchasing some game assets first. NFTs also apply in this case.

Examples of Pay-to-earn games:

  • LIGHTNITE
  • Splinterlands
  • Sorare

GameFi
GameFi is just a general term combining Play-to-earn and Pay-to-earn games. It defines the games that are built on top of blockchain technology and implies buying and selling in-game assets.

In-Game asset ownership
The in-game assets may refer to any game content, whether it’s just a character, the entire game, or even an online account. Reselling these assets means you transfer the rights for ownership to the buyer of the asset.

We can also face some legal problems with IPs. For example, there is somebody up there who is selling the handwritten lyrics to Beatles songs as NFT, but the issue is they do not own them, so they can’t do that, that's illegal. Gaming, I think, is one of the spaces where with blockchain there will be less friction, and fewer problems from the legal perspective. Because people who create games or content themselves will have property rights.
Doug Dyer
VP of Gaming and Entertainment at Innovecs Games

Along with the key vocab, Doug also helped us identify what benefits the “new” blockchain provides today in comparison with original technology:

Sure, security also remains one of the major values that blockchain-based games offer. This is what coincides with the “old” technology. However, today security is provided in a bit different way: protection of IPs, secure selling/reselling options, transparent transactions.

Some cases to show that blockchain in gaming is on fire

Gala Games
In February 2022, the company announced it would invest $5 billion in their 2022 and further NFT initiatives. They are going to distribute this sum between gaming, music, and movies – where $2 billion are allocated to gaming only.

Animoca Brands
Animoca Brands invests in blockchain-based games and NFTs. They focus on transforming all game assets into NFTs following the principle of “true digital ownership”. They have already invested in many blockchain companies (including Sky Mavis and OpenSea), metaverses, and over 150 NFTs.

Mythical Games
In November 2021, Mythical Games partnered with a development company with the purpose of creating their Mythical Platform. This is a system that allows building and integrating playable economies based on blockchain into the games. They aimed to facilitate the next level of digital assets ownership for brands, companies, content creators, and players.

What’s next?

Blockchain in gaming is heating up with each month.

We’ve talked much about the technology itself, NFT, and Metaverse with Doug, and want to share with you our findings and highlights. We truly hope you enjoyed this material and believe you will find our upcoming articles insightful. Stay tuned!

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