If you’re a game developer, you’ve probably heard that the blockchain is going to likely disrupt the gaming industry as it tries to solve some of the difficult problems developers and players face when it comes to payment processing, fraud, and item trading. But most game developers are not blockchain developers, and they are hesitant to invest in learning and implementing a whole new technology for their games.
Right now, platforms such as BitGuild are bringing this new technology to developers. The goal is a system with all the benefits of the blockchain that you can plug straight into your next project, letting you concentrate solely on building fantastic games. However, doing so will require more than just a few extra lines of code. You’ll need to rethink your relationship with the players, too.
Challenges of In-Game Monetization
Many games and publishers are already making a killing off of in-game purchases. Free-to-play games let players join for free, but charge extra for things like upgrades, special items, and abilities. It works because players can essentially pay whatever they want to play a game. Those with cash to spend can buy in-game enhancements, basically funding the game for others. Players that don’t want to spend any money at all can still join in and play the game.
However, in-game purchases for a game currently comes with a plethora of challenges for developers, including things like:
- Setting up several different payment channels (especially for global games).
- High transaction fees, thin margins, and long settlement times.
- Legal responsibilities in protect the virtual goods that players have bought and stored on your servers.
- All types of fraud such as credit card and PayPal chargebacks.
The current solutions to these problems aren’t ideal. It’s difficult to allow players to directly cash out on their in-game items or trade across to other games without exposing the whole system to fraud and liability lawsuits.
[bctt tweet=”Platforms like Steam have to heavily restrict their own games and players in order to protect themselves”]
This leaves players to deal with minimum top-up amounts, overpriced in-game items, rampant item fraud, and no easy way to cash out on their game assets, let alone trade across games. It’s easy to see how the dream of building and running an online game can quickly turn into a nightmare of running an international payment and exchange settlement company.
How the Blockchain is Changing the Game Industry
The Bitcoin blockchain has shown us how many of these problems can be solved in one fell swoop; secure, fast, cheap, global transactions. This idea can be extended even further when it comes to games.
In-game currency can be swapped for cryptocurrency. With the right implementation, microtransactions can happen quickly and safely with minimal transaction fees, and settlement times measure in seconds, not months. One payment channel and no fiat currencies.
Real ownership for players
In-game items can be ‘tokenized’ using the blockchain, allowing each item to have its own unique characteristics and history. Do players really want these unique items? You bet. Crypto Kitties is a game on the Ethereum blockchain that lets players collect and breed unique cats. The game became so popular that it almost broke Ethereum. The game has already had 10s of millions of transactions in just the first few months, and the developers take a 3.75% cut. You can do the math on that one.
Decentralization means that players are now responsible for their cryptocurrency, not you. Blockchain protocols allow players to transact with each other without you as a middleman. This can take away many legal and technical headaches and let you focus on more important things.
Safe item trading
Billions of dollars worth of Bitcoins are traded every day without traders batting an eye. With the blockchain, gamers will be able to trade with this same level of security and confidence, opening up the market for everyone.
Blockchain-based items and currencies are decoupled from your game’s code. It’s easy to let players transfer their items and currencies over to your next release, or to other games entirely. Open, safe, decentralized marketplaces for in-game assets are going to become a core feature of the gaming industry.
BitGuild: A Complete Blockchain Gaming Platform
BitGuild is one of the best projects aiming to bring all of these benefits to developers and players. It’s a complete solution for developers, making it easy to create a new class of games that live on blockchain.
The BitGuild platform consists of 5 major parts:
- The PLAT token and Wallet
- Game platform
- Virtual Asset Exchange
- Design house
At the core of the BitGuild project is the Platinum token (PLAT). It’s a single currency that can be used to play games and trade items, among other things. Using BitGuild as your in-game currency platform means using PLAT. These tokens could replace the bloated payment systems that developers and publishers currently have to navigate.
PLAT will also be used to represent items and achievements. Players will be able to use the built-in wallet to manage their tokens, as well as see a visual display of their items and achievements.
Linking things up even more, games that use BitGuild and PLAT tokens will be listed on the BitGuild game platform. Here you will be able to list your games for sale, with BitGuild taking a cut of less than 10%.
With PLAT as a medium of exchange, items and currency can be traded across games. BitGuild is planning to use this as the basis for the largest virtual asset exchange in the world. Transactions and auctions are taken care of using smart contracts similar to the ones used by Crypto Kitties. This open market will let the forces of supply and demand be free to set the prices.
One killer feature for developers is the Kickstarter-style Design House. Here, developers can actually get players involved in the development process. You can submit your idea for a game and have players vote on it with their PLAT tokens. If a game doesn’t meet its PLAT target, players are refunded. You’ll have support through the development process and an eager audience upon release. You could reward players for their support in all sorts of ways, perhaps by giving them a special weapon or item.
[bctt tweet=”The line between developers and gamers is going to start to blur!”]
Other Blockchain Gaming Projects
There are some other great projects tackling similar projects in different ways. DMarket and Enjin Coin are also trying to disrupt the gaming industry with different approaches, technologies, and strategies than BitGuild. The future will likely have multiple competing and complementary blockchain platforms.
Be Part of the Revolution
The blockchain isn’t just giving developers new and better ways to monetize their games. It’s giving them a platform to open up entirely new experiences for their players. Platforms like BitGuild are bringing real ownership, decentralization, effective item markets, and cross-platform compatibility within reach of all developers. The blockchain is about to change the game industry for good. How will you join in?