Gaming could be one of the biggest industries cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology looks to disrupt. The blockchain gaming industry has been quietly simmering for the past couple of years, following a huge influx of users that congested the Ethereum network in 2017. However, with recent developments, projects, and partnerships, blockchain in gaming is beginning to show signs of making a comeback, appealing to a bigger audience than ever before.
Digital assets, collectibles, and non-fungible tokens have come a long way in recent years, with more complex use cases and higher utility on exciting new platforms.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the tools used to create these digital worlds and explore some of the ways that blockchain is revolutionizing the online experience by bringing decentralization to the gaming industry with the power of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
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What is Blockchain Gaming?
Depending on who you ask, the definition of blockchain gaming could mean many different things. For the purpose of this article, let’s simply agree that blockchain gaming is the integration of computer games, with blockchain technology and/or with cryptocurrencies. If an aspect of a particular game interacts with a blockchain or blockchain technology, it can usually be considered to be a blockchain game.
Generally speaking, all parts of a blockchain game don’t need to run on the blockchain. A game running entirely on a smart contract would be extremely inefficient and restrictive. The game itself tends to run on a server, console, or another gaming platform. The most common element of these games that incorporate the blockchain is in-game items, collectibles, and other digital assets.
Blockchain games can be used on a PC or other gaming console, and also in web browsers. Blockchain games allow users to hold an in-game item on the blockchain, which can be represented by a token that players can physically own, trade, and collect. Ownership rights on the blockchain are immutable, meaning they can not be changed. Transactions on the blockchain are also transparent, showing a full history of all previous owners.
A hugely important element of contemporary gaming is in-game economies. Collecting coins, tokens, and points that can be exchanged for better in-game items such as weapons or shields, for example, is a common theme among many major gaming platforms.
When an in-game economy is based on real-world assets, this adds an extra element of excitement. Die-hard gamers may find that Ethereum-based gaming platforms can bring new value to a favorite past-time.
Some crypto games encourage players to act like virtual crypto miners, by rewarding the completion of tasks with digital assets, much like the proof-of-work consensus algorithm.
Non-fungible tokens play a key role in blockchain gaming because they allow for scarcity and authenticity to be cryptographically verified on the blockchain.
NFTs are different from fungible cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, or even USD. For example, If Bob were to lend Alice $100, consisting of 10 x $10 bills, Alice would not need to pay Bob back with those same bills. In fact, Alice could pay Bob back in $20 bills or even by wire transfer. Fungible tokens and coins are interchangeable and divisible just like USD.
The key difference between fungible tokens and non-fungible tokens is that NFTs can hold unique information that cannot be replicated and is not interchangeable. This is how in-game assets are stored on the blockchain, making rare or special in-game items verifiably scarce, and giving ownership of the item a ‘physical’ representation in the form of a non-fungible token, which can be used to trade in-game, purchase better items, and be traded on cryptocurrency markets.
Probably the largest and best-known platform for creating digital experiences on the blockchain, Unity is the Swiss army knife of creative blockchain development and building. The Unity core platform enables teams to collaborate on multiple different projects and deploy on several devices.
Using a comprehensive suite of 3D software, Unity spans transportation and manufacturing, as well as film, animation, cinematics, and the automotive sector. Unity also uses the blockchain to model reality for architecture, engineering, and construction. Unity’s real-time rendering capabilities help developers to create stunning visuals with a sleek and intuitive workflow.
Unity is also used for machine learning and cloud computing, offering services to many different sectors and professions. Furthermore, Unity programming requires only a few prerequisites to get started, which we cover in our Unity Gaming Module. With just a few basic tools and guidelines, anyone can start building on Unity.
Enjin is the biggest platform to bring blockchain to gaming. The Enjin ecosystem makes it easy for developers to make blockchain gaming products. Enjin comprises a blockchain gaming development platform, a wallet, and a marketplace, where users can buy and sell unique cryptocurrency assets. Enjin has also developed a sophisticated blockchain-based marketing platform called Beam, which assists businesses and brands in audience expansion, retention, and engagement.
Enjin has a Unity plug-in, meaning that if you know how to program on Unity, you can program on Enjin too!
In-game items on the Enjin platform are backed by real assets and use NFTs to store data for rare or special in-game items on the blockchain.
Enjin is the largest framework for easily building blockchain games without developers having to do all of the work from scratch. Enjin allows developers to bring blockchain and cryptocurrency to gaming, allowing in-game assets and collectibles to be represented by real-life cryptocurrency in an easy and fun way!
Our Enjin Blockchain Development course combines the two most exciting and popular frameworks for blockchain gaming development. One prerequisite for the Enjin course is that you should first take the Unity course to fully understand everything discussed.
In the Enjin course, you will learn how to build all kinds of exciting games, and we’ll show you how to code the functions within the game that allow you to mint tokens, use them in games, and send them to Enjin wallets, where they can then be traded like any other cryptocurrency.
Using Unity and Enjin, developers are taking the blockchain gaming world by storm and disrupting the traditional gaming industry with decentralized assets and cryptocurrency, adding another dimension to the world of gaming.
CryptoKitties is perhaps the only iteration of blockchain gaming that has truly captured the hearts and minds of gamers on a global scale. Crypto Kitties is the most successful blockchain game ever made. Built on the Ethereum blockchain, CryptoKitties enables players to collect and breed adorable virtual kitties.
These kitties are verifiably unique and cannot be deleted or duplicated. Moreover, CryptoKitties use NFTs to store unique DNA information about each kittie on the blockchain. Older generations are often more valuable and are often sought after to breed to the cutest-rarest kitties possible. In the 2017 bull market, CryptoKitties gained a huge following within the crypto community and is still extremely popular among otherwise non-crypto users.
One of the most expensive CryptoKitties to ever be sold was the “Founder Cat #18”, which sold for 253 ETH, or $110,000 at the time of sale in December 2017.
However, 9 months later, “Dragon” took the crown as the most expensive CryptoKittie to date, sold for 600 ETH, worth just over $171,000 at the time.
If you find the notion of CryptoKitties interesting, the blockchain education Ivan on Tech Academy provides in-depth explanations and educational material relating both to CryptoKitties as well as many different facets of blockchain technology. Join the Academy today and supercharge your blockchain knowledge!
Upland is a blockchain metaverse where players can buy and sell virtual property using real-world addresses. Upland allows players to earn rewards and use in-game currencies to trade properties by using a block explorer.
Players can also run virtual businesses and climb the property ladder using a decentralized marketplace. Upland is one of the most popular gaming dApps to appear on the EOS platform.
Upland has partnered this year with Tilia Pay, a registered money service provider for both fiat and cryptocurrency. The integration with Tilia allows users access to an online wallet, to be used as an “in-game bank account” on Upland, that can hold both fiat and cryptocurrencies. Users have a choice to exchange their USD for cryptocurrencies and other assets or withdraw their funds in USD.
Upland’s co-founder, Dirk Lueth, told Cointelegraph “Upland aims to create an entirely new genre of gaming, one where people interact in digital worlds to generate commerce that can be used in real life”
Upland is now offering an open beta, giving early users access to some of the most sought-after virtual property on the market.
Ethverse is a virtual world powered by Ethereum, built on top of Minecraft. This interactive landscape lets users trade land and assets within the Ethverse world. Ethverse lets users engage in immersive experiences in one of the most familiar and popular landscaping games around. In Ethverse, players can monetize assets & services in a customizable, virtual world, on the Ethereum blockchain.
The possibilities are endless in Ethverse. You can build anything you want, you can buy and sell land, NFTs, and other in-game items in the built-in marketplace Dapp.
Ethverse has taken Minecraft and turned it into something with even more value. The additional features made possible by the blockchain have enhanced this cult-classic and opened up a whole new genre of blockchain gaming.
Online Blockchain Casinos
The transparency and immutability of blockchain technology are appealing for online gambling sites, with a wide choice of crypto casinos now available, alongside several mainstream online betting sites now accepting Bitcoin as payment, such as vegasbetting.com.
The transparency of transactions means you can clearly trace and view how much money was placed on the bet, the outcome of the event, the amount of money owed, and the winnings sent to an address.
Blockchain removes another element of trust with regular centralized casinos by offering provably fair games, without the fear of a site being manipulated or rigged, alongside the chance to see what the payout of a game is before playing.
Chainlink VRF, or verifiable random function, is a verifiable source of randomness that developers use as a tamper-proof random number generator (RNG) to use when creating smart contract applications that require an unpredictable outcome. A prime example of a use case is blockchain gaming and gambling.
Another aspect of blockchain gambling that some people find appealing is the anonymity of playing. Some blockchain gaming sites provide users with an online wallet which they will need to deposit and withdraw funds. Although transactions are viewable on the blockchain, the information is hashed code that cannot be traced or decrypted back to your regular identity.
Blockchain Gaming: Conclusion
Here lies a huge opportunity to inspire a new generation of game developers. As technology and entertainment become increasingly interconnected, blockchain gaming platforms are quite literally changing the game in this industry.
The Ivan on Tech Academy Blockchain Gaming journey has two main steps; firstly, learning how to build games using Unity, becoming familiar with the tools you will need to get started. Secondly, you will learn how to implement blockchain into these games, using the Enjin ecosystem.
It is still very early days for blockchain gaming, and as with most technological innovations, it could be years before we see mass adoption and the network effect truly take place. However, the blockchain gaming industry has the potential to be put in front of a third of the world's population, an audience that is already accustomed to in-game payments.
Some gaming accounts can be worth a lot of money, and people are willing to pay huge amounts to be able to play games with fully developed features without having to put the time and effort into the game. Blockchain gaming can bring provably fair gameplay and trustless virtual markets through decentralization and a dedication to innovation shared by both the blockchain community and the gaming world. There are countless blockchain games available right now, you can find hundreds of decentralized gaming applications on Dapp Radar.
Did this article about blockchain gaming leave you wanting more? If that’s the case, be sure to check out the various courses available on Ivan on Tech Academy. Over 20,000 people have already enrolled in Ivan on Tech Academy, and it is rapidly shaping up to become an online education powerhouse. Do yourself a favor and take a look at all the blockchain courses available - you’ll thank yourself!