Why should game developers worry about Blockchain and Ethereum technologies?

Many developers are talking about blockchain game development, so blockchain technology has started attracting the attention of game studios around the world.

But before you start programming a smart contract, you may wonder why Blockchain and Ethereum are related to game development, and how you can seize this opportunity.

That is why I decided to start a series of articles about blockchain and Ethereum game development. In this first article, I will discuss their impact in game desing and development.

Why Ethereum and blockchain matters for game development?

Like any new technology, there is a point where it starts to reach the mainstream. This means that the technology is now available to the general public and its benefits become clear, and even desired.

In games, smartphones, virtual reality, and augmented reality are good examples of gaming technologies that achieve this point of adoption, creating new opportunities for game developers.

Currently, blockchain and Ethereum technologies are entering this point. Early adopters are using it, and developers are producing prototypes and minimum viable products to test the market.

There are already games developed using Ethereum, like Blockchain Cuties, a collectible game that allows you to collect and breed fantasy creatures. The main focus of this game is that the cuties you collect really belong to you, as they are registered at the blockchain as a Token, using a smart contract.

So currently blockchain and Ethereum are green field waiting for game developers to build on it. It opens a bunch of new opportunities to explore game design, development, and marketing and sales.

How Blockchain and Ethereum impact Games development

Evidently, the first thing you may notice is that in some blockchains, for example Ethereum, you can deploy smart contracts, which are pieces of code that you can use to build games inside the blockchain network.

But most of the players are not willing to play games via a wallet, so what benefits does a game get from using blockchain and smart contracts?

Games you can trust

The first benefit is Trust. All games that are based on trust will definitely benefit from using smart contracts. I’m sure the first genre of games that came into your mind when we talk about trust is gambling games.

All type of casino-like, lottery and luck games need the users to trust the game developer. And when you build an open distributed public trustless game, as you can do with a smart contract, you are providing gamers with a high level of trust.

They know how the game works, anyone can check the code, everybody knows the game will not vanish with their earnings, and that they can withdraw all the earnings at any time. That is a perfect recipe for gambling games.

Another advantage is that you can either build a zero-edge gambling game, meaning that the house has no statistical advantage or a transparent edge, saying all players know the house edge in each game.

Game goods you can trade

Maybe you will not develop an Ethereum game only as a smart contract code. You may develop a smart contract to hold parts of the game and develop the rest outside the Ethereum network.

Why would you do that? To add real game-independent tradeable goods and prizes to your game.

When you create a game that uses progression, you always have some sort of currency you can use to buy goods, like armors or weapons. But the fact is that in most cases these goods do not really belong to the players. Many MMORPG games have a parallel market to trade goods, out of the game developer’s sight, and you expose your player to frauds, scams, and hacks.

But if you create your game assets as smart contracts, you not only provide the player with real ownership, but you also allow the players to freely trade their asset in a free, open and safe environment.

Games with real currencies

Most games deal with coins and the game economy. Usually, your game currency is worth nothing, just the pleasure to upgrade or buy something inside the game world.

But what if your game currency were an Ethereum token? Again you provide real ownership to your players, but also the possibility to use this token outside that game, either by trading with other players or using it in other games within your portfolio.

The idea of giving the player true ownership of game currency, and that the game economy could be developed outside the game is a significant breakthrough and has the potential to create a whole new monetization model.

Game characters your player owns

Other aspects where games can benefit from smart contracts are character development and collectibles. Not all games use one or both, but you can create your character or game collectibles as a smart contract, or as is called a non-fungible token.

By doing this, you create characters that really belong to the player, that can progress indefinitely, that can be inherited, gifted or traded, and used in different series of your games.

This also opens up a new game design field. You design your character, its progression, and mechanics. Think not about a single game you are developing now, but as a real collectible franchise.

Games you can fund

One of the last aspects of the blockchain game impact is game funding. Games are capital-intense activities. You need money and time to produce and distribute a game.

Most of the time, developers struggle to find funding models, and most of them depend on a third party that eats away a big chunk of the funding or takes away your control.

The idea that you can create your own token, and how you can develop tradeable goods, characters, and collectibles can create many exciting possibilities for game project funding.  

What next?

This is part of a series of articles about blockchain and Ethereum game development that I will publish. I will update when the next article is posted.

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