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Why The Future of Gaming Will Use Blockchain

by Marcello Montes de Oca

February 12, 2020

The global gaming market last year was predicted to be valued at over $152 billion, according the Newszoo research. With gaming growing at rate of nearly 10% year-over-year, this market doesn’t look to be slowing down any time fast. And with more competition and advancements in blockchain gaming in particular, current growth projections may be understated.

In early January, video gaming behemoth, Ubisoft, announced that they are focusing on blockchain gaming as one of two main fields of focus for their upcoming incubator program that starts this May. In addition, Square Enix’s President, Yosuke Matsuda, issued a New Year’s letter recapping 2019 headlines and outlining trends set to take center stage in 2020. Yosuke went on to call out blockchain in particular and mention Square Enix’s plans to explore the technology’s capabilities this year, while noting that “games using blockchain are no longer in their infancy and are gradually coming to represent a more significant presence.”

As for blockchain gaming itself, the decentralized gaming sector’s user base grew 162% last year when compared to 2018, according to the Annual Dapp Market Report. With a current user base of just under 500,000 gamers, the figure pales in comparison to traditional gaming market, with over 600 million console gamers worldwide alone. The market is still nascent and continues to show signs of growth with a growing understanding of how blockchain unlocks value in the gaming world, for both gamers and developers.

From a gamers point of view, blockchain technology can add new elements to the gaming experience that empower them in ways that were not possible before. The technology enables true digital scarcity, where gamers can take ownership of any and all items in a game, from special characters to reward items. The gamer is able to keep those items forever. Even if a game is upgraded to no longer feature certain rare items, or even if the game is no longer supported by the developer, the gamer will still retain ownership of game assets.

Blockchain enables value in digital ownership for it users. Gamers can then share an item with others, sell it on a digital asset marketplace, or potentially use it in another game environment all together. Cross-game interoperability is seen as a massive opportunity to keep gamers engaged longer, allowing both virtual currencies and in-game items to function in multiple games. Blockchain can also ensure the authenticity of in-game items or gamers themselves, making sure fair rules are always in play.

As is the case for gamers, blockchain tech has just as much upside to unlock for game developers. Today, many games develop their own virtual currency in-game as the “free-to-play” model with in-game purchases has become popular. With blockchain entering the fold, developers can developer either develop their own in-game cryptocurrency, or use an existing cryptocurrency such as EOS, to sell game assets while offering reward incentives to creators who build in-game assets. Blockchain games allow developers to create assets with real, transferable value, aligning incentivizes for both developers and gamers. Also, with major gaming studios taking the lion share of revenue and profits every year, blockchain gaming allows for more indie developers to take part in the global gaming market as new creative ways to promote and engage gamers comes into play, including “play-to-earn” games.

With Animoca Games, TRON, Enjin, OpenSea, Robot Cache, and others vying to take their piece of the blockchain gaming industry, competition is rampant as no single company has been spotlighted as the one true frontrunner. A couple major concerns still plaguing the market include the speed of transactions and user experience. Perhaps the most publicly memorable blockchain game still today is CryptoKitties, which launched its alpha game in October 2017 and amassed over $12 million in marketplace sales by the end that year. However, there are new entrants coming into the space that are worth keeping an eye on.

Enter QURAS, a promising, next-generation blockchain protocol that enables private transactions in public smart contracts. QURAS is ‘best of public and private worlds’ blockchain as it utilizes two leading privacy technologies to allow users and enterprises alike the opportunity to set their suitable privacy level for any transaction without sacrificing usability, scalability or regulatory compliance. The QURAS main net is set to launch in March 2020.

QURAS has vast potential across many major industries that can benefit from its smart contract and privacy features, including gaming. For one, the blockchain is capable of achieving speeds of 1,000 transactions per second with a 15 second block time, erasing current concerns regarding blockchain gaming scalability. In addition, QURAS has its own native token that can be used as a viable form of payment within integrated gaming environments. The native token has already contracted with dozens of stores in Japan, making it the most accepted token in the country after Bitcoin upon launch. And thanks to QURAS’ privacy features, gamers can be sure that their confidential information will never be shared or revealed without their expressed consent.

Blockchain tech is yet to stake a major flag in the global gaming market, but it has been making waves in the greater blockchain industry. Advancements in blockchain gaming are likely to initially take place in the mobile gaming space given this sector’s size and global accessibility. Once established, blockchain will be a mainstay technology in gaming as we know it. The question now is, who will be the pioneers that will take us to the next level.