The benefits of blockchain games
Digital asset risk mitigation
Games have used digital currencies and assets for decades to drive player engagement. This feature is particularly prevalent in large, open-ended games like massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs). MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, for instance, have inspired players to dedicate years of playtime to level up their characters and spend thousands of dollars to secure a coveted piece of armor or mythic steed.
But, because the digital assets of traditional games are under the complete control of the developer, such investment is precarious: Anything from bankruptcy to a new creative direction could destroy all the time and money players put into a given title. Blockchain games, on the other hand, use a decentralized ledger and community ownership to support their in-game economy. This means that the digital assets accrued by players aren’t under the control of the game’s developer and can survive its complete collapse.
Even setting aside pro gaming such as the Call of Duty League, in-game economies have created real-world jobs for people for many years. Gold farming – the practice of collecting in-game currency and selling it for real-world money – was a multi-billion dollar industry by the mid-2000s and supplied work for hundreds of thousands. But gold farming and similar practices often take advantage of significant disparities between national economies and exploit workers, making the model unsuitable for widespread use. They are also often seen as undermining the game’s mechanics and are consequently actively suppressed by the developers.
Blockchain games, however, are built to support economic activity. Through unique gameplay mechanics like “play to earn,” players can generate a liveable income through their in-game progress. In the blockchain game Axie Infinity, for example, an average player can net $400 a month and the best earn hundreds of thousands. In other words, unlike traditional games, blockchain games are designed to enable players to make money – and are much better at it.
Traditional games have virtual economies that allow players to find, use, buy, and sell digital assets, but those goods could only exist within that title. Each game is a “walled garden,” and players are unable to transfer digital assets outside their game of origin. Blockchain games, in contrast, enable games that share the same financial infrastructure to have interoperable digital economies. This allows players to freely transfer items earned or bought in one game to another, multiplying their incentive to invest in a given publisher’s portfolio.