How blockchain technology affects the gaming industry

Metaverse - Avatars socialising in the virtual world Second Life, tags: blockchain gaming - CC BY-SA

Blockchain gaming has come a long way since its inception, with gaming companies all around the world now finding new and better ways of integrating NFTs into gaming to create new and unique experiences.

Most recently, the gaming industry has been experimenting with combining the metaverse with NFT games to create persistent worlds where people’s gaming experiences can translate into monetization. How does this effort transform gaming today?

How blockchain, metaverse solve current gaming issues

Current technology allows players, game developers and creators to sell and trade assets using a decentralized blockchain space due to the presence of NFT marketplaces, which encourages community interaction and, in turn, stimulates players to band together and collaborate to earn in-game assets that can be sold on said marketplaces.

The metaverse, meanwhile, serves to allow a full-scale player-run economy to work in both physical and digital spaces. While games like EVE Online have player-run economies, most digital assets are not actually owned by the player due to a lack of decentralized systems, which is solved by the existence of blockchain.

NFTs also grant players more choices to adjust their gaming experience. An example would be the NFT card game, Gods Unchained, where digital ownership of assets allows players to earn money by selling in-game drops or keeping the card to increase their deck’s power.

The concept of players needing to balance the economy with in-game power is also utilized by other games, especially the MMO genre, which encourages player interaction and community teamwork by their very nature. However, a major roadblock the current systems have is the lack of smooth marketplace integration.

The metaverse solves this by allowing the boundary between the NFT marketplace and the game to be seamless. Players won’t have to deal with moving to a third-party website or service in order to sell or trade items — they can simply do so in-game.

Despite the conveniences the technology is offering, however, it is no secret that Web3 gaming is still a niche thing — which leads to the next question, will it ever be adopted widely and change gaming in general forever?

Is widespread adoption achievable(?)

Companies have invested a massive amount of money into the idea of Web3 gaming, especially the metaverse. Despite their best effort, however, widespread adoption of Web3 gaming has not been achieved — at least not at the rate they are expecting.

Besides the fact that the technology is still at its infancy, part of the reason the Web3 gaming cannot be widely adopted at this time is the lack of convenience and high buy-in price for players, as it is widely known that blockchain games that aren’t free to play often tie game access to an NFT with a hefty price tag. In order to solve this issue, multiple entities are developing “Buy Now Pay Later” solutions to lower the barrier of entry into P2E Web3 games. However, a handful of companies cannot be expected to solve this accessibility issue.

Plus, while existing games do have the potential to host NFTs and metaverse-like experiences, they might not be enough to positively promote the technology. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, said in order for the metaverse to achieve widespread adoption, it also “has to overcome the critical challenge of any entertainment platform, which is that it needs to provide a better experience than everything else that is competing for hours in your life.”

This implies that Web3 games need to be “better than Fortnite, Minecraft, Roblox, and Netflix”, and Sweeney added a tinge of his skepticism in the end: “The stakes are high, and it’s not going to be a tiny team that creates it.”