Video games have depicted plenty of futuristic technologies over the years, but blockchain almost certainly isn't one of them. Nonetheless, it's having a real-world impact.
From heightened cybersecurity measures and payment/progress tracking to the trading of increasingly popular non-fungible tokens, the distributed ledger technology is bolstering the gaming industry in several ways.
An estimated 2.2 billion people worldwide play games on computers, consoles or mobile devices. E-sports, in particular, have ushered in a new era of gaming, with players and teams competing in live-streamed gaming tournaments for millions of dollars. And platforms like Youtube and Twitch have contributed significantly to gaming's mainstream appeal, with an estimated 300 million people tuning in to watch challengers compete in Fortnite, League of Legends, Overwatch and Madden.
While blockchain's role in this realm is somewhat less compelling than, say, fending off a hoard of zombies, it's noteworthy nonetheless. Gaming sites like PC game store Steam, where 77,000 accounts are hacked each month, suffer frequent data breaches. In such cases, blockchain's DLT safeguards data (credit card numbers, identifiable information, etc.) and digital fraud (trading of stolen rare collectibles) by transparently determining who owns what, the progress of players in a game and credit card information to ensure a trustworthy environment for all participants.
Another indication of blockchain's growing presence is the Blockchain Game Alliance. Formed to foster the global growth of blockchain in gaming, it boasts a roster that includes major players like Consensys and Ubisoft.
Curious about blockchain in other industries? Read the latest news on blockchain here.
Now that you know a little more about blockchain in gaming, read about seven companies that are leading the way.
Location: Santa Monica, Calif.
How it’s using blockchain in gaming: OPSkins is an online marketplace for gamers to buy and sell collectible video game items using cryptocurrency. These non-fungible items can be anything from special skins for players or weapons to special editions of games. The company has recently expanded to include an online marketplace for physical items like gaming keyboards, headphones, high-powered routers and TVs.
Industry impact: OPSkins recently opened up their WAX ExpressTrade marketplace. This platform expands beyond digital items to offer apparel, shoes, fan gear and gift cards. In addition to rare digital items, OPSkins users can use digital currency to buy everything from Supreme hats to AirPod cases.
Location: Santa Monica, Calif.
How it’s using blockchain in gaming: DreamTeam is an e-sports platform leveraging blockchain to help gamers form teams, improve their play and manage contracts and sponsorships. The company's DreamTeam Token is used as a method of payment for gamers and a smart contract mechanism between teams, managers and sponsors.
Industry impact: The DreamTeam e-sports management platform supports gamers who want to practice their skills, create teams or look for endorsement deals for games like League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The company will soon release unique platforms that support players for Fortnite and Overwatch.
How it’s using blockchain in gaming: Mythical Games is a blockchain-based game technology studio. The company uses ledger technology to help grow digital economies based on digital assets, verifiable trading methods and scarcity of product. The company recently released the trailer for its first game, Blankos, which is scheduled to drop in 2019.
Industry impact: Mythical Games emerged from stealth-mode in early 2018. Since then, the team — comprised of industry veterans from Blizzard, Activision and Yahoo — has already raised $16 million in capital to develop its blockchain-based games and digital marketplaces.
Location: San Francisco
How it’s using blockchain in gaming: Blok Party developed the first blockchain-powered gaming console and collectible game pieces. The PlayTable is a digital game board that's designed for one to eight players and interactive with smartphones, physical game pieces and even dice. The device embedded blockchain registers play history and even records individual ownership of rare gameplay accessories like characters.
Industry impact: The blockchain-enabled PlayTable is still in testing mode but available for pre-order. Once in production, the digital game boards will house a variety of games like solitaire and Settlers of Catan.
How it’s using blockchain in gaming: UnikoinGold is a blockchain-based e-sports betting platform. The company gives each user a Unikrn Wallet to store UKG tokens, which can be used to bet on e-sports tournaments, enter daily jackpots or as a tournament entrance fee.
Want UKG tokens to bet on the upcoming e-sports tournament, but don’t want to convert your fiat currency? UnikoinGold lets users trade their non-fungible items (like rare weapon and character skins) for UKG.
Industry impact: UnikoinGold offers a variety of ways to bet UKG tokens, including on the United Masters League and their UMode, which features games like Dota 2, League of Legends and Fortnite.
Location: Los Angeles
How it’s using blockchain in gaming: KorroBox is a peer-to-peer digital game marketplace powered by blockchain. The marketplace features a large selection of different games —including Ash of Gods, Day of Infamy and GoatPunks — that can be purchased using Ether. The blockchain also facilitates microtransactions and the in-game trading of assets.
Industry impact: KorroBox sold its first game on the Ethereum platform in August 2018. Since then, it has expanded its library and integrated the game site Steam to download user-purchased games.
World of Ether
Location: New York
How it’s using blockchain in gaming: World of Ether is the world’s first decentralized game using Ethereum to buy and store collectible characters (Etherians) on the blockchain. The game allows players to breed their characters to create legendary monsters, buy Etherians in the marketplace or battle other players over rare Etherian breeds. The blockchain traces each player’s moves on its transparent ledger to prevent cheating or hacking.
Industry impact: The World of Ether game contains more than 200 monsters that can be bought (using Ether) on the WoE marketplace, bred over time or battled over with other opponents.
Images via Shutterstock, social media and screenshots of company web pages.