Game developers help to drive many great technological advancements. Globally, there has been much interest in how blockchain can be incorporated into gaming. But with many different blockchain platforms available, a game developer may feel overwhelmed when selecting the correct technology for their needs.
To help understand the unique attributes offered by each blockchain platform, we will take a look at multiple platforms. We will explore some of the main features provided by each, as well as look at different projects and discuss how they are incorporating the different blockchains into their development stack to offer new and exciting gaming experiences.
This first instalment of this series will focus on EOSIO, the blockchain created by Block.one.
What are the Unique Attributes of EOSIO for Gaming?
Without a per-action fee, applications are able to place much more information on-chain, allowing “low value actions” to run on-chain. By removing this friction, you remove the need for a user to consider the cost associated with their interaction with your application, thus increasing the probable clickthrough rate.
Half-Second per Block Creation
Real-time response has become the default expectation for all users of any application. EOSIO chains boast a half-second block creation time, versus other chains which may have three-second, 15-second, even 10-minute block times, etc. While there are other reasons why those larger block times may be advantageous, when it comes to user experience, quicker is often better.
Native Inline Actions
With inline actions being built into the base layer of the chain, this means that developers are able to make games where auditability and provenance are easy to do, without having to write the code to handle that themselves. This allows developers to easily chain multiple smart contracts together, allowing an action to have multiple side effects.
A Sampling of What Has Been Built
Role Playing Games (RPGs)
Soon after the launch of the EOS Mainnet, EOS Knights became a very popular game in the community. It was extremely simple in its gameplay; click to generate an avatar and watch it battle goblins and progress through the levels until it took enough damage to be defeated. Once your avatar died, you could start again through the `rebirth` action, and when doing that you would get an item at random. Items could be combined to generate new items, like weapons or armor, to help your character advance farther. This spawned a very popular marketplace, as users needed specific items to complete their necessary grouping to craft new items.
Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG)
After a long awaited launch, Prospectors was one of the first very popular MMORPGs to hit an EOSIO blockchain. Users were able to purchase land, mine it for resources, build or purchase tools or buildings, and create jobs that other users were able to agree to perform. They had everything running on-chain, meaning that all property rights were traceable, all job agreements were atomic (meaning no fear of non-payment or non-execution of the job), and once you bought an item there was no fear of it being clawed back. Because of the half-second block time, making a purchase in this world feels the same as making a purchase online in the real world. Prospectors also launched a new map on the WAX blockchain, bridging the EOS and WAX Mainnets, with their in-game asset PGL transferable between the two.
Interactive Video Game Streaming
BitJoy was a company who saw services like Twitch and Mixer, and wanted to bridge the divide between users who were watching gamers, and the gamers being watched. It gave spectators the ability to influence the gameplay by providing power ups, items, spells, or anything else the streamer may need to get ahead in the game. Unfortunately, the BitJoy project is no longer operating (due to the team focusing on another project), but this type of streaming interaction could give rise to many new economic models between viewers and streamers. Thanks to the fee-less transactions on EOSIO chains, there’s no need for a spectator to hold back from helping their favourite streamers. We expect to see another team utilize this idea and develop it further.
Gaming Meets Social
Combining gaming and social is at the heart of what LynxChain (now Proton) is working to bring to the masses. They believe that the games you play should reward you with tokens that have value, rather than points that just give you bragging rights. That you should earn the same tokens from game to game, so if you stop playing a certain game, all of your invested time still has value. At the very least, tokens should be exchangeable, allowing you to bring that value to where you would like it.
Gamification of everyday tasks has shown to drive both adoption and perceived importance. For example, look no further than the amount of people who strive to hit their 10,000-step goal each day. Bountyblok, which utilizes multiple blockchains and can be applied to non-blockchain applications as well, utilizes blockchain technology to track and promote customer engagement. With fee-less transactions, and half-second blocktimes, EOSIO is able to offer the real-time feel that is needed to provide the instant-feedback needed to create the dopamine rush required for gamification to be effective.
In-Game Assets and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
WAX makes it easy and secure to create, trade, and store virtual assets. With years of market dominance (they are the team behind OPskins), the WAX team has been helping major industry players adopt blockchain into their product lineup. They’ve simplified the process of NFT creation to just a few clicks, lowering the barrier to entry significantly. WAX’s mission is to bring major brands into the blockchain space, bringing loyal followings with them. They are already delivering on their mission with Topps releasing NFTs for Garbage Pail Kids on the WAX blockchain.
A popular NFT game is Upland. Upland allows a user to buy property using their in-game currency, UPX. When you purchase a property, you are buying an NFT that represents the property, making it yours to own. The Upland map currently covers the city of San Francisco and the JFK airport at the time of writing, but its ambition is to replicate the real world.
Achievements On Chain
ITAM Games, a Korea-based gaming ecosystem, is putting everything on chain: achievements, leaderboards, assets won in-game, rankings, etc. They want to ensure that the user is in control, not the game developer. By having achievements and leaderboards on-chain, they are hoping to bring transparency, trust, and reliability to gaming competition.
Gaming From Start to Finish
Ultra is a purpose-built blockchain that is purely gaming focused. Rather than focusing on in-game assets and NFTs, they are looking at the entire gaming experience; from beta testing, to fan interaction, to game ownership, all the way to a marketplace for selling a game once you are finished playing it. They are targeting game developers and indie studios, making it easier to self-publish and capture much more of the revenue generated by cutting out any middlemen from the process.
Game Worlds Made of NFTs
Blankos, the awaited flagship game from Mythical Games, is somewhat of a game creation engine. It allows users to generate their own game worlds, with their own rules and dynamics. Items within the world are NFTs, allowing for unique assets to be created and placed in certain worlds, attracting some gamers to specific game designers in that ecosystem. It’s similar to what Media Molecule did with Little Big Planet which was a big success on PlayStation.
That's a Wrap
And that's a wrap on our 1st article of the series Gaming on Blockchain. If you are a gamer or a game developer, have you considered the blockchain as a way to change the way you game or build games? What are the challenges you’re currently facing? We’d love to hear from you! Reach out to us on Twitter or in our Telegram channel.