The gaming industry is one of the fastest moving around. People want entertainment and a big part of that comes from novelty, so there’s enormous pressure to deliver a new experience as often as possible. This fuels immense change and development, some of them are flops but some of them are fantastic.
Some companies integrate blockchain into the realm of gaming through NFT collectibles and rewards. Some keep it simple – for instance, on this site, it is possible to play casino-style games while using cryptocurrency as a payment method.
While opportunities for innovation are endless, here are some of the most exciting developments that are taking place or are newly accepted in the gaming world today:
Anyone who keeps on top of the news won’t have been able to miss the recent publicity surrounding cryptocurrency. What used to be a trader’s secret, or before that even a project that many believed could never work, is now a viable currency that is well known and trusted by the public. Never a sector to rest on its laurels, the gaming industry has been steadily introducing ways to incorporate cryptocurrency into the entertainment it offers.
However, some companies are encompassing the very technology that makes cryptocurrencies possible and that is blockchain technology. Blockchain technology acts as a digital database that is used to store encrypted ‘blocks’ of data.
The individual data blocks are chained together and encrypted in such a way that they cannot be tampered with and copied, only distributed from person to person. The gaming market saw an innovative use for this technology in the form of NFT gaming, which we’ll discuss next.
In order to understand the potential scale of the NFT gaming market, it’s essential to understand what an NFT is first! NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. These tokens work using blockchain technology, with each token being a single block in the chain. The tokens are a type of totally unique digital asset, which people can own and trade as they wish.
As they’re logged in a blockchain, these tokens can’t be lost, deleted, or copied, making them a viable trading ‘currency’. Whilst it’s possible to trade NFTs without gaming at all, the gaming element has made this new market accessible to many more than it otherwise would have been.
Now it is possible for gamers to play online games for free and earn NFTs at the same time. This is in theory a way of earning for playing, sort of in the same vein as Esports gamers are. It might be that the dawn of earning for gaming is genuinely upon us. However, even if, for the sake of argument, it isn’t, there are plenty of companies that are already doing very well off the back of NFT gaming.
Axie Infinity is the most widely played NFT game, which borrows its narrative from the hit Pokemon game series. In this game, you can breed and collect digital pets called Axies, which each take the form of an NFT. Players use their Axies to battle other players, so if you want to progress in the game, then you need to breed strong traits.
The Axies with the strongest traits are worth the most and can be traded on the Ethereum platform for actual cryptocurrency. Whilst breeding an Axie that is good at battling makes sense for game progression, there are also various collectors who enjoy breeding Axies that have unusual colouration, or rare recessive traits.
While they might not be the strongest fighters, they have prized traits that people will pay top dollar for. You can think of it like the dog breeders of the world, some breed dogs that are used for sheep herding, police work, or excel at agility, whilst others breed dogs that are beautifully marked, or just really, really cute.
Perhaps the longest standing of these developments is the entire Esports industry. Esports is basically competitive video gaming, but not quite how you and your friends play it. Instead, teams of gamers will dedicate their entire lives to becoming the very best at their game of choice.
They’ll spend whole working weeks making sure that their core skills, like hand-eye coordination, accuracy, and reaction times are up to scratch, as well as scheduling appointments in which the whole team can practice together.
While this might sound like an unusual use of time, the prizes involved in Esports championships are huge. Some tournaments have prize pools of more than $15 million and with a viewership of almost 30 million each month, these aren’t set to get any smaller.
It’s not only the people who play the games that are in with a chance of making the big bucks though, the Esports market is already worth around $1 billion and is set to reach $3 billion by the end of 2023.
With important investors like EA games and the English Premier League on board already, this is a developing sector that’s likely to become absolutely mammoth in years to come.