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Blockchain Technology and the Evolution of the Gaming Industry

Gaming has long been a pillar of the world’s entertainment industry, and with recent reports claiming that the industry may be worth close to $138 billion by the end of 2018, it’s clear that gaming will continue to earn a large chunk of entertainment revenue.

Gaming has evolved significantly over the years – from the earliest known electronic game called Bertie the Brain – an electronic version of tic-tac-toe, to the iconic Red Dead Redemption with jaw dropping graphics and complexity.

The advent of the internet ushered in the phenomenon of online gaming. The likes of Minecraft, Overwatch, World of Warcraft and Counter-Strike have become household names, spawning an entire retail industry around them. Mobile gaming has also become wildly popular, with reports suggesting growth could reach a staggering $70 billion in sales this year.

So where to from here? – Enter blockchain technology.

Blockchain gaming is still a relatively new phenomenon, but it’s gathering momentum and popularity with every passing month. Spells of Genesis is an intriguing combination of basic arcade gaming and card-based strategy – taking trading cards to the next level.

Notable for running on the Bitcoin blockchain rather than the Ethereum blockchain – where most blockchain games make their home, Spells of Genesis requires players to make use of their trading cards in an arcade-style shooter environment, where they must defeat enemies using magical spells.

Available on either Android or Apple, the players find that their cards increase in value as they progress through the game – helping to create a ready-made marketplace. The cards can be used across multiple games and Spells of Genesis could be an introduction to the future of gaming in that regard.

Another blockchain based game is Ether Quest, a fantasy roleplaying game that offers players a selection of warriors to both collect and train. Before starting on your quest, you must visit the games marketplace and purchase a hero character using Ether. Running on the Ethereum blockchain, Ether Quest uses Ether as an internal currency.  You can “level up” a character by training them or by taking part in tournaments and this would increase their value in the marketplace. Winners in these virtual tournaments can earn Ether as a reward, while the developers of the game require all participants to have an account with MetaMask so that the dApp can be run in your browser.

Gaming has proven itself in the education space and to this end Pigzbe, the world’s first digital piggy-wallet, is a first in the blockchain gaming/education arena, as it provides more than a simple gaming experience. Pigzbe is a digital piggy bank that uses Wollo, its own family-friendly crypto for payments and rewards.

Geared towards a younger audience, Pigzbe aims to teach those aged six years and over the valuable skills of money management. Pairing up a physical hand-held device and an app that promotes saving and financial awareness into a game, the device engages children by way of sound, visuals, and haptics, as well as simple games that help to promote saving and basic money skills. 

When it comes time to “break open” the piggy wallet and spend some of those hard-earned Wollo, Pigzbe’s partnership with global digital payments platform, Wirex, will allow Wollo holders to buy, store, exchange and spend the cryptocurrency via the Wirex app and Visa card.

Augmentors is an augmented reality combat game that operates along the same principles as the popular Pokémon Go, with around 50 Gods, monsters and cyborgs to choose from. Customizing your character plays a huge part in the game and the marketplace for “levelled” up characters, upgrades, and even bespoke artwork is booming.

The buying, bartering and selling aspect of the game is an integral part of the fun – making low-cost “trust free” transactions, brings the blockchain’s true purpose to life. There is already a healthy community of creators being paid for their contributions to the Augmentors ecosystem, which underscores its success. 

Finally, by far the most successful and best-known blockchain game currently is Cryptokitties.

The Ethereum-based collectible game has the aim of “breeding” one of a kind digital kitties. This is possible by way of purchasing two different cats from the marketplace using Ether, but players can also reach out to other gamers with a breed request for one of their cats in exchange for payment.

Upon acceptance, the transaction is carried out and the buyer receives a new cat while the seller is paid the agreed amount. One player actually paid $170,000 for what is the most expensive CryptoKitty ever, and while numbers such as this are certainly far from the norm, it is indicative of the success of the game.

Blockchain gaming is still a relatively new form of gaming, especially when compared with online and mobile gaming in general, however, the genre is finding its feet and looks set for an exciting couple of years as developers get a better handle on what they can accomplish with the new technology.

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