How Blockchain Could Change Gaming

This is an excerpt of the article that was recollected from flipboard, as to generate a clip of interesting news from the topics that i think are important and I want to save for further references and share with my readers.

 

The blockchain technology

The term «blockchain» has been thrown around a lot in recent years, typically in the context of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. While most people have thought about blockchain in terms of how it could change the economy, others have sought to apply the technology to other, more creative areas like games.

How blockchain architecture works? Basic Understanding of ...

Source:https://www.zignuts.com/blogs/how-blockchain-architecture-works-basic-understanding-of-blockchain-and-its-architecture/

By allowing digital information to be distributed but not copied, blockchain technology created the backbone of a new type of internet. Originally devised for the digital currency, Bitcoin blockchain,the  community has now found other potential uses for the technology.

A blockchain is, in the simplest of terms, a time-stamped series of immutable records of data that is managed by a cluster of computers not owned by any single entity. Each of these blocks of data (i.e. block) is secured and bound to each other using cryptographic principles (i.e. chain).

So, what is so special about it and why are we saying that it has industry-disrupting capabilities?

The blockchain network has no central authority — it is the very definition of a democratized system. Since it is a shared and immutable ledger, the information in it is open for anyone and everyone to see. Hence, anything that is built on the blockchain is by its very nature transparent and everyone involved is accountable for their actions.

 

A blockchain carries no transaction cost.

By the way the blockchain technology is decentralized  it has no transaction costs, but has  a generation cost under the form of the enery that is spent mining for the next block that can be used to save the ledge associated with the information to be kepts.  The blockchain is a simple yet ingenious way of passing information from A to B in a fully automated and safe manner. One party to a transaction initiates the process by creating a block. This block is verified by thousands, perhaps millions of computers distributed around the net. The verified block is added to a chain, which is stored across the net, creating not just a unique record, but a unique record with a unique history. Falsifying a single record would mean falsifying the entire chain in millions of instances.

As blockchain technology becomes more popular and more accessible, the possibilities for this type of technology will become more advanced. Eric Schiermeyer, one of the co-founders of Zynga, is developing a way to make blockchain technology more accessible to the community of game developers. From his company, Blockchain Game Partners,they have been working on Gala, a foundation that works to incorporate blockchain technology into  games, using as a base their own game,  Townstar, that works using blockchain technology. (Players start out with a plot of farm land and eventually work their way up into building an entire town).

This type of game has been very popular in recent years with titles such as Stardew Valley and Foundation. It seems that farming and city building games are on a rise, and Townstar might just be released at a time where this type of game will be well received.

 

Problems associated with Blockchain gaming

Although the interest generated over the last years, there are still some problems associated with blockchain games.

Gamers view on microtransactions and cryptocurrencies

A large problem that developers for blockchain games have to face is a negative view towards microtransactions. In recent years, many players have been upset about the addition of microtransactions and loot boxes to many of their favorite franchises. Schiermeyer’s solution for that is to give those who spend money in the game «something that you can keep, and maybe even give away or give some to somebody else.»

Being able to prove the history of an object, what resources it was made of and how old it is could give it a value that current microtransactions simply don’t have.have

Speed

When it comes to blockchain for gaming, perhaps one of the most significant problems affecting the most the games developed with blockchain so far, has been speed.

Most of modern players when thinking about games things about  quality, state of the art gaming experience, zero frame loss or  any issue with speed and pacing. Blockchain games that we have today still only used in limited activities such as trading and creating assets.
Take CryptoKitties, one of the  most popular blockchain game, for example. The game makes it possible for players to grow and trade virtual cats on the Ethereum blockchain. While it shows a great deal of minimalism, the issue of speed still exists, because information has to be sent across the network and the encrypted data validated on each node.

User experience

Onboarding mainstream gamers into a blockchain game and then actually playing the games is certainly not a a very intuitive and transparent process. Each game has yet to implement its own technology there is no standardized away the same solutions to be implemented for the same problems.
In most of  cases up to date, the  players have to  download an  extension wallet for their browser or for their platform, generate an address, sign up with an exchange, buy a cryptocoin , send it to their wallet,backed up their wallet and only then  they are more or less ready to play.

Rising infrastructure costs

Next, there is the issue of maintaining blockchain gaming systems. Transactions on blockchains are inherently expensive, and they could cost dollars per each transaction at times. Even when you consider the simplest blockchain games that have minimal interactions, these costs could balloon regardless.

Scaling and portability over time

When you think about games you think ineherently about  scalability and portability, two of the the most significant and potentially crippling problems that blockchain games face up to this point.
When becoming popular, a blockchain game  needs to maintain its operations through  hundreds of thousands of transactions, something that is not yet available which makes every thing become slow and one thing that players hates in games is waiting for something..

On the side or portability since in order to work correctly you will need a cryptowallet and a blockchain framework, the platforms where you can play games with blockchain technology is very limited.

It’s possible to partially overcome the limits of block times and increase performance by using a consensus mechanism like DPoS which was first introduced with Bitshares a couple of years ago. Projects such as EOS, TRON and Ethereum side-chains like Loom are using this approach to try to overcome these problems..

Computational scalability

Blockchain nodes are not only to save data, they can also be used to run simple code, the problem is that games code is some of the most complex and computation drain that you can think of. Where financial smart contracts can be relatively small, video games are much more complex.  As an example , calculating a simple checkmate in a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain is too complex and impractical. The energy  fees would be huge just for a simple game of chess, much less for a massive RPG or FPS.

 

 

 

Conclusions

Although the blockchain technology in game as a huge potential, it still has some problems to be taking in account by developers when implementing them if they want to be able to build a solution that will be able to scale with the growth of users, something very important to make a safe business model.

 

 

 

 

References

https://blockgeeks.com/guides/what-is-blockchain-technology/

https://hackernoon.com/blockchain-gaming-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-h1d92g6k

https://www.cbr.com/how-blockchain-could-change-gaming/tldr/1

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