As new technologies enter the gaming world, the market opens to up to new ideas, and user experience becomes increasingly sophisticated, gamers find themselves spoilt for choice and tech companies keep finding new niches.
The market shows evident signs of growth and users are very tech-savvy, prone to be early adopters of technologies that will enhance their experience.
Blockchain platforms have started to evolve and assist humans in decentralised applications, particularly in financial uses. However, the momentum gathered by the crypto revolution last year is now spreading to other sectors within the tech industry — perhaps even creating completely new ones. The crypto gaming arena is a case in point, as blockhain- powered games are set to revolutionise how people perceive online gaming.
It is no news that the gaming market has been in expansion for the past decade, with online and mobile gaming accounting for the biggest gains. Numbers indicate there are more than 25,000 e-gameing platforms worldwide, generating altogether between USD$20 to 40 billion in revenue. By 2021, consumer spending on games is expected to reach the $180.1 billion mark.
Online gaming is expected to grow by over 11% a year until 2020. This impressive growth is mostly down to new technologies enhancing current gaming experiences and creating niches in the market.
Introducing new technologies into gaming has been well-received. Broader adoption of smartphone gaming and blockchain use of virtual reality (VR) have unlocked more fun and interactive experiences for gamers. A few platforms are already offering casino VR poker online, making the game more interesting and wide-reaching, as bluffing and reading expressions is considered by players as the most exciting parts of playing poker, adding the adrenaline of ‘real life playing’ to the online world.
Furthermore, crypto offers security like no other available technology. Prior to the launch of blockchain-powered gaming, games used to store the players’ information and owned items on the game publishers’ servers. This practice has its vulnerabilities, as one could lose possession of the assets in the case of server malfunction, stopped game development, banned account etc.
The inception of crypto gaming looks set to change all of that. Now, the player is much more in control of their virtual assets while exploring uncharted avenues of profiting from them. Players are now the sole masters of their accounts, game items and data.
Crypto Kitties: Unlocking a new era of digital ownership
One of the pioneers in this space is CryptoKitties. Launched in late 2017, the game lets users trade virtual cats via an Ethereum-based platform and, to this date, has recorded the impressive mark of $170,000 for the purchase of a crypto kitty called ‘Dragon’. Within six months, CryptoKitties users had spent together no less than $23million buying and selling digital cats.
Although the success of Crypto Kitties has slowly faded, the game brought attention to the many applications of blockchain in gaming, especially tokenised goods and digital collectibles.
The combination of blockchain and games spurred the development of ‘non-fungible tokens’ (NFTs), a concept revolutionising the idea of digital ownership, as it gives each digital asset a unique identity.
Because there is no central entity controlling the assets within a game universe powered by blockchain, once in possession, the user can buy, sell and trade their tokenised goods openly. In another words, crypto assets are 100% owned by the user.
Even if the technology is still in its early days, the use of NFTs can potentially be taken forward outside the gaming sphere, where digital collectibles are ‘a thing’.
Numbers don’t lie: market growth
Mobile gaming represents more than half of the entire market in 2018, following ten years of double-digit growth since the emergence of smartphones.
The addition of blockchain to gaming enabled the advent of crypto gaming, games which are powered by blockchain platforms. From a modest 753 million GBP in 2011, gaming went up to 2,560.2 million GBP in 2017 in the United Kingdom alone.
This trend is also seen on the investment side in an increasing interest in blockchain appliances from gaming companies. Over the last few years, there have been more than 50 ICOs for gaming-focused projects, the top 10 fundraisers reaching over $323 million alone.
This trend indeed has what it takes to be prosperous; not only because of favourable market perspectives, but also due to gamers being familiar with the use of tokens and digital currencies as part of this universe, and showing a typical openness to embracing technology and innovation.
When we look at the market globally, Asia is the hottest gaming zone, followed by strong potential in North America. As of December 2017, China generated a record sales of 32.54 billion US dollars in revenue while the United States, in the second spot for revenue generation, garnered 25.43 billion US dollars.
The implementation of blockchain into gaming enhances user experience at many levels. Because of its decentralised nature, players can take companions and items to different worlds within the gaming universe, increasing participation, engagement and dynamics.
Gaming is an exciting market to keep an eye on as it evolves at such a fast pace. Games have come a long way from console, controllers and televisions to enabling ‘real life’ simulations at distance.
“Time will tell, but there’s no doubt that we should all acclimatise ourselves to the buzzword that is blockchain, because regardless of whether cryptocurrency itself is certain to continue earning shrewd investors huge wads of money, it’s absolutely set to make an impression on the video game industry,” says Alex Gibson, editor at gaming website TW Infinite.
There is no doubt about it.