There are currently thousands of cryptocurrency and blockchain projects racing to design a product in their respective sectors that will have real-world use cases and the potential to achieve mass adoption. Could gaming become the means by which these important technologies diffuse into society and everyday life?
Gaming: A Brief ‘Then and Now’
Gaming has changed drastically over the course of my 30-year-old life. I’m not really talking about the graphics or storylines, but more about the change in how games are purchased and consumed.
In my youth, I got my start on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), eventually adding on a Playstation, Xbox, and family-shared PC in my early teens. When I wanted a game, I saved up the money, bought it, played it, and that was the end.
Fast-forwarding to today, it is a very different landscape. The majority of gaming takes place online, sometimes cooperatively with friends or against strangers across the world. And while console and PC gaming continue to thrive, a large portion of the market is now comprised of mobile gaming.
The common theme in the development of many of the newest games across all platforms is a system in which the customer not only buys the game but also has the option of making further microtransactions to add cosmetic effects — or sometimes make the game drastically easier.
Sitting On A Gold Mine
One of the great things that blockchain technology has given us is the ability to create and log real-world and digital assets that are transferable and scarce.
Cryptokitty Benny Giang saw the potential of combining this newly developing blockchain technology with an online trading card type game.
Joyce Yang writes in Techcrunch:
For those unfamiliar with Cryptokitties, it’s often been alluded to as a digital version of Beanie Babies. Cryptokitties are virtual collectibles in the form of cute cats that can be bought, sold, collected and traded with cryptocurrency, with all the transactions listed on the blockchain. Owners who purchase these kitties can then breed them with other kitties to produce new baby kitties.
Putting everyone’s opinions on Cryptokitties aside, the idea underneath it should be the focus. Games could be created that gave players a reason to trade digital currencies in the form of unique digital assets.
Other applications of this idea, of registering digital or real-world items or property, are developing in the form of art auctions and the purchase of real-estate.
Catalyst From Asia
Benny Giang also told Techcrunch that he believes that “Blockchain games in Asia are a huge untapped market but with increasing competition.” He reasons that:
1) the awareness of cryptocurrency and blockchain is more prevalent in Asia, 2) the regulatory markets are more developed and sophisticated (for better or worse) in China, Korea, and Japan, and 3) there is a proportionally higher number of gamers in Asia than the U.S.
While numbers one and two in that statement are generally agreed upon facts — having lived and traveled in Asia for nearly four years, I myself can attest to Giang’s third reason. People from preteen to the elderly all over China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan are infatuated with playing these games, the majority of them on their mobile devices. They play them in the parks on sunny days, on the subway heading to work, and at restaurants and cafes among friends.
Wildly popular chat messaging apps like WeChat in China and Kakao Talk in Korea developed into huge economic tools by offering simple person-to-person payment options, messaging, and phone service that has allowed for the common individual to become a participant in the economy.
By implementing blockchain technology in games and applications similar to those mentioned above, massive groups of people could potentially be introduced to and adopt a new digital economy.
Do you think something as simple as a gamified economy in an application could create mass adoption of digital currencies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below?