Undoubtedly, blockchain is still on the hunt for its ‘killer app’, it’s perfect use-case that can send it on its way to being a usable and functional tool that lives up to the latent potential. Many think that finance, and being a digital form of currency, is that killer app, but the rise in adoption there has stuttered, as it bashes against barriers like regulators and institutionalised ways of doing things.
The blockchain is such a broad piece of technology that it is being aimed at a litany of different areas and sectors. Intermediary-based operations, such as supply-chain management, even elections and other important parts of our society, are in the line of sight for blockchain.
However, none of these sectors have come to the fore as a leading example of how blockchain can be implemented totally, with full buy in and mass adoption as a new and more efficient alternative. There needs to be both issues for blockchain to solve, as well as acceptance and understanding of the new system.
That is where gaming shows potential as a real adoption point for blockchain. Gaming, as a global phenomenon has similar traits to blockchain technology in that it is a new space that is just starting to explode, and also offers more potential in the future. It is also a sector that is run by people who are technologically inclined, and predominantly younger.
As much as the mainstream world does not really understand the gaming economy, with E-Sport’s huge viewership and interest, the same can be said about the approach and understanding of blockchain.
So, perhaps it is gaming that can become blockchains initial killer app, a sector that can embrace all that the technology can offer to fix issues that have already started to arise in the burgeoning gaming ecosystem.
Picking up from finance’s failings
In the cryptocurrency space we have seen one massive wave of adoption, and that came off the back of Bitcoin and its incredible rise to near-on $20,000. Bitcoin was always seen as a financial tool, and this rally was touted as a potential financial revolution. In the end, it was not to be.
As a currency, Bitcoin essentially shot itself in the foot by leading this wave of adoption for blockchain technology, but mostly for cryptocurrencies. As interest grew in the digital currency, it started its shift towards being a digital gold instead.
The potential for digital currency to be blockchain’s killer app was scuppered by greed. Adoption was driven by uninformed investors hoping to get rich quick, and when the market took a turn, they soon fled leaving Bitcoin reeling, and behind on adoption.
While there is still a massive chance that cryptocurrencies can be blockchain’s killer app, especially with a new, slower more measured, growth happening, it is more likely a problem with the environment rather than the application.
If we look into the potential of the gaming environment to be an adoption point for blockchain technology – more removed from cryptocurrencies – there is already a better target audience, and a far more receptive space to technological change.
The gaming ecosystem contains the right people, and the right environment for a disruptive technological upgrade, and there is enough need for this disruption to take place. And it is beginning to take hold with its path is still yet to be seen.
The beginning of a blockchain gaming revolution
With many things in the blockchain space, potential is never a problem, it is about implementation and the possibility of reaching critical mass. There are a number of blockchain operations that are focusing in on this fast-moving and progressive space, but they admit to being only a drop in the an ocean.
Andrew Colosimo of Xaya, a blockchain platform trying to bring forward the potential of blockchain in gaming, believes that the space is one that can aid in adoption of blockchain
“I think gaming definitely has the potential for being a catalyst for bringing more of the masses to blockchain,” Colosimo explained to Forbes. “Gamers, particular PC gamers are normally somewhat technical and typically enthusiasts who like new technology, and blockchain does need that bit of expertise at the moment. From our point of view – we know there is going to be a market for blockchain gaming but it needs to be approached carefully.”
Colosimo is not deluded about the space though, knowing that it has a long way to go and a lot of work to do in order to get a paradigm shift going.
“It’s still early days at the moment and although there is a lot of money being pumped into blockchain gaming there is actually very little gamers playing,” he said forthrightly. “I think the top blockchain games have in the 10s of daily active users. It’s really a niche at the moment.”
“There are numerous barriers to overcome such as the complexity and user experience to play blockchain games, it’s not easy for those that are not already in the crypto scene. Games are generally slow and uncomplex, or if they are not then they are using blockchain in a way that makes little sense other than using blockchain as a buzzword only.”
It may sound like a real mountain to climb for blockchain gaming, but as the blockchain’s scope is so broad, and gaming is expanding into different areas, so there are ways in which the technology can be used and appreciated alongside normal gaming interactions.
“Blockchain from our point of view is not going to take over the gaming industry completely but open new opportunities and a new genre of games,” Colosimo adds. “That being said, as the technology matures it could be that in five, 10 or 20 years, every multiplayer game, payment systems and assets are stored and run on the blockchain, but certainly not in the near future.”
This is really the key of the blockchain-gaming crossover. The technology is always touted as having the ability to totally take over different sectors – such as become a new currency standard and to do away with fiat – but this is just not feasible.
In gaming, it is unlikely that the entire ecosystem will suddenly be built and run on blockchain, but certain aspects of it can move quite seamlessly to the immutable ledger.
Colosimo adds certain areas where blockchain can improve the gaming space, such as: “Fraud proof payments – it’s estimated that for every one legit purchase there are seven fraudulent ones. Lower commission fees for in app purchasing. Play to earn gaming experiences. True item ownership with freedom to trade at will. New gaming genres that run unstoppable without servers and a lot more.”
Blockchain has what it takes to make these improvements to the gaming sector, and it has in that sector an environment that would welcome and embrace it. This is how gaming can become the first real adoption point for blockchain, and how this sort of integration can lead the way for other changes and efficiency improvements.