Gaming has come a long way over the years. From the first-ever video game, Spacewar, back in 1962 through to modern AAA titles like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, technology has made the medium bigger, better, and more exciting.
Technological developments have also seen the creation of online casinos which let players enjoy traditional card and table games from a computer or mobile device, many of which have also created unique video slot games that include features like free spin bonuses, minigames, and progressive jackpots.
In 2022, the relationship between technology and gaming remains strong and developers are experimenting with all of the latest developments. This has led to the creation of virtual reality and augmented reality games like Beat Saber and Pokémon GO.
The drive for more technology in gaming has also seen many developers and players look into the option of incorporating the blockchain into their titles. Early attempts at this have created mixed results with some falling at the first hurdle and others becoming very popular.
But which elements of blockchain technology are likely to have the biggest impact on gaming?
In the past, video games have cost players money. This makes sense as it takes time to design, develop, and distribute a new title and the creators need to recoup these costs.
The play-to-earn (or P2E) concept turns this on its head entirely by allowing users the opportunity to generate an income or acquire assets that can be later sold for cryptocurrency or cash.
The implementation of this technology has been mixed, and while some games, such as Axie Infinity, have become huge hits, others have struggled to survive past a few months.
The main factor in this regard is whether there is value in the game beyond the crypto element. If it’s fun, it doesn’t matter what assets you acquire, if it’s not fun, then it’s just a job.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) were the biggest blockchain technology of 2021. In some corners of the crypto world, they were all anyone could talk about, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that they’ve found their way into games.
In addition to the indie developers creating titles that fit around NFTs, big publishers have also been looking for ways to incorporate the technology into their titles.
In November 2021, the CEO of Electronic Arts, Andrew Wilson called NFTs the “future of our industry”, though he added that his company were still a long way from including the technology in any of their retail titles. EA has, however, recruited for several NFT and blockchain roles in recent months, showing that its commitment to the technology is serious.
Its rival, Ubisoft, has gone further by actually releasing an NFT system called Quartz. It was released back in December and described by the company as a world-first system for “playable and energy-efficient NFTs” for blockbuster titles.
Ubisoft calls its NFTs “Digits” and allows players to buy, sell, and trade them among themselves in a secondary marketplace. However, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, which was the first game released with Digits, received backlash from players.
The company plans to carry on though, but it’s likely it’ll tweak the system for future releases.
Smart contracts were one of the earliest examples of utility from the blockchain as they allow two parties to engage in some sort of trade, transaction, or agreement with the smart contract acting as arbiter.
They have found their way into gaming through early blockchain-based casinos and sports betting sites.
These betting services use smart contracts to ensure fairness since they define under what conditions a wager will be considered won or lost and enforce the payment once those conditions have been met.
So far, they haven’t seen widespread adoption among the iGaming industry because it already has other mechanisms for achieving this. However, that’s not to say they couldn’t begin to embrace it more in the future.