The idea of using currency in a game is far from new. The well-known plumber Mario smashed bricks with his head to get to the gold coins. Then he was replaced by hedgehogs who collect gold rings, your own characters who mine gold in Azeroth, and buying equipment for the royal battles.
Cryptocurrency started making its way into video games a few years ago. In 2016, the online service Steam, the distributor of computer games, began accepting payments in cryptocurrency, which allowed players to buy games for bitcoins. Unfortunately, a year later, this option was canceled due to the high volatility of the cryptocurrency.
In 2018, the popular video streaming service Twitch announced that its streamers can now accept donations in Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC).
Twitch and Steam are two leaders in the gaming industry, and the fact that they are positive about cryptocurrency payments speaks of a real opportunity to integrate cryptocurrency and blockchain into PC games.
However, given the gradual spread of cryptocurrencies, it is necessary to find suitable ways of such integration.
Emergence of microtransactions
Fast forward to today. Microtransactions have become widespread in games, but what are they?
Different games use microtransactions in different ways. In general, microtransactions are all your payments after purchasing the game, including the purchase of “cosmetics” (skins), in-game upgrades, add-ons, etc. Crypto transactions can be made via web 3 wallet. Learning about web 3.0 wallet takes time, but is definitely worth it if you want to use cryptocurrency in any way.
Microtransactions have been a part of PC games for some time now. However, the emergence of Fortnite can be considered a turning point. Today, almost everyone knows this game – a battle royale simulator in which the main profit comes from the sale of skins and other add-ons. In 2018, Fortnite earned $2.4 billion, which is recognized as “the highest annual income in the history of video games.”
Players buy V-bucks (Fortnite’s in-game currency) and then use them to purchase skins. They usually buy V-Bucks using traditional payment methods such as debit and credit cards or gift cards. Let’s say you’re playing on PS4. To buy V-Bucks, you can purchase PlayStation Network Gift Cards from your local store, activate them online, and add funds to your PS account. You can then use these funds to purchase V-Bucks from the Fortnite online portal.
Integration of cryptocurrencies and blockchain into games
In the example above, the most obvious way to integrate is by including cryptocurrencies in microtransactions. However, there are other, more creative and effective methods.
For example, game developers can create their own cryptocurrencies to gain independence from external payment systems. Suppose there is a new massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) called Paxfulfilled with its own in-game currency, Paxcoin. Players can convert their cryptocurrency into Paxcoin through a dedicated payment portal and then use them to purchase game gear and skins. This will allow developers to better control the process and eliminate problems with pricing in different countries. As for the players, they will have a streamlined payment system, and prices will be set in accordance with the value of Paxcoin, that is, most likely, they will be lower.
In addition, since the entire currency system is based on the blockchain, players’ purchases will be recorded in a secure ledger, which will protect them from accidental deletion of data, technical problems or server problems. If the developers of Paxfulfilled decide to create more games, the blockchain will allow the creation of a system for the exchange of purchasable items and currencies between different games, thus creating a separate gaming infrastructure. This means that in-game content can take on form and value outside of the original game.
As we can see, cryptocurrencies have a lot to offer to the gaming industry. If more popular gaming companies start adopting cryptocurrency, it will revolutionize the gaming market.