Crypto Currency and Video Games, a perfect match? Gaming’s New Payment Plan
We’re all familiar with money in video games. The concept goes as far back as breaking golden (?) bricks to attain those gold coins before sliding down a green pipe, all while avoiding those Koopa Troopas and Goombas. Since then, it’s gone from that blue little hedgehog chasing rings to farming gold in MMOs and now spending your real, hard-earned cash on cosmetics and pay-to-win games.
Now, crypto has made its way into gaming. Steam began accepting crypto payments in 2016, in the form of Bitcoin but unfortunately this was stopped the next year due to the fact Bitcoin is well, Bitcoin and the price was far too volatile for them to encourage it.
Twitch was the next big name in the space to make a move towards crypto. In 2018 they began to allow streamers to accept tips in various coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum. By 2019, some streamers had tens of thousands of dollars worth of those coins – which would be worth a fortune today – though for a short period Twitch caved in the same way Steam did, stopping crypto donations for a while, before finally coming back around to allowing them again.
With such big players giving crypto a shot, albeit a short-lived one for one of them, perhaps there’s a serious case for integrating more and more crypto and blockchain aspects into video games overall.
The year is 2021, you’ve spent 25% of your wage packet on packs trying to get that newly released player to make your team the very best it can be, microtransactions are in full swing.
Some developers have made microtransactions part of their “culture” while others try to steer clear of them completely. In any case, microtransactions have become part of the gaming ecosystem and are here to stay.
When certain free-to-play games came onto our screens, microtransactions became the only way for them to make money and now, everyone can think of a battle royale game that sells upgrades, cosmetics, and other expansions that require real money. If you’re a consumer buying in-game currency through traditional methods like credit cards and gift cards then you’re halfway to integrating crypto into the process.
There are different benefits to using crypto, one is if you’re particularly privacy-conscious, not having to link a credit card to your account can give you peace of mind. Another is that you can get better deals if you play the market right.
Blockchain & Video games?
The easiest and likely most common way to integrate crypto into gaming is with microtransactions. Not only is it a benefit to the crypto’s themselves, with an increase in volume, but games can take a % of the transaction while still offering convenience and discounts to gamers.
What developers can also do is create their own cryptos, eliminating the need for third-party transaction fees and become wholly independent, retaining a larger portion of the pie. Indie developers, as an example, could utilize this option to improve their bottom lines.
It also means that developers needn’t worry about locale-specific pricing. With currencies these days being unpredictable and large economic decisions causing fluctuations in the FOREX markets, developers can lose out on revenue with set prices in dollars, pounds, euros, etc.
Crypto rids developers of this problem. Having payments in one universal currency, no matter the location, means that everything is far more streamlined, not only benefiting the developer but the consumer too.
What’s more, using blockchain technology gives game developers a fully secure ledger that is open to the public for added transparency. This stops any accidental erasure, bad servers, or other tech problems. Blockchain and crypto is a woefully under-appreciated tool that could, and should, transform the gaming world.
On the right track
Progress is being made slowly, but there’s still a lot of bumps in the road that need to be flattened out.
An example of something that gamers might not appreciate is the fact that crypto transactions aren’t exactly the swiftest of things. Now, this is by design, crypto transactions are logged and actioned but it means that it’s also probably not going to change in the foreseeable future.
Gamers aren’t the most patient bunch and waiting for ten, twenty, or even 60 minutes to get the goods they just purchased isn’t going to please any of them but it might be something they can live with in the short-term.
The progress and potential remains exciting though, it’s almost entirely untapped and once it starts to gain traction it’s hard to see it ever stopping.
Exciting times ahead!