Blockchain Gaming, while the Current Fad, is Fated for Failure

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I realize that we're still in the early days of 2018, and so blockchain and cryptocurrencies are the latest trends in tech, but that doesn't mean either are going to take off. After all, everyone thought VR and AR would completely revolutionize how we do things – and while there are certainly things that can be enhanced with the use of VR and AR – the overall adoption rate of both is too low to properly finance the breakthroughs that both mediums would need to reach their full potential. You see VR and AR primarily as the platform for games, however, both have the capacity to do much more. There are developers out there looking to use VR and AR as full training simulators, as ways for doctors to look at medical problems, as ways to create the next big breakthrough. But those technologies are still underfunded. With the buy-in cost of VR being so high – despite the fact that I am a huge fan of VR and own multiple separate VR rigs – the platform is almost dying despite still being in its infant stages. AR is more affordable, but at the moment is little more than a gimmick.

Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, have far less use than either VR or AR, and have much greater competition. For VR and AR, they compete against one another, but essentially have no major threats to their prosperity besides general human malaise. Cryptocurrencies are up against every single government currency – hard currencies if you will. Regardless of the format, state backed currencies are accepted everywhere. While crytpocurrencies can be used in very, very few places. There is little valuation of what each token actually translates to in "real money" because essentially the price is backed entirely on a supply-demand curve. Which is never a stable way to run a currency. Even though many state currencies are only backed by "faith in the government," that's still a much more reliable quantity than either Bitcoin or Ethereum can muster.

Blockchain, at least, has utility going for it. Blockchain allows you to give items unique IDs in a much cleaner way than the usual RNG process, and could be used for everything from social security numbers to land deeds to in-game objects. However, that requires universal adoption.

For the sake of sticking to gaming as our main lens to view these by, well. Every game already has a form of currency or two. Often times there is one earned through gameplay and one earned through exchanging real currency for the in-game equivalent. Cryptocurrencies offer very little new in terms of gaming, unless you're going to allow gamers to mine for the currency. In which case, you've got a very neat pay to win dynamic going on, regardless of what the currency is actually used for. More GPU means more mining capabilities means more currency. Even if the only thing a person can do with that currency is exchange it for cosmetic items, it gives cryptocurrency miners and those with multiple GPU set-ups a distinct advantage that is anathema to the broader video game community. Thus you have the "one person, one core" setup of All Mine, which is a pretty unique concept but not likely to take off.

While Blockchain could give me a unique, ownable, and tradeable ID for my in-game items – many games already offer me the ability to sell or trade items with other players.

None of this is particularly new which means many blockchain gaming developers have gone into the idea of creating a Metaverse, which requires universal adoption. Just like Cryptocurrencies require in order to compete with hard, state currencies. And that's just not going to happen any time soon. We can't even get Xbox – PlayStation crossplay. We aren't going to see major publishers agree to a metaverse. Which leaves Steam Indies as the only possible market. And that's just not enough to justify the faith a gamer would have to place in the system in the first place.

So while we can still give VR and AR a fighting chance, we can count blockchain and cryptocurrencies in gaming as Dead On Arrival.

About Madeline Ricchiuto

Madeline Ricchiuto is a gamer, comics enthusiast, bad horror movie connoisseur, writer and generally sarcastic human. She also really likes cats and is now Head Games Writer at Bleeding Cool.

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