There has been a lot of hype around cryptocurrency, in particular Bitcoin in the recent past and it now becoming clear that there is value that is can provide outside of the realms of trading and it appears no more so that in the gaming industry. Taking things at face value it really does seem like gaming and cryptocurrency are a match made in heaven. Gaming, in particular online gaming and esports have resulted in the need for digital currencies to be introduced in-game.
A study completed by WAX, who are a digital asset exchanged revealed that 75% of gamers surveyed in the USA would like to be able to exchange virtual goods for digital currency that can then also be used on different platforms. Gamers in general are also far more likely to be accustomed to cryptocurrencies, as only 5% of millennials have any kind of interest in it but 55% of online gamers have had some kind of interaction with cryptocurrencies in the past.
Gamers are definitely going to be more open in general to digital currencies as virtual money has been present for quite a while now, dating back around 10 years to ‘digital gold’ in the World of Warcraft game, meaning the concept is very familiar to them.
The study also showed the potential benefits of introducing cryptocurrency to online gaming, with 75% of those surveyed stating that they are easy to use, 44% saw them having lower transaction costs and 66% saw the potential security benefits of using a cryptocurrency for online transactions. Testimony to these results is the fact that an equally competitive environment, the online casino industry is already using the technology. There are already new cryptocurrency casinos being launched as well as established brands, for instance Unibet, who are actively exploring how to incorporate the option into their existing service.
Currently the in-game market does often possess high transaction fees and also exchange rates and sometimes slow transaction speeds. These issues could be mitigated by the widespread use of cryptocurrency as an accepted form of payment. The use of cryptocurrency within gaming also can help to solve the issues around the ownership of in-game assets. This is because games that use blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies will tokenise all gaming items, meaning that once a gamer has possession of an asset they will keep the asset in their digital wallet until they make the decision to sell or trade it, in the same way any other cryptocurrency would work.
It is true to say that for gamers the introduction of cryptocurrencies into gaming definitely has many potential benefits and any downsides pretty much all lie with the developers. Due to the volatile nature of many cryptocurrencies, speculation is always rife and results in regular spikes and collapsing of prices, which could cause issues around uncertainty and unpredictability of earnings for the developers. Also, if one specific digital currency becomes the norm for gaming then it reduces the chance of players reinvesting with the specific game, which is what developers want and increasing the chance of them ‘cashing out’ and spending elsewhere.
Many game developers are now looking at ways to introduce cryptocurrencies into their games and use it as a way to attract more players and this looks set to continue and create endless possibilities in the gaming world.