I was recently thinking about how a blockchain designed specifically for games would work, especially compared to how many of the crypto games work currently. And so, another episode of the Cosmic Crypto Explorer podcast.
Welcome to another episode of the Cosmic Crypto Explorer podcast. Today I want to talk about creating a blockchain specifically for games. While I’m sure others have had a similar idea, such an idea has yet to come to the forefront so I think it’s time to talk about it again.
Right now, the majority of crypto games are based on the Ethereum blockchain, sometimes with their own custom sidechain, which means often you have to spend crypto to buy into the game and then once you’re in the game, you have to spend more crypto in transaction fees everytime you want to save data onto the Ethereum network, which in some games means everytime you do anything in the game. I wouldn’t be surprised if the games tacked on their own little fees to help pad their profits too.
I know the Tron blockchain exists, but it was originally created more with the idea of content creators making money, and most games that work on the Tron blockchain still require you to buy into them to get started and pay fees as you play.
All of that makes most crypto games more about making money for the game company and less about entertainment for the user, and it certainly makes playing those games expensive. Not to mention all the transaction fees in the middle of games can interrupt the flow of the game.
How about a blockchain that focuses on the user first? A blockchain that’s more about handling character data in an interesting way while making money from it is just secondary? A blockchain that’s based more on a model of having fun, instead of based on a mixture of crypto-based loot boxes and microtransactions?
So, what would that look like?
One of the important aspects of a blockchain is the servers that read from it and write to it and verify the blocks are all properly contiguous. In order to incetivize people to run such a server cryptocurrency rewards are offered. However with many blockchains an artificial difficulty is imposed on processing data, using up buckets and buckets of unnecessarily wasted computer power and electricity, so that the rate of this reward can be controlled no matter how many people are processing the blockchain or how much power they’re bringing to bear on the calculations.
This proof-of-work system as it’s called is great for dealing with spam e-mail, which is the purpose it was originally designed for, but in all honesty, when it comes to managing blockchains, it stinks. It’s also slow, which means it has no place in a game.
A game blockchain would still need to have rewards for miners, or those processing the data. In order to make things truly interesting the blockchain should be distributed and controlled by more than just the company behind the game. Ideally one blockchain could be created which all the games would use but that would take a lot of coordination between developers and game companies.
However, there shouldn’t be any artificial limitations on how quickly the data is processed. The data should be processed as quickly as possible so it could keep up with the game. There’s no need to keep the servers plodding away at all times. If there’s data to be processed, it would be. If there wasn’t any to process at a given moment, the servers would just wait. If a game using the blockchain became popular, there would be plenty for the servers to do anyhow.
In order to keep things somewhat fair instead of the most powerful server always getting all of the work requests a random server from the available pool could be selected to process the work and get the reward from doing it. This isn’t too dissimilar from the proof-of-stake system that some blockchains have proposed and are using, except in this instance there is no stake. It’s a purely random and fair selection of all connected and available servers, and the reward is the same regardless of which server processes the work.
If a server doesn’t complete the request in a set amount of time the job could then be handed to another server in order to keep response times up. If a server is busy processing data it would be removed from the available pool so that only available servers could be chosen. Only if all servers are busy would the work then enter a queue, but with the speed the work was being done at there wouldn’t be any data that would have to wait in queue long.
The reward for doing the work would be a token. This token would be fully tradeable on exchanges so people could use it to make money if that’s what they wanted to do with it but its main purpose would be to buy certain things in the game. These would have to be things that wouldn’t effect the gameplay. Things like cosmetics. People do love to customize the look of their characters.
There could also be a token auction house, much like the auction houses in many MMORPGs, where players could buy and sell special items they find using these tokens. Of course this would effect gameplay as you’d be able to get more powerful or interesting items for your character, but it’s being done player to player and not being purchased from the game itself.
Any item that could be traded on the auction house would be saved to the blockchain, so that way the player would own and have control of the item even outside of the game. Of course if someone sells an item they could then take their tokens and sell them on an exchange and make some money.
Tokens could also be bought directly from the company which would help to fund the company and game development, and help to fund the token rewards for processing the blockchain. As the tokens could only be used to buy cosmetics and things from the auction house, having a player dump a lot of money into the game shouldn’t really effect the game much, beyond covering their character in glitter and magic sparkles and helping to fund the game.
If someone had an item with a limited supply that they wanted to sell on the auction house, like say a one-of-a-kind piece of armor, and someone else with a lot of money bought it, it wouldn’t really be any different than someone putting a lot of time and effort into the game to obtain the limited item. It’s just that instead of putting a lot of time into the game, the person would be buying the item instead.
There wouldn’t be any items, aside perhaps from cosmetic items, that could only be purchased with tokens. All items would be available to any player that wanted to put in the time and effort to get them. They would just then have the option of putting that item on the auction house if they wanted to.
The game company would make their money from people buying tokens from them and spending the tokens to buy cosmetics. There wouldn’t be much cost to running the blockchain as the blockchain would be light and fast and efficient and other people would run most of the servers. In fact, there could even be a server built into the game client so that while someone was playing the game they could enable the server if they wanted to which would run in the background processing data and earning them some tokens.
The data saved in each block of the blockchain would have to be simple in order to help facilitate processing speed. Each game item saved on the blockchain could have a small icon of a set size so that it wouldn’t take up much room, a name, a unique identifier, and a description. When that item would be brought into a game where it could be used its unique identifier would be looked up in the game’s main database to get information about what the item is and whatever properties the item has in that particular game. That way all the item details wouldn’t need to be saved to the blockchain and if by chance an item could be used in more than one game, the item’s effects and abilities could be customized for whatever game it was being used in.
Above all, there would be absolutely no fees for any transactions on the blockchain. The token rewards for processing the blockchain would be supplied by the companies that were using the blockchain for their game, or whatever governing body was in charge of it.
This system wouldn’t have to be limited to just roleplaying games. Any game where the player is able to collect an inventory or customize whatever represents their character in-game could use the blockchain to store and trade these items.
So there are some thoughts on a blockchain that could be developed specifically for games which could really help to highlight the game aspect of the game instead of focusing so much on the cryptocurrency aspect of it, while still offering some of the interesting features provided by blockchains and offering a way to make a little money. I’ve seen a few of these ideas here and there, but I haven’t seen them integrated into one set blockchain package yet. Taking all of these ideas and other good ideas and integrating them into one package or product could really help advance the cause of reaching mainstream players and getting them interested in blockchain games. What do you think about these ideas? Do you have any ideas of your own? Let me know in the comments.
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