The popularity of online gaming and esports has created a pent up demand for a cryptocurrency that players feel could enhance their video gaming experience. The creation of in-game cryptocurrencies could be a valuable addition to the economies of popular online games such as World of Warcraft.
According to a February 2018 survey study by WAX of 1,000 US gamers ("Worldwide Asset Exchange" https://wax.io), 75% want a gaming-specific cryptocurrency with which they could buy virtual goods and buy and sell like arcade tokens or casino chips.
WAX CEO William Quigley said upon the survey's release, “The widespread usage of cryptocurrency in online video gaming is imminent. Video gamers are tech-savvy members of a global community with the desire to make frequent, small transactions across borders. The results of the study could not be clearer: video gamers want to be able to use cryptocurrency to make low-cost gaming-related transactions.”
Around 5% of millennials own cryptocurrency at present, while 55% of the online gaming millennials surveyed own some bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, indicating a large crossover between the online gaming community and bitcoin community.
The esports industry enables players and viewers to wager on themselves and other gamers, creating a ‘bounty’ to be won. But the in-game items market has high transaction fees and exchanges rates, and slow transaction speeds. These problems would presumably be mitigated or even resolved by eliminating the middleman and integrating in-game use of, for example, Stellar Lumens, Dogecoin, or Dash. Perhaps even better would be a new cryptocurrency dedicated to the most popular online games that would run on its own blockchain, enabling low-cost/high-speed in-game microtransactions.
For game developers, the use case for in-game cryptocurrency integration is not as clear. Firstly, in-game crypto holders would presumably be more apt to cash out their coins rather holding their money on the game platform, weakening the game’s economy. Secondly, cryptocoin price spikes and collapses would inject uncertainty into the earnings stream that game developers rely on to pay their bills. Creation of gaming-specific stablecoin that is pegged against the USD or a basket of fiat currencies would help mitigate that volatility.
Game-developer acceptance of the benefits of in-game cryptocurrency integration outweighing the downsides (players and esports fans regular cashing out and price volatility) is the biggest challenge for the creation and adoption of gaming-specific coins.
Every gaming environment is a lively separate world with its own rules and its own black market. Blockchain technology would allow online gaming platforms to offer services that were previously available only on the black market, letting players earn currency that can be exchanged for real money or in-game items, and making the game's economy healthier and more attractive to outside investors, and, potentially, if implemented in just the right way, less risky and more profitable for game developers instead of the opposite.
The era of cryptocurrency and blockchain opens vast new opportunities for game publishers and developers. Cryptos will eventually, in one way or another, have a major, positive impact on the online gaming industry. Time will tell exactly when and how.
By: BGN Editorial Staff