Category Archives: Gaming

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Non-Fungible Tokens Give Players True Ownership of Digital Assets

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are changing the gaming industry by giving players true ownership over digital assets that they acquire in a game. The ERC-721 protocol which makes it easy to create NFTs has sparked the development of numerous blockchain-based games, a new and growing industry.

Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies are fungible, which means that a Bitcoin is interchangeable with any other Bitcoin. It is necessary for cryptocurrency and currency, in general, to be fungible so it can act as an exchange of value.

Pokémon cards, baseball cards, works of art, and many more types of collectibles are non-fungible. They are distinct from each other due to their characteristics, and they have differing values so they can’t be exchanged at a one-to-one ratio with each other like currency.

ERC-721 is the standard for creating NFTs and uses the Ethereum blockchain to issue and exchange NFTs. This is much like how ERC-20 is the standard used to create fungible cryptocurrency tokens. Through smart contract technology, each NFT issued with ERC-721 is completely unique.

A gamer who acquires an NFT is given a private key, they can access the NFT with the private key to transfer it, and sign messages with the private key to prove ownership. This marks the first time in history that a gamer truly owns digital assets that they find, win, or purchase in a game. Even if the game server crashes or the game goes offline the NFT is cryptographically protected and stored in the Ethereum blockchain and will remain intact.

This breaks the old paradigm where in-game assets were controlled by the company that owns the game and dependent on centralized servers. NFTs decentralize digital assets.

Perhaps one of the most popular games that uses ERC-721 NFTs is CryptoKitties, where users can buy digital cats for Ethereum, breed them, and trade them. The game became such a craze at one point that Ethereum transaction fees skyrocketed due to network congestion. A CryptoKitty sold for a whopping USD 140,000 of Ether in May 2018.

Another popular NFT game is Decentraland, where users can purchase land and have full ownership over that tract of land in a virtual universe. They can build anything they want on the land. Decentraland has the potential to be a blockchain-based Second Life, with the added advantage of a cryptographically secure real-estate system.

The future is bright for NFTs; CryptoKitties and Decentraland are probably just the beginning. It is possible that a massive multiplayer online game like World of Warcraft, Second Life, or Runescape will eventually adopt NFTs or that a completely new game will be created around NFTs and gain global popularity, and become the basis for a major online economy.

 

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Sony to Combat Piracy with Blockchain

Sony the Japanese technology company, made an application on Thursday for a patent for a blockchain system to store digital rights data.  Digital rights management (DRM) systems, restrict access to copyright-protected content to those who have the permissions, this is often via a paid service or purchased copy. Customer identification could be stored on the blockchain, which could be used in the verification process to validate if they have the appropriate permissions to view or listen to the media. Sony believes a blockchain-based system could prevent piracy across a variety of media and data such as video, audio, games, and scientific data.

Impact of piracy

In a day and age where we have the internet at our fingertips, copyright infringement is a growing concern. Producers, developers, and service providers are continually looking to improve systems to protect their products.

Digital TV predicts a total loss of USD 52 billion across 138 countries between 2016 and 2022 for streaming services. Piracy, not only affects profits by the loss of subscription fees but puts ad related profits into the pockets of criminals. These figures do not include profit losses from illegal cable and satellite services.

According to Sandvine’s studies TV service providers are set to loose up to USD 4 billion as a direct result of pirated TV services. Up to 6.5% of North American households are believed to be viewing this illegally streamed media. As technology improves and more content begins to migrate to media players like HBO and Netflix, the material becomes more accessible to hackers. Piracy is no-longer a concern for just Hollywood and the music industry.

The computer game industry loses up to a fifth of its U.S market to piracy, USD 3.5 Billion. Globally, piracy costs the market 8.1 Billion a year.

Music piracy was on the rise in 2017 and was up by 14.7% from prior years. The US was at the top of the list, with 27.9 billion visitors to illegal music sites annually.

The Future

By country, the U.S. is affected most by the impacts of piracy and the industry is looking to take preventative measures. If piracy was to continue at its current rate, we would inevitably see a loss of profits, leading to a reduction in services or media offered. Blockchain could bring a fairer future for content providers and producers alike.

 

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Malta Gaming Authority Brings Blockchain Sandbox Reforms

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) issued a document looking to apply major reforms to the gaming industry in regards to the use of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. The authority aims to bring new standards for game developers for accepting crypto payments, use of digital wallets, deposits, and the calculation of exchange rates.

The overhaul looks to change the current multi-license system to a more bespoke Business-to-Consumer (B2C) licence and a Business-to-Business (B2B) license.

MGA is looking to accept games hosted fully or partially in a blockchain environment. Distributed ledger technology (DLT) verification will determine if the game is fair and truly random. This is important in electronic gambling to protect customers and support anti-money laundering (AML) measures which are in line with the EU 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

Implementation

MGA is hoping to ease the implementation of the legislation by using a sandbox environment to test games which will be available to game developers. The final version of the environment is due to be rolled out to developers by 30 April. Only recently, Kik App was looking to collaborate with Unity Technologies to gain a wider adoption of its Kin cryptocurrency in the industry. The new legislation and layers of administration hope to bring security to jobs and player funds while still allowing for innovation and development in the industry.

Strengthened powers

Increased regulatory powers will provide strengthened supervision for areas which are a higher-risk profile to help combat money laundering and funding of terrorist. Automated reports will instil adherence to regulatory obligations. The MGA wants to stop manipulation of markets and encourage operators to monitor sports betting and report suspicious bets. More effective processes such as those dealing with appeal decisions will hope to streamline procedures for administrative and criminal offences.

These proposals are supported by various public consultations, technical studies and economic impact assessments, in conjunction with those of the National Anti-Corruption Task Force of which the authority is an active participant. The streamlining of taxation by exempting B2B licensees from gaming tax will increase Malta’s competitiveness these services.

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Virtual Reality and Blockchain The New Matrix

What are virtual and augmented realities?

Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR) are two up-and-coming technologies that will be soon shaping the future. VR is a computer-generated, three-dimensional environment rendered to replicate an existing or imaginary place. Users are completely immersed in this cyberspace and as the technology evolves, it will no longer be limited to the primary senses of sight and sound. Newer systems are finding ways to emulate touch, taste, smell and even emotions. AR is similar to VR but is an overlay of the simulated environment on top of our own reality.       

How can virtual reality benefit from blockchain?

VR and AR are finding their way into more real-world applications. As their uses grow, certain issues arise regarding data infrastructure and licensing. Currently, applications are centralized and suffer from server speeds bottlenecking their performance when too many users are logged in. With a decentralized solution, audio and visual data can be stored in the blockchain to alleviate these issues. User data for accounts encoded into smart contracts will create an unforgeable contract of ownership because of network verification.

VR is heavily dependant on the quality of its visual and auditory samples as these depict realism. As VR becomes more widely adopted, these resources will need to copyright protection, and have details of their ownership rights and authors readily available. VR/AR is a new technology, without a standardized set of codecs to use. This is the perfect time in the technology cycle to implement a new standard that will reap the benefits of what blockchain has to offer. Blockchain could create a database of sensory samples with the rights of the developers and any other information cryptographically encoded within the sample. Seen as the blockchain is in a constant state of synchronization the sample information would always be up to date. Timestamps on financial transactions would keep a record of events such as royalties being paid for a sample.

A new world

Dot Blockchain Music has already designed its own codec and is taking steps to make blockchain the security that the music and audio industry needs. Metadata in standard codecs isn’t always easily accessible. Dot Blockchain Music will bind metadata to the music which will be verified by the network and be rendered unplayable without that information. With licensing information embedded in the song and the use of smart contracts, this could change the way in which royalties are collected and how security regarding user rights of material is achieved.

In future, getting to work may be as simple as going to the study and putting your VR headset on. In your VR environment you would earn cryptocurrency for your completed tasks and your funds would then be available in the real world. Jobs such as teaching, entertainment and design are perfect for VR as they are remotely accessible. ImmVRse is one of the many companies in the industry that have already adopted blockchain technology in this manner. 

Decentraland is a virtual platform powered by the Ethereum blockchain, using smart contracts to verify ownership of land in the virtual world. Users can go about creating their own in-depth world to visit casinos, attend workshops, shop with friends or even drive a car.

With the rapid advancements in these sectors, the world as we know it today will become indistinguishable from the heavily augmented/virtual world of tomorrow. One thing is for certain, there’s a need for a stable, secure infrastructure for this metaverse and blockchain promises to be that solution.

More on Blockchain in VR/AR:

PR:LUCYD AND INDE FORM STRATEGIC ALLIANCE INDE to Provide Augmented Reality Apps for Lucyd

PR: Lucyd and Roomful Form Strategic Alliance— Roomful to Provide Their AR/VR App Platform for Lucyd Smartglasses

PR:A Hybrid-Decentralised Marketplace And Content Sharing Platform Poised To Disrupt The Virtual Reality Industry

Vivid Announces Release of World’s First Social AR Crypto Management Tool

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Blockchain technologies fueling video games and consoles that can create profit for players

PlayTable from Blok.Party is the world’s first Blockchain gaming console that looks close to an all-in-one tabletop gaming console with the capacity to play a diverse array of video games on its system.

It’s an Android touchscreen console, powered by the Ethereum blockchain and utilizes the toys-to-life genre to significant effect.

Toys-to-life is a genre where players use real-life figurines to do battle (see Skylanders or Disney Infinity). PlayTable combines this with traditional tabletop games such as Magic the Gathering to create an interactive gaming system that boasts the potential to have profitable returns for the player.

The radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags on the bottom of the figurines have unique identifiers which are tracked via the Blockchain.

Using the transparent public ledger, a digital collectable can be tracked across different platforms and will not require a third-party server to authenticate the ownership. Players could quite easily create a new chip, invalidate the old one and ship it worldwide;  in effect, players can now buy and sell high-level or valuable RFID-equipped figurines.

Another exciting application of the Ethereum blockchain is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) called Ethercraft. It’s a game in which players make their way through dungeons, slaying enemies, gathering loot and crafting items.

The twist is that players can trade items with other users or sell them for real-world Ethereum (ETH). Interestingly the in-game gold currency is an ERC20 token itself (XGP), its value is tied to that of ETH and can be earnt completing challenges and in-game objectives; XGP can be exchanged for ETH at any time using the Ethercraft Smart Contract, which is a pretty nifty feature.

Monetizing the Video Game experience has primarily been a benefit passed to developers and publishers; the industry is raking in staggering market revenue figures across all available platforms, but it seems that gamers are spending more money than ever on games and aren’t quite getting much in return.

Players on PC and Mobile platforms are spending heavily on in-game content that come in either physical and digital forms. Whether you’re playing a game you’ve already paid for, or one that is Free-To-Play, you can now purchase weapons, character skins, in-game currency, perishable items and so on.

Blockchain technologies are perhaps going to bring an end to the money vacuum that modern players are being suckered into. Unique resilient economies within a platform or a game could generate new creative innovations that further the rewards the players and enhances the gaming experience beyond that of just financial gains, but create a new sense of consumer ownership over their products, be they physical or digital.

 

 

 

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