As more and more people isolate themselves due to the coronavirus pandemic, gaming platforms around the world have seen an increase in traffic. A report notes that cellular network company Verizon has claimed that online gaming platforms have seen a 75% increase in traffic with an overall peak of 20% in web streaming. Despite the fact that the increase in traffic on online gaming platforms results from the unfortunate pandemic, blockchain games have not been left out.
A recent report shows Microsoft Azure, a service that allows developers to exploit blockchain networks for applications such as Xbox, recording record levels of network latency for the first time due to quarantine of players strained the Xbox app. While most industry observers admit that blockchain gaming is the future, the jury is still out on whether this future can be sustainable.
Other platforms that have seen increased traffic
Besides Xbox, other non-mainstream gaming platforms have also gained new users. War Riders, a blockchain game where players can build and plant cars in a Mad Max-like experience, would received up to 70% new users with an increase in the average time spent in the game.
According to Sébastien Borget, the co-founder and COO of Pixowl – a San Francisco-based startup that is behind a blockchain game called The Sandbox – Cryptovoxels, which is a game experience similar to Sim City on a blockchain, also saw a increased number of users recently.
According to Borget, the decentralized virtual worlds of games such as CryptoVoxels, Decentraland and Somnium have seen “an influx of new users who meet and socialize in the metaverse, organizing their own events, meetings or even festivals.” He added: “I think it’s great and having events and activities for players inside the metaverse is the right way to go.”
Borget also mentioned that Pixowl’s decentralized gaming platform Sandbox “had completely sold its virtual field presale, generating 3,400 ETH in just five hours on March 31.” Other gaming platforms that have been successful so far include Cryptowars announcing its v2 launch and Skyweaver launching season 0, among others.
What interest is there in blockchain gaming?
Edward Smith, co-founder and lead developer of Neblio, a blockchain as a service company, believes that: “Games and entertainment will be among the biggest winners in the crisis facing our world today, including including blockchain-based games. ” According to Smith:
“We will start to see more and more the integration of blockchain in esports over time. Both industries share many of the same users, as players are among the most passionate blockchain users. ”
There is a general consensus among most industry observers that interest in blockchain-based games will increase as more developers lean more on game models to win – as has been the case with popular blockchain games like Gods Unchained and CryptoKitties. Borget also agrees that what arouses most interest is the fact that “blockchain games have pushed the game side further to win, offering an attractive alternative for making money while having fun and playing . “
Borget also highlighted Axie Infinity as one of the games in the blockchain gaming space that has benefited from a “growing active community that shares tips on how to make money with cryptographic games”. Besides the possibility of earning additional income, another factor that pushes players towards blockchain games is the freedom and autonomy that accompany decentralization.
While the gaming industry offers blockchain technology a user-friendly path for mass adoption, in turn, the technology can contribute through its open source, transparent and decentralized nature to the gaming world.
A decentralized and autonomous alternative – but is it ready?
Last year, a decentralized digital card game, Gods Unchained, generated significant revenue in the context of the Hong Kong protests after defending a player who spoke out against the actions of the Chinese government. With a promise to give players freedom through true ownership and autonomy over their collectibles and winnings, the Heartstone-based game has seen an increase in traffic, becoming one of the most popular blockchain games in 2019.
Some claiming that online censorship is on the rise, especially among centralized apps, more and more players are turning to blockchain games to provide much-needed respite. For years, blockchain developers have been waiting for massive adoption. Even though Bitcoin (BTC) has been in the spotlight over the years, it is far from being massively adopted.
Therefore, to keep up with the growing demand and appetite for entertainment among mainstream gamers, especially during quarantine, blockchain game platforms are forced to adapt. Blockchain games have grown in popularity and acceptance, however, scalability and capacity are still issues for most blockchain networks.
While scalability is less of an issue for private blockchains, gaming platforms that want to support massively multiplayer online games will need to increase the capacity to manage and store large amounts of data. The pressure is already felt by companies such as Microsoft and Azure that provide blockchain as a service.
The curious case of Azure
In a recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission case, Microsoft Azure, a platform that allows users to deploy a blockchain network in the cloud without having to invest in hardware infrastructure, reported a decrease in its typical network capacity due to the quarantine of players putting pressure on its cloud platform.
In a statement, the company admitted that “deployments for certain types of computing resources” had dropped after “receiving significant demand” for its services in certain regions, including northern Europe, western Europe, the south of the UK and the south of Brazil, to mention a little.
Since Microsoft’s Xbox app is among the customers served by Microsoft Azure, the increased number of quarantined Xbox players would have strained the Azure Blockchain network. However, Mike Brusov, the co-founder and CEO of Cindicator, a financial technology company offering predictive analytics to crypto investors, begged to disagree:
“Capacity is probably not the main problem for blockchain games. Azure is Microsoft’s cloud and a rival to both Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. So the increased pressure that Xbox Live was putting on Azure is likely due to the fact that its 65 million players spend more time playing, and is not necessarily related to the blockchain. “
On the other hand, Carlos Roldan, founder and CEO of Satoshi’s Games, a blockchain gaming platform, painted a different picture when asked about the ability of blockchain technology to handle mass adoption :
“There is no blockchain gaming platform, whose infrastructure is distributed or chain, which will start in a very attractive spectrum to meet the massive demand that is currently occurring because of the current scalability problems that are produce with chain gaming infrastructure. “
He added that some games based on the Lightning network were still “able to meet current demand despite the low demand on the Bitcoin network”.
Preparing for mass adoption in the midst of a global pandemic
As the world continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic, putting more people in quarantine, industry observers like Brusov, Roldan and Smith expect the token economy to grow as a result of more and more players are using blockchain games to earn extra income.
Responding to a question about how blockchain games can best prepare for increased mass adoption during this pandemic, Roldan said: “In order to intensify and embed traditional players in blockchain games, the integration process should be minimal and frictionless. ” He pointed out that “any blockchain game that achieves minimum skill-based gameplay can achieve” mass adoption, adding:
“Currently we are seeing a high volume of blockchain games with around 80% blockchain integration and around 20% (fun) gameplay. This only meets the demand from players within the blockchain users, which is a small niche. ”
According to Brusov, the game companies could “use tokens to manage access and reward players” as a way to attract more players during this period of the global pandemic. Meanwhile, Borget has maintained that a natural way to increase mass adoption is the adoption of competitive and collaborative games that will push blockchain-based games to be played the “way video games are played: built and shared among communities. “
It’s time for blockchain games to evolve
In addition to experimenting with different consensus protocols, blockchain gaming platforms can begin to think beyond the offer of NFT-based games and begin to immerse themselves in engaging and engaging blockchain games. As industry participants like Roldan have pointed out, this can be done on an off-chain LN.
Related: NFT Floodgates Open With An Impressive Line Of Blockchain Games In 2020
It is also important for game developers to think outside the box and offer games as attractive as traditional games. Additionally, instead of building blockchain games from scratch, game developers can leverage pre-existing networks like Microsoft Azure or Neblio that provide highly scalable, versatile blockchains capable of handling mass adoption.