Nowadays you can use cryptocurrency to pay your school fees, buy a Rolex, donate to charity, purchase a Rolls Royce, charter a yacht or fly to space with Virgin Galactic. The list of industries embracing the crypto revolution is huge, from retail and energy to whisky and cannabis.
Yet none have as many synergies with crypto as the video gaming sector, which is worth $152.1 billion in 2019. That makes it larger than Hollywood and the music industry, and it is displaying phenomenal growth: by 2025, it is tipped to reach $300 billion due to the strength of mobile and cloud-based gaming.
That makes it a significant prize for anyone working in crypto and the blockchain technology that underpins it. A number of blockchain-based businesses have targeted the gaming sector in recent years, and they are enjoying plenty of success. The crypto revolution has not yet had a major impact on video gaming, but it will do soon.
A primed audience
Gamers are the easiest target market imaginable for crypto advocates. They have been using digital currencies for many years to pay for in-game extras like skins, loot boxes, characters, skills, weapons and maps.
They trade in their fiat currencies and spend virtual currencies within the game. Fortnite’s V-bucks are a major economy, as there are more than 250 million players and they spend an average of $58.25 on in-game purchases via V-bucks.
Dota 2 players spend Shards, League of Legends players use Riot Points and Blue Essence PUBG players spend Battle Points and Overwatch players spend Credits.
This is big business too. Free-to-play games have already vastly exceeded paid-for games in terms of revenue for their producers, and it is all thanks to these in-game microtransactions that use digital currencies. It is therefore easy for gamers to grasp crypto, and they are typically among the biggest supporters of the revolution.
Impacting upon video gaming
Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are already impacting upon the video gaming industry in manifold ways. International payments have always been an issue for video game publishers, and they are now using decentralized cryptocurrencies to circumvent the problem.
They can use DAppChains for transactions, allowing publishers to make money via their own coins. Atari recently launched the Atari Token, a blockchain-based coin underpinning its new digital storefront and entertainment suite. Crytek has launched Crycash for its first-person shooter game, Crysis.
A decentralised ecosystem
Last month Dapper Labs, the company that owns popular Ethereum-based game CryptoKitties, raised $11 million from the crypto investment community to create a new blockchain platform called Flow, which supports decentralised apps.
“We built Flow as the foundation for a rich, decentralized ecosystem at consumer scale,” said Dieter Shirley, chief technology officer at Dapper Labs.
It has partnered with Assassins Creed publisher Ubisoft and Crazy Kings creator Animoca Brands to mark the occasion. Animoca co-founder Yat Siu said the firm believes that crypto is the future of the gaming industry.
Bitrefill allows gamers to buy gift cards for services such as Xbox Live and Steam using crypto. GypseeBee allows gamers to purchase their hardware using Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ether. There are dozens of similar projects that are increasingly permeating the mainstream, ensuring that video gaming and crypto are increasingly going hand-in-hand as they saunter towards a glorious future together.
Esports embraces crypto
Competitive gaming is one of the most exciting developments within the video games sector in recent years. There are now more than 450 million esports viewers and they are young, tech-savvy and open to crypto.
They love spending their spare time watching their heroes in action at games like Counter-Strike, League of Legends and Overwatch. They stream the action on platforms like YouTube, Twitch and Mixer, and they often bet on it at platforms like Unikrn.com.
This allows esports betting platforms to become real pioneers within the cryptocurrency field. They know that their customers enjoy wagering on the action, as it dials up the excitement they experience when watching it, and they know that these customers are inclined to use digital currencies.
Depth and usage
Unikrn has therefore made cryptocurrency a key part of its offering. It uses the Ethererum blockchain to handle up to 9,000 wagers per second in a safe, secure and reliable manner.
“We have the safest wagering experience,” says Unikrn’s head of global communications, Ryan Jurado. “Traditional wagering does a perfectly fine job, but being able to incorporate blockchain makes everything easier for the customer, makes everything easier for us and makes everything easier for regulators. And it lets us unlock new functionality down the road.”
The site has its own coin called UnikoinGold (UKG), the most diverse crypto token in gaming and esports. You can purchase it on Unikrn with fiat currency, or earn it for free by playing games like CS:GO, LoL, Dota 2, Fortnite, Rocket League, Clash of Clans, Halo 5 and Rainbow 6 via Unikrn Connekt, or find it on some crypto exchanges, while it can be spent at retailers like Gamivo.com.
It allows Unikrn to solve two major issues: speed and accessibility. Blockchain technology delivers revolutionary solutions to business across the globe, in a raft of different sectors, and Unikrn has delivered strong growth by delivering depth and building up a really robust user base.
Changing the world one industry at a time
Cryptocurrency has the power to change the world, and video gaming is the perfect starting point. It is already beginning to replace online transactions previously conducted in fiat currencies, and the growing ubiquity of microtransactions means it will have a much larger role to play in future.
The world’s biggest esports are all issued on a free-to-play basis, from League of Legends and Dota 2 to Fortnite and Overwatch, and the growth in competitive gaming’s popularity will help fuel the usage of crypto within gaming.
It can also go beyond transactions. Blockchain can be used to record players’ assets, preventing them from being erroneously wiped out. Item sharing between gamers can take place on blockchains. Yet money is the driving force behind most decisions and that is where crypto can revolutionise gaming.