Lucid Sight, a gaming company that specializes in incorporating emerging technologies, has announced a deal with CBS Interactive to introduce Star Trek starships into Crypto Space Commander (CSC). For a limited time, players will be able to purchase the most recognizable Star Trek starships in game.
CSC is an open world game on the Ethereum blockchain where players control starships to mine, collect and craft items. What makes these items different is that the Ethereum blockchain secures them. This means that players can prove independent ownership of items and can trade them easily.
Essentially, it has the same idea as CryptoKitties – a cat breeding and trading game. Each “cat” is a unique non-fungible token (NFT) which can be traded, the cat’s virtual “genes” controlled by a smart contract, and its value increases or decreases based on market demand. At the apex of blockchain euphoria in December 2017, a CryptoKitty sold for the equivalent of $100 000 and the game was so popular it slowed the Ethereum blockchain.
This development, although it may seem small, is crucial for the gaming industry. In 2018 the mobile game market size was $70 billion with the total market around $130 billion. Roughly 43% of revenues come from in-app item purchases. That’s a $30 billion market just on mobile.
Since a unique token represents the virtual items, players can be sure that the item has not been copied. Players work hard to obtain unique and powerful objects in games like World of Warcraft and Diablo and their value is based on their rarity. With blockchain, players can be sure that bad-actors have not copied their items and resold them, thereby driving their value down.
This is not the only benefit. Blockchain, as a decentralized, immutable ledger, can enhance security. Removing the ownership of the item from the game itself has added benefits. The rise of multi-player online games requires players to start and play fairly. If security flaws allow players to hack a game to get the best items, it can cause massive disruption, and new or less crafty players will simply not play. Indeed, the ability for players to get into the “Dev Room” in Fallout 76 and obtain all the best items contributed to its bad reviews and exposed some of the dangers inherent to centralized practices.
Blockchain will also enable superior micro-transaction capabilities. Players will be able to make transactions – no matter how small – without the need for a third-party app store or payment processors. This will not only mean that game developers receive a larger share of revenues, but they will be able to find better ways to monetize their games, a feature that is sometimes clunky and irritating today.
With all these benefits, it will be interesting to see how blockchain develops within the gaming industry. With revenues for gaming companies exceeding $130 billion, gaming is a serious business, and consumers expect high-quality goods.