Is Blockchain The Future Of Mobile Gaming?
Graphics, user experience, gameplay, loading times and general game quality have all improved massively thanks to the impact of technological advancements in the video gaming industry since the early 1980s. Now, with the advent of mobile gaming it seems there’s an opportunity for blockchain technology to step in and usher in another new and lucrative stage for gaming on the go. But does this opportunity really point towards blockchain being the future of mobile gaming?
Mobile gaming by the numbers
By the end of 2019, research suggests that mobile gaming will generate a total of $68.5 billion in revenues – that’s the equivalent of 45% of the total global gaming industry as a whole.
It has been estimated that 2.4 billion people are currently playing mobile games, with users in the US even preferring their mobile devices over their televisions. A total of $9.6 billion has been invested into innovation and development in the industry over the past 18 months alone, and with good reason – mobile games now account for 33% of all app downloads and 74% of mobile-related consumer spend. The market is huge, and it’s set to keep on growing.
The power of kittens
With its ease of use, anonymity and decentralised aspect, blockchain tech seems like it would be a natural partner to the fast-paced mobile gaming industry. So far, however, it’s yet to experience a widespread adoption and integration, having made barely a splash within certain mobile gaming verticals. Interestingly, whilst the iGaming genre – with its play-for-real money apps and sports betting widgets – has been slow to integrate cryptocurrency despite it seeming like one of the first genres that would; other genres including Platform and Hyper-Casual have been much quicker on the uptake.
Probably the most lucrative mobile game built on distributed ledger tech is CryptoKitties. This Ethereum-based app held its alpha launch in October 2017 and within three months had already processed over $12 million in sales. A kind of 21st century Tamagotchi – with a buying and selling element – CryptoKitties allows players to breed, trade and buy digital kittens using cryptocurrency. ‘Cause everyone loves kittens, right?
No doubt one of the biggest keys to the success of this seemingly unassuming game is the fact that its developers, publishers and advertisers aren’t the only ones who can profit from it. Players can generate real crypto assets, which they can then sell on to other players in the game – something that never happens in traditional PC and console gaming.
A digital ecosystem
If there is a future for blockchain and mobile gaming it will be dependent on solid ecosystems for different currencies, something that Itam Games is currently trying to establish. The company recently launched a mobile gaming focused platform that currently runs on EOS (although they are pushing for blockchain expansion), which includes both a store and exchange for users to safely trade the nonfungibles (NFT) they earn playing its new RPG, Dark Town. Throughout the game, players can earn NFT and transparently store, manage and trade them in their personal online wallets. Supporting this is Itam’s Digital Asset Decentralized Exchange – a system that filters the nonfungibles players earn according to game developer, price, rarity and genre.
Itam aren’t the only ones to take blockchain in this direction for mobile. The public blockchain TomoChain is in the process of launching a new protocol – TomoZ – that will enable users to play decentralized games and apps on its platform without needing to purchase ETH or TOMO before they start. Provided that their digital assets are built on the TomoChain platform, users can also trade them across different games with the supporting TomoX protocol.
It’s too early to tell whether these new tools will have the impact needed to make blockchain more mainstream in the mobile gaming industry, but as far as establishing new crypto-based economies go they do sound promising.