A new video game utilizing blockchain technology is coming to the PlayStation 4 console.
Video game development is one of the most interesting use cases for blockchain technology. Games such as CryptoKitties, 0xUniverse, and Gods Unchained have demonstrated that blockchain technology is able to handle some types of video games. These games have also shown that gamers like to have true ownership of their digital assets.
Although CryptoKitties and Gods Unchained are consistently the most trafficked games on Ethereum, according to DappRadar, many gamers who prefer console games over those played on a PC may not even know they exist. Additionally, console gamers may even be unaware of the benefits blockchain technology can bring and how the technology could enhance their experience.
Early last week, video game developer studio Arcade Distillery announced that its new game, Plague Hunters, passed the Sony review process and all of PlayStation's terms and conditions to be what it says is the first console game to utilize blockchain technology.
ETHNews spoke with several representatives from Arcade Distillery to learn about the new game and how they see blockchain technology affecting the video game industry in the future.
According to Liam Glennon, one of Arcade Distillery's chief creative officers, Plague Hunters is the sequel to the game Plague Road, which according to Arcade Distillery has been very successful on the PlayStation platform and has helped Arcade Distillery create a strong base of fans who game on the Sony console.
In the game – which will be free to play – players will create characters with customized abilities and form parties with other players as they navigate their way across a barren wasteland acquiring different assets, abilities, and skills.
Because of the well-known scaling issues associated with blockchain technology, the entire game was not developed on a blockchain platform. However, it will feature an online marketplace built on the Ethereum platform that will utilize non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – tokens that represent a certain digital asset and are owned by the gamer instead of the developer – allowing players to buy, sell, and trade different in-game assets and even fully developed characters.
Glennon told ETHNews why the Ethereum-based marketplace is important:
"NFTs will allow for players to take the in-game assets which they acquire, withdraw them from the game and sell them in our marketplace. This gives players the opportunity to have decentralized ownership of their assets and monetize their game-play. Players will be able to see the full transaction history of each item on a blockchain to verify its authenticity, scarcity and value."
Looking into the future and how blockchain technology is going to affect the video game industry, one intriguing aspect is the monetization of game-play. Many console games take hours upon hours to master, and while the non-fungible tokens used in games such as Plague Hunters will have no value in the real world, gamers will be incentivized to continue to play games they have mastered in order to gain access to in-game assets they can use to their benefit.
According to Luc Bernard, another chief creative officer at Arcade Distillery, "Tokenizing the game assets themselves is a new way to capture value instead of reselling the physical game itself." This is especially helpful when a gamer has mastered a game they downloaded yet unable to sell or trade in their game at a store.
But the folks at Arcade Distillery do not see blockchain technology stopping here. CEO Jan Roessner believes blockchain technology will be the catalyst that will entice Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft to develop cross-play games. These are games that would allow Nintendo users to play alongside gamers using a PlayStation or Xbox console in real time. Roessner also believes that blockchain technology will allow game developers to create "a vast variety of different games and universes being connected by interchangeable game assets and marketplaces that will cater to the supply and demand of the different stakeholders." He also believes that tokens and digital currency will "supersede fiat and create a new economy in the gaming space."
Although demonstrating how blockchain technology can be used in console games is a very important step, Roessner says Arcade Distillery also hopes to "inspire other developers to follow us on this journey and allow the players to own the assets they paid for and spent so much time scaling up. It is our true [belief] that player ownership of game assets is the future and there is no way around it. It makes sense and is fair."
Although Arcade Distillery might be the first studio to utilize blockchain technology to pass Sony's requirements, it is not the only one interested in blockchain technology. In July of this year, ETHNews interviewed a representative at gaming giant Ubisoft about the future of blockchain technology in the video game industry. And, earlier this month we spoke with representatives from independent game developers 8 Circuit Studios and Enjin to learn about how they are utilizing blockchain technology to create the metaverse.