The Metaverse, Blockchain and Gaming – The Perfect Combination?
Blockchain is a once-in-a-generation type of technology that promises to revolutionise everything it touches. It’s like the internet, television, electricity, and the car in that it could provide efficiencies in communication and commerce and open up new opportunities in just about every industry.
Of course, the first and most obvious use for the blockchain has been finance with Bitcoin becoming the first-ever cryptocurrency and helping to inspire millions of people across the world.
That was only the first step though. As we’ve seen, blockchain technology has many other use cases, including dApps, De-Fi, smart contracts, and NFTs.
In more recent times, there has been a lot of discussion about games and the metaverse and how these two technologies can be combined with the blockchain to help create an entirely new experience for players.
But do these three go well together and do they have a future?
Gaming in the Metaverse
The metaverse is an ill-defined concept used to describe a digital universe where we interact with each other, internet-based services, and other entities in a 3D space.
The term actually comes from an early 90s sci-fi book in which is was used to describe a dystopian world where life moved online. Despite the negative depiction, Silicon Valley and the wider tech community have embraced the metaverse idea and tried to turn it into a reality.
Meta, the company that was formerly known as Facebook and still operates the social network of the same name, Instagram, and Whatsapp has committed $10 billion to building its vision of the metaverse.
This vision includes virtual reality gaming that allows players to interact with each other in an immersive 3D world.
Some companies are ahead of Meta though. One of these is PokerStars, an online poker platform that launched its VR game several years ago. Today, players are regularly treated to new updates that add new themes for a more varied experience. One of these was the Medieval update which launched at the end of 2020, adding era-specific props and a beautiful playing environment.
Valve, the company that owns Steam, has also got a head start on many others. It has a huge library of VR games on its platform, giving players with compatible headsets an incredibly diverse experience.
However, the metaverse could take the concept of VR gaming to an entirely new level by adding in increased interactivity and digital socialising. Early examples, like Horizon Worlds, are proving to be popular, though they are not without teething problems.
Adding the Blockchain
The blockchain has been touted as the special ingredient that will help to bring out the flavour of the both metaverse in general and gaming in its digital worlds.
The main reason for this is the fact that some commentators believe that spending time with the metaverse will involve earning, collecting, buying, and selling digital objects. The most commonly-described concept is one where players have their own digital space in the metaverse where they can display and store their virtual belongings, similar to how you would in your home in the real world.
With the blockchain, the ownership of these digital items can be tracked, providing accurate proof of ownership, preventing fraud and theft, and potentially adding value to items that may have been previously owned by celebrities.
Ubisoft has already begun experimenting with this concept, albeit not in a VR-based metaverse environment. So far, player adoption of its blockchain-based in-game items has been low, but the company is undeterred and instead is looking to learn from this to improve its offering.
There is clear demand as blockchain-based “pay-to-earn” games have become incredibly popular in the last couple of years, so it may just be that Ubisoft and its rivals need to just perfect their approach.
Could They Be the Perfect Combination?
There certainly appears to be some potential for blockchain-based metaverse gaming. Certainly, there is already demand for virtual reality gaming and some early adopters are also embracing the metaverse environments available on their headsets. There’s also growing interest in blockchain gaming, though not all projects are a success.
Therefore, there’s certainly a possibility that combining these together could help to compound their success.