One interesting question that is starting to pop-up in crypto space is whether gaming can spur mainstream adoption of blockchain technology, as well as better acceptability and usage of cryptocurrencies. In the last few years, the arena has been clouded a bit by what is going on with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and attention has largely been shifted towards speculative trading of these crypto coins as opposed to real-life adoption and usage of the technology behind all this to solve real problems in today’s world. It was looking like cryptos may do the trick, but the events of 2018 have kind of been a reality check and seems to have hit the reset button for the blockchain. But as we head into the end of the 3rd quarter of 2019, we are still in a situation where the blockchain is looking for that one big application that could get everyone going the way of the blockchain for basically everything. So could gaming succeed where finance and trading has apparently failed?
Gaming could hold some potential here. Blockchain technology is one invention that has the potential for deployment across several industries and ecosystems. So far what we are seeing is selective, albeit scattered adoption of blockchain technology in identity management, electioneering, document verification, land registry, healthcare and payroll management. These look like real areas where blockchain can really do a lot of good. However, these use cases are yet to see the general acceptability and potential for mass adoption that they hold. There is also still a lot of lack of understanding of what the blockchain is and what it can do in many parts of the world.
It can be said that the blockchain is still looking for that magic bullet, that killer app that will get boatloads of people flocking to this technology and saying: “it is either it is the blockchain, or nothing at all”.
Gaming as “The App” for Blockchain Adoption
The big question is: is gaming that magic bullet the blockchain has been waiting for? The gaming industry lends itself as a potential driver of blockchain adoption because of some inherent characteristics it possesses.
- The gaming industry is already a huge ecosystem, and it is growing worldwide. The numbers speak for themselves. Gaimin.io puts the number of active gamers in the world at 2.2billion people, which is close to a third of the human population. 46% of this number spends money on games, according to NewsZoo’s 2018 Insight Report on the gaming industry. That is huge!
- The gaming ecosystem is populated by a young population which is tech savvy. It is much more likely that a gamer has heard the word “blockchain” and at least has some idea of what the blockchain is all about and what it can do, than say a middle-aged government bureaucrat.
- The gaming industry has the potential to create several spin-off businesses, each of which could find blockchain applications. For instance, a company in South Korea is already exploring how to incorporate the blockchain to grow its primary business in the HVAC industry, by building digital playgrounds that will feature gaming arcades. These arcades will be blockchain-driven, and an asset-backed token is to be created to raise money to expand its existing HVAC business.
For a long time, crypto networks such as those of Ethereum and TRON have been at the forefront of helping the blockchain become more mainstream using decentralized applications. It is remarkable that the dApp that is currently making waves is that of TRONBet, a gaming dApp. According to a report on Sludgefeed, TRONBet attracted more than 10,000 bets on the first day of launch, and more users are being added by the day with betting volumes smashing new records every week.
How Gaming Could Improve Blockchain Adoption
The gaming industry has some inherent characteristics that could be exploited to drive mainstream adoption of the blockchain technology.
- It is an industry with a mass following, and the numbers are growing every day.
- The use of more dApps that are focused on gaming will get more developers and users into the space, and TRONBet has shown that this is very possible.
- There are lots of incentives that are provided in the gaming industry. Incentivizing an application will drive users to that app in their numbers.
- User experience has been an important factor responsible for the increasing participation in the gaming industry by its ardent followers.
The challenge would be to transfer whatever has been working for the gaming industry into the blockchain ecosystem. Blockchain applications have to be so good in incentivizing users that people will simply want to use them. We also need to have a better user experience for the blockchain apps that we desire to become mainstream. Existing processes continue to make this a difficult proposition. In other words, blockchain applications have to be as easy (if not easier) to use than our mobile apps, which are already so convenient and within a single touch away.
Therefore, it goes without saying that blockchain and cryptocurrency adoption will come about if developers can transfer the same great user experiences found in the gaming industry, into mainstream blockchain applications. We also need to see great incentivize provision of blockchain applications to match the scale that is found in the gaming industry, as this is going to attract more users and developers.
Are there any existing blockchain companies that are looking to the gaming industry as a conduit to drive mainstream adoption? The answer is yes, and we see an example in Ripple Labs, the company behind the Ripple (XRP) cryptocurrency. Ripple has just announced that it is launching a $100m project to integrate blockchain technology with video gaming, working with companies such as Forte, a Silicon Valley startup that has received significant investment from major players in the crypto industry.
The involvement of the companies behind the mainstream crypto tokens is a major boost to the drive to get the blockchain to achieve mainstream adoption. Such projects will no doubt enable the adoption into the blockchain ecosystem of the practices and systems that have made the gaming industry very successful.