Blockchain technology can add benevolent rocket fuel to the already explosive growth in the gaming industry.
Virtual items and currencies within games have become extremely popular since the turn of the 21st century. But not without problems or limitations. Game developers, the original artists, are often cut out of the profits generated by the transfer of virtual items, while gamers are vulnerable to scams, centralized control of virtual assets, and other problems with trading on external secondary markets.
Counterfeiting alone is a major issue. It’s estimated that for every genuine virtual item exchanged, there are about seven fraudulent items sold. Centralized control of gaming assets has led to censorship. In the worst cases, virtual goods have been revoked and account access permanently discontinued without notice. Additionally, without a binding operating framework for secondary markets, lack of liquidity and problems with settlement can create considerable friction for end-users.
By the numbers
The gaming industry generated around $140 billion in 2018 and is forecast to grow by an astounding margin of 10% per year. Out of the roughly 2.5 billion gamers globally, many purchase in-game items or other features that enhance gameplay.
One example, Fortnite, is a very popular free to play game that has 250 million registered accounts. Among those registered accounts a staggering 68.7% report buying in-game items. Of those who have bought in-game items in Fortnite, they spent about $85 to aid them in their adventures and battles.
Gaming is the genesis of virtual currency
Well before Bitcoin was born in 2008, virtual currencies and items were exploding in usage during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. In 1998 Jonathan Yantis, current WAX COO, started Ultima Online — the first storefront for exchanging virtual items within games. Transfer and settlement was entirely manual and conducted over the counter (OTC). Gamers would coordinate by phone to meet at an agreed location within games to execute transactions. Thousands of customer service agents were hired to manage exchanges between gamers. Ultima Online had numerous inefficiencies. But user demand foreshadowed a market opportunity for sophisticated storefronts to emerge, such as OpSkins, and usage of the first widely used cryptocurrency.
One of the most well known games to introduce virtual currency is Blizzard’s “World of Warcraft” (WOW) which launched in 2004. The WOW in-game currency, “Gold”, allows it’s gamers to purchase items and unlock other special privileges. As the game quickly grew in popularity to over 12M active accounts, the numbers of players willing to pay dollars for Gold rapidly increased.
Such widespread demand for Gold created the opportunity for real-world profit.Companies like Internet Gaming Entertainment (IGE), founded by Brock Pierce, and eventually acquired by ex-Goldman Sachs executive Steve Bannon, was primarily based on the WOW Gold economy. As other companies launched market places to trade virtual items some glaring problems emerged, opening the door for solutions that blockchain technology can solve.
Problems with the Gold economy & Secondary Markets
Historically, Gold and WOW items were often exchanged on secondary markets outside the control of game developers. Consequently, game developers were cut out of an opportunity for increased profitability and revenue for their labor. Furthermore, secondary markets are riddled with issues such as counterfeiting, theft, censorship, and scams. And even if Gold and virtual items can be “safely” exchanged on a trusted secondary market, using a multitude of traditional fiat currencies for settlement is costly and slow.
To help solve this problem Blizzard introduced some in-game features to buy and sell gold, while also requiring an upfront fee for one month of game time. There are some ways around this, like selling accounts. Furthermore, gamers are still exposed to central control.
OpSkins, a well known and widely trusted secondary marketplace that services 95 countries and millions of dollars in transaction volume for virtual goods, had
“…always recognized the issues with secondary marketplaces and knew that blockchain would eventually provide the infrastructure necessary to solve some of the biggest challenges related to security and transfer of gaming assets — but it wasn’t until the speed and adaptable features of EOSIO that blockchain based solutions could be effectuated.”
— Malcolm CasSelle, President and CIO OpSkins & WAX Strategic Advisor.
WAX uses EOSIO to Solve Problems in Gaming
Blockchains are useful because they make data near impossible to censor, or fabricate.
Smart contracts (the underlying technology that enables secure peer-to-peer transactions on blockchains) facilitate secure transfer of virtual items, limiting the potential for fraud and counter-party risk.
The WAX blockchain uses EOSIO software to offer a variety of advantages when compared to traditional centralized market places. Because assets will be stored on the WAX blockchain, items cannot be counterfeit. Gamers and vendors will never wonder if an item they are receiving is legitimate. Smart contracts also secure transactions between parties, and entirely eliminate the chance of being defrauded of payment.
Furthermore, instead of having several fractionalized marketplaces, WAX provides a platform for anyone to start their own “interconnected” market. Every marketplace on the WAX blockchain shares their digital inventory and a universal payment system. Sharing inventory means increased liquidity, which will result in efficient price discovery and access to virtual items. And finally, universal payment ensures seamless, borderless, instantaneous settlement without friction caused by numerous payment types from various jurisdictions.
OpSkins will be ported to the WAX blockchain by early 2020. WAX also partnered with Topps, an iconic brand and company that pioneered sports trading cards. They also began initial experimentation through their partnership with the EOS based game “Prospectors”, which will launch its virtual items on the WAX blockchain (learn more).
Chintai Multi Exchange for Gaming
Chintai opens the door to a new world of economic possibility within games that can only be achieved by using blockchain technology. Currently, games do not enable dynamic blockchain based leasing and trading of virtual items within games that connect directly to fiat/on-off ramps. The Chintai engine is specifically designed for use cases like this.
Game developers and studios can fully leverage the power of blockchain technology for trading and leasing of virtual items, while keeping the entire process within the immersive experience of game play. Our engine can be white labeled for specific games and their associated virtual items. Key management is not needed unless gamers want to take control themselves. All transactions can be seamlessly executed within games, using a variety of digital currencies that connect directly to fiat/on-off ramps (whether WAX or a currency native to the game itself, or both).
Leasing Virtual Items
Instead of selling hard earned virtual possessions, gamers could retain ownership and generate passive income by lending. Compared to buying an item outright, leasing would open opportunities for people to borrow and use items at significantly lower price points. Given what we know about the existing market for virtual items within games, leasing would likely add a potent monetary incentive to play, opening the door to an increase in usership and overall network effects.
If you would like to learn more about using our engine for your game, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pilot & Roadmap
Chintai and CryptoLions, the team behind the Simple Assets NFT protocol, are working together to implement leasing for the first time in games. This collaboration will result in the first prototype for leasing items within games.
Chintai is currently building our API for NFT/virtual item leasing and trading within games. Until our API is ready, we can offer custom builds for games and game developers who want to embed virtual item trading and leasing within games.
Please contact email@example.com for more questions.
Chintai — DeFi Multi Exchange
以守望先锋游戏为例， 这款免费游戏有着2亿5千万名注册账户。据统计，有68.7%的玩家曾在游戏里购买过道具，平均消费 85 美元。
早在2008年比特币诞生之前，在20世纪 90 年代末和 21世纪初虚拟货币和虚拟道具的使用就呈现出了爆炸式的增长。
1998年，现任WAX首席运营官的 Jonathan Yantis 创办了Ultima Online，这是第一家在游戏中交换虚拟物品的商店。虚拟物品的转移和结算完全手工操作，通过场外交易(OTC)进行。游戏玩家可以通过电话进行沟通，在游戏中约定的地点见面，达成交易。
他们雇佣了成千上万的客服管理玩家之间的交易。Ultima Online 有很多效率低下的地方。但是用户的迫切需求，孕育了成熟市场出现的机会，比如OpSkins，同时，对于可以广泛用在交易之中的虚拟货币，也已经呼之欲出了。
像 Brock Pierce 创立的互联网游戏娱乐公司(IGE)就是基于 WOW 的金币经济体系而产生，该公司最终被高盛前高管 Steve Bannon 收购。
“…对于游戏道具二级市场的问题，我们一直深有感触。区块链能够提供必要的基础设施，解决与安全相关的挑战以及游戏资产转账的关键问题。EOSIO 出现了。EOSIO 速度快、适应性强的特点, 终于为我们提供了有效的区块链解决方案。”
— — Malcolm CasSelle, OpSkins 集团主席 & CIO，也担任 WAX 战略顾问
借助 EOSIO , WAX 区块链为游戏行业解决问题
与传统的中心化交易市场相比，WAX 区块链使用 EOSIO 软件提供了多种优势。因为资产存储在 WAX 区块链上，项目方无法伪造。游戏玩家对收到的物品可以放心。智能合约还能保护双方对交易，消除了诈骗的可能性。
此外，WAX 提供了一个平台，让所有人都可以创建自己的市场，这些市场并不孤立，而是相互连接。 WAX 区块链上的每个市场都可以分享他们的数字物品库存，使用一个通用的支付系统。
2020 年上半年，OpSkins 将迁移到 WAX 区块链上。WAX也与 Topps 达成了合作关系。Topps 是一个标志性的品牌和公司，开创了体育交易卡业务。
除此之外，WAX 还与 游戏荒野淘金(Prospectors)合作进行初步试验，这款游戏将在 WAX 区块链上发布其虚拟物品(了解更多)。
而 Chintai 引擎就是专门为这样的用户场景设计的。
如果您是游戏开发者，欢迎联系我们，了解如何将 Chintai 引擎用在您的游戏之中。我们的邮箱是：firstname.lastname@example.org
Chintai 试验项目 & 路线图
Chintai 正在和 CryptoLions(SimpleAsset NFT 协议的创造者)合作，实现游戏内租赁功能。我们致力于创建首个原型产品，展示游戏内物品租赁是如何实现的。
Chintai 目前正在创建 API，用于游戏内 NFT/虚拟物品租赁和交易。在正式发布 API 之前，Chintai 也可以为感兴趣的游戏开发者按需定制，帮助开发者们在游戏中嵌入虚拟物品交易和租赁功能。