Be honest… how many hours have you spent trying to conquer a digital castle on your phone, collect that gold skin for your avatar, or get your hero to their max level? We all do it, we all chase that next goal in our games, but what if the odds were never actually in our favor?
Games as we know them are almost always based on chance. In the digital world that refers to either a randomly generated number or a preset factor set by the developers. The former is great, if you can prove it, but the latter is where frustration and the feeling of a neverending grind come in. Sure, there are mini milestones on the way to major gaming achievements but they never seem to satisfy quite enough. Wouldn’t it be better if you knew, without a doubt, that the games you were playing were fair?
Fair ≠ easy
Games that are easy offer no challenge and thus, no feeling of accomplishment. If there was an “instant win” button attached to every game people would probably stop playing it pretty quickly, but the flipside is also true. If people knew that the lofty goal (that special set of armor, that rare card, etc.) was actually statistically unattainable they may even stop playing - no one wants to work toward a goal that is impossible. But if it could be proven without a doubt that the special prize you were seeking were actually possible, albeit very difficult to attain, that only makes it all the more desirable. This is where cryptocurrency games come into play.
Cryptocurrency games differ from other online games because they offer a few unique perks: a guaranteed statistical edge, immutability, and provable fairness. With these three key characteristics many variations of cryptocurrency games can be built, and so long as they abide by those three important characteristics they will offer a more balanced playing field for their users compared to traditional online games.
In a standard online game there is no traceable record to show what you should have received from your loot box versus what you actually received, so although the loot box may claim a “25% chance to unlock X achievement” you might open 100 of them and never receive it. Sure, bad luck may have been in play, but without anyway to verify it you have to admit you may have just been robbed.
Games that exist on a blockchain automatically remove this problem thanks to immutability, and since these games are run on smart contracts anyone can verify that everything is as it should be. In addition to this, these games allow you to truly own that special goal you’ve worked so hard for; it’s yours and no one can take it from you.
Popular crypto games in the past have included Etherbots and Cryptokitties, both taking the same principles and building upon them. Cryptokitties started the breeding-style game craze, and Etherbots added digital robots to it. Now games like CoinDogs are taking the genre a step further by offering more things to do in the game, more strategy involved in winning, and more variety when it comes to collectibles. Since CoinDogs is the most extensive of these three, let’s look at the nitty gritty of their systems and programming to further investigate the perks of cryptocurrency games.
Playing against players
The main perks of playing a game like CoinDogs versus other online games are that you are competing against players (not the company) and you can actually earn money back instead of just spending it, but more on that later. The fact that players are playing against other players and not a company automatically means that at least someone (and not something) is winning every time.
Let’s look at the main gaming experience in CoinDogs - racing. This is far more complex in terms of algorithmic complexity compared to other crypto games like Etherbots or Cryptokitties. In CoinDogs the better dog wins, but how the better dog is calculated (not chosen) depends on 15+ factors:
On top of that there are external factors that come into play when determining how dogs perform in the race, like the current real-world lunar cycle.
All of these factors come together to create a simulation of the dog’s performance, and from this simulation the winner is determined. The winner is never just “picked”, thus making the game much more fair. The same is true for games like Cryptokitties and Etherbots where you are only competing against other players in regard to collecting the best combinations, and all of the probability is entirely verifiable on a blockchain.
Etherbots’ battle function is a glorified rock-paper-scissor situation, but since the selected movelists from the various players are stored on the blockchain they are immutable and thus, everyone can double check that everything was fair after the battle. CoinDogs doesn’t have these functionalities implemented on a blockchain and maybe that’s for the best because it has a lot more variables and managing all of them onchain is far from easy.
Simplicity in statistics
Cryptocurrency games offer 100% repeatable results, which is the true strength of these types of games. There is no RNG in gameplay. In CoinDogs, if a race was replicated 100 times with the same dogs the results would always be the same. In Etherbots everyone can check the move lists after the battles are done, and in Cryptokitties the statistical probability of breeding certain kitties is immutable and transparent.
The challenge in these games comes from understanding them. In CoinDogs, you are not only calculating your own dog’s possible racing skills, but understanding that when you enter into a race you don’t know the factors of the dogs you are competing against. Sure, your dog might have a lot of great factors working toward its success, but the other dogs might have even better legs and be more in favor with the current lunar cycle.
In cryptocurrency games, beating other players is your only focus (as it should be in any other game). The company has no actual involvement in the race. CoinDogs doesn’t even take a fee for facilitating the race; the only cost is the amount you want to invest in your dog during the race. If your dog takes first place, your get 3x their investment back, second place will receive 2.5x back, while third will net 1.5x back to you. The bottom four dogs in the race lose their investment, which can be especially frustrating when you have a really fast dog but everyone else's was faster. But given the fact that 42% of participants win each race, your time to win will come soon enough.
Cryptocurrency games are more fair than their traditional online counterparts, but they still have their costs and strategies. While a free, traditional online game may have microtransactions that gradually eat away at your bank account, cryptocurrency games come with a minimal startup cost: buying your first kittie, dog, or robot. The overall cost of the two different types of games depends on the player and their skill level, of course, but one factor that doesn’t vary is the overall fairness of the gaming experience.
No matter what types of games you enjoy, be sure to look for their cryptocurrency/blockchain-based alternatives, you won’t regret shifting your gaming experience to the decentralized world.
The author is not associated with any of the projects mentioned.