Blockchain Game Development: What Is It, And How Do You Get Started?by@gamedevmarket
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Blockchain Game Development: What Is It, And How Do You Get Started?

by GameDev Market insights July 21st, 2022
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We often think of blockchain technology in relation to cryptocurrency, but this form of technology is now being used as a foundational element in many different industries, including within the gaming world. In this piece, we’ll take a look at how blockchain game development works, and some recent trends in the gaming industry. As of March 2022, more than 1.22 million cryptocurrency wallets were involved in blockchain games. The gaming industry accounts for 52% of all blockchain activity in the world of online gaming.

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We often think of blockchain technology in relation to cryptocurrency, and that’s an important use case — but this form of technology is now being used as a foundational element in many different industries, including within the gaming world. In this piece, we’ll take a look at how blockchain game development works, and some recent trends in the gaming industry.

What is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain technology consists of three key elements:

  • A distributed ledger
    All blockchain networks include a distributed ledger where all transactions are recorded. The ledger can be accessed globally by all network participants.

  • Immutable records
    Once a transaction has been recorded, it cannot be changed. If a transaction record includes an error, it must be included and then followed up with a new transaction that corrects the error.

  • Smart contracts
    Blockchain networks include conditions for automated “smart contracts,” which are executed when predetermined conditions are met. They can include a number of triggered actions to complete a series of tasks and execute a contract to finalize an exchange of goods or services.

Every separate transaction is recorded as its own “block,” creating a chain of data that can demonstrate transitions in ownership or other changes in condition of an asset.

Blockchain networks are now being used in a wide range of industries, including financial services, supply chain management, and game development, as they can provide a highly secure method for sharing and accessing accurate data, which can be limited only to network participants.

Blockchain Technology in Gaming

Blockchain technology is making an especially big boom in the world of online gaming. The recent DappRadar x BGA Games report found that blockchain-based game play had increased by over 2,000% since Q1 2021, and the gaming industry accounts for 52% of all blockchain activity.

As players buy and sell digital assets in games, they’re able to convert gaming tokens to and from different forms of cryptocurrency. As of March 2022, more than 1.22 million cryptocurrency wallets were involved in blockchain games.

Players are often involved in “GameFi” games (a combination of “gaming” and “finance”), which enable them to play to win different types of digital assets by completing tasks, winning battles, and advancing through multiple levels. The digital assets can be issued as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) in the blockchain, so each player’s ownership of the token is recorded on the blockchain. NFTs can be used in the game, traded on NFT marketplaces, or sold for cryptocurrency.

A key advantage of this model is that it creates a “player-owned economy.” Rather than storing rewards and tokens within the gaming platform itself, players maintain full ownership of their NFTs directly within their own cryptocurrency wallet, and use their personal key to access the assets. This provides more control for game players, and ensures the value of their digital assets — these NFTs aren’t worthless outside of a standalone game platform; they can be easily sold across NFT marketplaces, enabling players and NFT owners to determine the market worth of their assets.

While traditional video games each create a closed ecosystem in which all value is directly tied to the game, and the gaming company retains the data for each player’s digital assets, blockchain technology empowers players to control their own data and assets, providing them with freedom in determining how to buy, sell, and exchange NFTs. Assets secured with blockchain technology are far more resistant to hacks: While Nintendo suffered a hack of over 300,000 accounts, only the individual player has access to their assets that are stored in a digital wallet.

Developing Games Using Blockchain Technology

As a game developer, how does blockchain game development differ from traditional video and mobile game development?

While a blockchain game will also involve traditional game development for a gaming platform, it will also incorporate code that enables it to run on a decentralized, peer-to-peer blockchain network.

To ensure that your gaming application can integrate with the blockchain network, your development team will need to either use a blockchain-compliant software development kid (SDK) from a third-party provider, or code a decentralized application (DApp) from scratch.

Unlike traditional games, which run on a centralized network that is managed by your brand, DApps are fully decentralized, ensuring that players can conduct “smart contract” transactions instantly.

The gaming solution should be cryptographically programmed, ensuring user security and preventing the possibility of hacks. It should be able to verify and secure digital assets, and provide access to an open marketplace where players can buy, sell, and trade their assets.

Because DApps don’t rely on a central authority, all changes to the DApp must be submitted to a vote and require majority consensus, meaning that even minor bug fixes can take more time to resolve. However, the enhanced privacy, ownership of data, and speed of transactions can make up for these drawbacks as far as many users are concerned.

Your development team should also be able to integrate your DApp into your gaming platform, ensuring smooth integrations with existing systems.

Blockchain Game Development Companies

If you don’t have the in-house expertise to ensure that your game will operate on a blockchain network, you can always choose a specialized consulting partner to support your game development goals.

Here are some companies that specialize in blockchain game development:

  1. iTechArt Group

    iTechArt is a partner of choice for startups and fast-growing tech companies in need of trusted game developers, artists, creative talents, and next-gen technologies.

    With 3500+ talented minds, iTechArt’s dedicated development teams have vast experience in NFTs and blockchain game development. They take extensive measures to write game scenarios, conceptualize level designs, and provide post-launch QA and testing support.

  2. Kevuru Games

    Kevuru Games is a leading European Art Production and Game Development firm creating transformational entertainment projects for global clients. Kevuru Games team has been successfully developing NFTs and blockchain games for a long time. They offer developers and gamers comprehensive solutions to create a transparent blockchain-based gaming environment.

  3. The NineHertz

    The Nine Hertz is a fast-growing IT Consulting Company that is guided in delivering the products and views into mobile space with prime quality. They provide end-to-end game development services at affordable rates. They worked on some of the top games in the industry, including hyper-casual games, multi-player RPGs, and VR games.

  4. LeewayHertz

    LeewayHertz is one of the most well known names in the industry for developing incredible NFT gaming platforms. In addition, it is one of the greatest NFT game creation markets because of its ever efficient approach to the NFT marketplace and a staff of highly skilled and experienced game developers.

  5. Juego Studios

    Juego Studios provides high-quality design and development solutions for games, apps, virtual reality, augmented reality, AI, machine learning, simulation, Big Data, IoT and more. Their team use the latest frameworks, blockchains, and crypto standards to create engaging, secure, and scalable NFT and blockchain games.

Curious about which blockchain technology-based games are currently trending with online gamers? Here are a few of the most popular ones today:

  • Alien Worlds
    This game is based on the Trilium (TLM) game token, and allows players to participate in a simulation of Earth’s economy. Players can lease spacecrafts and send them on missions across the multiverse to discover new NFTs. The game has had nearly 900,000 players in the last 30 days.

  • Splinterlands
    Splinterlands is a collectible trading card game, built on the Steem blockchain. Players are able to play the game in rapid battles, trade cards, and earn rewards. Players are able to convert their cards to cryptocurrency, trade with anyone, sell on multiple platforms, and even rent out their cards to other players. The game has had close to 500,000 players in the last 30 days.

  • Farmer’s World
    Farmer’s World is the first farming game built for the blockchain, enabling players to mine for NFTs within the game. They can breed virtual livestock, build cow sheds and chicken coops, cultivate food, and fight off wild animals within the game. In the last month, nearly 275,000 players have played Farmer’s World.

  • Upland
    Upland is based on the EOS blockchain, and provides an experience where real-world landmarks and addresses are gamified into a huge metaverse where players can buy and sell property and start businesses. Players can earn NFTs and digital currency by completing treasure hunts and other challenges, and can trade their NFTs on open platforms outside of the game. Upland has had close to 250,000 players in the last 30 days.

  • Axie Infinity
    In this game, players can create collections of cute animal characters, known as “Axies,” and use them across a wide variety of different challenges to earn rewards. Each Axie has its own strengths and weaknesses, and players can build an army of Axies by buying, selling, and trading, or even breeding their own Axies. More than 776,000 users have played Axie Infinity over the last month.

Why Build Games for the Blockchain?

While blockchain gaming isn’t likely to replace traditional gaming in its entirety anytime soon, it’s an ideal technology for certain types of games — particularly those that involve collecting and trading digital assets, such as collectible cards or characters.

For games that involve earning tokens or NFTs through gameplay, the blockchain network provides far more security and control for players than traditional gaming platforms. While large gaming companies like Nintendo are often targeted for cyberattacks, players are the only ones with access to their NFTs and cryptocurrencies in a secure digital wallet. And because transactions are automated with smart contracts, they can take place instantly, with clear documentation that shows the transfer of assets between each party so there is no risk of fraud.

Today’s gamers are becoming more comfortable with using cryptocurrency and NFTs, and are seeking fun, gamified options for gaining more digital assets, with the ability to trade and sell them effortlessly. By developing a DApp, you’ll be able to tap into the benefits of blockchain technology to build a gaming environment where your players are in complete control of their assets.

Blockchain games provide unlimited opportunities for revenue generation with minimal transaction fees. As players are able to earn digital assets by playing and winning challenges, they’re also able to purchase digital assets directly from your company, with the ability to update pricing to reflect market value on open marketplaces.

And because blockchain NFTs are transferable between games, players are even more likely to make purchases. Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX), a blockchain platform focused on virtual items, found in a survey that 62% of gamers would be more likely to invest in digital assets if they were transferable between games; and 84% of developers would create in-game items for the same reasons.

By creating your own gaming environment with memorable characters and game design, featuring digital assets that can be transferred into other games and freely bought, sold, or traded, you’ll be able to win over game players who’ll be excited by the combination of creativity and control that you can offer them.

How To Get Started Building For The Blockchain

If you’re considering blockchain game development, it’s important to choose both a blockchain platform to base your game on, and an associated cryptocurrency to use when converting NFTs into and from cryptocurrency. Along with that, you’ll need to use a game engine to program your game in, and focus on game design for your characters, landscapes, and assets within the game.

Game development of any kind involves a lot of moving parts from pre-production to post-launch, and you’ll need a wide variety of specialists, including project managers, programmers, game art designers, sound engineers, and others to see the project through all of its various phases. And because you’re building for the blockchain, it will be equally important that your development team has the skills to build a DApp with all the correct rules in place to ensure that all transactions are conducted in a decentralized environment based on smart contract conditions.

That said, if you don’t have the in-house expertise to manage a blockchain game development project, you don’t need to start from scratch. You can easily pull in a blockchain game development partner agency, who can collaborate with you however you’re most comfortable — whether that includes managing the entire project from start to finish, or simply providing support on the blockchain technology aspect of the project.

By partnering with an agency with blockchain technology expertise, you’ll be able to follow their existing processes and work with a proven team of versatile specialists, providing assurance that you’ll meet your project goals, deadlines, and target budgets.