DID & Gaming
The video game industry is growing steadily. It is one of the most profitable industries with 165 billion dollars generated in 2020. A spectacular annual increase, driven by the pandemic and lockdowns. The videogame world is gradually penetrating all households. In 2020 there will be more than 2.5 billion gamers, with forecasts of 3 billion in the next 2 to 3 years. This expansion is certainly driven by traditional platforms (consoles, computers), but also and increasingly by mobile uses. In fact, more than half of the revenues come from mobile games (1). The growth of free-to-play games in the space of just a few years is striking, and they now account for 75 to 85 percent of the revenues of this industry, which is always looking for innovation.
At the same time, the rise of esports is happening at lightning speed, with 500 million viewers to date, more than a billion generated in 2020 (a third of which in China alone).
The next revolution could be underway with the development of blockchains and decentralized transactions. The potential of blockchains goes far beyond the financial sector, and the first experiments are trying to show their potential in the world of video games. Moreover, the integration of decentralized identifiers in this sector could allow mass adoption of these DIDs and enable new uses.
The blockchain to improve the gaming landscape
Decentralized video games could be the future of video games. Experiments are currently being conducted by pioneers such as Gala Games, which is developing blockchain based games including Town Star, a city builder, and the ambitious role-playing game Mirandus. The motto behind these creations is to give players digital property and thus more freedom. In such a video game, beyond the various gameplay possibilities, each virtual object, whether it is a property or a piece of land, can be claimed and singled out: engraved in the blockchain, they take the form of NFT, non- fungible tokens.
The evolution of video games over the last ten years has witnessed the emergence and growth of free-to-play game models. Within these free games, monetization occurs when you buy an item (commonly called a skin) that allows you to change your appearance, along with various cosmetic rewards. This model, which is very recent, accounts for more than half of the industry’s income in 2020.
The purpose of using NFTs in video games (2) is to achieve permanence of objects, especially valuable ones, and to facilitate their trade between players while introducing trust. In 2017, the game Cryptokitties, allowing you to obtain, collect, breed and trade virtual cats, was a big hit. This game, based on the Ethereum blockchain, promised the uniqueness of each virtual cat. You own your one-of-a-kind cat no matter what the game becomes, unlike traditional games whose entire content dies with its servers (which is the hallmark of centralized online game)
It is possible to imagine a future in which rare items become collectibles, stored in the form of NFTs. In the example of an RPG game, via blockchain technology, the total amount of a very rare item (e.g. a sword, or a skin) can be known at all times, and it becomes easy to trade them directly between players. Moreover, there is no control of the video game publisher over these items, which are immutably engraved in the blockchain.
We can imagine the interoperability of these NFT and the crossing of different video game universes. A skin token could be worn by their owners in several of these universes, thus reinforcing the immutable character of the token.
In the context of tournaments, at a time when esport is developing more and more, rewards would be created especially for each occasion, in limited quantities for the best players, the best rankings, which would become real collection items.
Finally, this restoration of ownership can also be a response to the problems that have emerged with the disappearance of physical game sales, especially the resale of these games on second- hand markets.
In this case, the title of ownership of a game could also be an NFT and thus be transferable. This system is notably proposed by the Ultra (3)DIDs will be an important tool for the future of decentralized video games and esports, as this article will show you. blockchain distribution platform project, promising players statistics and rewards, and developers more revenue and advertising space.
However, all this implies corroborating this ecosystem with DIDs in order to ensure the security of exchanges and to avoid scam attempts, as is the case with NFTs currently. DIDs will allow to prove ownership and build trust between all users.
DIDs: A core component of gaming
The SDI, a decentralized identifier, can be used for various purposes and create its own revolution in the gaming world. The distributed digital identity associated with the SDI can contain large sets of information related to a user, while guaranteeing their integrity and security.
For example, it is possible to imagine that the SDI could unify secure enrollment and authentication methods across all game distribution platforms. While we are constantly asked for identifiers and passwords that are vulnerable, SDI will allow us to secure connections everywhere, which is all the more important when we consider that the value of game libraries and virtual items is constantly increasing. It also simplifies the life of the user who is always looking for his identifiers, while at the same time protecting his access rights even more.
But it is possible to look even further. Just imagine that Steam, Epic or Origin could become blockchain oracles tomorrow, which would make it possible to find all of our player history, all of our statistics, whether it’s our playing time or our in-game performance, and the possibility of cross-referencing this data in order to evaluate our overall level within our communities.
For example, Battle Royale type games (Fortnite alone represents more than 20 million daily players) could have a common platform that allows to find one’s global success on this category of game. And go as far as aggregating all the game categories in order to compare our accomplishments in the entire gaming sphere, offering players a global view of their reputation, of their achievements within their game community.
A high level guild officer on MMORPG could facilitate his recruitment of new members by verifying the seriousness of the candidates through the transfer of verifiable credentials.
The SDI thus allows to create a real videogame identity for each player, to see and verify his career all along his path.
The SDI can solve future problems related to the need to identify a player precisely. The rise of esports and tournaments in general will require the ability to verify a player’s credentials in order to guarantee the integrity of competitions or the actual ranking of a participant. This allows the segmentation of the different competitions in a secure way, as each player can automatically answer his KYC via the IDS (for example : age groups), and ensure that he meets the necessary prerequisites to enter a competition, simplifying his identification and allowing tournament organizers to stick to their role without having to develop and implement specific tools. In addition, the distribution of prizes and rewards in this context can be done in a near automated way through the association of data allowing to send these prizes to the winners and participants, and eliminating security and liability risks for the tournament sponsors.
For game developers, access to the data that users are willing to make available could help them improve their knowledge of their player base games and make opinion polls more reliable. Depending on their goals, the analysis and use of available data will give them key elements for their decision making in order to improve their designs.
Finally, the SDI addresses increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, such as those related to youth protection. In this case, without systematically providing each service provider with an identity card that holds a lot of data beyond a date of birth, a simple request can be made to verify the age of the player before granting him access to content.
As you can see, the SDI developed by XSL Labs is a perfect fit with tomorrow’s video game landscape, enabling new uses and meeting the needs of gamers and the whole industry.