In today’s Web3TV video, we’re with Rami James from ultra.io to find out what blockchain gaming looks like in 2023 and how it’s different from traditional Web2 gaming.
What Are The Issues With Traditional Gaming?
According to Rami, in the last say, fifteen to twenty years, gaming has kind of walked down this path, where it’s very much about extracting value from players. You have dlcs, you have a lot of add-ons, you have skins, you have micro transactions. You have all of this stuff that people have been playing with that is about pulling value from them. It’s about paying for content in a way that brings value to the business but doesn’t bring value to the player afterwards.
What is Blockchain Gaming?
In Rami’s opinion, when people talk about blockchain gaming, it’s really important it is thought of as just an extension of traditional gaming. There’s always the interest about promoting methods of doing business which bring value both to the business but also bring value to the players themselves. So when we talk about Web3 gaming, it’s actually a bunch of different technologies brought together with the intent to give more power to players, to gamers, while providing new avenues of revenue for businesses. It provides new ways for businesses to interact with their communities.
Rami realizes that there’s been a lot of pushback within the gaming community against blockchain and NFT technology being integrated into the different types of play that they’ve traditionally enjoyed, and thinks that it’s really important that when we talk about Web3 technology or blockchain gaming or NFTs in the context of gaming that the vision is for win, wins, so bringing to players more rewards and value but also other avenues to develop games, develop new concepts and new economies that are not about value extraction but more about building business loyalty.
What is Web3?
Web3 is the conglomeration of different technologies based on generally decentralized open networks. For example, when you talk about traditional banking, you have networks that are integrated into your local bank that cross international boundaries that everybody uses to pass value back and forth. You have visa, you have mastercard, they all have real networks with computers and lots of people connected to them but they are closed networks. What happens on them is opaque to everybody, so you don’t actually get to go and see the transactions.
One of the core concepts of Web3 behind decentralization is about opening all of that stuff up. It’s about transparency. It’s about accessibility and when we talk about Web3 technologies, that’s what we’re actually building, we’re building a series of networks.
Bitcoin is a network. Ethereum is a network. These are all separate networks that have different kind, consensus mechanisms, different technologies, and we connect to them and we can do stuff on them.
The point of a Web3 network is that you can have access to different functionality that runs on a network, and you can see what other people are doing.
What is a Blockchain and how does it relate to Gaming?
At its core, a blockchain is a network of nodes, like a bunch of different computers that talk to each other that run a software in synchronization. They all run the same software, usually the same version, and they have a consensus mechanism. A consensus mechanism is basically, if I have one excel sheet and you have one excel sheet, how do we make sure that the data that’s in the excel sheet is the same.
When you talk about blockchain gaming, basically, you have one game that runs on a network and just like, if you have like world of warcraft, they have their servers, which have their databases, which have the data inside those databases, and they have methodologies for synchronizing that data across different servers or different nodes, different continents and blockchain. Blockchain gaming is just about making sure that the functionality and the data which is on those networks is public again.
Does the player own their own data?
Whether the player owns their gaming data is a complex question according to Rami. When you talk about owning data, for example, most people when they think about an NFT they think they have that NFT in their wallet. But what they actually have is a way to access an NFT which is simply a row in a table which exists within an NFT contract to smart contract, so whether they own, it is difficult to say, because they are not the ones that own the root smart contract.
Preferably nobody owns the smart contract and that that’s really like the core of the issue here that, as long as there’s somebody that you know either owns the core network or owns the rights to deploy or remove a smart contract, a piece of software which runs on an open network, then ownership is a very difficult thing to define.
So if you have a network which is fully decentralized, for example, bitcoin or ethereum can consider fully decentralized and the ability of people to deploy a contract and it becomes unchangeable generall,.that’s called immutable ownership. There, I think, is much more clear, because nobody owns it, and only you can access it, which means that it’s yours, but if it’s on a much more closed network and there’s a spectrum here, then whether or not you own, it becomes a tricky legal question.
What are NFTs?
There’s two types of tokens. A token is basically a unit of measurement of value right. So you have Bitcoin, which is a token. You have Ethereum, which is a token. These are base tokens of those networks and there’s something which is called a non-fungible token.
So basically, a token is something just like a dollar or ah a euro, where each ah unit is exchangeable. Whether you have one dollar or you have another dollar or one euro or another euro doesn’t matter they’re all the same right. A store is going to accept one or the other.
A non-fungible token is a representation of value of something which is not exchangeable for something e equivalent. So if you have one house and you have another house, they can be represented by NFTs but they’re not exchangeable, because one house is not another house.
When NFTs were originally invented they were jpegs. They were a representation of an image online, a piece of art that somebody owned or generally an avatar profile picture or a pfp is it’s commonly known, and that was about it. But five or six years into the evolution of the technology, I think everybody general generally understands that what an NFT is a representation of ownership of thing, which could be an image, a 3-D model, a ticket to an experience, a piece of music, a piece of art, a movie, an ingame item, a game license, a dlc or access to a community.
An NFT is basically a bundle of functionality that gives you specific access to something.
NFTs in The Gaming Space
So one of the most interesting aspects within the gaming space is that user accounts can be NFTs, and a user account, over time, as you play with a player, you get new stuff, you level up, it gains value. And then, if you decide, I don’t feel like playing this game anymore. You can put that account up on the open market and sell it.
In game items can also become NFTs. You can have a special sword in a game where there’s say five hundred normal ones, three hundred rarer ones and then a few legendary and epic ones, and who gets what is randomly assigned by the blockchain. Totally fair, I think, that’s a cool way to play a game.
So when you look at the evolution of Web2 to Web3 Gaming will gameplay be much different.
For Rami, he hopes gameplay will not be much different for users moving from Web2 to Web3. He sees one of the main problems with Web3 gaming today is that it’s substantially different. A player has to learn all of these hard Web3 concepts and get a wallet and fill it with ethereum or solana or polygon or whatever you’re going to be playing on and you have to connect to the game and then you have to go buy an NFT. It’s, it’s too much right.
Preferably what you would want is when somebody downloads a game, they sign up just like they traditionally would and they go play. And if they get a sword in the game and or have an account in the game, and then afterwards they want to go, do something with it, they have added functionality that exists outside the game.
What Is An Example of How A Player Could Benefit From Being Part Of a Web3 Gaming Community?
It could be at a marketing level where you’re playing the game and on twitter, you see that the people running the game are giving away NFT for free like swords or gold in the game. You can participate through that marketing event. You get the NFT it just shows up in your account. This type of stuff, really hard to do in a decentralized way in Web2 gaming is super easy to do through Web3 gaming.
How do you see blockchain gaming making a difference in the long term?
Rami would like to see from a vision perspective of blockchain gaming for the open networks to be used in the way that they’re supposed to.
For example, you could have a game where you play on your computer and you have access to a certain amount of functionality at the NFT standard level, and then, when you log in through your mobile phone, because the play experience is expected to be different, you’re actually using different tech technology.
Now, because all of that technological stuff is ah open to anyone to use, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the same business which creates either the one that’s on your desktop or the one that’s on your mobile because from a technological, functional level, it’s available for anybody to use, because it’s an open standard on an open network.
Why do we need it right now in society, as opposed to Web2 gaming?
In Rami’s opinion, without getting too political, a lot of power has been migrated away from individuals. At small scale corporate level, what you can do with the games that you own or don’t own, is very limited today. When Rami was growing up, you would go to a game store, and you would buy a physical copy of the game, and you would play it and what you did with it afterwards was up to you because it was yours.
That’s not true today. So if you buy a game on Steam, for example, it is permanently locked into your account. You do not have any options there. It is value that is locked away from you for forever, and I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t like that very much. I don’t like the way that that makes me play as a player as a gamer and I don’t like having value locked away from me.
I think that when we talk about like blockchain and Web3 gaming, really, what it boils down to is about enabling people to have access to that value at a very fundamental level.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on what type of game you’d like to see developed using Web3 technology. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
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