Video Games: The Technologically Underrated Pastime For


It is undeniable that video games have become one of the most common entertainment activities in modern society. However, compared with traditional entertainment culture such as film, television, literature, and music, video games are still a very young entertainment activity. But one fact that cannot be ignored is that compared with those traditional entertainment activities, video games, as a combination of various modern art forms, often have underestimated the technological content they contain.

Siren, a virtual human with a highly realistic face, recently developed by Epic

Even though many video games nowadays have amazing graphics and audio-visual experience, demanding players will never be satisfied: we still want a larger and freer open world, which must have dynamic weather and real-time lighting changes day and night; we want a lag-free network connection, but your potato server prevents me from competing with global players; if the game takes a long time to load, the manufacturer will be labeled as "poorly optimized and poorly technical", and all of our core players have SSDs; CG must be able to see the character's hair, and the actual calculation cutscenes must add up to two hours to be considered 3A…

Perhaps the players themselves seldom realize that the game products they often complain about often use the world's top technology. For ordinary people, electronic games may be the most advanced, complex, and technologically advanced products that they can access.

For game manufacturers, the impact of new technology research and application on video games has always been the most interesting thing for producers, investors, and company executives. Whether the new technology brings about an improvement in the audio-visual effects of the game or a reduction in development costs, it is an important factor in maintaining competitiveness in the game industry. In the past few years, cutting-edge technologies such as cloud computing and VRAR have been closely linked to the game industry. Although the ultimate value of these technologies still needs further exploration and experimentation, most people are full of yearning for the future of these new technologies.

In 2018, after trendy technologies such as cloud computing and VR have slowly settled down in the long night of gaming, another completely different technology is slowly entering the players' field of vision and entering this industry.

It is blockchain technology.

Characteristics of blockchain

"Blockchain () is an intelligent peer-to-peer network that uses a distributed database to identify, disseminate and record information, also known as the Internet of Value." This is the standard definition of blockchain on Wikipedia. However, for most people, "blockchain" is more of a concept tied to "virtual currency", "mining" and "bitcoin".

In fact, to put it simply, "blockchain technology" is to establish a public ledger on the Internet, which is recorded and verified by all participants. Everyone's ledger is identical and public, and the information recorded in these ledgers cannot be tampered with at a technical level.

There are several characteristics of blockchain. One is decentralization: since the ledger is recorded and held by everyone, blockchain technology does not require a central server or a third-party organization. Everyone's computer, mobile phone and other devices are part of the ledger. The second is transparency. The ledgers of all participants are open and transparent, and information is shared. The third is security. Since everyone has the same global ledger, the destruction of individual ledgers will not affect the whole. It is meaningless to tamper with the information of a single ledger alone, because it does not match the ledgers of others. If you want to tamper with the entire blockchain, you need to modify more than 51% of the data to make the system believe that the other 49% of the ledger information is "a minority that does not match". These ledgers are basically decentralized and controlled by individual individuals all over the world, so it is almost impossible to tamper with the blockchain.

In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin, proposed the concept of blockchain and launched the Bitcoin system based on this concept. Ten years later, Bitcoin has gone from being a "fraud" that was initially despised by people to an opportunity for the brave to get rich today.

Any revolutionary invention is initially controversial, is virtual currency the same?

Blockchain Games

As an industry that constantly absorbs high-tech achievements, the gaming industry is of course regarded by many as one of the best application fields for blockchain technology. Some media even say that blockchain technology will greatly change the face of the gaming industry. So how can blockchain technology be applied to games? Some game and blockchain followers at home and abroad have made many guesses about this.

A revolution in virtual property

One of the beautiful ideas of players for blockchain is to have a virtual currency that can be used in all games. In theory, blockchain can achieve this on a technical level, but considering the differences between different game manufacturers and different games, the possibility of actual operation is still very small.

It is still too early to say whether the “grand unification” of virtual game currencies is meaningful.

However, if a large game company has dozens of different game products using blockchain technology, the dimensional wall between games can still be broken. The game currency used by players in game A can also be used in game B.

Platform virtual currency is not a new concept. For example, Tencent's Q coins and Blizzard points are all such currencies. However, such virtual currencies can only be recharged with cash and cannot be produced in the game. Secondly, they only stay at the platform level and cannot replace the currency in the game. Therefore, they can only be said to be a primary form of blockchain virtual currency. And because it involves the settlement of cash and virtual property, it will take considerable effort for blockchain to enter the game in the form of virtual currency.

Another idea of ​​blockchain for virtual property in games is a little more reliable: blockchain technology allows developers to create unique virtual items. That is to say, game manufacturers can design completely unique characters, items, etc. for players. In February this year, there was news that the international game manufacturer Ubisoft was researching this technology and wanted to give players "real digital collectibles that are 100% yours and cannot be copied" in their own games.

"Today, I, Connor, am going to fight… to earn some virtual currency…"

2. Remove third parties that players cannot trust

One of the biggest features of blockchain technology is decentralization, no need for a third party, no need for middlemen, and absolute security and fairness. So at present, the most suitable or most urgent gaming field for blockchain technology may be gambling.

Many gaming and gambling platforms today, such as chess and card games and accessories trading platforms, are in a gray area. First, there are risks in terms of laws and policies, and second, there is a problem of trust between participants and the platform. It is not uncommon for platforms to run away with money when problems arise. When a platform that uses blockchain technology dominates gambling, there is no problem of platform fraud, and the process will be more convenient and simplified. However, although blockchain can solve the fairness and transparency issues in the gaming and gambling industry, it cannot solve the embarrassing legal status of gambling itself.

3. Security and Anti-Cheating

The security of blockchain technology is most obvious for games, especially online games that rely on data storage. Since data is basically impossible to be cracked and tampered with technically, players' personal data and virtual property are truly protected: your virtual property will be a unique code, and without your consent and authorization, others cannot steal it under the blockchain system.

Although absolute security technology will not bring any substantial improvement to the game content experience, it is one of the "basic constructions" for the game industry to move towards the future. The further development of the game industry in the future will definitely be based on a mature Internet system. If blockchain technology can eliminate the hidden dangers of game security such as account theft and hacker attacks, it will undoubtedly have considerable significance.

The anti-cheating function of blockchain games is more controversial, because theoretically, due to the unchangeable nature of blockchain data, it can completely prevent cheating and plug-in in the game. But in reality, the current technical level of blockchain is far from meeting this demand. It is a considerable burden for the network and the player's gaming device for each player to verify blockchain data while playing the game. At the same time, some cheating functions of FPS games, such as perspective and automatic aiming, only need to read local data and do not need to modify or upload data, and blockchain technology is powerless to do this.

Therefore, although blockchain technology has an inherent advantage in anti-cheating due to the immutability of its data, it is still too early to actually apply it to games.

Blockchain anti-cheating is still just a theory

There are many applications of blockchain technology in electronic games, but the overall application still revolves around the above three points. In fact, many readers may have clearly felt that the concept of blockchain games sounds cool, but in fact it is very empty.

The pioneering capitalists

Last November, the world's first game using the encrypted virtual currency Ethereum as game currency, "(Cat Lover)", was officially launched.

As a "cloud cat-sucking" game, players can buy a cat in the game that is "valuable, almost the same price as a real cat." Of course, this cat is "unique and belongs only to you." Then in the game, what players can do is to use the cat in their hands, or mate with other cats to get kittens to top up coins , or sell the cat's mating rights to let others get kittens. In this process, players have the opportunity to get a cat of high rarity. Of course, the ultimate goal is to sell the cat in your hand. The rarer the cat, the more sought after it is and can be sold at a good price. The most expensive virtual cat in "The Game" was sold for nearly 770,000 yuan.

After the launch of "CatCat", it quickly became popular around the world, with the transaction value in the first week exceeding 12 million RMB, and nearly 300,000 virtual cats were sold in three months. The developer from Canada also successfully completed a $70 million Series A financing.

With the success of "The Legend of Zu", the capital market responded quickly. Blockchain games around the world have experienced explosive growth since then, with hundreds of games with the name "blockchain" emerging at once. The domestic market is also not far behind, and powerful IT companies such as NetEase, Xunlei, Baidu, Xiaomi, Renren, and The 9 have begun to enter the blockchain game field, hoping to grab a seat first.

At the same time, due to the openness and transparency of blockchain technology, the code of "》 is basically open source. If you want to make a blockchain game, you just need to change some art resources. So for a while, XX dog, XX monkey, XX rabbit, and XX horse all entered the market with the help of blockchain technology.

As long as you can think of animals, capitalists have basically "blockchained" them.

However, within a few months, these first blockchain games encountered a roller coaster situation. When investment enthusiasm began to decline and policy and regulatory pressure emerged at the same time, many blockchain game companies fled. The virtual cat that was originally priced at 770,000 yuan also plummeted in value. So far, the blockchain game of "raising animals" has gradually faded out of people's sight.

Who needs whom?

From a player's perspective, these "software" under the name of "blockchain games" can hardly be called qualified games. The lack of basic gameplay, game framework and other elements makes these "games" attract users who are basically speculative. Many people in the game industry have questioned this: Are blockchain games made for people to play or for people to invest? Where are the applications of blockchain technology in games that people have imagined?

Although the security, uniqueness, and decentralization of blockchain technology can solve some technical problems in the gaming industry to a certain extent, and although the gaming industry has always been fond of using new technologies and new concepts to create game content, the reality is that the prospects of blockchain technology are unproven and even a bit exaggerated in theory. It is far from having a "revolutionary" effect on the gaming industry as claimed by "fanatics".

Although "blockchain games" are fashionable, many real game production companies are concerned about the risks of organically integrating them with the actual industry situation. In the blockchain games on the market today, the concept of the game is basically just an auxiliary appearance. However, what the majority of players are looking forward to is a real "game using blockchain technology".

For gamers, whether or not a game has blockchain technology will not have any special impact. As users of the world's "most advanced technology", we have enough patience to wait for the implementation of a new technology. On the contrary, blockchain, the latest and most watched technology, urgently needs a real industry like games to prove its value under the control of capitalists.

So if someone around you is crazy about the revolutionary nature of "blockchain games", then he is definitely not a player, but an investor. After all, games are for playing, and those used to make money are called financial products.


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