Ripple wants to integrate blockchain as a way for game developers to create new in-game marketplaces for digital goods. The plan is going down to the tune of $100 million (€88.93 million). And apart from improving the player experience itself, this huge investment will eventually allow companies, developers, and players to make money in-game.
“Now, blockchain will help game designers who’ve had a hard time facilitating an economy that can serve all types of players,” explained Ripple Xpring senior executive Ethan Beard. He is referring to the current open, third party-reliant marketplace for the world’s most popular games. Today, players go on eBay and other online market sites to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars buying game accounts, in-game items, and currency for popular games like PUBG, League of Legends, and World of Warcraft. Ripple’s $100-million plan to integrate blockchain into these popular video game platforms could eliminate the need for third-party sellers. “Game makers could bring such transactions inside the game.”
The development of this fund will be overseen by an initiative called Forte, a Silicon Valley-backed company that was founded by prominent gaming executives. Forte is reportedly advised by Coinbase Ventures, Battery Ventures, and Andreessen Horowitz. The growing interest of venture capitalist firms in the online gaming industry, particularly with its integration of blockchain and cryptocurrency, is a direct indication of just how big online gaming has become.
In fact, following the most recent cryptocurrency crash, U.Today reveals that the game CryptoKitties managed to retain their cryptocurrency value. During the height of the crypto bull market, the decentralised app (dApp), which is based on Ethereum, earned an extraordinary $100,000 (€88,930) for one digital cat. CryptoKitties is one of the earliest – and still thriving – attempts at leveraging blockchain tech for leisurely gaming. As Chief Platform Executive of Forte Brett Sayer explained: “CryptoKitties introduced what a blockchain could do. It showed the benefit of having a public record of transactions people could trust, and how an in-game economy is well suited to blockchain.”
Blockchain will be entering even larger markets as it integrates into the mainstream gaming industry. As each year passes the internet gaming industry grows, with a Sandlot post listing the best selling online games of 2018. The site notes how League of Legends alone has over 100 million active players. Meanwhile, there are also 70 million active players for the Warcraft-based card game, Hearthstone. And for the first person shooter game Overwatch, there are over 35 million registered users across all platforms. This doesn’t even touch on the still burgeoning eSports tournaments across the world, which have already given away millions of dollars in cash prizes and other rewards.
In other words, there is no doubt that the integration of blockchain into online gaming is a good move for the entire industry’s future. Without the need for third party sellers, game developers and players will have a more direct and profitable way of exchanging in-game currencies and resources. In relation to this, there’s also the fact that Ripple has been moving around millions of dollars worth of the cryptocurrency XRP both this year and in the fourth quarter of 2018. All of these developments could be indicative of a much larger shift in how blockchain technologies will be developed for more industries this year compared to the last.