From arcade systems to home consoles and mobile apps, gaming has made its way into the lives of billions across the world. As a result, gaming is a popular activity for many in the modern age and remains one of the globe’s most profitable industries.
The first recognized example of a gaming machine debuted at the 1940 New York World’s Fair and was based on the ancient game of Nim. Played by about 50,000 people, the computer won more than 90% of the time. In the mid-20th century, gaming was regarded as an oddity and primarily was just the subject of scientific and academic research projects.
It was not until 1967 that the first prototype multiplayer video game system emerged. By 1972, the design turned into the Odyssey console that later inspired Atari’s Pong video game.
The 1990s finally brought the gaming industry to prominence. The rise of 3D gaming and successful franchises like Mortal Kombat and Sonic the Hedgehog cultivated generations of loyal gamers. Interest in gaming also established companies like Nintendo and Sony as household names.
The Internet Revolution And The Rise Of Modern, Digital Gaming
The rise of the internet and better computer processing power ushered in new gaming frontiers. Games and graphics became more intricate while internet servers allowed global gamers to play together. In addition, online storefronts like the Apple App Store and Xbox Live Marketplace made buying and updating games much more effortless. Ease of access through these tools helped bring gaming into popular culture.
In 2018, a Newzoo report revealed how mobile gaming revenue had captured more than 50% of the global gaming market, bringing in about $70 billion in revenue after enjoying a decade of double-digit growth.
By 2021, the worldwide gaming market revenue had jumped to $178.2 billion as continued technological innovation led to more impressive year-over-year totals. Estimates project the number of global video game players will jump to just over 3 billion in 2023, up from 2.69 billion in 2020.
While the popularity of titles like Lost Ark, Fortnite, and PlayerUnknown’s Battleground has drawn many to the gaming industry, growth also comes through the marriage of cryptocurrency and gaming, primarily through the ‘play-to-earn’ model.
Blending entertainment with financial speculation, Axie Infinity users can buy NFTs and use their virtual ‘creatures’ to win battles and create new NFTs. The platform made $1.3 billion in revenue in 2021. From Q1 2021 to the same period in 2022, blockchain-based gaming jumped by 2,000%.
Crypto Developers Look To What Works In Traditional Gaming And Aim To Replicate
Crypto gaming has grown in popularity as developers work to understand how to welcome traditional gamers into the Web3 world. One strategy is to offer free-to-play gaming options for those who might be newer to the cryptocurrency world, following in the legacy of apps like Angry Birds or Candy Crush that allowed users to jump into a game quickly.
Crypto gaming’s social aspects are also taking shape as guilds and DAOs begin to spring up in conjunction with the space’s more popular titles.
But the play-to-earn model, where crypto users can collect assets while playing, stands as one of the most transformational aspects of the gaming world. The structure brings in a shift from a ‘publisher or developer first’ game economy to a ‘player first ecosystem’ where gamers stand to benefit instead of companies releasing titles.
As a result, play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity and DeFi Kingdoms continue to grow in popularity as gamers flock to platforms where they can enjoy an energetic community and win. The technology continues to prove its potential as projects like Illuvium, one of the most anticipated blockchain titles in the gaming industry, develop gameplay similar to most AAA games available today. There is no doubt that the potential for play-to-earn games is nearly limitless. They can cater to different gaming genres, one being a classic card trading game where users can hold their card packs as NFTs. One project that aims to do just that is Shiryo. Shiryo players will be able to mint packs of NFT cards, form decks, and compete against each other in individual games and weekly competitions for rewards that include tokens, cards, card packs, and avatars.
Powered by the Ethereum blockchain, Shiryo’s multiplayer experience comes from Amazon’s AWS Gamelift service, as traditional platforms like Steam do not allow NFT-based games. Team members plan to release more packs and boost gameplay in the future after launching the first couple of phases in late 2021.
Continued investment from venture capital firms and the play-to-earn model’s popularity only attracts more people to blockchain-based gaming. As a result, the industry remains strong even amid immense volatility in cryptocurrency markets.
Crypto gaming only looks to accelerate as more people, especially traditional gamers, get comfortable with virtual currencies and see how crypto-focused games continue to deliver on their promises.