Building A Blockchain-Powered Marketplace Of Virtual Goods And Games

Some people are addicted to Star Wars movies. Some people are addicted to football. Some people are addicted to crafts. Today, almost all of us have a special addiction. In this article, we talk about one of the most exciting and widespread addictions people have. That’s virtual games and the gaming industry as a whole with its approximately 2.3 billion fans around the world. This global games market in 2017 was estimated to be worth over $100 billion, and the number of gamers in the world during that time was estimated to be at 2.2 billion.

Gaming industry capitalization arranged by years

We love the virtual world not only because of the emotions experienced when playing, but also for the incredible gaming opportunities we get. Modern games provide us with a unique gaming approach whereby we are able to customize the ways we interact with a game starting from setting a certain screensaver, color scheme, and font size and ending with the purchase or win of exclusive items, heroes’ models, and other in-game goods.

The gaming industry has become an entire market with real trade relations. In global game marketplaces like Steam, Kinguin, and others, you can buy any game as well as the relevant virtual goods with fiat currency.

Most popular PC/Mac storefronts for purchasing virtual goods

Worldwide Asset Exchange has concluded around 60% of console gamers have purchased virtual items at least once in their life, along with 43% of PC gamers and 33% of smartphone gamers.

Gamers who purchased virtual items arranged by years

The gaming market continues to grow rapidly (10%+ last year) and virtual items are driving much of this growth. In Dota 2, for example, you can find rare items costing more than $1000, and devoted gamers actually buy them. Game of War: Fire Age brings in a whopping $549.69 per paying user, and over $2M in total revenue per day at its peak.

Some of the most advanced of virtual goods markets has sprung up around the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO for short). The reason is that the game’s developer, Valve, introduced decorative virtual weapons known as “skins,” which players could acquire in the game and sell for real money on third-party platforms (outside of the gaming environment). By 2015, this had evolved into an active gambling market of more than 3 million people wagering $2.3 billion worth of skins.

In 2017, virtual items and DLC accounted for ~$80B. However, this well-developed industry provides several crucial pitfalls obstructing good gaming experiences.

Problems Gamers Face Using Fiat Game Marketplaces

It is really cool we have access to giant game marketplaces with their exclusive assortments. A dose of happiness fills devoted gamers’ hearts when purchasing a new set for a favourite hero, changing his eye color, or downloading a thrilling soundtrack. The process of in-game trading is easy and pleasant. All you need to do is choose a desired item, buy it in fiat through the appropriate game marketplace, and then enjoy your purchase. But what’s next? What if this item bores you? Or what if you are fed up with this game?

The biggest failure of contemporary game marketplaces is you are not able to return or sell some virtual goods. Moreover, you are not able to withdraw fiat money earned during the game process. You can only spend it on goods within the platform. It is impossible to transfer your assets to another game since existing technologies don’t connect many game universes and platforms together. There are no bridges between the game engines, the independent and global game developers, and the mobile and console worlds. A more frustrating case is when your account is robbed leaving no trace of your stored items.

This way, you get into the situation where you are stuck with useless items (or without them) despite your time and efforts. Often, this results in game developers and manufacturers losing gamers from their universes.

In-game items trade involvement

Blockchain is a true solution

You can hardly find anyone who doesn’t have at least a superficial understanding of blockchain. This innovative technology has revolutionized the digital world through its four central features: transparency, decentralization, distribution, and immutability. The current problems of the gaming industry described above can be totally resolved by blockchain-powered products.

Blockchain-powered vitrual items marketplaces

Compared to traditional services, blockchain powered marketplaces provide users with some outstanding opportunities:

Blockchain-powered solutions vs. traditional gaming marketplaces

Blockchain solutions in gaming have already proven their efficiency. The chart below presents the share of gamers who purchased or traded game items on the blockchain worldwide in 2018. According to the statista findings, 44 percent of gamers surveyed stated that in the past 12 months they had either purchased or traded game items on the blockchain, while in comparison 54 percent stated that they had not.

Share of gamers who purchased or traded game items on the blockchain worldwide in 2018

DMarket is a good example of a blockchain-based, cross-platform solution where gamers, developers, and entrepreneurs can efficiently and securely evaluate and trade virtual items. The main goal of this startup is to enable the convenient sale, exchange and evaluation of virtual items between different platforms and games.

DMarket marketplace — How does it work? (Illustrated by DMarket team)

Thanks to blockchain technology, users all over the world can create, sell, buy, and exchange their virtual assets making real money when playing and developing the whole gaming industry as a result.

More Than A Game

People adore playing games, and people adore money. Blockchain-powered marketplaces provide us with great possibilities to realize these two aspirations at the same time. Thanks to the implementation of blockchain technology, the gaming process is more enjoyable and convenient. This is only a start. By joining innovators like the described blockchain startups, we promote the prosperity of the gaming industry and enter the real global economy with virtual items. That is how virtuality becomes reality.

What do you think developers should pay attention to when working on blockchain powered marketplaces? Share your opinion in comments. We appreciate your thoughts!

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Building A Blockchain-Powered Marketplace Of Virtual Goods And Games was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.