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"The Blockchain Effect on the Future of Game Design" by Sherry Jones (July 27, 2016)


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July 27, 2016 - This presentation was featured during the July 27, 2016 webinar for the Metagame Book Club on how blockchain technology can influence the future directions of game design and game development.

For more research and webinars on game studies, game design, game-based learning, and gamification, visit the Metagame Book Club:

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"The Blockchain Effect on the Future of Game Design" by Sherry Jones (July 27, 2016)

  1. 1. “The Blockchain Effect on the Future of Game Design” Sherry Jones The Metagame Book Club (Summer 2016)
  2. 2. Watch the July 27, 2016 Live Webcast!
  3. 3. For an introduction on how the blockchain technology works, and on its effects on ownership, copyright, and intellectual property, see this presentation: “The Blockchain Effect on the Future of the Humanities” by Sherry Jones
  4. 4. Blockchain: A New Frontier for Game Design and Game Development This presentation serves as a forecast on how the blockchain technology will influence the future directions of game design + development. Some predictions mentioned in this presentation are currently in development by a few, independent game studios and independent game developers, but their methods of development have yet to reach mainstream. Other predictions are based on my own views of how blockchain technology could be used to improve game design + development.
  5. 5. Blockchain and Decentralization ● In terms of the web, decentralization refers to the process of distributing a set of data as separate pieces to be hosted on multiple processors, rather than hosting a set of data on a single server, or a central servers location. ● To decentralize is to shift the power of a central authority to multiple authorities or collectives. ● Decentralization prevents hackers from accessing the entire set of data, when it is distributed to multiple servers. ● Blockchain can decentralize data.
  6. 6. Possible Blockchain Effects on Game Design: 1. Decentralized and Unhackable Games
  7. 7. Current Problem in Games: Saving Gaming History ● Hacking - Game developers currently save gaming histories on their own servers. In other words, all information is saved on central servers. This means that hackers can gain access to all the game information at once. ○ Ex. If the central servers go down, due to hacking for example, then the gaming history can disappear. ○ Ex. If hackers gain access the game’s backend programming, they can alter the programming to make the gameplay unfair, or render the game unplayable. ● Cheating - Players can use external software as a method to cheat or manipulate the gaming system, thereby changing the gaming history for their own benefits. ○ Ex. Players can use external software to cheat by raising their game level, increasing experience points, earning coins, obtaining characters, outfits, objects, etc., all without having to play the game for an extended period of play to earn those game assets fairly.
  8. 8. Blockchain Powered Decentralized Games or Play Systems ● Game developers are interested in using blockchain technology to make certain parts of a game, or the entire game, decentralized. ● A decentralized game is less hackable. ● A decentralized game can imply a shift of many types of authorities, one of which is for the game developers to relinquish some of their powers or responsibilities to the community of players. ○ Ex. Community of Players record and maintain the win and loss gameplay data of their guild, or of individual guild players. ○ Ex. Community of Players maintain their own in-game economy. ○ Ex. Community of Players control and maintain game assets.
  9. 9. Huntercoin, the first decentralized autonomous video game that relies on human mining.
  10. 10. Blockchain Powered Decentralized Play in Huntercoin ● All game data are controlled by the Huntercoin community of players. ● All game data (coins, characters, maps) are stored on the Huntercoin blockchain to make the game unhackable. ● Players are incentivized to play by conducting human mining, where they mine in- game coins, and receives 10% of the block reward, or 1 HUC per minute. ● Player actions are recorded as transactions on the Huntercoin blockchain, using SHA 256 encryption. ● Players communicate with each other via a decentralized P2P Network. ● Forking of the game is possible when disagreement arise. “Gaming on the Blockchain: The Huntercoin Saga” by Andrew Wagner (Feb. 2, 2016)
  11. 11. Peerplay, the first decentralized tournament management and wagering platform.
  12. 12. Blockchain Powered Tournament Management in Peerplays ● Peerplays utilizes blockchain and smart contract technology to manage player tournament gameplay data. ● All tournaments held between players are recorded on smart contracts, and all gameplay data is stored on the Peerplays blockchain. ● Blockchain records all wins and losses of player actions (as transactions on the blockchain), so to ensure that the competition is fairly recorded. ● The management system offers a fee sharing program, or Fee Backed Assets (FBA). ○ “This means the blockchain automatically distributes a percentage of the fees from every jackpot for every game on the entire network to the holders of Peerplays core tokens.” -- Peerplays
  13. 13. Possible Blockchain Effects on Game Design: 2. Trades of Virtual In-Game Objects
  14. 14. What are Virtual In-Game Objects? Who Owns Them? ● Virtual In-Game Objects, or Virtual Game Assets, are art elements that are displayed in a game, or are playable during gameplay. ○ Ex. The “tubes” in Super Mario Brothers; the “Infected” type zombies in the Last of Us; the “Chocobo” character in the Final Fantasy Series; the “Pokeballs” in Pokemon Go. ● Currently, virtual game assets exist solely in their own game environments. The game developers own the assets. ● Problem for Players? - Ex. If a player has created her own character in the game, Oblivion, she cannot port that character beyond the game itself. Game developers also do not guarantee character permanence.
  15. 15. Freemyvunk is a blockchain powered virtual game assets exchange currency.
  16. 16. Blockchain Powered Virtual In-Game Objects via Freemyvunk ● Freemyvunk assigns virtual in-game objects to a blockchain based token, so that a person can own the rights to the virtual in-game objects in the forms of tokens. ● The company calls “virtual junk” as “vunk,” as their currency as VNK. ● The virtual in-game objects are, in a sense, “freed” from their native game environments. ● Players can trade the virtual in-game objects tokens with each other. In other words, a player can release her ownership of a virtual game property to another player via token exchange.
  17. 17. Deckbound Quest, a game that allows players to trade virtual cards.
  18. 18. Blockchain Powered Virtual Cards via Deckbound ● Deckbound is a developer of a blockchain powered collection of digital card games, in which digital cards can be traded between those games. ● All gaming histories are saved on the blockchain. ● All the “cards and their attributes are permanent, and their abilities are mapped specifically for each game based on their genesis block” -- Deckbound ● Two games have been released, Deckbound Quest and Deckbound Heroes. Both games offer collectable virtual trading cards. ● Players who play the two games can trade cards between the two game worlds. ● Whether or not players can trade Deckbound cards beyond the platform itself is currently unknown.
  19. 19. Possible Blockchain Effects on Game Design: 3. Game Worlds on Blockchains
  20. 20. Possible Future: Traveling Between Game Worlds via Blockchain? My vision of a game design scenario that has not happened, yet: Playstation asks all Vita game studios to record their games on the studio’s blockchain, and join the studio’s blockchain to the Vita blockchain. Each game studio’s blockchain genesis block includes rules and maps that govern the world and environment of their own studio game. Now, Playstation Vita players can travel between the fantastic game worlds of Bastion and Danganronpa 3 via Vita blockchain.
  21. 21. Possible Blockchain Effects on Game Design: 4. Game Characters Crossing Worlds
  22. 22. Possible Future: Game Characters Crossing to Other Games via Blockchain? My vision of a game design scenario that has not happened, yet: Nintendo and Niantic ask that all Nintendo game studios who are interested in forming a “game alliance” with Pokemon Go, to record their studio games on the Pokemon Go blockchain. The genesis blocks of the studio’s game contain rules that govern character design and behaviors. Via the Pokemon Go blockchain, players of Final Fantasy Series can move their game characters across to the augmented reality (AR) world of Pokemon Go, in which the game characters are behaving according to their original design in the new game environment.
  23. 23. Possible Blockchain Effects on Game Design: 5. Sharing Games Across Platforms
  24. 24. Possible Future: Sharing Games Across Platforms via Blockchain? My vision of a game design scenario that has not happened, yet: Using a combination of blockchain with VAR-Port, a virtual augmented reality port for hosting virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) games, game studios can turn their VR/AR games as VAR-Port apps that are saved on the studio blockchain. Players can now play and share VR/AR games on VAR-Port, along with games that are created for different platforms, such as PC, Mobile, Unity, Unreal, Oculus Rift, Hololens, Nintendo NX, etc. via the studio’s blockchain.
  25. 25. Possible Blockchain Effects on Game Design: 6. Games and IoTs in Blockchains
  26. 26. Possible Future: Connecting Virtual In-Game Assets with Physical IoT Toys via Blockchain? My vision of a game design scenario that has not happened, yet: A player uses Freemyvunk to collect and record virtual in-game objects as tokens on a blockchain, and record physical internet of things (IoT) toys on that blockchain. Now, the player can access both the virtual in-game assets, such as a virtual Pikachu play card, and access information of the physical Pikachu stuffed doll, from the same blockchain. Both physical and virtual objects, of which each carries a different hash value, are saved to the player’s blockchain, proving that the player is the owner. Players can then trade either physical or virtual object tokens.
  27. 27. Presentationby: Sherry Jones Philosopher | Educator | Game Designer Access Slides