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Blockchain will turn gaming into a career, and give power to the players Posted on Apr 16 - 2018

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Video games are more than a game. They are, at different times for different people, a challenge, a business, a lifestyle, or all the above. While professional gamers fight for titles, and the money that goes with them, millions of others are buying, selling, gathering, grouping, chatting, and organizing. While not everyone has realized it, humanity has long passed the point of projecting real value only on tangible objects. Virtual goods can command staggering sums.

Many games, like Fortnite and League of Legends, have built themselves on top of paid transactions for characters, items, and currency. Yet the details of how these purchases interact are often unclear.  What should players own? How should goods be traded? Who should dictate pricing? The answers depend on the game you play and can vary wildly from one game to the next, sowing distrust and confusion. Players want consistency, flexibility, transparency, and privacy. They’re not getting it.

Blockchain might be the answer – and more. The promise of ownership may be what lures gamers towards it, but they’ll get more than they bargained for.

Virtual items, real ownership

Seeing the potential for profit, companies soon appeared to ‘farm’ in-game gold and items. By the mid-2000s, gold farming was in full swing, complete with digital sweatshops that saw workers spend 12-hour days grinding away in games. Free-to-play games turned that reality into a business model, selling official virtual goods for real cash. Today, gamers find themselves hurdling down the rabbit hole. Star Citizen has raked in millions of dollars selling virtual goods for a game that’s not even complete.

Despite that, the rules surrounding these transactions, and the items themselves, are nebulous. Most games prohibit selling or purchasing in-game items, pushing transactions to the black market. Middle-man businesses like PlayerAuctions have risen in response, promising a risk-free transaction between buyer and seller.

Players often take advantage of these, feeling that they own the items they’ve earned. Scams are common – these are black market transactions, after all. Even purchases that seem to go smoothly aren’t guaranteed safe. Game developers often intervene, issuing temporary suspensions, or outright bans, to anyone discovered. Most people aren’t discovered, though, so some players are willing to take the risk. In fact, it’s not uncommon for players to feel cheated when caught. They’ve spent real money, or many hours, to earn what they’ve acquired. Why shouldn’t they feel a sense of ownership? View More

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