In 2018, the global games market reached $137.9 billion with 2.3 billion active gamers this year according to reports from Newzoo, a provider of market news for the gaming industry. This total represented a $30 billion increase from 2017’s global revenues for the gaming market as reported by games and media intelligence firm SuperData, including revenues from mobile, PC and console games. In the 2018 breakdown, Newzoo showed that $70.3 billion was generated by mobile device games, representing more than half of the total market. Following mobile was console video games, constituting 25 percent of the market, or $34.6 billion, and close behind was PC gaming which generated $32.9 billion or 24 percent of the global market.
However, despite rapid growth there are still inequalities in the gaming industry between developers and users as well as the rich and poor according to Dean Anderson, co-founder of the gaming network Gamestatix. Anderson said that this particular PC gaming platform was originally created in 2016 to give game developers and users an alternative to Steam, a popular gaming platform. Gamestatix keeps an emphasis on discoverability and the pre-release phase to give developers greater degrees of success by engaging with the gaming community that the platform provides.
Following that vision, Anderson’s company announced in a press release issued in early July 2018 that it will be using blockchain technology to combat industry problems and give an added incentive for gamers to join. “What Gamestatix is about now is recognizing those individual skill sets [of gamers] and recognizing where individual gamers add value and then being able to recognize and reward that value,” Anderson said in an interview, referring to his company’s decision to pay gamers in a form of cryptocurrency for actions like promoting, managing, influencing or testing. “By creating a token… as long as we have content entering the platform, the utility of that token will increase which increases the value which means we continue to reward our users as our user base grows.”
Gamestatix intends to release an ERC-20 token that can be deployed on an Ethereum blockchain. Launched in 2014, this technology makes it possible for Gamestatix to pay in a cryptocurrency that could then be transferred more readily than Bitcoin. The difference between the two is that Bitcoin is only a currency while Ethereum is an application platform through which companies can build new programs. Both use blockchaining technology, but Ethereum’s allows for complex applications in a “smart contract” which can automate certain operations.
Raina Haque, founder of Erdos Intellectual Property Law + Startup Legal a blockchain patent expert and writer for IPWatchdog.com, said that Gamestatix’s blockchain tech offers some interesting possibilities. “Non-fungible tokens, like ERC-721, can be used to bridge game tokens with real-world assets,” she wrote. “Imagine being able to transfer actual title in a game. It is fascinating to think how law surrounding lotteries and gambling might change and adapt, and also what new industries might be unleashed when we blur the line between fantasy and reality.”
Anderson was very bullish on blockchain’s prospects in the gaming market and wrote to that effect in response to questions on the subject. “Blockchain is an innovation that could truly disrupt the status quo, toppling established market leaders and creating opportunities for a new generation of creators,” he wrote in an email. “This is incredibly exciting for me as it means we will likely see a significant shift in power, and ultimately, a more level playing field for all creators.”
Anderson and his co-founders see their “digital storefront” as being unique in that it doesn’t focus on the sale of released games but is heavily involved in pre-sale activities. The algorithm dictating what products to show to which players only considers games the user hasn’t played yet, according to the company’s recent press release. To this end, each developer will get the same treatment as any other game on the network. “The biggest challenge standing between us and this vision is getting the wider games industry to warm to blockchain technologies,” Anderson wrote, describing a utopia where gamers could quit their day jobs and co-create alongside developers. “However, I feel we are on the right track with this [platform].”The current video game market owes a great debt to Ralph Baer, the father of the video game console and a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Baer was a German-born American inventor who passed away in 2014. Baer came up with the concept of playing games on a television screen in 1966. Later, he patented the “Brown Box,” a prototype for the world’s first home video game console. The success of the endeavor was quickly evident as Baer described the scene it made upon one of his first meetings with the patent office as quoted in a Washington Post article, “Within 15 minutes, every examiner on the floor of that building was in that office wanting to play the game.”
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