Cryptocurrencies and games are a match made in heaven. Since the early days of modern gaming with titles like Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario, players had to collect in-game currency in the form of rings or coins which would go towards earning an extra life or other goodies, depending on the game – bragging rights, at least. Fast forward nearly thirty years and that basic idea has advanced massively. Players are now using in-game currencies in titles such as World of Warcraft to buy items and upgrade their characters’ skills and abilities. With internet currencies such as bitcoin now growing in popularity, we think using real money in games could soon become a lot more prevalent.
As it stands, with most online games, players have the option to use real money such as dollars or pounds to purchase coins to spend in the game. These coins can then be used to buy things like extra lives and power-ups. Prime examples of games that operate in this free-to-play/freemium fashion are mobile apps like Candy Crush and Gardenscapes, and online casinos where players use credits to play slot games. In 2014, Candy Crush raked in more than $1 billion from add-on purchases. With consoles, players can add credit to their accounts and download games and add-ons as well.
Recently there has been a massive surge of online casinos that have decided to cut out the middleman so to speak, and have started to offer clients bitcoin as a payment option. There are also some sites that operate solely with cryptocurrencies. The phenomenon of Bitcoin gambling is really taking off because players don’t have to worry about fluctuating exchange rates in order to enjoy (and win at) dice, slot, blackjack, and roulette games. Some go beyond embracing Bitcoin too, with Crypto Games offering players the opportunity to use different cryptocurrencies including Dogecoin, Bitcoin and Ethereum.
In fact, PlayStation and Xbox have started giving customers the option to pay for games with bitcoin, and the massive consoles will have a huge influence on how successful cryptocurrencies are in gaming in the future. The fact that bitcoin is the oldest e-currency of them all and that it has only been around since 2009 highlights just how quickly the world is taking to this revolutionary form of payment. More people are buying into the idea that on a planet where most people exist online, there should be a sole internet currency that global citizens can use.
MMORPGs like World of Warcraft would be improved greatly if they solely used an e-currencies. There are 3 million players in China using renminbi to purchase their in-game money, 3 million players in the USA using dollars, 1 million players in the UK paying with pounds, and around 1 million players across Europe paying with the euro. There are numerous other countries that play as well. Now wouldn’t it be so much simpler if everyone was using bitcoin?
With virtual reality set to open up gaming and chat worlds even further the time is right for an internet currency to render individual currencies obsolete, at least in the online world. The games, developers, and sites that have already jumped on the bandwagon could be at a distinct advantage in the years to come.