The very first console game to incorporate blockchain technology is due to be released in Q1 2019. Titled “Plague Hunters”, this single player RPG throws gamers back in time to what could have easily been 1352 during a post-Black Death apocalypse. The Plague has mutated virtually everything and the infected are out to kill the heroes of the game – the hunters.
You control a hunter, and as you play through various levels can upgrade your skills and abilities. To top it off, you can then train your hunter using the Ethereum Blockchain – imagine a really dark version of CryptoKitties.
Blockchain Used for Microtransactions
The bane of every gamer’s life – microtransactions – makes a massive impact in Plague Hunters and this could cause some trouble amongst the gaming community. However, these transactions will be done using the Ethereum blockchain rather than a simple bank transfer to the developer’s account. In addition to microtransactions, all hunter trades will be done on-chain and there will be an immutable record of all trades.
Not a New Concept
While this is the first time blockchain is being used in a console game, the purpose of the blockchain implementation is not necessarily new. Diablo has had a marketplace where gamers can sell excess items, characters, and weapons with other players.
The marketplace in Diablo raised a number of questions, as people were selling items for real world money and creating huge imbalances in player levels within the game. It will be interesting to see if blockchain solves a number of the issues Diablo faced, but only time will tell.
Blockchain Landing on Xbox
It isn’t just Sony’s Playstation 4 that’s getting the blockchain treatment. Microsoft’s Xbox Live store is undergoing a blockchain overhaul. Under the current system, when a player buys a game or item from the store, developers have to wait up to 30 working days before they eventually receive their money. With the new blockchain based Xbox store, these developers will see their money within seconds of a player making a purchase.
Sony Looking at Blockchain for the Playstation 5
Sony is looking at implementing blockchain technology within the Playstation 5. Sony has already filed for the necessary patents, and the new system will prevent gamers from exploiting a gameshare glitch in the Playstation store. If the blockchain technology solution manages to patch this glitch, players could get frustrated and consider swapping consoles. However, Sony has to protect its game developers in order to carry on rolling out exclusive titles.
Blockchain is Changing Gaming
Blockchain technology has the potential to change the gaming industry thanks to its decentralized nature. Its cryptocurrencies that power the blockchains, which will in turn will help run the in-game marketplaces. This process will then add a new layer to the gaming world, and provide gamers with the ability to make money simply by playing games and collecting in-game currencies. Exactly how game developers will utilize this new technology is yet to be seen, but it will certainly change the industry.
While Plague Hunters doesn’t look like it’s going to be winning any awards for game of the year, it certainly is a nice demonstration of how well blockchain technology can merge with gaming consoles. As time passes and the technology becomes more common place, we will likely see bigger titles starting to use it in their games.