It’s a high probability that everyone with an active internet connection in the US has now heard of Fortnite – the highest-grossing free-to-play game in 2019. The super popular MMO has taken the world by storm since its release in mid-2017. Everyone – from celebrities to school-going kids, from athletes to senior citizens – drop onto the game’s vividly colored maps each day, fighting to outlast 99 other opponents, with many spending a good amount of money to customize their characters. This free-to-play game earned an estimated $2.4 billion last year. This is clearly due to it’s simple yet brilliant monetization strategy: microtransactions in the form of Battle Passes and V-bucks.
Despite being one of the few games whose microtransactions strategy hasn’t come under fire from gamers (looking at you, EA), there are still a few loopholes in it. These loopholes bring on board two valid use-cases of
V-Bucks Trading: Fixing In-Game and Real World Economy
Blockchain could help in seamless, secure and transparent trade of V-Bucks with other players. It could allow players to gain a valid advantage outside of the game, for the hours they’ve put in-game. So, instead of getting rewarded with another skin that they might have hundreds of, players can exchange rewards that they earn for something that has actual worth – in the form of tokens. This real-world reward system, without the use of blockchain, has made headlines before. Who can forget the CS:GO skin lottery fiasco that raked in millions of dollars in profit for scammers?
With blockchain, this system could become absolutely secure for games like Fortnite.
The game developers just have to understand in advance that their games have incentives in place for these types of shady transactions, and then they can easily code smart contracts in a way that prevents illicit activities from taking place. In a blockchain based trading system, all kinds of value transfer
On the other side of things, Fortnite is currently selling in-game assets at an expensive amount – and the V-bucks economy isn’t that much scaled. If we imagine V-bucks as a token instead of a direct extension of fiat, there would be a world in which the prices of the items in the ‘Item Shop’ would fluctuate with demand, and players can earn this value by actually playing the game instead of paying for it. At some point, players may even be able to release their own skins and items that they can monetize, further increasing their interest in the game.
Verifiable In-Game Assets
Winning an in-game trophy is one of the most fun aspects of any game. By just equipping your characters with the items you’ve earned, you can show off your in-game achievements and prowess. But here’s the thing: these in-game items can often be manipulated by scammers. This could be done via black hat practices or simply purchasing off of another player on unsanctioned markets.
For instance, take another hugely popular game, Rocket League. In RL, the items are completely tradable. So if you possess one it could mean two things. Either you have put in a lot of time perfecting your game to earn it, or you are just really rich. Now, blockchain’s main use-case in gaming is the ability to truly own and trade your assets. But an overlooked use-case is that blockchain can verify the method by which a player has obtained an item.
With blockchain, game devs could put in an asset that is completely exclusive to an in-game achievement based on skill.
This would give these items an added sense of admiration when equipped to the character. Simply having this information stored in blockchain would also allow developers to implement cool user interfaces to brag about game achievements. Keep in mind that the Fortnite Tracker website does have some of this information. But, a game stored on the blockchain would have all information on players by design.
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