Blockchain Could Reduce Dominance Of Large Studios In Multiplayer Game Development
Ever since a split-screen mode emerged in video games, the multiplayer aspect has gained an increasing importance. So much so that in today’s market, there is an expectation from gamers that developers will allow them to play with their friends.
This is, unfortunately, a challenge for smaller studios. Designing back-end multiplayer functionality for a game can be significantly harder, it takes far more resources than simply constructing a single player title.
When hosting a high number of players from around the world, developers must account for all the permutations and events that can happen ingame. This is expensive. Players cannot also be confident that the multiplayer environment is entirely fair as they do not have any knowledge of how the back-end system works.
Blockchain technologies promise a solution that shifts these challenges from a developer to a decentralized system. Not only does such a network offer developers an inexpensive way to make their game multiplayer, but also solves many issues from the perspective of gamers.
Standardizing multiplayer game development
It has usually been the case that large games studios are ones to change the industry. Advancements in technology come at a high price and, as a result, few companies retain a tight grip in the market.
This neither favours players, not is it conducive to healthy competition. Blockchain brings the opportunity to democratize game development through decentralized networks for hosting multiplayer.
Such a shift in paradigms favours independent indie game devs and levels a playing field that now gives pre-eminence to giant studios. Blockchain platforms are already under development, among them are Qlear Protocol, Bountie and Firstblood, each with a proposal to create secure online gaming environments.
Successful implementation would see back-end multiplayer game functions processed by users themselves, thus providing the engine and power required to host a large volume of players. Decentralized environments on blockchain provide an alternative to platforms such as the Photon Engine — a platform that offers smaller teams an easier route into developing multiplayer for their game.
Such a platform has cost effective packages designed for indie teams, though not at the scale of users that blockchain is poised to offer. Nor does it guarantee any level of immutability ― inherent on blockchain tech ― which is a key part of making gameplay near unhackable and provably fair.
Creating a better, more cohesive gaming community
Blockchain systems not only use participants to power their infrastructure, but also confer advantages of increased user accountability, rapid loading times and a high level of security. Distributing back-end multiplayer functions means that no single entity has control and no one can tamper with the system.
In a few words, blockchain technology can help developers put their game on a multiplayer infrastructure that is cheap and watertight. New startups, such as the aforementioned, claim to offer both fairness and speed through the decentralized environment for game hosting.
As is often on blockchain, adoption will be key
Success for these platforms is, more than ever, reliant on the user base that it can attract. What may be crucial is that studios are given a wide range of tools to work with; enticing players is best achieved on a platform which gives freedom to developers.
It is hard to predict what the blockchain-based multiplayer environment would look like, and this is why it is important to keep it open to interpretation. If developers are handed tools to create integrated and seamless gaming experiences, this can only encourage organic growth.