Blockchains are disrupting every industry from finance to mapping. eSports are no different. The burgeoning eSports market is set to be unleashed by integration with the blockchain. In the past few decades, new technologies have transformed gaming. Instead of visiting a store to rent or buy new titles, high-speed internet connection means that games are purchased and downloaded directly on the console. Gamers are buying more games than ever before and the biggest franchises have strengthened their hold with in-game purchases. What started as local game tournaments have grown into a global eSports industry. Competitive gaming is now reaching the heights of other professional sports with high revenue streams from sponsorship, advertising, and media rights. The growth of live streaming means that eSports continue to reach new audiences. Giants like ESPN now report on key matches and the top teams, and in 2014 Amazon acquired Twitch, the leader in online gaming broadcasts. Newzoo predicts eSports will hit a $1 billion market sooner than predicted, with revenues of $905 million expected this year.
For eSports to unleash this potential, the industry is going to need to keep reaching more gamers and new audiences. This is where the blockchain comes in. As a secure database that stores data across a peer to peer network, blockchains mean that eSports can continue to grow with gamers in control. Blockchains are distributed databases that are secure without third parties. Cryptocurrencies — digital money built on blockchains — mean it’s possible to transact without worrying that a single coin can be used twice. Blockchain-enabled smart contracts take this one step further, allowing for secure transactions to be automated only when certain conditions have been met. The blockchain is going to have a huge impact on eSports, and at Yamzu we want to be the first to fully realize its potential.
Here are 4 ways the blockchain is going to revolutionize eSports:
1. Blockchain makes eSports more transparent and secure
eSports have a trust problem. Players have to trust the organizer, the sponsor, and even the fans sending them donations. But scams are big business in eSports. People with no intention to pay out prizes use the branding of well known organizers. Trolls send donations to players only to reverse the payment weeks later. And sponsors list fake prizes that they never send to winners. Blockchain will help make eSports more transparent and secure. Prize pools can be held securely in escrow in smart contracts, automatically sent to the winner when the results of a match have been verified. Players won’t need to be able to trust that the sponsor or organizer is acting in good faith because there’s no way for a prize or donation to be taken back.
2. Blockchain levels the playing field between amateurs and professionals
As the industry has grown and professionalized, the wage gap between gamers has become wider. Now, it’s harder for amateurs to take part in the major tournaments and access higher prize pools. Blockchains lower the variable cost of operating a secure database. This means Yamzu can treat small and big budgets the same, and anyone can organize, and take part in, tournaments. Blockchains equalize the status of players so that everyone can access a level playing field where only skills matter.
3. Blockchain puts players in control
eSports players are put under a lot of pressure. Managers have forced their teams to throw games and lose on purpose so they can illegally fix betting odds. And due to the high costs of setting up a tournament, players have to rely on big budget organizers who don’t always have their interests at heart. Currently, there’s no easy way for eSports players to create their own events. Blockchain-enabled smart contracts make it cheaper to set up a tournament and distribute prizes. Now gamers are free organize competitions with their own rules, independent of sponsors and affiliates.
4. Blockchain makes it easier to monetize eSports
Cryptocurrencies offer players a secure way to receive payments that cannot bounce or be taken back. More tournaments mean more opportunities to win prizes. The only thing that should matter is skill, not fame. This will give visibility to more talented players around the world and make it easier for teams and sponsors to scout new talent. With the blockchain, Yamzu can bring together all the resources and tools a player, team, sponsor or developer might need to earn revenue from eSports: team and tournament setup, prize pool payout, stats, and the integration of new games.
At Yamzu, we are driven to make eSports more transparent and secure. As players ourselves, we are confident blockchain will help put gamers in control as the industry continues to grow. Peer to peer gaming is about sharing the value with the dedicated players who create it in the first place. Our decentralized eSports platform will demonstrates the full potential of blockchain technology.