The games industry is currently moving faster than a 3am Mario 64 speedrun. Gone are the days where consoles battles over who had the best controller design, this is a world of VR, competitive MMO selling and eSports filling out arenas. You already know this. As gamers we’re compelled to keep up with these things even when we suspect it may be no more than a gimmick, to try new things and see where the next height our entertainment medium of choice can take us.
Out of all these dramatic changes, we have a particular fondness for eSports. The transformation from playing LAN parties or Goldeneye to where the world is now is frankly astonishing, and really exciting. If you had told us at 12 years old that playing games could get you paid like the sporty kids, it would have been a dream come true. Competing and playing with our friends (and sometimes foes) is fun, and it’s becoming increasingly popular in the west.
This increasing popularity will bring changes. Right now the gaming world is still incredibly male, which is something that will either get worse or balance out a bit more. If the ratio stays the same as it currently is, this will a) be weird and b) introduce serious questions about our culture and openness. New habits will also start to emerge as the popularity increases. We anticipate nearly a doubling of players worldwide from 300m to 500m by 2020. To put that in context, the sports of baseball, rugby and golf each have maybe 500m fans worldwide. Potentially there’s going to be more eSports players than fans of one of these long-established sports.
This popularity is going to bring attention, and money. Brand sponsorship in the sector is currently sprawling to unprecedented levels, with Adidas, Vodaphone and Volvic are some of the big names who have started getting in on the action. Red Bull have been in the scene for years. The expansion of both capital and competitors in a sport that has undefined authorities and regulators is going to be weird, and amazing. But it could also be fraught for some gamers. The same attention will also bring scammers and fraudulent behaviour.
We’ve seen this kind of behaviour already, which prompted us to set up Yamzu and create platforms that were fast, reliable and secure for gamers. We’re convinced at this point that the next step for our industry is going to be implementing security and assurances that are not present in our sporting bodies (because our sporting bodies don’t exist yet). In light of this we think blockchain technology presents solutions to not just this but another big issue in the face of modern gaming: owning your own shit.
If you go and buy a drill on Monday you wouldn’t expect the drill to be locked and require a passcode on Tuesday. This are the kinds of problems that we frequently see in digital marketplaces, a problem which blockchain smart contracts offers a solution to. Securing assets is going to be a huge thing for the future of gaming. Blockchain technology also means it’s harder to cheat or buy what so many of us have grafted to earn (rankings etc), by creating complete transparency it will create barriers for this kind of cheating. We also see blockchain’s huge potential in the creation of tournaments. Right now competing and earning money is only really safe if you can afford to fly out to a tournament. Implementing a technology that is completely transparent and guarantees payment is a great way to give power back into the hands of gamers.
When we started our platform in 2016 we set out with the intention of making online gaming better, having servers that were quick as hell and a community that people could trust. For us, blockchain is an important next step in adding security to our sport just before it blows to stratospheric proportions. As part of that we are launching an ICO that you can take part of.