TECHNOLOGY

Why Blockchain Technology Is About to Disrupt the Video Game Industry

A look at the possibilities in joining the super trendy video game sector with blockchain and AI.

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BY Darren Heitner - 10 May 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The video games industry has become a very hot topic on Wall Street, with discussion about stats like young gamers spending an average of 3 hours and 25 minutes each week watching other people play video games online (as compared to the roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes per week spent watching traditional sports). Yet, even this burgeoning industry that seems to be dominating the news cycle with stories about how many people are playing the popular game Fortnite is still ripe for further disruption.

That disruption may be found through joining the super trendy video game sector with the also oft discussed tech surrounding blockchain as well as artificial intelligence.

Video game developers have most to gain from blockchain disruption.

Inherent benefits of using a distributed ledger include immutable, transparent and public-key encrypted storage of records, including token transactions; scalability; and the democratization iof both the supply and utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) developer contracting and outsourcing across international borders.

With regard to the video games industry, it's certainly not something that the consumers (or "gamers") are likely to witness first-hand, but they should be concerned nonetheless, because by breaking down the various barriers to entry for developers and clients, decentralization could help to foster the next generation of creative talent, and thus an overall increase in quality for the design and implementation of technical innovations.

All too often, entrepreneurs and small businesses are too fixated on the business-to-consumer connection and lose sight of the powers that may lie in catering to their business to other businesses. With the blockchain, developers may be able to best help those businesses behind the games, which will have the ancillary effect of benefiting the consumer and growing the industry as a whole.

AI Tech has gone from cute in Pong to vital in games like Grand Theft Auto 5.

AI protocols are programed to complete an objective, which is most often the solving of a problem. In video games, that problem can be provide the semblance of a realistic opponent or ally in the digital world in the absence of (or in addition to) another human player.

You're probably aware of the early era of video-games, and the simplistic games that have come to define it. Take 1972's Pong for example - a rudimentary example when compared to the likes of modern examples such as Grand Theft Auto 5, which was released in 2013.

While Pong is a two-player game that offers a maximum of two human players or one human and one AI player, Grand Theft Auto 5 is a sprawling open-world simulation with hundreds of concurrent non-player characters either on screen or active at any one time that have a much greater number of possible scenarios to react against, further enhancing the sense that the place the player is exploring is real.

Demands of the market have changed significantly over this time, as has the amount of money that it costs to develop top-level games. It comes at the same time as great strides that have recently been made by blue chip corporations such as Google and Nvidia in the field of machine learning (self-teaching artificial intelligence).

But it's not only big businesses getting into the act. An Oxford-based AI startup called AIGaming is of the same persuasion and believes that the video-games industry is long-overdue for a new generational evolution. Its entire system is founded upon decentralized blockchain technology with the aim of creating a community driven platform for AI developers to collaborate, share and publish computer programs.

This is seen by many as the future of AI, not only in computer and video-games, but in other sectors too. Unfortunately; however, there are high barriers to entry for the average independent development professional.