Even if you have never played a single video game in your entire life, I bet you’ve at least heard of DotA. DotA – or Defense of the Ancients – is a game that has single-handedly created the MOBA genre and has become one of the most popular e-sport games of all time.
However, at the very beginning of its development, no one – not even its creators – could predict that DotA would be such a monumental success. Conceived as a popular mod for Warcraft 3 by Kyle “Eul” Sommer in the early 2000s, it was abandoned by its creator right after its launch.
Another modder by the name of Steve “Guinsoo” created a couple of versions of DotA, which set the base for DotA 2. He also stepped away a few years later. DotA gained popularity, and even 15 years after its launch it continues to draw in millions of new people from around the globe, generating an unspeakable amount of annual revenue for Valve, its current owner.
Things would have been different for Kyle and Steve (the game’s original creators) if decentralized gaming and Web3 were a thing back in the time of Warcraft 3 modding.
In the current world of online gaming, independent creators do not receive much monetary recognition for their creations. The story of the DotA creators is a good example of that. The global gaming business is anticipated to increase to $314.4 billion by 2026, from $173.70 billion in 2020.
It’s estimated that there are more than 1 billion online gamers, which is constantly rising. It would be fair for creators to get a cut of the pie for their contribution. The question is: How can that happen? How can creators get what they deserve?
The decentralized, aka web3, the community is the answer. And the web3 gaming communities are at the forefront of a fairer community.
Why will web3 be bigger than any nation or religion?
We’re witnessing tremendous changes in the social, economic, and cultural lives of people as a result of shifts towards Web3 and decentralization. New industries, new currencies, new economies, and new communities are formed. Eventually, this might lead to the emergence of a new entity with its own form of laws and regulations – a kind of a “Network State”.
The new decentralized world creates opportunities for people who share similar interests and values to unite in communities that span the globe, where they can work, create and earn a living by building the things they love.
This new frontier will see the creations of passionate professionals across different fields – artists, programmers, game designers, and other visionaries will bring forward a digital renaissance, like it was with the internet, but much, much more advanced and ambitious. The decentralized communities that will emerge will blur the lines between nations and religions, and become a catalyst for human progress.
Decentralized/Blockchain games are in the earliest stages of their inception, and considering their potential in combination with the engagement of independent creators in the gaming industry, I strongly believe that the first powerful decentralized communities will come from games.
A decentralized game that leverages blockchain technology enables its players to take creative stakes in the game by providing control over its lore, its economy, and even its mechanics. These are just a few of the benefits that blockchain gaming offers to both players and creators. Players can also become producers within these economies, and earn a living by producing value for others within the blockchain gaming community.
However, blockchain technology, like any other technology new to the scene, comes with its pitfalls. The adoption of this type of technology for gaming purposes is not going smoothly. Notwithstanding the generally hostile attitude that many within the gaming industry and community – and other industries for that matter – feel towards this new type of technology, gaming operators that want to adopt blockchain technology face three other main challenges.
It’s inevitable that with each new technology, a new set of technical hurdles occur that need to be overcome. Every emerging technology has to go through various stages before going to market and becoming successful, which include the creation, design, and running phases. From there, technology is often in BETA mode while issues and bugs are fixed to ensure it runs smoothly. These phases apply to blockchain technology, too.
Gaming engineers and developers alike need to first create the software using blockchain technology, then improve upon it, and then keep improving it as consumer demands change and trends come and go. Traditionally, all new and emerging technology has gone through these cycles.
For gaming operators that want a slice of the blockchain pie, patience may be the key to success here. Rather than diving headfirst into blockchain technology, as it’s shiny and new, operators that hold fire while other – perhaps larger – operators test out new technologies, may save significant budget and resources. Once the kinks are ironed out for gaming purposes, operators will have a fully-fledged white-labeled solution at their fingertips, ready to go.
For any new technology to succeed, it must undergo mass adoption. If we think back to the introduction of the mobile phone, where the majority of people just couldn’t see the practical application of having a portable device that made you contactable 24/7, or the introduction of the internet that was never expected to take off – these technologies have now become so ingrained into our lives that we can’t imagine life without them.
When the internet was still new and unfamiliar, the set-up process was immense. Users had to buy the right hardware, and then use a physical line and dial-up tone to connect to the internet (as long as nobody was on the telephone, of course).
Together, the mobile phone and the internet have proven to be ‘the’ technology power couple of the twentieth century. Having the world in your pocket has meant that the internet is now an integral part of our everyday lives.
To push the mass adoption of blockchain technologies, the gaming community must consider becoming the leading force. The engagement of millions of online gamers in a decentralized economy will lead to a better understanding of the technology’s practical application. When regular users understand how the technology works and how others can benefit from it, only then will they start trusting it and consider adopting it. But to achieve this, governance is required.
To become widespread, engineers, developers, organizations, and companies alike need to collaborate within the blockchain ecosystem. Only by doing so, supporting others within the industry, and banding together to drive mass adoption numbers of the technology, will governance and regulatory compliance become possible and mandatory for everyone involved.
Once this is achieved, it’s only a matter of time before consumers place greater trust in blockchain and start using it as part of their everyday lives, like the mobile phone and the internet.
Of course, none of these processes can be considered a walk in the park. As with the internet, it will take time for blockchain technology to become widespread – maybe 15 years, 10 if we’re lucky. But if we want to revolutionize technology in a way that changes industries, and economies, and, more importantly, fairly rewards creators according to their contribution, we have to work patiently and diligently in that direction.
Decentralized games are well-suited to establish the baseline and standards for how the decentralized community should operate. Those standards will be applied to other web3 communities turning the web3 movement into a fair and transparent society.
About Moonstream: Moonstream DAO provides building blocks for blockchain game economies. The company manages more than $3B in transaction value. Game designers use Moonstream’s dashboards to monitor the health of their economies and smart contracts to create token sources, token sinks, items, consumables, loot boxes, and marketplaces for their players. Moonstream’s bots secure their markets against bad actors that want to cause economic damage.
Neeraj Kashyap is a mathematician and holds a Ph.D. in Number Theory from Indiana University. Spent his late twenties in Japan, using mathematics and Machine Learning to build algorithms to diagnose Parkinson’s disease and other similar disorders.
This work made him realize the importance of building large-scale knowledge graphs, and he moved to Silicon Valley to focus on this work. He has worked at Google on TensorFlow and has built knowledge graphs that are being used actively by major US healthcare organizations.
Neeraj has been a blockhead since 2015, with a focus on building software to connect blockchains to centralized services as well as to other blockchains.