July 19, 2023
An Overview of Gaming in Blockchain, and How SKALE is Revolutionizing Web3 Games
Leveraging blockchain technology in gaming has unlimited potential. Similarly to the early days of the internet, when the world transitioned from web1 to web2, the initial use-cases were limited. Back then, the most popular ideas were digital directories of their analogue counterparts - yellow pages and newspapers. While useful, they didn’t make full use of the technology. In hindsight, it was obvious that the internet is much more than that. For example, yellow pages became user-driven search engines like Google.
The same can be said for blockchain gaming today. While minting NFTs and incorporating their metadata into games is a step in the right direction, it's comparable to the digital "yellow pages" or "newspapers" of the early internet. The capabilities of blockchain have yet to be fully leveraged in gaming, such as decentralized and secure data storage which will allow for a reduction in the number of different tools and plugins used. Instead of using user analytics tools, database and IPFS storage, the industry can use blockchain capabilities.
Evolution of Blockchain Gaming
The evolution of blockchain gaming has been an exciting journey, marked by various stages:
Stage 1: Play-to-earn games
It began with play-to-earn games, where the primary focus was on making money through price speculation of NFTs and game tokens. Many games required the user to own the game NFTs in order to play.
Stage 2: Play-and-earn games
Then there was a transition to play-and-earn games, where the emphasis shifted a bit more towards improving gameplay quality and user experience. These games often have no entry requirements like owning a specific NFT, however, the underlying motive remained centered around acquiring early-stage NFTs and game tokens to resell them at a profit.
Stage 3: Play-and-own phase
Now, the industry finds itself in the play-and-own phase, where gameplay takes precedence, and the goal is to enhance the gaming experience through the acquisition of more valuable NFTs. The focus has shifted from solely making money to enjoying the game, while also utilizing the benefits of owning desirable NFTs. In the play-and-own games the main focus is the gameplay and providing a frictionless user experience, just like it was before web3 games.
The full utilization of blockchain technology in gaming, as well as other domains, is yet to be achieved, as it still relies on centralized services such as databases. One significant factor contributing to this situation was the lack of readiness for the early blockchains, like Ethereum, to be embraced by everyday users. The substantial gas fees and slow transaction speeds played a significant role in making dApps less user-friendly. Consequently, these dApps looked for centralized solutions that bypassed these obstacles while incorporating blockchain technology.
Similar to any new technology, a maturation period is essential for developing solutions to the associated challenges. This phenomenon can be observed at different levels. Just as blockchain gaming underwent various phases before reaching the "play-and-own" stage, different blockchain solutions were also devised to address their specific problems. These solutions include alternative layer 1 and layer 2 blockchains that offer higher transactions per second (TPS) and lower gas fees.
Presently, many web3 games have shifted towards utilizing more user-friendly blockchain solutions such as other L2s with lower gas fees, and in particular SKALE with zero-gas fees for end users.
Current Web3 Game Problems
Despite the progress made, web3 games still have a long way to go to achieve mass adoption. Currently, the combined number of daily active users in the top 20 web3 games hovers around 615571, while a unique web2 game like ROBLOX boasts over 24 million daily active users. So, what sets web2 games apart?
To achieve mass adoption, web3 games must learn from their web2 counterparts. They need to examine what the successful web2 games are doing right and how they have overcome obstacles. The web2 industry has been around for a long time, and it has encountered similar challenges to those faced by web3 games. The web3 gaming industry can learn from the history of web2 gaming, on how to overcome certain obstacles.
Many of the new blockchain solutions used in web3 games represent a significant improvement compared to Ethereum, however, users still face the challenge of paying gas fees, and the transactions per second (TPS) rate remains relatively low. Consequently, users must acquire tokens for their wallets and endure occasional delays of 10 to 20 seconds for even simple transactions, such as minting NFTs. These factors significantly impact the user experience and subsequently hinder the growth of daily active users in the game.
Why Gas Fees in Blockchain Gaming Hinder Growth
Let's consider the following scenario:
Suppose a game on Polygon triggers transactions with a gas fee of $0.03 USD. In this game, on average a regular user makes 1000 transactions during two weeks. Most of the game's actions are recorded as transactions on the blockchain. Those actions range from changing the number of defeated enemies in the smart contract to minting new NFTs. At the end of the week, even with very low gas fees, the user would end up spending $30 USD.
After weeks of gameplay, this amount becomes cumulatively substantial. If we consider that, according to appsflyer only 5% mobile game players spend money in IAPs on a web2 game, the transaction fees significantly narrow down web3 gaming’s potential user base. In addition, a lot of games are played by young ages, meaning that they have less money to spend on a game. For example, in the game Roblox 55% of users were under 16 years old in 2022. (Source: Statista)
The above example exposes one simple but common use case where new blockchain solutions are needed. Thankfully SKALE network is able to offer a solution for that common problem with its Ethereum compatible zero gas fees chains. The players of web3 games deployed on SKALE don’t have to worry about paying for transactions since the token used to pay for fees, sFUEL, has no economic value, being a free resource of the SKALE chains.
Why SKALE is the Best Blockchain Gaming Solution
Let's dig deeper into the SKALE network and explore how SKALE chains are a great solution for web3 game devs gamers.
1) Zero gas fees for users
When a dApp is deployed on one of the SKALE chains, it gains access to varying chain resources, such as throughput and block storage. In this model, developers pay for the space and chain resources, freeing users from the typical economic burden associated with gas fees.
2) High transactions per second
SKALE network combines top-tier, extensively researched methodologies with world-class engineering to create a consensus mechanism capable of processing over 400 transactions per second with peaks up to 700, with average block times of 1-2 seconds and time to finality of 1-2 seconds. This exceptional performance elevates the user gaming experience to unprecedented levels, enabling gameplay similar to web2 without any lag or latency in blockchain transactions. If the game wants to perform a transaction at the moment the player hits something, it’s easily done without compromising the next in-game transactions that might depend on the first one, just like in web2 games when using servers.
3) SKALE hubs and dApp chains
Within the SKALE network, dApps have two options for running their applications. They can either have their own dedicated chain, leveraging the full range of resources offered by a SKALE chain (e.g., maximum TPS, block storage, and file storage), or they can opt to join a hub. Hubs, such as the Nebula Gaming Hub, are specialized chains designed specifically for gaming-related projects. Hubs provide a shared compute environment for projects that do not require the entire set of resources offered by an individual SKALE chain. This shared compute model, similar to traditional cloud computing, enables projects to benefit from SKALE's power while optimizing resource allocation. As projects grow, they can migrate to their dedicated resources when they outgrow the hub. This flexible solution is suitable for various types of games, as not all games require the same level of resources.
By leveraging SKALE Chains, web3 games can attain a significantly improved user experience, ultimately expanding their reach to a broader audience and facilitating mass adoption. With zero gas fees, SKALE removes financial barriers, making the games more accessible to users of all backgrounds. The high transactions per second capability ensures seamless gameplay, enhancing user satisfaction and engagement. Furthermore, the security provided by multisig contracts instills trust and transparency in in-game transactions. By offering a user-friendly environment and addressing key pain points, SKALE Chains pave the way for web3 games to captivate a wider user base and propel the industry towards mass adoption.
Build Your Games on SKALE for Gas Free Gaming
SKALE is the world's fastest blockchain, designed for fast, secure, user-centric Ethereum scaling. SKALE chains offer zero gas fees to end-users and have advanced features such as on-chain file storage, interchain messaging, zero-cost minting, ML/AI smart contracts, and enhanced security features.
The SKALE network enables developers to deploy their own EVM blockchain in minutes without sacrificing speed, security, or decentralization. Welcome to the SKALEverse.