There have been a lot of changes in the gaming industry this year, not limited to the new wave of virtual reality headsets that have been released, such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, and innovations like No Man’s Sky, a title that was heralded as the first computer generated open universe game. However, perhaps one of the most overlooked but nevertheless exciting developments has been the industry’s wholehearted embrace of the advantages of bitcoin, which has been long overdue. Here are three different ways the gaming industry has been utilising bitcoin to improve gamers' experience.
Like an increasing number of businesses, including the sandwich giant Subway, more game retailers than ever now accept bitcoin as a method of payment for console games. The most prominent example is No Man’s Sky, which allowed gamers to pre-order using bitcoin. The digital game distribution platform Steam, developed by Valve, also began to allow users to buy games in bitcoin this April. In internet transactions, bitcoin is useful because it makes all transactions completely anonymous, reducing the risk of credit card fraud. Bitcoin transactions also do not require a human middleman to process them, again making the process safer and more secure. Using a universal currency like bitcoin also means that gamers buying games from foreign companies do not need to convert their money, which would incur an extra charge. Since concerns about internet security are at an all-time high, companies like Steam have a lot to benefit from reducing the risks facing buyers.
Numerous games online, particularly online casinos, have also begun to accept payment from customers in bitcoin. The greater security involved with bitcoin transactions is particularly important in online gambling, where transaction amounts are larger and therefore more likely to attract the notice of hackers. Using bitcoin also allows pay-outs to be claimed instantaneously. So many online casinos have begun to incorporate this new technology that sites specifically created to review online bitcoin games have begun to crop up, such as BitcoinPokies, which reviews bitcoin slot machines available on different sites online for Australian players.
Developers have also been in investing in creating apps to make using bitcoins in the real world easier. For instance, Bitcoin Wallet allows you to pay with the internet currency in real world stores using your smartphone. Another great example is Coinbase, which acts like a cryptocurrency version of Paypal. However, apps are also using bitcoin to democratise various markets, creating a direct link between the producer and consumer that cuts out the fees that would otherwise be paid to a middleman. Examples include Arcade City, a ridesharing app that connects passengers and drivers using Facebook, and Code Valley, which bills itself as “the world’s first free automated market for software”. Bitcoin is also being used by some innovative apps as an unusual incentive. Sweatcoin rewards users with digital currency, which can be used to purchase goods and services, just for exercising, while social media site Steemit hands out currency in return for creating especially popular content.