Back in 2016, the Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum coined the term ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ as an era characterized by the intersection and complementarity of emerging technologies. Since then, the virtual world started to grow rapidly.
In the midst of impressive technological solutions in the 21st century, we have to ask ourselves whether blockchain, paired with artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR), can transform the gaming industry? The gaming industry is a $336 billion dollar industry, with about 3.5 billion players worldwide, that has used for a long period of time a traditional model of ownership and profit-sharing. The digital revolution has taught us that changes in the tech industry emerge rapidly. Hence, blockchain-based games have already started to transform into one of the largest media categories in the world.
There are several reasons why millions of people worldwide spend their free time playing games. Research shows that gaming targets particular psychological needs such as competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Complementary emerging technologies such as AI and VR have amplified gaming popularity, appealing to gamers’ psychological needs.
While most novel technologies have improved the gaming experience, focusing on realism, blockchain tech has the potential to pave the way for foundational engineering to make 21st-century games truly stand out as evolutionary iterations of the industry.
Blockchain and AI meet in the metaverse and this is where the magic starts to happen by offering a stable decentralized network, high-quality data, privacy, improved payment methods, and an enhanced concept of digital ownership. In other words, let’s imagine a virtual realm that allows gamers to take part in the creation of the game while enjoying the security of a decentralized network, the possibility to attain intellectual property (IP) rights, and the many perks of exciting groundbreaking tech such as AI.
Cradles: entering the quest for enhanced gaming experiences
As a startup that desires to contribute to this next phase of evolution (and with a broad end game in mind of realising the metaverse), we are working to create a game that demonstrates how blockchain can make possible new experiences for the players. Through Cradles: Origin of Species, we want to prove that it is possible to build a truly decentralized game based on blockchain and artificial intelligence.
Apart from the democratic and open world aspects of decentralization, this type of game itself helps flesh out the initial vision of pre-metaverse games from the early 2000s that popularised world-building.
The creation of Cradles is in line with the pioneering movement in the gaming industry and holds the potential to cast more light on the contemporary gaming experience, particularly with the quest to discover enhanced experiences for gamers.
Bringing real-world time rules to the virtual domain
Cradles aims to be the first blockchain-based game that encompasses entropy-increasing worlds. This opens up a new angle for gaming that has never been attempted before: virtual worlds that progress, evolve, and deteriorate as time passes.
There will be no constraints for the players, other than that they have to interact with game elements to ensure the normal operation of the whole virtual ecosystem.
Even in the traditional sense of gaming, open-world games have been on the rise for a while now. Referred to as the sandbox of the gaming industry, such gaming environments present a virtual escape for players with many opportunities at their disposal. In Cradles, there will be an open-world digital environment filled with all kinds of extinct species, loosely based on what we know existed in prehistoric times. Players can take on multiple roles to enjoy their gaming experience or assume the role of a visitor to take pleasure in the mesmerizing landscape of Cradles’ worlds.
Furthermore, the game is based on a financial system like cryptocurrency staking. The whole system is grounded on the idea that if players cooperate to manage the systems for tasks and the banking system remains stable, they will receive rewards that will gradually increase. The NFT movement based on blockchain games is booming — EA declared the movement as the future of the gaming industry.
In Cradles, the token distribution will provide community and developer incentives. Even though these pay-to-earn systems belong to an emerging and relatively novel niche, they have been the driving force behind the convergence of the digital and physical realms. As the gaming industry is becoming decentralized, games like Cradles will be valuable in terms of bringing digital assets into the hands of players.
Blockchain and IP Law: A Perfect Fit?
One of the reasons blockchain-based games are going to transform the gaming industry lies in its open approach to intellectual property rights. Aside from the possibility to claim ownership of in-game assets and not treating players as mere licensees of the product as in the past, blockchain-based games present opportunities for developers and influencers as well.
Cradles takes on the same approach to incentivize individuals or organizations to create content for the world of Cradles and gain IP rights. In the legal sense, these incentives can be reached with the so-called smart contracts between the game’s creator and the developer that are used to set up and enforce IP agreements.
This revolution in the gaming industry is far-reaching since it may shape the traditional understanding of IP law. Smart contracts are merely computer protocols intended to enable and enforce the performance of contracts in the digital realm. Therefore, blockchain-based games have caught the eye of WIPO that recognized the obvious possibilities for gaining IP rights and evidence of creatorship when it comes to unregistered IP rights such as copyright and unregistered design rights. In other words, all these bright kids around the globe now have a fighting chance to obtain rights, control, and exploit their work in ways traditional games never did.
The most important feature of blockchain-based games is that they shift power back to users. Aside from providing clear advantages for both the users and developers, blockchain tech provides us with a number of other significant features such as transparency, privacy, decentralization and security. Combining blockchain with AI, players are enriched with exciting and unpredictable gameplay.
After all, the main objective of the gaming industry is to entertain and occupy us by providing a virtual escape into digital reality. And if we’re able to obtain ownership and IP rights while enjoying ourselves, the fourth industrial revolution appears to be on the right track.
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