We Invented a Way to Use NFT in Games (No, Not Skins Again)
Gamers and game journalists criticise NFTs in games. In-game items as NFTs, tokens instead of an in-game currency, or even the involvement of blockchain, something is always wrong.
Well, we came up with another use case for them to criticise, developers will keep making money, and gamers will enjoy real usefulness.
Problem: Games Disappear from Accounts
You can buy games in online shops like Steam, Epic Games Store, Playstation Store, Microsoft Store etc. They register user accounts and know who bought what. When a user launches the platform’s app, it generates a disposable token for requests sent to the ledger. Malfunctions in the token generation, however, sometimes result in the ledger rejecting the requests or failing to show some entries. As a result, the user loses access to their games and relevant in-game items.
Such disappearances occur every now and then. Forums are abundant with posts like “I bought a game but now it’s missing from my library.” Steam FAQ even has a special page concerning such disappearances where the store suggests you wait, relaunch Steam, or log in to the correct account.
Tokens are also employed in other functions like anti-piracy protection. Thus, Steam encrypts the main exec file with the user’s current token and decrypts it during the launch. As a result, one can’t launch the game with Steam off.
Solution: Peg Games to NFTs
The user buys a game and receives an NFT of the same game to the wallet. The token contains the game’s name and version, purchase date, platform, etc. The game’s service checks for the availability of the NFT and allows the user to launch the game or go online. This, in fact, works much like the existing solution with disposable tokens. A permanent NFT, however, would solve the problem with game disappearance in case of faulty generation.
Furthermore, NFTs are suitable for a secondary market of games. Right now, users can either give away or sell the disk (if the game was on a disk), or transfer account details in order to give a game to someone else. But disks can be damaged, and an account can be suspended if anything raises the administration’s suspicion. Sending NFTs, however, has no such limitations.
Imagine Steam is a multi-storeyed house where each game is an apartment. Right now, there is a concierge downstairs, and he decides where the user can go. If we use, NFTs, there’s no need for such an employee: players get their own keys that can open only relevant doors.
What’s Also Good About NFT Games
NFTs store unique data as links in the metadata. Thus, a video token’s metadata contain links to the video itself as well as different sized covers. The token’s creator cannot change or add links but they can change the files associated with those links. Similarly, saves in the cloud could be pegged to NFT games. For instance, the store could add links to empty files, and when the user launches the game, it creates a new file with a local save-game and then copies it to the vault using the pre-existing link.
NFTs could also protect gamers from hacks, as usually dishonest actors break into the gamer’s email or phish for the password using fraudulent links and other methods. Wallet accounts are much safer than that: an app or a website gets access to the public key but cannot transfer tokens without the user’s consent. Moreover, a player can store the private key on a separate device like Ledger that would protect the account even if a hacker breaks into the gamer’s computer.
Downsides of NFT Games
The main disadvantage here is the complexity faced by end-users. Unlike the normal course of events (launch the app, enter the password) they will have to manage a crypto-wallet. It’s not likely everyone will be onboard.
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