Will Gamers be Next to Get on the Blockchain?
You bought, you played, you conquered.
Completed all the missions. Explored every nook and cranny. Beat half the online community. You enjoyed the heck out of it while it lasted, and the game was cool, but it’s not one you’ll be coming back to. Not every game can steal your heart. You just love trying them out.
This would be about the time you gather up all your old discs and head to the local used game store for trade-in time. It’s pretty awesome because it means you can get cash back or store credit towards that shiny new release this week. But in an era where everything is moving to digital, what does that mean for trading in your used games?
In 2016, 74% of video game purchases were digital download.1
Just four years earlier, it was less than half of the market. And for 2017, digital game revenue is predicted to reach $94.4 billion, or 87% of the global gaming market. As gaming moves more towards digital downloads and away from discs, what will become of a once thriving trade-in market?
For the most part, right now once you download a game, it’s yours forever. Gamers without lots of storage on their systems can be hesitant to purchase too many downloaded games because once the system fills up, that means deleting. As product innovations create greater capacity and storage becomes more affordable, this may become less of a restriction for gamers considering purchases, but for now it’s still a major consideration.
Some systems are already offering (or experimenting with) ways to allow gamers to trade in digital downloads. Because they are managed by the systems with the permission of game publishers, they control pricing which, of course, can put a damper on the market if trade-in values are set low and purchase prices too high.
But nothing has quite taken off yet as the end-all solution, or given gamers quite the same freedom and value as the used disc market once did. Could blockchain make a difference and open up the trade-in market once again?
Could blockchain revive the trade-in market?
Because the blockchain operates as a secure digital record-keeper, once a digital copy of a video game is registered within the blockchain, it can’t be duplicated. This could make the method ideal for controlling the re-sale of digital game copies. This application wouldn’t just be limited to entire games. It could include the digital extras, like skins and accessories, that make up a large portion of the digital download market.
Some startups are already experimenting with the idea of virtual markets utilizing blockchain security. Now, whether publishers and game systems will get on board is another matter. We’ll just have to wait and see.
1 – “Breakdown of U.S. computer and video game sales from 2009 to 2016, by delivery format” Statista. 2018 https://www.statista.com/statistics/190225/digital-and-physical-game-sales-in-the-us-since-2009/