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Unlocking the Future of Gaming: Blockchain Gaming Interoperability

Ray Chen
Product Manager
September 26, 2023
Unlocking the Future of Gaming: Blockchain Gaming Interoperability
Update
Since this post was written, Hyperledger FireFly has reached 1.0. Learn more here!

Interoperability is a hot topic in the blockchain world and much of the discussion is around interoperability between chains.

  • How do blockchains communicate with each other?
  • How is data transferred between chains?
  • How may assets be securely transferred?

In this blog, we will talk about a different kind of interoperability, one between different games. Game interoperability is an important discussion as it unlocks new game mechanics, economies, and allows for the creations of new, virtual worlds. While we certainly don’t believe that game interoperability is the only future for games, we do think that it will play a big role. Much like free to play games changed the gaming landscape and spawned many of the most popular games today, interoperable web3 games will usher in the next era of top games.

Interoperability in gaming

To start, what do we mean when we talk about interoperable games? Let’s use an analogy. Imagine buying a new Ferrari. After a lot of hard work and saving up you’re excited to begin driving it. You pick it up and drive it home. However, when you try to drive in another city, you find that your car doesn’t work there or isn’t allowed in the new region. This is how gaming works today. In-game assets are only usable in the game they originated from and there’s no portability to any other game. It is a zero-sum scenario where an asset becomes useless if a player stops playing a game or if the game renders the asset obsolete through new content or other factors.

What if, like in real life, you are able to use a car, a piece of clothing, or anything you purchase everywhere you go—not just in the environment where you purchased it?

Interoperability in the context of blockchain gaming is the ability to seamlessly transfer digital assets between different games or platforms. This concept opens up a world of possibilities, where players can carry their hard-earned assets from one game to another, improving their gaming experience, fostering collaboration between developers, and ultimately increasing the value of digital assets across multiple games.

Implications for interoperable games

Ownership and Value of Digital Assets

One of the most significant enhancements that blockchain gaming brings to the table is the increased ownership and value of digital assets. Players invest considerable time and effort into acquiring in-game items, from powerful weapons to rare collectibles. Interoperable games enable players to use these digital assets across multiple games, thereby increasing their utility and value. These digital assets don’t have to take the same form either. For example, a shield named EpicShield in a RPG could become a card in a deck building game and a virtual building named EpicShield in another. This newfound freedom allows players to engage with games in new and exciting ways, as their hard-earned assets gain relevance and meaning beyond a single gaming environment.

That being said, there are also risks attached to this as well. By definition, ownership of assets means that the game becomes an open environment instead of a closed one. Developers will need to decide what this means and how far they take the connections, which we’ll talk about below.

Collaborative Gaming Ecosystems

As interoperable gaming gains traction, we can expect an increase in collaborative gaming ecosystems where developers work together to create interconnected gaming worlds. This collaboration fosters innovation and creativity, as developers can build on each other's ideas and game mechanics. For players, this translates into richer, more diverse gaming experiences, with a wide range of interconnected games and genres to explore.

As an example, imagine a game where you must acquire special items by playing another game. Perhaps you want to craft a sword in game A but need a material that is only obtainable in game B. Or there could be unlockable content that is only available by presenting a NFT from another game. There are all sorts of new game designs that developers and players can explore.

Emergence of New Business Models

The advent of interoperable gaming paves the way for the emergence of new business models in the gaming space that will ultimately benefit both players and developers. Shared in-game economies, subscription-based gaming services, and cross-platform asset monetization are just a few examples of the innovative business models that could arise from interoperable gaming. These new models have the potential to create more sustainable and profitable revenue streams for developers while offering players greater flexibility and choice in their gaming experiences.

As an example, imagine a popular game, game A that is interoperable with many other games. Game A could have a marketplace that sells assets from other games in addition to its own. Game A could get a cut for every transaction and other games would benefit from the popularity of Game A. This would be analogous to department stores in real life. While companies such as Costco, Walmart, etc. all sell products that they produce themselves, they also sell products from other brands as well. This is just one of many new business models that could emerge from interoperability.

Questions developers must ask

Is blockchain right for the game?

Blockchain is the ideal solution for interoperability because it is a shared database. There is a decentralized, immutable record meaning no central party owns the database and any game may also reference it. Without blockchain it could be a difficult task to assess what database to use for interoperable assets.

For example, imagine game A and game B want to have interoperable assets. For this to happen, assets sent from game A to B and vice versa must be accounted for in both games. This would certainly be accounted for using traditional software architecture however what happens when we introduce more games to mix?

For instance, if we have games A, B, and C, game C will need to also keep track of what is happening between game A and B as otherwise there will be discrepancies in what game C knows. This could be solved if all games use game A’s database as a source of truth but that becomes a centralized solution that would likely be hard to agree upon. A better solution would be to use blockchain with each party having a copy of the same ledger. Learn more about multi-party systems in blockchain here.

Flexibility in game design opens developers up to creating new experiences and business models.

How open is the game?

A second decision a developer must make is how much control of the game they will cede. By definition, ownership of assets means that the game becomes an open environment instead of a closed one. Developers will need to decide what this means. Can any game be interoperable? Or only the ones that are similar genres? Or maybe only those within the game studio’s IP? Porting an item from World of Warcraft into EVE for example wouldn’t make much sense since one game is based on fantasy while the other is based on space.

Another decision is whether interoperability is a one or two way street. Perhaps the game only allows assets to be exported out of the game. Or the game might only allow assets to be ported from outside games and have a walled garden for in-game assets. A one-player story-based game may not gain much benefit from assets being interoperable from other games but may be an intriguing experience if certain items or achievements are needed to unlock content in another game.

How to build on blockchain?

Interoperability sounds great and all, but how do game developers begin to build on blockchain? There are many considerations to be made such as what chain to use, how to manage gas fees, how to make sure on- and off-chain events are synchronized, how do I manage wallets and users, and many more web3 development questions. Kaleido is a one-stop shop for all your web3 game development needs and has solutions for every challenge in developing a game on blockchain.

Token Types and Gaming Interoperability

Final thoughts

The advent of blockchain technology has ushered in an era of untapped potential in the realm of gaming. By enabling interoperability, blockchain technology can radically transform the gaming industry, creating a new paradigm where games are not isolated entities but part of an interconnected ecosystem.

It is important to recognize that while interoperable games present promising opportunities, they do not represent the sole future of gaming. As with the advent of free-to-play games, interoperability is set to be a significant force in shaping the future of gaming. As developers, players, and industry stakeholders navigate the evolving landscape, one thing is clear—blockchain gaming interoperability is unlocking a future that is as exciting as it is unprecedented.

Kaleido provides a one-stop solution to help get ideas live and address the challenges of web3 development. This includes a dedicated sidechain, public RPC, trusted bridging, wallets and users, developer-friendly APIs, and smart contract management and upgrades—all of which make development faster. With Hyperledger FireFly, Kaleido provides developers and gamers with a comprehensive set of web3 tools, enabling them to focus on developing their game while leaving the blockchain complexity to Kaleido.

If you’re ready to give Kaleido’s gaming offerings a try, schedule a demo and one our solution architects will set you up with a console of your own.

Demo Our NFT Platform

Kaleido's NFT Platform makes it easier than ever to stand up gaming experiences that attract and retain users. Try it out for yourself.

Request a Demo

Demo Our NFT Platform

Kaleido's NFT Platform makes it easier than ever to stand up gaming experiences that attract and retain users. Try it out for yourself.

Request a Demo
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Interested in Blockchain?

Start learning blockchain and creating enterprise solutions today with a free Kaleido account!

Create Free Account

Demo Our NFT Platform

Kaleido's NFT Platform makes it easier than ever to stand up gaming experiences that attract and retain users. Try it out for yourself.

Request a Demo

Demo Our NFT Platform

Kaleido's NFT Platform makes it easier than ever to stand up gaming experiences that attract and retain users. Try it out for yourself.

Request a Demo

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