Games with virtual currency

The dream of every little boy (and many adult men) to earn a living by playing video games is approaching reality. The recent release of HunterCoin and VoidSpace, which are under development, games that reward players in digital currency rather than virtual princesses or gold stars, point to a future where scoreboard ratings can be rewarded in dollars, sterling, euros and yen.

The story of a millionaire (virtual) real estate agent …

Digital currencies are slowly gaining maturity both in terms of their functionality and financial infrastructure, which allows them to be used as a reliable alternative to non-virtual fiat currency. Although bitcoin, the first and most famous of the cryptocurrencies, was created in 2009, forms of virtual currencies have been used in video games for over 15 years. The 1997 Ultima Online was the first notable attempt to incorporate a large-scale virtual economy into the game. Players could collect gold coins by completing quests, fighting monsters and finding treasures, and spend them on armor, weapons or real estate. It was an early embodiment of virtual currency in that it existed exclusively in gaming, although it reflected the real world economy to the extent that Ultima’s currency experienced inflation as a result of gaming mechanics that guaranteed endless monsters to kill and thus gold coins to collect.

Released in 1999, EverQuest has taken another step towards playing virtual currency by allowing players to trade virtual goods with each other in the game, and although game designers have been banned from selling virtual items to each other on eBay. A real-world phenomenon that was fascinatingly explored in Neil Stevenson’s 2011 novel Reamde, Chinese gamers or “golden farmers” were used to play EverQuest and other similar full-time games in order to gain experience points to boost their characters. . thereby making them more powerful and in demand. These characters will then be sold on eBay to Western gamers who are unwilling or unable to spend hours raising the level of their characters. Based on EverQuest’s calculated exchange rate, Edward Kastranova, a professor of telecommunications at Indiana University and an expert on virtual currencies, estimated that in 2002 EverQuest was the 77th richest country in the world. between Russia and Bulgaria and its GDP per capita was higher than in the People’s Republic of China and India.

Launched in 2003 and reaching 1 million regular users by 2014, Second Life is perhaps the most complete example of a virtual economy to date when it is a virtual currency, the Linden Dollar, that can be used to buy or sell in-game goods and services . exchange for real world currencies through market exchanges. In the 10 years from 2002 to 2013, $ 3.2 billion in in-game transactions with virtual goods were registered, and Second Life became a market where players and businesses could develop, promote and sell the content they created. Real estate was a particularly lucrative commodity for trade. In 2006, Eileen Gref became the first millionaire of Second Life when she transformed an initial investment of $ 9.95 into more than $ 1 million in 2.5 years through buying, selling and trading virtual real estate to other players. Examples like Ailin are an exception to the rule, however only 233 registered users who earned more than $ 5,000 in 2009 on Second Life activities.

How to pay in dollars for asteroid mining …

To date, the ability to generate non-virtual money in video games was secondary: the player had to go through unauthorized channels to share their virtual booty or possess a degree of creativity or business acumen in the real world. which could be exchanged for cash. This may change with the advent of video games that are built from scratch around the “plumbing” of recognized digital currency platforms. The approach chosen by HunterCoin is “gamification,” which is usually a fairly technical and automated process of creating a digital currency. Unlike real currencies, which emerge when printed by the Central Bank, digital currencies are created by “mining” by users. The basic source code of a particular digital currency that allows it to function is called a blockchain, an online decentralized public ledger that records all transactions and currency exchanges between individuals. Because digital currency is nothing but intangible data, it is more prone to fraud than physical currency because it can duplicate a unit of currency, thereby causing inflation or a change in the value of a transaction after it has been made for personal gain. To prevent this from happening, the blockchain “spies” on volunteers or “miners” who verify the authenticity of each transaction, using special hardware and software to ensure that the data has not been falsified. This is an automated process for Miner software, although it is very time consuming, which involves a lot of computing power from their computer. To reward the miner for verifying the transaction, the blockchain releases a new unit of digital currency and rewards them with it as an incentive to maintain the network, thus creating a digital currency. Because it can take days to years for coins to be successfully mined, groups of users pool their resources into a “pool” for mining, using the combined computing power of their computers to retrieve coins faster.

The game HunterCoin is in such a blockchain for digital currency, which is also called HunterCoin. The act of the game replaces the automated process of extracting digital currency and for the first time makes it manual and without the need for expensive equipment. Using strategy, time and teamwork, players go to the map in search of coins and, finding them and safely returning to their base (other teams try to stop them and steal their coins), they can cash out their coins by depositing them in their digital Wallet is usually an application designed to make and receive digital payments. 10% of the value of any coins contributed by players goes to miners who support the HunterCoin blockchain, plus a small percentage of any coins lost when the player was killed and their coins fell out. Although game graphics are basic, and it takes time to accumulate significant rewards, HunterCoin is an experiment that can be seen as the first video game with a cash prize built as a main feature.

Although VoidSpace is still under development, it is a more sophisticated approach to gaming in the current economy. A multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), VoidSpace unfolds in space, where players explore an ever-growing universe, extracting natural resources such as asteroids, and trading them for goods with other players to create their own galactic empire. Players will be rewarded for mining at DogeCoin, a more established form of digital currency that is now widely used for micro-payments on various social networking sites. DogeCoin will also be an in-game currency between players and in-game purchases. Like HunterCoin, DogeCoin is a legitimate and fully functioning digital currency, and like HunterCoin, it can be traded in both digital and real fiat currencies on exchanges such as Poloniex.

The future of video games?

Although in terms of quality, the release of HunterCoin and VoidSpace is still just an interesting sign of what may be the next evolution of games. MMORPGs are now seen as a way to simulate outbreaks of epidemics as a result of how a player’s reaction to an unintentional plague reflects recorded difficult-to-simulate aspects of human behavior in the real world. It can be assumed that ultimately the virtual economy in the game can be used as models to test economic theories and develop responses to mass failures based on observations of how players use digital currency with real value. It is also a good test of the functionality and potential application of digital currencies that promise to go beyond simple means of exchange and, for example, into exciting areas of personal digital ownership. At the same time, players now have the means to convert hours in front of the screen into digital currency and then into dollars, sterling, euros or yen.

But before you quit your daily job …

… it is worth mentioning the current exchange rates. It is estimated that a player can comfortably recoup their initial registration fee of 1,005 HunterCoin (HUC) for joining HunterCoin in 1 day of play. Currently, the HUC cannot be exchanged directly for the US dollar, it needs to be converted into a more established digital currency such as Bitcoin. At the time of writing, the HUC to Bitcoin (BC) exchange rate is 0.00001900, while the BC to USD exchange rate is $ 384.24. 1 HUC traded in BC and then in USD before taking into account the transaction fee will be equated to … 0.01 USD. This is not to say that when a player becomes more agile, he cannot develop his team of virtual CoinHunters and possibly use multiple bot programs that will automatically play the game under the guise of another player and also earn coins for them but I think that it is safe to say that at the moment even such efforts can actually lead to enough change for the daily McDonalds. If players aren’t willing to succumb to intrusive in-game advertising, share personal information, or join a game like CoinHunter that is built on the Bitcoin blockchain, it’s unlikely that rewards will ever be greater than micro-payments for the average player. And maybe that’s a good thing, because if you get paid for something, it stops being a game?