The phrase cryptocurrency is becoming more and more frequently used both in the tech world and outside of it. For those that don’t know, cryptocurrencies are currencies which only exist online. They are created and spent online, without control from the government or any other authority. There are various types of cryptocurrency but perhaps the most popular, and best known, is Bitcoin. Since its creation in 2009, Bitcoin has soared in value and it has become quite widely used in particular industries, such as online betting and online gaming. It is not yet known whether Bitcoin’s popularity will continue to grow or whether the currency will crash in the future. However, it already has the potential to expand into other industries. Will it impact the mobile gaming industry?
Gaming, both online and offline, has soared in popularity in recent years. The gaming industry as a whole is currently worth approximately $108 billion, with mobile games accounting for a considerable portion of this. By 2020, it is predicted that mobile games will be worth half of the games market. There are various reasons for their popularity; mobile games are an easily accessible pastime and the huge range of games available to download from mobile application stores has widened their appeal.
Cryptocurrencies have the potential to change the way in-game purchases are made. This trend has already been seen in online PC games, Microsoft have even made it possible to purchase games from their online store using Bitcoin. The eSports industry has seen an increasing use of cryptocurrencies being used for prize money and for betting on the outcome of large gaming events. Having an online currency makes it possible for in-game purchases to be seamless and fast, reducing the need for users to input their payment details. When applied to mobile gaming, the principle is the same- the integrated currency makes it far easier to make purchases while playing.
As well as improving the payment process for users, online currencies could make the gaming experience more enjoyable for users. This is because many mobile apps currently rely upon in-game advertisements to earn revenue. These disrupt the gameplay and can be frustrating for many players. Making in-game purchases more seamless by adopting cryptocurrencies could boost game developers revue, meaning they can reduce the need for in-game advertisements.
The main concern for this fast and easy payment method is security. Although Bitcoin ensures users anonymity by providing them with a unique purchase address that is not associated in anyway with their personal information, there have still been a number of security breaches. However, the technology does still need developing further to create a gateway which makes seamless in-app purchases possible. At present the user needs to open another website to complete the transaction via Bitcoin, which is only slightly faster than entering their payment details.
There are a number of mobile gaming apps which use cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, currently available on the market. Some of these games offer the potential for users to earn the currency when they play, these can usually be connected to a wallet application which allows them to be spent anywhere online which accepts the currency. There are also a number of online casinos using Bitcoin in the same way money is normally used. Online casino games are highly popular, with new games being released every day, so it is significant that cryptocurrency is already established in this popular sector of the mobile gaming market. It is highly likely that we will see a continued and increasing use of cryptocurrencies within a wider range of mobile games in the near future.
Overall, the growth of cryptocurrency usage in mobile games should be a positive and progressive step. Users may find it easier to make purchases, which is mutually beneficial for the player and the developers. Using cryptocurrency could potentially help the industry to continue growing and simultaneously improve the type of game play that users experience. However, this does depend on the progression of technology and whether it is possible to develop an integrated payment system. One of the main concerns about the increasing use of cryptocurrencies in mobile games is security concerns. The online currencies will need to stabilise, both in value and their security, before users begin to accept them as a widespread currency.
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