On March 5, Dr. Disrespect tweeted “The concept of digital collectibles in an online game is so exciting to me. Especially an extraction type of game. People saying scam and ‘ugh’ are just brain-dead headline followers. [These are the] same people that spend a ton of money on skins for an annual release game. Same skins everyone has too.”
This statement drew a lot of attention, with both streamers and non-streamers having a lot to say both in favor of and against the idea of blockchain-based games. The thread can be found below:
Given that his video games studio, Midnight Society, is working on a blockchain-based game that will feature an NFT economy, his position is unsurprising. Interestingly, his game, DEADROP, is planned for cross-platform compatibility for PC, Xbox, and PlayStation. DEADROP is currently in its closed beta stage, with playtesting only available to Founders Pass holders.
What are the benefits of blockchain-based games?
As Dr. Disrespsect pointed out, one of the major benefits of blockchain-based gaming is that your in-game digital assets should belong to you as non-fungible tokens (NFTS). This means that they are yours to sell or trade as you wish, unlike most mainstream games that restrict your trading and can ban your accounts, completely robbing you of any assets that you own and may have poured thousands of dollars and hours into. We are not talking here about hackers or people who make racial slurs, but about those who break the terms and conditions of the platform by selling digital assets for fiat off-platform or for those who are banned in error and are never able to recover their accounts.
Rather, blockchain-based games encourage grinding for assets for sales purposes as that is the foundation of the game’s economy. Of course, it is also factored into the smart contracts that the developers will receive a percentage of each re-sale which ensures that they care about the game continuing to be successful and fun to play. There are a growing number of NFT-based games that work this way, including some free-to-play options, including NFT card games and MMO games.
Another benefit is that since the NFTs are blockchain-based, all transactions are conducted by a smart contract. This means that the smart contract will verify the contents of both wallets before conducting the transaction on the holders’ behalf, once they have approved the transaction. This trustless system means that neither party can get conned, provided that the protocol used is securely set up in the game.
What are the pitfalls of blockchain-based games?
Unfortunately, there have been many instances of gaming platforms being hacked and the users’ assets siphoned from their accounts. This is possible due to protocol weaknesses, stolen private keys, and the fact that many blockchain-based gaming platforms store the users’ private keys in a centralized location. The $540 million Axie Infinity hack from 2022 is an extreme example of this.
There have also been many scams in the NFT gaming space, which have weakened people’s trust in new projects. Rug-pull scams and Ponzi schemes are the most common forms found.
There is also the problem of projects being rushed. A recent example is Paul Logan’s Crypto Zoo project which left investors with a bad taste in their mouths.
Additionally, some people just don’t understand the necessity of blockchain. After all, why not simply have an open market on a normal gaming platform that facilitates cross-party fiat payments? These are all valid concerns that require research and due diligence checks to avoid.
There are also concerns about cheating in the games. Technically, this should not be possible due to the protocols being unalterable, but that would depend on the degree of integration of the blockchain technology in the game. For instance, the gameplay could be on a regular platform, while the skins for the characters could be NFTs, making them hybrid games. So, there may be a way for aimbots and other hacks that plague regular gaming platforms to infiltrate these titles as well.
Why does Dr. Disrespect’s opinion matter?
Most people know Guy Beahm as his streaming persona, Dr. Disrespect. This character is a machismo, aggressive and arrogant personality that viewers love to watch. But that is not all there is to the man himself.
Although he did get his start in the gaming industry as a content creator when he started uploading content to a joint YouTube account with his college roommates in 2010, a lot of his understanding of the inner workings of the industry comes from the four years he spent working at Sledgehammer Games as a Map Designer and Community Manager before he decided to quit his job to pursue full-time streaming.
During his time there, he helped to create maps for many Call of Duty titles, such as maps in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, including Solar, Horizon, Instinct, Ascend, Recovery, Sideshow, Site 244, and Quarantine. So, when he mentions the potential for integrating blockchain into FPS gaming design, he knows what he is talking about.
He also certainly hasn’t been rushing the DEADROP project, since he first founded Midnight Society in December 2021, and only revealed the company’s first title, DEADROP, in July 2022. Yet it is still in the closed testing phases. So, we can hope that this game will turn out to be the real deal.