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Virtual currency games

The dream of all young boys (and many grown men) of making a living playing video games is getting closer to reality. The recent launch of HunterCoin and VoidSpace in development, games that reward players in digital currency rather than virtual princesses or gold stars point to a future where ranking one on a leaderboard could be rewarded in dollars and sterling, euros and yen.

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

Digital currencies have been slowly gaining maturity both in terms of their functionality and the financial infrastructure that allows them to be used as a credible alternative to non-virtual fiat currency. Although Bitcoin, the first and best known of cryptocurrencies, was created in 2009, forms of virtual currencies have been used in video games for more than 15 years. Ultima Online from 1997 was the first notable attempt to incorporate a large-scale virtual economy into a game. Players can collect gold coins by completing missions, fighting monsters, and finding treasures and spend them on armor, weapons, or real estate. This was an early incarnation of a virtual currency in the sense that it existed purely within the game, although it reflected the real world economy to the extent that the Ultima currency experienced inflation as a result of game mechanics that ensured there was a supply. Endless of monsters to kill and thus gold coins to collect.

Launched in 1999, EverQuest took virtual currency games one step further, allowing players to trade virtual goods with each other in the game, and although the game designer prohibited from selling virtual items to each other on eBay as well. In a real-world phenomenon that was entertainingly explored in Neal Stephenson’s 2011 novel Reamde, Chinese players or ‘gold farmers’ were employed to play EverQuest and other similar games full-time with the goal of gaining experience points for level up your characters. making them more powerful and sought after. These characters would then be sold on eBay to Western players who were unwilling or unable to spend hours leveling up their own characters. Based on the calculated exchange rate of EverQuest currency as a result of the real-world trade that took place, Edward Castronova, a professor of telecommunications at Indiana University and an expert on virtual currencies, estimated that in 2002 EverQuest was the 77th largest country. rich in the world, somewhere between Russia and Bulgaria and its GDP per capita was greater than that of the People’s Republic of China and India.

Launched in 2003 and having reached 1 million regular users in 2014, Second Life is perhaps the most comprehensive example of a virtual economy to date where its virtual currency, the Linden Dollar, can be used to buy or sell goods and services. Within the game, it can be traded for real world currencies through market-based exchanges. In-game virtual goods transactions worth $ 3.2 billion were recorded in the 10 years from 2002 to 2013, and Second Life became a marketplace where players and businesses alike were able to design, promote, and sell the game. content they created. Trading real estate was a particularly lucrative product, in 2006 Ailin Graef became Second Life’s first millionaire when she turned an initial investment of $ 9.95 into more than $ 1 million over 2.5 years buying, selling and trading virtual real estate with other players. Examples like Ailin are the exception to the rule; however, there were only 233 registered users who earned more than $ 5000 in 2009 from Second Life activities.

How to get paid in dollars for mining asteroids …

To date, the ability to generate non-virtual cash in video games has been secondary by design, the player must go through unauthorized channels to exchange their virtual loot, or must possess a degree of real-world creative skill or business acumen. which could be exchanged for cash. This could change with the advent of video games that are being built from the ground up around the ‘plumbing’ of recognized digital currency platforms. The approach HunterCoin has taken is to ‘gamify’ what is usually the fairly technical and automated process of creating digital currency. Unlike the real world currencies that emerge when they are printed by a central bank, digital currencies are created by being ‘mined’ by users. The underlying source code of a particular digital currency that enables it to function is called the blockchain, a decentralized online public ledger that records all transactions and currency exchanges between individuals. Since digital currency is nothing more than intangible data, it is more prone to fraud than physical currency, since it is possible to double a unit of currency, causing inflation or altering the value of a transaction after it has been made for personal benefit. To ensure that this does not happen, the blockchain is ‘guarded’ by volunteers or ‘miners’ who test the validity of each transaction that takes place, and with the help of specialized hardware and software they make sure that the data has not been manipulated. This is an automatic process for miners software, although it is time consuming and requires a lot of processing power from your computer. To reward a miner for verifying a transaction, the blockchain launches a new unit of digital currency and rewards them with it as an incentive to continue maintaining the network, which is why the digital currency is created. Because it can take from several days to years for one person to successfully mine a coin, user groups combine their resources into a mining ‘pool’, using the joint processing power of their computers to extract coins more quickly.

HunterCoin, the game is within a blockchain for a digital currency also called HunterCoin. The act of gaming replaces the automated process of mining digital currency and, for the first time, makes it manual and without the need for expensive hardware. Using strategy, time and teamwork, players venture onto a map in search of coins and upon finding some and returning safely to their base (other teams are trying to stop them and steal their coins) they can withdraw their coins by depositing them in your own digital wallet, usually an application designed to make and receive digital payments. 10% of the value of coins deposited by players goes to the miners who maintain the HunterCoin blockchain plus a small percentage of the coins lost when a player dies and their coins are dropped. While the game’s graphics are basic and the significant rewards take time to accumulate, HunterCoin is an experiment that could be seen as the first video game with built-in monetary reward as the main feature.

Although still in development, VoidSpace is a more refined approach to gaming in a functional economy. VoidSpace, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), takes place in space where players explore an ever-growing universe, mine natural resources such as asteroids, and trade them for goods with other players with the goal of building their own empire. galactic. Players will be rewarded for mining DogeCoin, a more established form of digital currency that is currently widely used for micro-payments on various social media sites. DogeCoin will also be the bargaining chip in the game between players and the means of making in-game purchases. Like HunterCoin, DogeCoin is a fully functioning and legitimate digital currency and, like HunterCoin, can be exchanged for real and digital fiat currencies on exchanges such as Poloniex.

The future of video games?

Although it is early in terms of quality, the launch of HunterCoin and VoidSpace is an interesting indication of what the next evolution could be for gaming. MMORPGs are currently being considered as ways to model the outbreak of epidemics as a result of how player reactions to an inadvertent plague reflected hard-to-model recorded aspects of human behavior to real-world outbreaks. It could be assumed that eventually virtual economies in the game could be used as models to test economic theories and develop responses to massive failures based on observations of how players use real value digital currency. It is also a good test for the functionality and potential applications of digital currencies that promise to go beyond simple exchange vehicles and enter exciting areas of personal digital property, for example. Meanwhile, gamers now have the means to convert hours in front of a screen into digital currency and then dollars, British pounds, euros, or yen.

But before you quit your day job …

… the current exchange rates are worth mentioning. It is estimated that a player could comfortably get back their initial registration fee of 1,005 HunterCoin (HUC) for joining HunterCoin in the game in 1 game day. Currently HUC cannot be exchanged directly to USD, it must be converted into a more established digital currency like 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 to BC and then to USD, before transaction fees were taken into consideration, would equal … $ 0.01 USD. This is not to say that as a player becomes more skilled, they could not grow their team of virtual CoinHunters and perhaps employ some ‘bot’ programs that would automatically play the game under the guise of another player and earn coins for them. too. But I think it’s safe to say that, at this point, even efforts like this could realistically result in enough change for a daily McDonalds. Unless players are willing to undergo intrusive in-game advertising, share personal data, or join a game like CoinHunter that is based on the Bitcoin blockchain, the rewards are unlikely to be more than micro-payments to the player. occasional. And maybe this is a good thing, because surely if you get paid for something it will stop being a game.

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