Did you miss a session from GamesBeat Summit 2022? All sessions are available to stream now. Watch now.
The concept of buying in-game items has been around for long enough for it to be ubiquitous to gamers. But any time you open up the opportunity to purchase objects with real money, you also open up the door to scammers, fraud, and item duplicators. But blockchain technology offers a great way to prove item ownership and provide a robust environment where transactions are transparent, recorded, and verified.
BitGuild — a blockchain gaming platform led by gaming and virtual currency industry veteran Jared Psigoda — announced in the last week a new partnership with Tron, a blockchain-based protocol that aims to construct a worldwide free content entertainment system.
The partnership will see BitGuild provide a unique set of limited-edition in-game assets for the Tron community, which will represent the Tron brand and the associated TRX token. These assets will be purchasable using TRX, although the company is stating that it may make them available later on the BitGuild virtual item exchange.
“Blockchain and smart contract technology allows for gamers to own their items,” Jared Psigoda, CEO at BitGuild, told me. “Instead of an item being flagged on a game developer’s server as ‘belonging to’ a certain player, that item will be sent to that player’s digital wallet over the blockchain. The gamer will own it and be free to do with it whatever she or he pleases, whether that be to sell, trade, or import it into another game. In addition, smart contracts are open source and allow for player verification of things like item drop rates.”
Plainly put, before BitGuild, an epic sword was just an intangible piece of data on a private server. Through blockchain technology and the exchange, that weapon belongs to the gamer in the form of a token on the blockchain. They own it, can keep it, trade it, and do whatever they like with it. The choice is theirs.
The system aims to remove the restrictions on what players can and can’t do with virtual items.
So how does this differ from traditional exchanges like G2G and other blockchain solutions like DMarket?
“Traditional real money trade (RMT) websites engage in the sale of video game currencies, items, and power leveling services,” Psigoda said. “None of the items sold on these websites are tokenized on the blockchain, nor does the buyer or seller at any point in time actually ‘own’ the items. In exchange for their money, gamers are purchasing the ‘right to use an item’ subject to the developer of the game’s Terms of Service and End User License Agreement.”
That makes in-game items a volatile resource at present, according to Psigoda.
“At any point in time, the game developer could ban the user’s account, and they would lose all of the game items they owned,” Psigoda said. “This happens all of the time, especially in games where developers have specifically stated it is against the ToS to engage in the trade of in-game items for cold hard cash. In addition, these platforms are subject to rampant fraud, with players getting scammed by shady sellers and sellers getting scammed by fraudulent buyers.”
BitGuild founder Jared Psigoda started buying and selling game items in 1999 and was a pioneer in the RMT industry.
“Blockchain virtual item exchange solutions like DMarket and WAX are great companies which allow for the cross-game trading of items from some of the top games out there,” Psigoda said. “They primarily focus on working with existing game developers to allow for the rights to their items to be transferred in a frictionless manner over the blockchain. Unfortunately, most of the assets being transferred are not blockchain assets. BitGuild believes that blockchain games will be an entirely new class of games where the game characters and items themselves are tokenized and exist within the players’ digital wallets.”
BitGuild recently announced its upcoming ICO, which starts at 7 p.m. Pacific on March 15, during which users will be able to purchase tokens to be used on the BitGuild platform. The BitGuild token is called PLAT, of which 10 billion total tokens will be created.
So what’s next for BitGuild and Tron?
“We have been following the Tron project for quite a while and realize that they have one of the most active, engaging communities in this industry,” Psigoda said. “We believe that in the current market environment, the era of ‘white papers and grand visions’ may be coming to an end, and the time has come to develop real applications on top of this amazing technology for end-users to interact with. Gamers have always been on the forefront of picking up new technologies, and a truly fun game, if it is able to educate new users on blockchain and cryptocurrencies, could be beneficial for the whole industry. The Tron community is young and tech-savvy, making them perfect partners for us to cooperate with on gaming projects.”
GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Learn more about membership.