With the recent increase in Bitcoins popularity, I got thinking about the blockchain gaming craze that happened in China and whether blockchain games will ever return to the Chinese gaming market. Bitcoin has recently broke US$19,000= 1 BTC. With signs pointing to even further growth as markets around the world feel the instability of the COVID-19 world.
When CryptoKitties launched in 2017 it started a craze for blockchain-based games that allowed people to buy and sell virtual animals.
With some gamers investing over US$14,000 to buy virtual animals with promises of becoming a millionaire, only to later have all the investments gone as the platform no longer worked. At one point a CryptoKitty sold for as much as US$170,000 as the bubble grew. This lead to a plethora of copycat games each with its own blockchain platforms.
During this frenzy, China became a hotbed of blockchain- and cryptocurrency-related companies. This led Chinese authorities to ban initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency trading. But the ban didn’t affect other blockchain projects. So many companies jumped on the crypto pets trend, with some of the country’s biggest tech companies joining in.
But recent developments in the Chinese blockchain industry may push blockchain games back into the spotlight.
First, let’s look at the recent developments from the People’s Republic of China regarding blockchain technology.
Earlier this year, Beijing launched the Blockchain-Based Service Network (BSN), a system of low-cost backend architecture on which software developers around the world can build blockchain applications—including digital assets such as cryptocurrencies. The launch happened a few months after Chinese President Xi Jinping pressed for the nation to leverage blockchain technology to complement the rising economic importance of big data and the “internet of things.”
According to the BSN website, the network’s purpose is to become the “blockchain Internet.” CCP leadership believes that blockchain technology offers a foundational infrastructure for future technological innovation and that China should set the global standards in that arena.
But the BSN itself is not a blockchain protocol. Rather, it’s a centralized platform that has done the heavy lifting for developers so they can plugin and code, choosing from several enterprise blockchain protocols or public chains. The goal is to reduce their operational costs, improve flexibility, and provide better regulatory oversight, according to the white paper.
So where does this leave blockchain games?
According to the report, Immutable’s flagship game Gods Unchained has made more than $4.5 million in revenue in just over a year, despite it is being played by a closed group of 13,000 gamers.
Does the investment from Naspers signal that China is gearing up for more blockchain games?
I’m not sure, but all signs point to the fact that China is increasing its blockchain infrastructure, however, the main concern with blockchain gaming is the monetized transactions between players.
Crypto gaming firm Enjin also sets its sights on China. The blockchain gaming platform has made a number of changes and enhancements to its Enjin Wallet mobile app and has secured approval and certification to be used in China. Chinese certification of this app being highly interesting as the approval comes from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Perhaps a signal to other blockchain gaming companies that China is ready to accept and approve blockchain gaming apps.
As many may be aware, all gaming apps with IAP (in-app purchases) are required to have clearing documents from the Chinese government. This requires a strict review process and a lengthy administration wait time. So perhaps we may see blockchain games returning to the Chinese gaming market, it depends on many different factors;
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