Playing games took on a whole new meaning when Atari introduced the first Pong machine in 1972. Pong was such a hit in the arcade setting that Atari started producing home consoles. That led to the introduction of the Atari 2600 shortly thereafter. The rest, as they say, is history. However, today we can look back on two other technologies that could prove to be the best things to happen to gaming: mobile and blockchain.
Pong was revolutionary for its day. There is no arguing that. The arcade-style shooters that followed it were equally impressive. But from the earliest days of Pong to the introduction of hand-held games, video gaming was restricted to PCs and game consoles. In the casino environment, video slots provided a digital replacement of their analog counterparts.
As exciting as those times were, gaming was restricted to whatever you had available in whatever location you found yourself. Things changed dramatically with the invention of 8-bit hand-held game consoles in the late 1980s.
Take Your Games with You
Devices like the Nintendo Game Boy were literally game-changers. They put devices like the Coleco Electronic Quarterback, Simon, and Merlin to shame. Gamers were no longer limited to simple electronics that flashed nice colors and made sounds. They could now play actual video games on the go.
The next big jump in gaming was the iPhone released in 2007. The world’s first smartphone was an open invitation to app developers to create games specifically for the mobile phone market. Apple was smart enough to know that they could monetize the apps while simultaneously using them to attract younger buyers.
Smartphones are ubiquitous today. As obvious as that statement is, step back and think about it for just a minute. There were an estimated 3.6 billion smartphone users worldwide at the end of 2020. That number is expected to grow to more than 4.3 billion by the end of 2022. How many current users do you suspect play games on their phones?
From Solitaire to RPGs
Even the most casual gamers use their phones to pass the time. You know it’s true. You’re sitting on the loo and you’re bored. So you pull out your phone and fire up the solitaire app. It’s 20 minutes later before you realize your legs are going numb.
Then there are games like Angry Birds. They become overnight sensations just by word-of-mouth. Their creators made millions selling in-game tokens and other little goodies. Meanwhile, we sit there tapping our screens like obsessed gaming junkies.
From Solitaire to role-playing games (RPGs), just about everything is available in a mobile format. That says nothing of online casino gambling. And by the way, that is another big part of the gaming industry. There are those gamers who only play casino games. They are not interested in Angry Birds or RPGs. They want video slots, blackjack, roulette, etc.
Casino Gaming and Blockchain
A discussion on casino gambling inevitably leads to the second technology discussed in this post: blockchain. Although blockchain was originally developed to support the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, its applications have been greatly expanded since then. Online casino gambling is perhaps one industry that relies on the blockchain more than any other.
Online casino operators can use blockchain for a multitude of applications. The most common application right now is payments. Any casino that accepts cryptocurrency payments is already involved in blockchain, whether knowingly or not.
Bitcoin is blockchain technology. So are Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum, Monero, Dash, and so on. In the cryptocurrency world, there are no physical coins and bills. Digital assets are represented as numbers in a linked chain of data. Each coin is represented by a unique digital token. Coins are sent freely back and forth by exchanging those tokens. Blockchain drives it all.
One of the latest trends in online gaming is developing games entirely on blockchain. In simple terms, blockchain is an indisputable and immutable record of transactions. With that said, imagine a video slot machine. Every time you pull the virtual handle, a random number generator determines the symbols that drop on the screen. Every pull represents a transaction capable of being recorded in the ledger.
Because blockchain ledgers cannot be modified once transactions have been recorded, online casinos can easily verify the fairness of their games simply by releasing their blockchain for inspection. Anyone can use a free software tool found online to verify the blockchain data for their own peace of mind.
For this particular application, think of blockchain-like so many computer asset tags, as protecting everything from company computers to USB flash disks. The asset tags provide a verifiable record of a machine’s location and use. Install tamper-resistant tags on your company equipment and you make it much more difficult for people to tamper with them.
Blockchain achieves something similar but with a lot more security built-in. Without getting into details, blockchain relies on a consensus system to ensure that data is not tampered with. Furthermore, blockchain ledgers are extremely difficult to crack because data is encrypted.
If game developers can build entire games on blockchain, can an online casino build an entire operation on the blockchain? Absolutely. And we are just now starting to see that happen. Online casinos are offering blockchain games. They are accepting blockchain payments. All of the back office and accounting is built on blockchain ledgers.
The beauty of blockchain for online casinos is its immutable record-keeping capabilities. Tracking everything securely in a blockchain environment guarantees integrity and fairness. It keeps regulators at bay and players coming back.
Getting back to mobile and console gaming, blockchain has a role to play there as well. For instance, developers are starting to incorporate blockchain into RPGs and other community-wide games. The technology is utilized to keep track of player interactions. It is also used to facilitate commerce within gaming environments.
Game developers can create entire blockchain economies within their games. This allows for the buying and selling of all sorts of goods without having to rely on credit cards, electronic transfers, etc. It is a brilliant application of blockchain that helps developers monetize their games.
Without a doubt, mobile and blockchain technologies have done more for gaming than any other technologies before them. There is a very strong possibility that at least one or two of the games you regularly play somehow relate to mobility and/or blockchain.