In the inaugural episode of WAX ON with William Quigley, our founder has a lot to say about why the Ethereum platform lacks several key features to build blockchain-based video games on.
William much to say on the subject because, well, he has a lot of experience in this area. In fact, in 2013, He was one of the largest investors in the Ethereum ICO. He’s tried twice to develop massive video game-inspired dApps on Ethereum … and failed both times because of Ethereum’s limitations.
As importantly, it’s probably worth mentioning that William’s companies have transacted more sales on public blockchains than any other company on the planet.
So what are the reasons Ethereum should be near last on the list of blockchains to develop video game dApps on?
- Ethereum is too slow
- Ethereum is too expensive
- Ethereum requires the use of MetaMask
- Ethereum makes it too expensive for video game dApps to create virtual items
- Ethereum’s price is too volatile
These individually are enough to make a developer of video game dApps to think twice about building on the Ethereum blockchain. And when you combine all these problems, the frustration, crippled revenues, and customer frustration playing games, it’s clear that Ethereum just isn’t the right blockchain for game developers.
"Ethereum is very useful for digital trading card games like Gods Unchained, where the cards are blockchain-based and users can trade and sell their cards freely, and with the same level of ownership as if they were real, tangible cards," says Joel Comm, host of The Bad Crypto Podcast, CEO of Infomedia, and blockchain industry influencer. "Building real-time action games with complicated graphics and programming may be a different story, however, because it does take time to write things to the blockchain."
Andriy Sharanevych, CEO and Founder of Crypto Games Conference, also weighed in: “Ethereum is the second-largest blockchain by market cap, and just that makes it seem like a good reason for choosing this network to build a game upon,” said Sharanevych. “However, there are several issues restricting Ethereum from becoming the perfect games platform. They are network speed, scalability, transaction costs, and high entry barriers for mainstream gamers. The Ethereum network would simply choke when trying to process the number of transactions required to run a game of a scale mainstream gamers are used to. Transaction costs can be ridiculously high, especially during network peak times. And, with respect to barriers to entry, Ethereum is overkill for hardcore gamers, not to mention their casual counterparts.”
Get the full picture from William himself in the first episode of “WAX ON” here and let us know what you think in the video comments.
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Today, I'm going to talk about Ethereum specifically, can you use Ethereum as a video game platform? Can you build a dApp, a distributed application on Ethereum? Is it a good idea? And if you're wondering what do I know about Ethereum video gaming? Well, my team and I built two big video game inspired dApps and we tried to run it on Ethereum and you know what? We hit a wall and now I'm going to share with you the reasons why Ethereum just didn't work when it came to running a blockchain-based game. So let me review the five reasons that Ethereum is not a good platform to build video games on.
Number one, Ethereum transactions are just too slow. If you have thousands of video games with millions of customers all trying to do transfers of virtual items back and forth, no way Ethereum is fast enough.
Reason number two why Ethereum is not a great video game platform, the cost. So every time you send a transaction over the Ethereum network, you have to pay generally between 10 cents and 50 cents per transaction. That may not seem again like a lot, but think of video games today where there is generally no cost to send a virtual item from one player to another and now add millions of customers, millions of video game players sending items back and forth all day long. Well, that would cost way more than currently as required, so price is just too much.
The next reason, and this is near and dear to my heart, it is very difficult generally to use a blockchain, but in particular Ethereum. The main way a user, a guy would actually want to go and play a video game, a video game, dApp on Ethereum would be using something called MetaMask.
Think of MetaMask like a browser that works on a blockchain. It is tremendously slow and difficult. Most people I think, just wind up just dropping it. So until we have a better user interface, something like, you know, a great browser, it's not going to work for video gamers in particular.
Reason number four that Ethereum is not well designed for video gaming and that is creating virtual items. So remember the primary business model in video games today is people buying and selling virtual items. Well today, most video game companies pay nothing to create a virtual item and a game server. It's so cheap you couldn't even count it; millionths of a penny. What does it cost to create a virtual item? What we call a non-fungible token in the crypto speak, what does it cost to create a non-fungible token with Ethereum? Again, anywhere from 10 to 50 cents. Well, when you're creating millions of virtual items, that is way too expensive both for the customers but also for the video game company.
Reason number five that Ethereum is not well designed for video gaming - it's price volatility, specifically the price to transfer an item or the price to create an item. I just talked about those two things, but what I didn't emphasize before was things are not just expensive on Ethereum, but the prices are volatile. We're not talking 5-10%. We're talking about 200%, 300%, 400% difference in what it costs one day to transfer an item or to create an item and what it costs another day. So think about it. You're building a video game, you need a budget, and you’re trying to tell your consumers playing that video game what it's going to cost. But if your underlying prices are changing, literally 200%, 300%, 400% a day, how do you plan for that? And that's the final reason why I would say Ethereum is just not the right solution for designing and running a video game on a blockchain.
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