I think some of the guys here need to combine powers with people at reddit (though no doubt you have accounts there and just keep it quiet that also use these official forums).http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/ichhl/bitcoin_gaming_ftw/
The prevalence of GPU mining makes one application of bitcoins rather obvious: gaming. After all, who has GPUs? Gamers. I'd suspect that a large portion of current bitcoin miners are PC gamers. It makes perfect sense to give them something to spend their hard-earned coins on. But before I get to specific gaming uses, I think it's important to acknowledge that the biggest hurdle bitcoin faces at this stage is on the consumption side of things. There simply aren't enough good ways to spend bitcoins at the moment. More distressingly, the most popular ways to spend bitcoins are to obtain other currencies. In my mind, this almost ensures speculative bubbles and market volatility, which, will make merchants and service providers shy away from accepting bitcoins. In my opinion, what is needed in this crucial period is a robust service market which is relatively resistant to speculation. Such a thing could ultimately increase adoption and stabilize the market.
The solution, I think is a bitcoin gaming client/API. Such an application could allow a number of interesting possibilities including:
Server Donations -- Fast, anonymous ways to contribute to a favorite server. In this case, you'd be literally trading computing power stored (i.e. bitcoin) for computing power. There would be no need to enter your credit card information or anything else. The use of mods could make it as simple as just a button in-game.
Betting -- Allow players to bet bitcoins on the outcome of a match. This could be managed by a central authority or handled through bitcoin contracts verified by published server statuses. Interestingly, a secure technical solution might not be required. The purpose of the betting--unlike in poker--wouldn't be the money but rather to keep the game interesting. The bets on something like the outcome of a TF2 match would likely be voluntary and small enough so that welshers could be dealt with via community blacklisting.
Pay-to-Play -- Many online multiplayer games suffer from leavers and griefers. Currently, in many games there is no good solution. An permanent account ban is often the only solution but often ends up being a rarely used nuclear-option reserved for the worst-of-the-worst trolls. Servers which require an up-front bitcoin payment might help in this regard by making players invest, literally, in each match. At the end, the bitcoins could redistributed among the winning team and the players on the losing team which stayed and contributed.
Microtransactions -- Instead of in-game currencies, developers could use bitcoins for small in-game purchases. I could imagine this would be a good way for them to decrease the overhead of credit-card and paypal transaction fees. Note that, for retail games, this might work because the developer would still use traditional currencies to sell the game, limiting their exposure if bitcoins decreased dramatically in value.
And those are just the advantages off the top of my head. I think the community should begin working on such an application because it might just be a key way to make bitcoin more widespread and accepted.
And, even it doesn't, at least it would be fun... right?
What do you all think?
All credit to reddit. I just liked this outline and I think it coincides with some projects I hear people talking about. http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/ichhl/bitcoin_gaming_ftw/