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Author Topic: BitCoin as an open-source game currency  (Read 1461 times)
Anonymailer
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August 01, 2011, 03:03:51 PM
 #1

Idea to increase the adoption of BTC:

If BTC were used in a game (ideally a free game like Heroes of Newerth) where there is a model of 'currency points/game points' where you win game points by achievement but can buy 'currency points' to spend in in-game stores to get ahead (The BTC replacing 'currency points') with in-game purchase of BTC to a wallet held on the game-server adoption would necessarily increase. And if you allowed BTC withdrawals, you could become one of the big exchanges.. or become a major store-front for one of them..

And if the devs making the game had gone that far already, why not include a 'generate game points' button - which actually mines BTC for you, the dev, while 'generating' a disproportionately large number of the free-to-you game points for the player. Or even better, let the player keep half the BTC and gamepoints worth 150% the other half, so they could take that BTC and spend it elsewhere if they wanted to..

I don't have the skills to get anything made but I had to put that out there. I know a lot of you do! Give it a shot!

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remmy
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August 01, 2011, 03:23:31 PM
 #2

You don't need to be a programmer to create a bitcoin market in a video game.  You could purchase the same user name across many popular games and build a reputation as a buyer/seller of goods.  Imagine I have a helmet in World of Warcraft, but I want a sword in EverQuest.  If you have BTC and the sword, I could sell you my helmet in WoW and you sell me the sword in EverQuest.

This only works in games that allow free markets between players.  As a trusted merchant, you could also perform escrow for trades (as pure digital items can be easily verified by you) for a fee.

This hurts vendor lock-in, so you would probably be banned for doing this.
Anonymailer
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August 01, 2011, 03:42:34 PM
 #3

This hurts vendor lock-in, so you would probably be banned for doing this.
Precisely why we need some BTCfreaks to put together a decent game with this business model! Who knows, it could take off…

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lathomas64
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August 01, 2011, 06:55:00 PM
 #4

So your idea is basically pegging the online currency to the bitcoin?

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August 01, 2011, 08:48:11 PM
 #5

This would not be allowed in iOS games (iPhone, iPad, etc.).

Maybe in Android or online/Flash games.

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August 02, 2011, 07:25:27 AM
 #6

slightly more advanced notion might be to try and get the games companies to accept BTC for the bogus not free services they offer like character server moves etc.  to them if the system doesn't really take off they have not impacted their bottom line much but if it does they have a leg up in the bitcoin market.

That would be a good move too! Where are all the devs?  Grin

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August 02, 2011, 08:16:22 AM
 #7

I feel like I would be more likely to play a game with some kind of bitcoin system. The mining idea sounds cool, I can almost see a game built on that. Second Life pretty much did it with the 'money chairs' people made that people would get paid to sit in a chair increasing traffic to the land in hope to stimulate more traffic.
Are there any Facebook games that currently use BitCoins? I feel like the best way to increase the amount of people using bitcoin is to give a reason for people to adopt them.. Games could be one of many ways to do that.
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August 02, 2011, 08:46:07 AM
 #8

Develop a game and allow all the services that you permit with cash, to also permit BTC. (Game time purchases, special in-game items, even a type of elite game currency)

I don't recommend BTC as an exclusive in-game currency for a variety of reasons.

First of all, you have an economy based on how much you (or other people) invest in the game, making your digital worlds economy even more volatile than the real world economy due to the smaller market and players frequently 'cashing out' on their in-game earnings.

Second you have the problem of transaction time.  In one scenario where all the in-game currency is held on a server side wallet, you serve as a simple (and I mean really simple) money laundering service.  Making you liable, in part, for the criminal actions of your players.  The other scenario where each player has a wallet makes your game server reliant on the systems transaction time, and doesn't eliminate the laundering concern.

Thirdly, instead of providing products and services which may legitimately earn payment, you are requiring people to pay real life money for your in game items. (We are trying to assert BTC a real currency aren't we?)  This works alright if you allow free market in your game, refusing to ban or punish players who sell items for real life currency, then players have a choice to make these backroom deals with other players.  Without an in-game currency that is controlled by a centralized system (even if that system is similar to bit-coin) that does not directly equate to real life money, you have an issue where the player willing to spend the most money on their character is always the best character.  As with world of warcraft and other games, leveling up is usually an expensive process.

These are a few reasons and I'm sure there are more.  I'm not even sure that a game that utilized BTC as a direct in-game currency is what the OP meant, but here's another little insight.  If this was a good idea to do with real money, it probably would have already been done.  Keeping track of fiat currency digitally is nothing new.

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August 02, 2011, 01:32:31 PM
 #9

slightly more advanced notion might be to try and get the games companies to accept BTC for the bogus not free services they offer like character server moves etc.  to them if the system doesn't really take off they have not impacted their bottom line much but if it does they have a leg up in the bitcoin market.

That would be a good move too! Where are all the devs?  Grin

Right here, can't do anything with bitcoin with the current project though.

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Kyt Dotson
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August 02, 2011, 06:21:27 PM
 #10

BTC would be excellent for the free-to-play game market. Although many of them, for example Perfect World Entertainment, have their own cross-platform in-game currency (e.g. ZEN) the high granularity of bitcoins make them a really nice microtransaction medium. I did see mention that it could hurt lock-in, and in fact microtransaction currencies are essentially a way for free-to-play markets to take money in and never let it out again -- much like PWE has a single currency across all their games that does not mix with other publishers.

However, looking at how Activision Blizzard (although buy-to-play) is thinking of starting a cash auction house; a free-to-play game could split its market with their own cash auction house that permitted bitcoins as an exchange currency.  Smiley

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Anonymailer
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August 02, 2011, 06:43:54 PM
 #11

BTC would be excellent for the free-to-play game market. Although many of them, for example Perfect World Entertainment, have their own cross-platform in-game currency (e.g. ZEN) the high granularity of bitcoins make them a really nice microtransaction medium. I did see mention that it could hurt lock-in, and in fact microtransaction currencies are essentially a way for free-to-play markets to take money in and never let it out again -- much like PWE has a single currency across all their games that does not mix with other publishers.

However, looking at how Activision Blizzard (although buy-to-play) is thinking of starting a cash auction house; a free-to-play game could split its market with their own cash auction house that permitted bitcoins as an exchange currency.  Smiley
It could hurt lock in a little, but if the BTC are held on gameservers people who don't know what BTC actually is might just leave it there… plus, the first person to come up with a game of the calibre of Heroes of Newerth with this business model would get a huge boost in business from all the bitcoiners, who I'm guessing overlap quite heavily on a venn graph with videogamers, what with the technical knowledge required and all…

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August 02, 2011, 06:58:49 PM
 #12

The makers of Eve-Online seem to be pretty progressive... maybe someone should give them a shout out and it has a decent sized audience who would also likely be early adopters of BTC if nothing else because they too have similar progressive ideas.  I mean the game in and of itself is based around a revolutionary economy model and that plays a huged part of it for those players.

The virtual economy of EVE is connected to the world economy through PLEX, which are purchased with real currency, and can be used up to add game time to your account, or sold for the in game currency, ISK. One way they could implement bitcoin would be to allow one to buy PLEX with BTC. Since the price of a PLEX in USD is constant, I assume they would peg its price in BTC to the equivalent amount of USD. However, the price of a PLEX in ISK fluctuates, so there would be an interesting rate of BTC/ISK depending on both the PLEX/ISK and the BTC/USD.
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August 02, 2011, 07:59:29 PM
 #13

The virtual economy of EVE is connected to the world economy through PLEX, which are purchased with real currency, and can be used up to add game time to your account, or sold for the in game currency, ISK. One way they could implement bitcoin would be to allow one to buy PLEX with BTC. Since the price of a PLEX in USD is constant, I assume they would peg its price in BTC to the equivalent amount of USD. However, the price of a PLEX in ISK fluctuates, so there would be an interesting rate of BTC/ISK depending on both the PLEX/ISK and the BTC/USD.

Exactly why I was thinking that particular community would be a prime candidate as an early adopter.... essentially all they have to do is take another form of payment, heck a whole other economy could develop because people could by plex in BTC hold them for a while and then sell to someone else for USD making a currency exchange profit, all the while the Eve dev team are selling more plex while acting as a backdoor psuedo exchange.  The eve community is very much about the freedom to do whatever you want and BTC emboldens that... hence why I name them specifically.
Sounds as though there are a few EVE players here... it does seem to fit well, is there any way you could create an in game group or something to bring it to attention?

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August 18, 2011, 08:58:42 PM
 #14

Sounds as though there are a few EVE players here... it does seem to fit well, is there any way you could create an in game group or something to bring it to attention?

And even if EVE does not adopt such a model, it would make sense to keep pushing the idea for games that are yet to be developed. Games are not created over night and I can assure you that many game developers are pondering the idea of using BTC. Besides, gamers are obviously better early adopters.

One note, the implementation of the idea may get a little dubious for bigger corporations, especially if they need to put down some sort of accounting record on the BTC exchanges (just like they have to do for barter exchanges right now). My guess is many more would adopt if they new accepting BTC would not be a potential land mine of IRS regulations.

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August 18, 2011, 09:03:57 PM
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You could get a eve monocle for btc then  Shocked
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August 18, 2011, 09:54:57 PM
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Sounds as though there are a few EVE players here... it does seem to fit well, is there any way you could create an in game group or something to bring it to attention?

And even if EVE does not adopt such a model, it would make sense to keep pushing the idea for games that are yet to be developed. Games are not created over night and I can assure you that many game developers are pondering the idea of using BTC. Besides, gamers are obviously better early adopters.

One note, the implementation of the idea may get a little dubious for bigger corporations, especially if they need to put down some sort of accounting record on the BTC exchanges (just like they have to do for barter exchanges right now). My guess is many more would adopt if they new accepting BTC would not be a potential land mine of IRS regulations.



potential legal issues is one of the reasons my business parter is cautious about the idea of accepting bitcoin let alone entwining it that heavily with the game.

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August 18, 2011, 10:12:19 PM
 #17

The only true Real Cash Economy MMO right now is Entropia Universe.  Their in-game currency is tied to the USD (i.e. you can deposit and withdraw real USD in the game).  It would be interesting if they would adopt BTC and it would make deposits and withdrawals so much easier to do but I doubt that they could be convinced to make such a drastic change at this point in BTC history...  However, if they could be convinced it would mean a big boom for bitcoins!
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August 18, 2011, 10:31:54 PM
 #18

Also, Entropia Universe is free to play and has been running for several years so the player base and in-game market is pretty well established.  And, there is a LOT of money invested in the game already (probably several million USD worth).
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August 18, 2011, 10:34:38 PM
 #19

If Entropia is already a commerce-focused affair, is there any way to start a related BTC service as is?

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August 18, 2011, 10:37:39 PM
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I have asked them about adopting BTC as a deposit and withdrawal option but I've yet to receive a response.
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