Blockchain might be the Tech term du juor, but does it have a place in online gaming?
We speak with Christian Szymanski, CMO and co-founder of Stryking Entertainment, who shares how blockchain is used in fantasy sports platform, Football-Stars.
How did Stryking Entertainment begin?
Based in Berlin, Strkying Entertainment was founded in 2012 by gaming industry stalwarts looking to shake up the Free-To-Play (FTP) gaming scene.
“Dirk Weyel (Stryking Entertainment’s CEO and co-founder) and I met before we started Stryking. We worked for Frogster, one of the first companies to bring the FTP gaming format to Europe,” shares Christian.
“In 2014, we came across fantasy sports, a fast-growing sector in the US. We saw a huge gap in the European market as there were no big fantasy sports game companies here—not even addressing the biggest sport in the world (soccer)!”
And thus, Football-Stars hits the field…
“[In Football-Stars], you play as a manager and pick a team of players from various football clubs across numerous leagues. Depending on how good they play, you get points for it.”
The results of these challenges are based on matches played in real life. Stryking Entertaiment has the official Bundesliga license, so they use all the original logos, player profiles and data from the German Bundesliga.
“When matches are played in real life, our partner Opta gathers all performance data of a match, including player performance.”
But why blockchain in online gaming?
Online gaming platforms have huge market potential. Take monster hit World of Warcraft for example. From 2004 to 2016, the multiplayer online gaming platform snagged US$10 billion in revenue.
It’s no surprise then, that the gaming industry is ripe for disruption. The potential market for football gaming is just as potent:
“Sky has the paid TV rights for the Bundesliga. They have 3.5 million people who pay 30 or 40 euros each month to watch these matches,” shares Christian.
“All these people are in our target group.”
Here’s where Blockchain swoops in for a goal…
According to a 2016 TED Talk by Bettina Warburg, blockchain is “a decentralised database that has the efficiency of a monopoly, without creating that central authority”.
This means, processes are more transparent, and stakeholders- be it big institutions or the person-next-door- have an equal stake in collaboration. The result? Active participation and higher levels of trust.
Read on to find out how these same principles of blockchain are applied to online gaming vis-à-vis Football-Stars:
1.Blockchain makes gaming more user-centric
Blockchain democratises user processes.
“For now, Football-Stars has a centralised gaming format. This means, we create the content and inform the players about this,” says Christian.
“[But with blockchain technology,] we are turning Football-Stars into a user-centric platform. We reward users STRYKZ tokens for contributing to our platform, such as creating challenges or fostering positive interaction within the online community.”
2. Blockchain maintains quality control with a cetralised ledger
In traditional uses of blockchain-in-finance, users gain access to ledgers, and see a list of financial transaction. They also flag out any inconsistencies.
The same goes with Football-Stars, according to Christian.
“We have statistics of football player injury status. However, this is not automatically updated because we don’t have data 24/7. Add that to the fact how there are 600 players in just a single league. Thus, it’s hard to keep track and be up-to-date.”
With Football-Stars, users can report a wrong injury status and be rewarded for flagging such inconsistencies. So, information is better regulated and checked.
3. Blockchain rewards a wider scope of gamers
“In the past, FTP casual gamers could get virtual rewards but nothing of monetary value. With blockchain, I can earn something.”
Sure, there are exceptions where people earn monetary rewards from gaming. Christian raises the example of e-sports, where professional players earn cash prizes.
But the game has changed. There are now blockchain gaming companies for e-sports, providing cryptocurrencies like Herosphere and Hero for a wider community of gamers. In Jan 2018, esports.com even completed their ICO offering of the ERT token.
Similarly, the Ethereum-based, STRYKZ utility token caters to a wider pool of casual gamers, thus widening the scope of participation beyond professional gamers.
4. Blockchain promotes innovation with a new business model
With the introduction of blockchain games, three broad business models are now in play:
- Boxed game products
- Free-to-play games
- Blockchain games
New business models means more competition and higher levels of innovation, as companies race to capitalise its potential.
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