Many people may wonder what blockchain has to do with esports. Moreso, many are still wondering what is esports? I’ll try to break it down in layman’s terms (being a non-gamer myself).
Gamers used to participate in multiplayer online and offline video games. Teams used to be unorganised and composed of non-professionals until the late 2000’s. With the rise of multiplayer real-time online games, players could be rewarded for achievements with digital assets that had value that could be exchanged for skins (virtual clothing, armour,…) and weapons, or traded for cash.
Professional players started emerging, teams formed and they started participating in online tournaments which became hosted at physical locations where spectators watched the professional teams play against each other. Sponsors would also offer prize money.
As we entered the esports era the current systems for developing, managing, training teams became harder with more players. Usual forums to find skills and track performance are difficult. esports teams are just like real sports teams where team members earn salaries and bonuses, need their performance to be monitored, and each player needs to be coached and train hard.
Fans and the betting community have been following the best teams and want to place bets. Some tournaments require teams to also pay an entry fee.
To watch these games remotely, there are services like Twitch which stream live gameplay. These streaming services have evolved to allow betting, showcase ads, and rewarding producers and viewers a share of ad commission.
There are also indie game developers who build animated models or level extensions that can he used in these multiplayer games, and they have not always been appropriately rewarded for usage of their creations.
From tournament to single player vs player games, the winner can earn rewards or achievements of monetary value. However, where there’s opportunity to earn, there’s also opportunities for fraud.
As esports leagues have become formalised, there has been increasing demands for more legislation, player rights, fair pay and transparency in the contract. Blockchain is being incorporated within the esports industry at multiple layers to:
- improve security and oversight throughout the value chain [see DreamTeam];
- remove intermediaries [see Firstblood];
- provide accurate reports on events [see Eventum]
- enable secure distribution of salaries, winnings (to teams and the people betting [see Skrilla and Unikrn]) and deductions from/to game developers [see GameCredits and Wax], viewers, streaming providers [see Gimli] and talent management/investment platforms [see BestMeta and GlobaTalent];
- and to allow team members & sponsors to crowd-vote decisions [see ChiliZ].
Esports and Blockchain technology are two emerging industries that are transforming the technological landscape and creating exciting opportunities for multiple categories of participants in the gaming community. Looking ahead, these developments may affect everyone as blockchain tech is not a passing fad. Gamification experts may choose to incentivise and reward activities in everyday life (e.g. from going to the gym, running a marathon, or betting on a horse) utilising the platforms that the esports community are developing [see Experience Points].
Reuben Jackson, 2018, How Blockchain is Bringing in The New Era of Esports
Riad Chikhani, 2018, No token effort: Blockchain can make esports more transparent
Crypto Insider, 2018, Blockchain enters the eSports arena
Andrew Rossow, 2018, It’s Time To Wake Up The eSports Space With Blockchain
Jonathan Tran, 2018, How Eventum’s Blockchain Technology can Revolutionize eSports
Steven Buchko, 2018, How Blockchain Technology is Changing the Gaming Industry
Radoslav “Nydra” Kolev, 2018, A blockchain platform to “crowd-manage” esports teams just raised $27 million