The dream of every little boy (and many grown men) to make money by playing video games is getting closer to reality. The recent release of HunterCoin and the evolving VoidSpace, a game that rewards players in digital currency rather than virtual princes or gold stars, point to a future where one’s scoreboard rating can be rewarded with dollars, pounds, euros and yen.
The story of a millionaire (virtual) real estate agent …
Digital currencies are slowly maturing in terms of both functionality and financial infrastructure, allowing them to be used as a reliable alternative to non-virtual fiat currency. Although Bitcoin, the number one and most popular cryptocurrency, was created in 2009, it has been using forms of virtual currencies in video games for more than 15 years. Ultima Online in 1997 was the first notable attempt to bring large-scale virtual economy into the game. Players could collect gold coins by completing quests, fighting monsters, and finding treasures, and spending them on armor, weapons, or real estate. It was an early embodiment of virtual currency, as it existed purely within the game, although it reflected the real world economy to the extent that it was subject to inflation as a result of game mechanics that ensured that Ultima’s currency had an endless supply. gold coins to kill monsters and thus collect.
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Launched in 1999, EverQuest took the virtual currency game one step further, allowing players to buy virtual goods from each other in the game, even though the game’s designer banned the sale of virtual goods to each other on eBay. In the entertaining real-world phenomenon explored in Neal Stephenson’s 2011 novel Reamde, Chinese players or “golden farmers” were hired to play EverQuest and other similar games full-time in order to gain experience points to upgrade their characters. thus making them stronger and more demanding. These characters would then be sold to Western players who did not want or could not spend their hours to level their characters on eBay. Edward Castronova, a professor of telecommunications at Indiana University and an expert on virtual currencies, estimated that in 2002 EverQuest was the 77th richest country in the world, based on the calculated exchange rate of EverQuest as a result of real world trading. Between Russia and Bulgaria, and GDP per capita was higher than that of the People’s Republic of China and India.
Launched in 2003 and reaching 1 million regular users by 2014, Second Life is perhaps the most perfect example of a virtual economy to date, with its virtual currency, the Linden Dollar, which can be used to buy or sell in-game goods and services. can be converted to real world currencies through market-based exchanges. Between 2002 and 133, $ 3.2 billion in in-game virtual merchandise transactions were recorded over 10 years, and Second Life became a marketplace where both players and businesses could design, promote, and sell content. Real estate was a particularly lucrative commodity for commerce, and in 2006 Ailin Graef became the 1st Second Life Millionaire, converting an initial investment of $ 9.95 to $ 1 million in 2.5 years through the purchase and sale of virtual real estate and other players. . Examples such as Ailin are an exception to the rule, but in 2009 only 233 users earned more than $ 5,000 from Second Life activities.
How to pay in dollars for the extraction of asteroids …
To date, the ability to generate non-virtual cash in video games has a secondary design, with the player having to go through unauthorized channels to exchange virtual loot or have a real-world creative ability or business acumen. could be sold for cash. This can be replaced by the emergence of video games from scratch around the “plumbing” of popular digital currency platforms. The approach adopted by HunterCoin is usually to “play” a fairly technical and automated process to create a digital currency. Unlike real-world currencies, which are created by the central bank, digital currencies are created by users “mined”. The main source code that allows a particular digital currency to work is called a blockchain, an online decentralized public book that records all transactions and currency exchanges between individuals.
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Since digital currency is nothing more than intangible information, it is more prone to counterfeiting than physical currency, as it is possible to make a duplicate of a currency, inflate it after it has been made for personal gain, or change the value of the transaction. To prevent this from happening, the blockchain is “police” by volunteers or “miners”, who check the reliability of each operation, making sure that the data is not changed with the help of specialized hardware and software. Although this is a time-consuming process, it is an automated process that requires a lot of processing power from the miner’s software. To reward a miner for approving a transaction, the blockchain releases a new digital currency unit and rewards them to encourage the network to maintain, thus creating a digital currency. Because it can take several days to several years for an individual to successfully produce coins, groups of users can pool their resources in a mining “pool” and use the combined processing power of their computers to extract coins faster.
The game HunterCoin sits inside such a blockchain for a digital currency called HunterCoin. The act of playing a game replaces the automated process of extracting digital currency and, for the first time, does it manually and without the need for expensive equipment. Using strategy, time, and teamwork, players can go to the map to look for coins and find some and return safely to their bases (other teams try to stop them there and steal their coins) by depositing money. they include them in their digital wallets, a program typically designed to make and receive digital payments. 10% of the value of any coins deposited by players goes to the miners who keep the HunterCoin blockchain, plus a small portion of the coins lost when the player is killed and their coins fall to the ground. While the game’s graphics take time to collect major and significant rewards, HunterCoin is an experience that may seem like the first video game to have a cash prize built into its core function.
While still evolving, VoidSpace is a more polished approach to games in a working economy. Mass Multiplayer Online Role Play (MMORPG), VoidSpace, is built in a space where players explore an ever-growing universe, discover natural resources such as asteroids, and trade goods with other players to build their own galactic empires. Players will be rewarded for mining at DogeCoin, a more radical form of digital currency currently widely used for micro-payments on various social media sites. DogeCoin will be both a currency for in-game trading between players and a tool for in-game shopping. Like HunterCoin, DogeCoin is a legal and fully functional digital currency, and HunterCoin can be traded on exchanges such as Poloniex for both digital and real fiat currencies.
The future of video games?
Although the first days in terms of quality, the release of HunterCoin and VoidSpace is an interesting indication of what the next evolution for games could be. MMORPGs are now considered as a way to model the occurrence of epidemics, as the player’s unpredictable cholera reactions reflect how difficult aspects of recorded modeling of human behavior reflect real-world epidemics. Finally, in-game virtual economies can be thought of as a model for testing economic theories and preparing responses to mass failures based on observations of how players use digital currency at real value. It is also a good test for the functionality and potential applications of digital currencies, which promise to simply go beyond the means of exchange and, for example, move to areas of private digital ownership. Meanwhile, players have the opportunity to convert their watches in front of the screen into digital currency, and then into dollars, pounds, euros or yen.
But before you leave your daily work …
… it is worth noting the current exchange rates. It is estimated that a player can easily withdraw the initial registration fee of 1,005 HunterCoin (HUC) to join HunterCoin in a 1-day game. Currently, HUC cannot be exchanged directly for the US dollar, it needs to be converted to a more radical digital currency like Bitcoin. At the time of writing, HUC’s exchange rate for Bitcoin (BC) is 0.00001900, and BC’s ratio to USD is $ 384.24. 1 HUC was traded in BC, and then in US dollars, before any transaction fee was taken into account … it would be equal to $ 0.01 US dollars. This does not mean that the player will not be able to develop his own virtual CoinHunters team and will not be able to run the game automatically under the name of another player and run several “bot” programs that will earn money for them as well. but I’m sure that at the moment, such attempts could result in a significant change, even for everyday McDonalds. Unless players want to submit to intrusive in-game ads, share personal information, or join a game like CoinHunter built on the Bitcoin blockchain, the rewards are unlikely to be more than micro payments for a casual player. And maybe that’s a good thing, because if you get paid for something, it stops being a game anymore?