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Blockchain gaming: Why did Blizzard just rescind prize money?

Many in the gaming community exploded in outrage as they called for a boycott against Blizzard’s games.

hearthstone
Image: Play Hearthstone

During a live broadcast, Hong Kong pro gamer, Chung Ng Wai, who goes by the gaming name “Blitzchung” recently said online, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!”

As a result, Blizzard Entertainment, the owners of the popular game Hearthstone decided to rescind Wai’s prize money in a grandmaster tournament and banned him from Hearthstone esports for 12 months.

The banning caused an uproar from the gaming community over social media and in response to the Blitzchung-Blizzard ordeal, Gods Unchained (a blockchain-based version of Hearthstone) voiced its stance against “gaming censorship” on Twitter.

The Gods Unchained tweet exploded, receiving over 30,000 likes and hundreds of comments from the gaming community with Gods Unchained offering to pay for Wei’s lost winnings with a ticket to their $500,000 tournament.

A censorship backlash

Many in the gaming community exploded in outrage as they called for a boycott against Blizzard’s games. Various players posted images on social media of them canceling their Blizzard subscription.

Image: @Slasher via Twitter

Game designer and former Blizzard employee Mark Kern joined the boycott in a tweet that read, “I stand with Hong Kong, and I oppose Blizzard’s obvious and laughably transparent fear of China. It’s time for Blizzard to grow the spine it used to have, and to do what’s right for gamers once again. Gamers, rise up.”

Image: Mark Kern / Twitter

Other gamers moved in to show support for Gods Unchained, denouncing Blizzard’s actions in a tweet that was retweeted over 10,000 times. But here’s the interesting thing, the popularity of Gods Unchained has surpassed CryptoKitties to become the number one blockchain dApp.

Compared to CryptoKitties at its peak in 2017, Gods Unchained popularity has led to an unprecedented spike in the transfer count of ERC-721 tokens, which has largely contributed to the overall growth of Ethereum’s smart contract usage.

coinmetric token chart

Image: CoinMetric.com

Digital pigs on the blockchain

Another Ethereum-based game recently surpassed CryptoKitties as one of the most played Ethereum-based digital games called CryptOink, by Japanese blockchain game developer Good Luck 3.

Similar to CryptoKitties, CryptOink features a variety of collectibles in the form of virtual piglets of all shapes and sizes.

crypt oink

Image: DGaming

Image Credit: DGaming

These piglets (called Crypton) can be trained as pets, be put to race in a competition, bred with unique characteristics and traded as collectible items with other players.

This means that if a player “builds up value” and quits a game–they can sell their items, which is different from most games.

Pokomonism and digital scarcity

In China, spending on blockchain technology is expected to surpass $2 billion by 2023. And there is no denying that blockchain gaming is set to take off in Asia. Especially with blockchain gaming platforms introducing digital scarcity looking to become the next “Pokemon.”

Because non-blockchain games like Dominations have found success while using in-game currency that is not tradable, the potential for blockchain games to sell and trade collectibles presents real value to gamers.

That’s because they’re able to “cash-out” of a game and move on to the next game of their choice. But right now, that can’t happen because games non-blockchain games are not set up like this, which has led to gaming black markets emerge with gamers selling their gaming accounts in forums and gaming chat groups like Line and Discord.

Editor’s Note: Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo! News and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

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