Will Bitcoin Mining Become A New Way To Play Video Games?

by on October 12, 2017

Video games have been around for decades and just when you didn’t think that they couldn’t get any more advanced, cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, begin revolutionising the industry. A whole range of new terms and concepts like mining have emerged, Bitcoin has also introduced completely new online games like Bitcoin slots. Bitcoin mining is essential in the digital cryptocurrency industry, as it allows transactions that have been made to be added to the Blockchain. With these ‘blocks’ you can gage the time order of transactions. Adding blocks, however, can become quite the expense for companies, which is why bitcoin mining operates as a deterrent to miscreants who might want to add dishonest blocks to the Blockchain.

Why Will Bitcoin Mining Be Useful For Video Game Operations?

By introducing bitcoin mining into video game mechanics, game companies will be able to target and attract a huge 80% of their audience. For the majority of MMORPG’s, such as the huge fantasy game World of Warcraft, the entirety of the games content is not available for free – membership is required. With that comes an expense for players, of course, and not everyone is willing to pay this price, and so resort to enjoying the limited free features. With the introduction of bitcoin mining, however, these users will be able to develop a full-time commitment to the game as a pricey subscription won’t need to be purchased on a regular basis.

This concept of bitcoin mining for video games certainly isn’t new, either, as Javascript miners previously suggested that even browser mining could eliminate the means of Adsense and replace it as a substitute of web content monetisation, although the project was never seen through to the end and was eventually scrapped due to the sheer difficulty of the task at the time. The bitcoin industry is hopeful about being properly introduced to video game systems in the future.

The Issues With Bitcoin Mining Being Incorporated Into Video Games

The business model for using bitcoin mining within video games isn’t scalable for a start, and will end up in a loss of profits as opposed to a gain. At a tiny price of $5, Bitcoin money can generate a grand total of $36,000 a day, equating to $13 a year. However, no matter how many miners are enforced, the figure is guaranteed to fall to $6.5 a year instead, as Coinlab won’t be able to gain enough momentum to catch up to the mining reward change. If Bitcoin mining is to seriously become to source of video games revenue, a huge amount of gamers will need to be attracted to prevent the profits from falling to such a low amount, which will be considerably difficult.

You might be wondering why attracting these people will be difficult? Bitcoin mining in video games is heavily reliant on gamers playing on a desktop device. However, desktop sales are declining rapidly as the years go by, with 18.7 million units being sold in 2010 dropping to only 15.7 million in 2015. Ultimately, this means that the majority of PC gamers will be using laptops, netbooks or tablets. The problem with this is that these computer models have a much weaker GPU hash rate computer in comparison to desktop computers, meaning that bitcoin mining technology is likely to be very incompatible for many PC gamers in present day. Plus, if bitcoin mining is able to run on a notebook or tablet PC, it will easily drain the battery power and thus cause many gamers to reject the technology completely because of its inconvenience.

Whilst most people undoubtedly own some form of PC, a very large quantity of gamers are active on consoles such as PS4 and Xbox. In 2015, Sony achieved a huge 30 million console sales, proving it to be the most bought console. With such a huge number of gamers active on these consoles, it would be obvious to target these people with bitcoin mining, right? Well, consoles such as the PS4 and Xbox aren’t compatible with the technology, and would provide an incomparable performance. With GPU bitcoin mining emerging, there are several issues that make the mining on consoles futile.

The most obvious problem is the fact that gaming consoles aren’t powerful enough to support the mining technology. With hardware today producing power from strong computing graphics card, the console is extremely weak compared to the PC’s ability. Whilst the GPU within the PS4 and Xbox was powerful at one time, it’s not comparable in the present day. Hashing power could be generated on the lower end of the spectrum, however they also lack unified shaders which would make the programming for powerful hashing impossible. Therefore, there wouldn’t be a huge benefit by introducing bitcoin mining into the video game industry as it would miss a huge bracket of gamers who solely play on consoles.

Experiments have been carried out regarding bitcoin mining on games consoles, such as trying the technology on a 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System, a variant of the SNES. Whilst the concept was initially a joke, the creator of the NES mining system took the challenge and performed SHA256 hashing on the console. After some modifications, the NES miner worked and began searching for blocks, however it occurred at such a poor rate that it was almost pointless.

Companies Attempting Bitcoin Mining In Video Games

A few years ago, a large gaming software company received a giant $1million fine as it secretly added bitcoin mining software into a product update. The E-Sports Entertainment Association (ESEA) caused problems for approximately 14,000 customers by infecting them with the bitcoin mining code, which mined about 30 bitcoins over the two weeks it was enforced. It was suggested that an employee for ESEA had ‘gone rogue’ as he acted without any authorisation from upper positions in the company.

Even though the act was completely illegal, it’s become apparent recently that video game companies have been trying to incorporate bitcoin mining into their software to explore the benefits that it can provide to the video game industry due to the rising popularity of the bitcoin cryptocurrency. Despite this, though, putting bitcoin mining software into more video games is going to be difficult to do currently due to the issues stated above. However, there’s no saying about whether the GPU of a tablet PC will improve in the future to allow bitcoin mining to occur in these PC devices. Plus, we could see consoles becoming more compatible in the future, too, so even though bitcoin mining isn’t as prevalent today, it might be in the very foreseeable future.