Dean Anderson 28 Mar 2018 02:04pm

How blockchain will revolutionise the games industry

The internet opened the doors to the freedom of collaboration for people across the world. This has feulled decentralisation, and an increasing proportion of self-employed homeworkers. More recently it has led to the creation of vibrant, dynamic online communities pioneering innovations. How might blockchain impact how talent is accessed, people are paid and their work organised? The games industry is instructive here

Back in 2010, blockchain and cryptocurrencies were in their infancy and there was no feasible way to financially reward gamers en mass for co-creating games. Now that these technologies are established, a model where co-creators are guaranteed financial rewards has become possible.

Incentivising people with real economic benefit to do the work they want to do, co-creating games, will end this form of unpaid work. Real rewards will also increase both the quantity and the quality of the work dramatically.

By allowing developers and publishers to recognise this work and give it the scale of awareness it needs, community creators will quickly become third party developers and gain financial rewards for their work.

Compare this to the model of social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Here profit comes through selling behavioural information, demographic statistics, web browsing and buying history.

All forms of contributions to capital – not just the financial contributions of shareholders – deserve to receive some reward, and blockchain will help to ensure this for the games industry.
Gamers will be rewarded with cryptocurrency for playing and reviewing games, giving feedback to developers and sharing social content to help promote the games they love.

In turn, developers will have access to millions of gamers throughout the entire creation process, and will even be able to license user generated content, sell and market these games through the platform.

This new model comes ahead of a key transition in the global labour market: likely obsolescence of some traditional jobs from technologies such as AI with some new careers emerging.
By using blockchain-facilitated peer-to-peer cryptocurrency payments and transactions, employers are now able to pay anyone, anywhere in the world, making it also possible to hire anyone, regardless of geography, and ultimately tap into a global talent pool.

In the UK this raises concerns in relation to Brexit with Dr Richard Wilson CEO of TIGA (the network for UK games developers and digital publishers) saying: “In order to grow and thrive, the UK video games industry will need to continue to recruit talent on a global level."

Blockchain-facilitated collaboration across the continent and beyond could help to reverse the stalling of the UK’s video games industry, while helping the global industry to thrive.

By incorporating blockchain into the world of work, from recruitment to collaborative labour, to the financial and contractual agreements between employer and worker, the whole work process can become more productive, efficient, and democratic.

Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital trends survey suggests that employers must adapt to meet the challenges of global mobility by creating “a global workforce infused with ‘digital DNA’”, “a working environment that enables productivity and uses innovative technologies”.

Such an environment will require “engaging communication tools to enhance collaboration, wellness, and a sense of purpose”.

Sam Fletcher, head of intelligence at international executive search firm 6 Group, predicts that by providing “a database of people with experience and skills codified to accurately record their abilities”, the blockchain would limit the time intensive manual HR recruitment process.

Blockchain can also facilitate a system of temporary employment that ensures fairness between workers and employers, Foresight and technology trends researcher, Aida Ponce Del Castillo, believes.

“The unbeatable advantages of blockchains” can be used to create “a truly global, truly open and truly democratic workforce and employment solution,” according to Autonomous decentralised contact center network, PodOne.

Blockchain will be a way of responding to an increasingly globalised workforce that will blossom alongside the evolution of global mobility.

The global video gaming industry will be massively impacted for the better by the use of blockchain. It will create a revolution in the way people work in this industry. It also has the potential to impact other industry sectors.

Dean Anderson is a co-founder of Gamestatix, a social platform for the co-creation of PC games.