Online games, including MMOs, are slowly finding ways to incorporate the use of Bitcoin because of its touted advantages: It is easy to transfer across the numerous countries that players of an MMO live in and does not require costly fees compared to other payment options.
Below you will discover how Bitcoin is being integrated in the MMO industry. Traditional MMOs, for example, are beginning to accept payments and facilitate player trades using the digital currency.
Meanwhile, MMO casinos are using Bitcoin in lieu of chips, while web-based platforms are enabling competitive MMO players to organize winner-take-all matches with piles of Bitcoin on the line.
Crowfall is another MMO that is accepting Bitcoin as a worldwide payment method. “While Bitcoin is still a mystery to most people it is being used by many progressive online companies in lieu of other payment methods primarily for personal security and lower processing fees. If you have a Bitcoin wallet application, you'll be able to pledge for Crowfall moving forward,” said Gordon Walton, co-founder of ArtCraft Entertainment on why the developer decided to hop on the Bitcoin bandwagon.
Crowfall backers can spend Bitcoin to purchase a pledge package, which is required to play the MMO.
When the news was announced in December 2015 that Bitcoin is an acceptable payment method in Crowfall, fans had mixed reactions on the forums.
“I’m not sure if this is the right move since Bitcoin money has a bad taste to it,” said forum user Illara, a negative sentiment which was quickly countered by other fans.
“How’s that? It’s in no way a bad move. Nor does Bitcoin have any kind of bad taste, rather the opposite IMO,” said forum user Zushakon.
Crowfall’s addition to the list of MMOs that accept Bitcoin is a huge swing of momentum, as it is one of the most buzzed about titles currently in development because of rave previews from MMO critics as well as impressive Kickstarter funding numbers.
Crowfall has been named one of the most anticipated MMOs of 2016 by many popular websites such as MMORPG.com and IGN. And as of April 2016, Crowfall has received more than $7 million in funding, including more than $2.7 million from its Kickstarter and Crowfall website donations campaigns, and it can be argued that adding Bitcoin payments boosted that number.
Island also accepts Bitcoin. Players can upgrade their account to membership status with Bitcoin to unlock special perks, although as of this writing membership has been disabled as the title prepares for its Steam launch.
It is not surprising that Dragon's Tale, the casino MMOs, have taken to Bitcoin like duck to water because of how it is easy to integrate in the games. Dragon’s Tale is one prime example, allowing players to use Bitcoins as casino chips when they play in the MMO.
The systems lets players easily import their personal Bitcoin balance into their game account as well as earn small amounts of Bitcoins when exploring and doing activities in-game.
In fact, the client itself will connect players to partner Bitcoin sellers through the in-game menu. The casino games in Dragon’s Tale differ from the typical craps, roulette and black jack options in a typical casino.
Instead, players can bet their Bitcoins on variety of simple solo games, harder skill-based games and even player-vs.-player games.
Similar to Dragon’s Tale, CasinoRPG is a Vegas-themed MMORPG with elements of role-playing, city-building and casino gambling.
CasinoRPG allows players to buy Casino Points through Bitcoin. Casino Points or known shorthand as CP is the premium currency that is spent to buy land or casino and condo items, expand a player’s vault size and allow for more Chips to be stored at any given time.
Finally, CP can be sold on the exchange market for Chips that a player needs to buy avatar items such as clothing, or condo decoration such as furniture, as well as participating in high-reward Tournaments and Sprints.
“Bitcoin is something that we've experimented with for the last few years personally, and we tend to discuss it quite frequently here at GoldFire HQ,” said the CasinoRPG maker GoldFire Studios in its announcement of using Bitcoin back in 2014.
“Until recently; however, we hadn't thought seriously about offering it as a payment option for the games under the GoldFire Network.
Recent events would lead you to believe this is odd timing, but it has only led to a bolstering of confidence in the fledgling crypto-currency. So, we've decided to take the leap and make it one of the primary purchasing options for the entire network, including our newest title, CasinoRPG.”
One of the earliest attempts to marry Bitcoin use and MMO play is BitFantasy, a brainchild of software developer Darren Tarbard. The game was designed to have a small sign up price of 0.01 Bitcoins, with an option to pay more in order to access additional perks. Players can also trade with each other using Bitcoin, which Tarbard said was the most convenient method currently.
"I don't think it would be possible to implement the direct player-to-player trading in any other way. For us to do the same thing with (for example) PayPal would require every player to have a PayPal merchant account, and for me to have their API keys and other shenanigans that I don't even want to think about,” Tarbard said in an interview with Coindesk.com back in 2013.
In order to maintain balance in some way – because spending Bitcoin rampantly on everything will likely lead to a so-called “pay-to-win” environment – Tarbard limited the ways that Bitcoin can be spent. Bitcoin cannot be spent to buy gold pieces or items from non-player-controlled shopkeepers. Basically, Bitcoin is confined to trades involving another human player.
Leet is a skill-based eSports platform where players can organize cash games and tournaments and compete for Bitcoin bets in popular multiplayer titles like League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and the Minecraft MMO.
For Minecraft, you can fight in the Minecraft Hunger Games with other players, and the last player standing in the battle royale will win all the Bitcoin bets.
To support international players, Leet also displays up-to-date values of transactions in their preferred denomination, although all transactions are handled in Bitcoin. This means that you can see US dollar conversions of match winnings, for example, through a display.
In explaining why Leet uses Bitcoin, it says that the digital currency can keep up with the rapid pace of eSports matches and is not weighed down by fees and compared to other payment methods.
“Compared to traditional currency, Bitcoin has little to no fees, and enables international use, with fast transactions. It makes it possible to play against an opponent in real-time for thousands of dollars, or a fraction of a cent. Bitcoin and gaming are a perfect match.”
Players that have no Bitcoins to begin with can purchase it through partners like Circle. Leet also allows instant withdrawals of Bitcoins for users that use a Xapo wallet.
As payment for hosting the service, Leet takes 2% from transactions in non-promo game types.
Only players that are at least 18 years old (or older in other locations) can use Leet, and it is not available throughout the United States, Only 44 out of 50 US states support Leet (Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada and Washington does not allow its use). But the good news is that it is supported throughout most of Europe, Asia and South America.
Leet also gives out Bitcoin as a reward for favorable actions such as players earning 10,000 Satoshi when they send a referral link to their friends and they sign up and play on the platform.
Bitcoin Betting in MMO eSports
Another rising interaction between Bitcoin and MMOs is eSports betting. eSports is one of the fastest rising areas of competitive video gaming, and take the form of international tournaments with thousands, if not millions, of dollars on the line for the winning teams. Some of the most popular MMOs, shooter titles and MOBAs are also raking in viewership dollars from selling live event tickets and airing the matches online.
For some avid fans, they do not only want to root for their favorite team, but also place their bets behind those they believe will win the match. Bitcoins are becoming a popular form of wager in eSports betting sites such as Nitrogen Sports.
Nitrogen Sports claims to be the largest and most trusted Bitcoin sportsbook and casino in the world. Site users must be at least 18 years old, and lives in a jurisdiction where eSports and online gambling are legal.
Similar to how MMO developers are incorporating Bitcoin to hasten transactions, Nitrogen Sports chose to specialize in Bitcoin because it enables them to process fast transactions, from deposits to withdrawals to bettor accounts.In its site, Nitrogen Sports also runs down several other advantages of betting with Bitcoin. First, it is a decentralized currency, which means the Bitcoin network is not controlled by, or responsible to a government or bank.
Second, you can set up a Bitcoin address in seconds with no fees, a big plus for bettors. Third, transaction fees are also minimal when betting with Bitcoin, and Nitrogen Sports does not charge for withdrawals because of the digital currency. Fourth, bets can be placed in seconds and depositing funds do not require confirmations unlike other forms of currency that might be slowed down due to requisite checks.
Fifth, and this is a big one, is that using a Bitcoin address for betting does not require the user to divulge personal information, enabling them to create an anonymous account at Nitrogen Sports and other similar Bitcoin sportsbooks – a boon for those that want to keep their transactions and online identity strictly private.
Charity Giving in MMOs?
MMO developers are famous for having big hearts, and being in the unique position to tap into the goodness of millions of gamers. This has led developers of titles like World of Warcraft and EVE Online to organize donation drives that have managed to raise a lot of funds for causes such as the Nepal relief efforts after strong earthquakes devastated the nation last year.
It is not a stretch to think that Bitcoin, as it starts gaining more traction among gamers, will start becoming an acceptable form of donation in MMO charity giving drives.
Already, there is growing list of organizations that accept Bitcoin donations such as the Human Rights Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, and BitHope Foundation.
MMO gamers can also donate directly to their pet causes, whether it is the peaceful ending of all world wars (Antiwar.com), the growth of free multilingual educational content online through the super popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia (WikiMedia Foundation) or feeding the homeless (Sean’s Outpost).
The blockchain future has its fair share of disappointments, though.
Voxelnauts – which as patterned after Minecraft, one of the most critically acclaimed online games in recent times – tried to use of the NXT blockchain for its economy, land property and game item intellectual property management system, according to CoinTelegraph.com.
Proponents of NXT claim it will enable even faster transactions than Bitcoin, while also carrying many of the advantages that the latter touts such as high transaction security and reduced worry about fraudulent transactions.
Unfortunately, Voxelnauts failed to meet its $200,000 Kickstarter goal, and the project seems to have been shelved for now, but backers and fans have been piqued not only by its ambitious implementation of the NXT blockchain but also its promise of giving players far more modding options than its originator Minecraft could offer.
Still, with the many inroads that Bitcoin and other similar currencies are making in the MMORPG arena, it might be only a matter of time before a title with full integration comes out of the woodwork.