Through the first part of this article, features and current issues about blockchain games have been discussed so far. Now, I’d like to go over three major challenges that blockchain game field is facing, and LINE Blockchain and LINK (LN)’s missions in blockchain games.
Blockchain Game and Challenges
The three big challenges that blockchain games need to overcome are — 1) user experience, 2) developer-friendliness, 3) and compliance.
First, it is not easy for the users to acquire and manage crypto assets. Second, a thorough literacy in blockchain technology is required for blockchain game developers, and last, the regulatory hurdles is ever arising.
Challenges in User Experience
The first thing that blocks any users is most likely to be buying crypto assets. If you want to play an Ethereum-based game then you’ll need to have some ETH on your wallet. So if you don’t have any crypto wallet, you’ll need to start with creating an account on a crypto asset exchange. In Japan, it usually takes up to 1 week (or more) to complete the exchange’s KYC process so it’s another big hurdle. (But LINE’s crypto asset exchange BITMAX can complete this KYC process only within 2–3 days.)
Once you have your account and wallet created, you’ll need to manage your ‘wallet’ on your own. By ‘management’ of the wallet, you’ll need to transfer the purchased crypto assets to your wallet, and it’s not a very easy nor a pleasant experience. Crypto wallets have passcodes, and once you forget the code there is no way to restore it. It’s a critical issue and also not a common case in traditional games so it’s one of the major problems that pushes users away from enjoying a blockchain games.
Blockchain knowledge requirements for the developers is a big barrier.
Because blockchain is irreversible and cannot be modified, it cannot be edited once the data is written on the blockchain. Thus, a high expertise in blockchain development is necessary for the developers. It’s especially stricter when it comes to the case of smart contracts. Smart contracts cannot be modified once it’s deployed so the development must go through very precise code testing and audits.
For non-blockchain game development, it only takes one dimensional effort to polish the overall game experience and quality. But because of these particular features of blockchain, seeking/training developers specialized in blockchain takes so much more cost and efforts.
Thus, a simpler development environment where the developers can focus easily on the game development without having to deal with the complicated blockchain protocol should be implemented.
Compliance in Japan
The compliance requirements of Japan’s Payment Services Act include i) compliance with crypto assets regulations, and ii) RMT*-related legal arrangements.
(*RMT: Abbreviation of ‘Real Money Trading,’ an exchange of virtual currencies from online games to cash.)
Blockchain is still new, so there are still some ‘grey areas’ in laws and regulations regarding blockchain/crypto services. Nonetheless, the service providers should be well aware of the latest updates on the rules and be lawful when developing services.
Blockchain Games by LINE Blockchain Platform
Blockchain games are still games, so they should be fun to play. The ingredients that can add more fun to blockchain games can be combining tokens or smart contracts.
And LINE Blockchain Platform provides the following features to help developers to easily add and apply blockchain features to their own games.
LINE ID-based Token Management
Users will be able to manage tokens just with their LINE IDs and LINE users can access their own game assets with LINE ID integration. There’ll be no needs to manage blockchain addresses once you have your LINE ID integrated, because you can simply exchange tokens with your friends on LINE Messenger. LINE service-based management of game assets is also possible, which gives users a better of UX (user experience).
Anyone can participate in LINE Blockchain, issue tokens, or develop their desired services with blockchain technology. Tokens can be easily managed through LINE Blockchain developer console and features like item tokenization will be easily accessible as well. LINE Blockchain’s APIs will also make the management of smart contracts and transactions less complicated because smart contract will be screened and audited in advance so the developers can minimize their costs and labors spent on testing or auditing codes. Moreover, LINE Blockchain’s development partners will be backed by development supports so they can have a more efficient and productive development environment.
Token Economy Building around LINK (LN)
LINK (LN), the JVCEA’s acknowledged crypto asset under Japanese regulations, is the base coin used within the LINE Blockchain. On LINE Blockchain Network, LN can be used to build token economies by game communities. LN as the base currency within the LINE Blockchain is what makes the LINE Blockchain special, as there are some other blockchain providers like Hyperledger do not have tokens. Thus, with LINE Blockchain Developers, the developers can issue different types of tokens such as the developer’s own game NFTs.
This feature can make some interesting scenarios become possible in the future. For examples, blockchain-based e-sports experience can be enriched with LINK-based NFTs for athletes/teams, or fans can support their favorite teams with their LNs.
LINE Blockchain follows the laws and regulations related to blockchain services, including blockchain games. LINE has its own track records and system for regulatory compliances, including LINK (LN)’s recent crypto asset approval from Japan, and achieving operation license for LINE’s crypto asset exchange BITMAX.
Meanwhile in Japan, the above-mentioned ‘grey areas’ regarding blockchain game regulations including legal treatment of NFTs are gradually getting clearly established. Once the regulatory atmosphere around blockchain settles, the blockchain environment in Japan will be more ideal for productive competitions and thus will nourish blockchain game development.
I hope this introductory article has given you a better understandings on LINE Blockchain, and how it has been designed so everyone can build their own ideas on blockchain services. As LINE Blockchain team wants to be a part of building a better and larger blockchain (and blockchain game) world, we’ll continue to improve LINE Blockchain platform with open ears to our users and partners. And hopefully LINE Blockchain and LINE Token Economy can be the solution to your businesses to further your plans.