Decentralized Video Game Distribution Platform

Ergonaut Bros

I am by no means a developer and not as knowledgeable in crypto and recognized that there are way smarter people here but just wanted to share my idea. Apologies in advanced if this isn’t very technical and is written in the most layman’s terms as this is my first post.

The distribution of video games highly rely on centralized and web2 based service distributors. Many of these examples can be seen on Steam, Microsoft Store, Sony PlayStation, Epic Games, Google play store, Apple IOS and yes even GOG etc.

These centralized video game distributors are seen by consumers, game developers and even publishers as the most viable form and easily accessible methods to distribute games and use as a service. As a service they provide extremely friendly and intuitive UI/UX interface and experience for their users allowing them ease of use to purchase video games and launching them on their platform. Because of this, this allows them to have many social features, tools added and a high amount of installed users making them the best platform to digitally transact and pay for video games.

However this is an increasingly a problem as only a few of the platforms tend to have a large market share and have an almost monopolistic characteristics to almost control entire segments of the market. Unaware to the general gamer or consumer this is a negative quality to the distributions of video games. Of course most consumers or gamers at the end of the day do not really care where they buy their games as long as it is easily accessible at any time. However I do not believe or share that type of reason where only few companies can control that type of distribution as we can look at other examples such as Windows OS and Linux on PC distribution which is obviously extreme.

I propose the idea and need of a Decentralized Game Distribution Platform and a platforms that moves away from highly centralized distribution of games that can benefit both the consumer and game developers. I believe that decentralization and blockchain can solve the current dilemma and trend on the distribution of video games.

Eco-system and Fees
In some of these centralized distributors they have a closed platform where by consumers are locked in their Eco-system, incentive by their services and exclusivity software, consumers will feel they are unwilling to move to a different platform as they would lose everything they had in their previous platform.

For developers and Publishers, the challenges and difficulties are always found in the platform fees as the various centralized platform require a fee ranging from anywhere to 15% to 30% per transaction to continue to use of the platform and access to their installed user base. This allows for bigger developers to able negotiate while smaller developers or publishers left out in the cold.

A solution for this would be to obviously use the blockchain’s really cheap gas fees and bridging to another blockchain without the lost of one individuals library of video games or applications. This would allow Devs and Publishers to earn more without paying high fees and people to move their game library at any time.

Owner Ship and NFT Utility
One of the major issues with video games currently is digital ownership of the product as if not most of the platform inherently only allows you to owe an applicable license to the product on their platform, this is also exacerbated by the subscription model of software in addition to video games. Additionally to be able to use the product one would have to connect to the platform service to verify ownership and have the right to download and access it. Even if GOG which sells non-DRM games, if the platform were to cease to exist the owner of the product may no longer have access to it.

A solution to this, would be to make the product into an NFT that is immutable and always exist on the block chain where consumers would always have access to it, own the product and the ability to even trade. Similarly like CNFT.IO, Davinci or Opensea etc, game developers can earn royalty.

Before if you’re old like me, you could trade your physical games with another person or at a game store in something for return. However developers and publishers felt they were cut from that type of source of revenue and did various things in order to control the product that you bought. But in today digital space they still have the same middle man problem and the same issues with the grey market distributing their keys on a different platform.

One Criticism to address with this method would be where the video game would be stored? As the URL in the NFT can be attacked and changed if stored on a centralized sever. Another would be if the file size is too large to fit in the block chain and it would be too expensive to store on there. The best long term solution from what I research would be to store it off chain, where it is unable to be modified.

On boarding and Simplicity
With Web3 still being in development, on-boarding users onto a decentralized platform would require a friendly user experience, easy to understand UI and the basic knowledge to create an account but in this instance it would be to create a Wallet, storing seed phrase and connect to the dapps. Simplicity will always have to be key and unfortunately most web3, crypto terminology and engineering behind it would have to work in the background as your general user wouldn’t understand it, not care and just wants to use the platform or service. Additionally making 2 accounts would lead to bit more frustration.

I would propose a simple tutorial and helping the user step by step in creating a wallet, storing seed phrase and connecting to web3.

Furthermore on boarding game developers, especially indie developers from the non gamefi/defi space is a must. The honest truth is that this is where most quality games and the best experience game developers in making games are still being made in the non crypto space and also where some gamers whom may not want to play a game with the gamefi-fication aspects of it. This would help to onboard users who may have an interest in using a decentralized distribution platform without knowing how to use web3 or blockchain tech.

Curation and Community/Governance
To avoid shovel-ware, scams, copycats and just in general low-quality video games, curation should play a vital role and should be governed by the community to what should be on the platform, reporting scams and create a high quality decentralized distributing platform. However should everyone have the right to mint their NFTs, It would open to being problematic like Opensea.
I believe a sensible reason or solution is that having partnerships or extending invitation to both known indie and major game studios first would be a better start before eventually handling the curation to the community and finally opening the flood gates for all developers to avoid the underlying issues above.

Managing library of Games, Stores and Assets
A managing tool and library is important, by far the best one to aim for in terms of managing a game library is Steam as it is leagues ahead of any of its competitors in organization, curation, discover ability and even reviewing/ ratings of video games.

Trying to put this all in a wallet would probably be very difficult and hard to scale as trying to organize it in a wallet would probably be nightmare especially if they have hundreds to thousand of NFTs and a store inside it but I guess anything is possible if someone wants to do that.

If looking to manage a video game library, please don’t follow the Epic/Ubisoft/EA Origin/ Bethesda(Now Defunct) games launchers as there are some of the worst platforms I have used.

Looking at the Steam UI it has A simple UI for categorization, tabs and filters that are great to separate games and game assets. Especially having a store front pages and discover-ability will be important for any distributing platform.

Pros and Cons for decentralized distributor platform
Pros
• Owner ship of video game
• Cheap Gas Fee
• Royalty
• Trading of NFTs
• More Revenue for Game Developers and studios
• Video Game won’t disappear
• immutable
Cons
• No Ease of use
• On Boarding more difficult then centralized option
• Requires creation of wallet
• Adoption required
• Curation difficulties
• Refund Requirements

How can bring this value to Eco-system or any other block chain?
I believe this can add value to the eco-system as this would be attracting builders and game developers to use a decentralized distributing platform for all its benefits which would encourage to attract users to adopt the use of this type of platform by releasing their games on it. This would not only attract only just people with web3 or crypto knowledge but your everyday average user.

I have not really seen many builders in the crypto space developing this type of thing and would perhaps like to see it one day. I am worried that as a consumer of video games about the centralization of distribution of video games and how if the platform was to cease to exist, my game library would be gone.

It’s easier said then done and I recognized something like this would require significant and an enormous investment of capital and time and wouldn’t expect anyone to develop anytime soon but if you do, hopefully I’ll be using it one day.