From Traditional to Blockchain Gaming: An interview with Arclegger8th May 2019
In my last article on Hacker Noon I covered a number of key issues in the gaming industry that have the potential to be solved using blockchain technology. Issues such as security, hacking and the introduction of NFT’s (Non-Fungible Tokens) all have the potential to drastically change the gaming landscape in the near future if blockchain tech can be correctly applied.
In order to gain a better understanding of how these issues I spoke with Arclegger on his venture into blockchain gaming, RedFox Labs and his thoughts behind the possibilities of this new technology.
Arclegger is widely respected in the gaming community and is seen as one of the godfathers of the battle royale genre having been a senior game developer for H1Z1 who helped pioneer the battle royale game mode and bring it into the mainstream media.
The battle royale game genre is a survival and exploration game mode where the players will fly into a map on a parachute and then scavenge for items, upgrading their gear as they move across the map from area to area. Players can either fight or hide as they come across other players and the map gradually gets smaller due to areas becoming restricted. In a last-man-standing fashion, the last person surviving is the winner.
This game mode originally started as a mod based off of the Japanese cult film Battle Royale which came out in the year 2000. H1Z1 helped bring this mod into mainstream gameplay and this became a popular event at esports competitions.
Since then the gaming industry has seen an explosion in battle royale games such as Apex Legends, Fortnite and PubG to name but a few.
Arclegger has since transitioned from traditional gaming into blockchain gaming and is now heading up the Gaming Division at RedFox Labs — Southeast Asia’s first ever blockchain venture builder built with Komodo’s technology platform.
I sat down with Arclegger to discuss this transition and his thoughts on using blockchain technology to disrupt the gaming industry.
Firstly, I’d like to say congratulations on your new role as Co-Founder of RedFox Lab’s Gaming Division. You’ve often been outspoken about your interest in blockchain technology and cryptocurrency and now have the chance to combine that with your first passion — gaming. Can you talk a little about your decision to leave traditional gaming and enter this new world of blockchain gaming?
Thank you! I am very excited to take on this great new challenge and try to do my part in helping move the gaming industry forward. I’ve been involved with traditional gaming, specifically massive online multiplayer worlds for 11 years now and I have learned a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of these spaces. I wanted to enter the blockchain gaming space because A) It’s a great opportunity B) learning about blockchain and crypto has become a new hobby of mine and C) I wanted to see how blockchain could help strengthen all the weaknesses that I see currently with multiplayer online worlds.
In the article I touched on how in-game hacking is still rife within the industry having allegedly been present at the recent Fortnite WCQ’s. You also recently tweeted a poll in which 49% of users voted for Anti-Cheat as the one thing they’d like blockchain technology to solve. Can you provide some insight into the significance of this issue and what it would mean to be able to eradicate cheating from gaming?
When I created that poll I kind of expected that to be the front runner but I was very interested to see where it would fall. Cheating in online games is a huge business and it’s not going to go away any time soon if studios don’t put some serious effort into trying to solve it. I’m hoping that blockchain will be able to flex its tech and create a massive hurdle for people who try to cheat in online games, especially tournaments. The industry as a whole and esports in general is being held back because of people who are cheating online. If anti-cheat can be solved it will open up the floodgates for online tournaments, online wagering, and also prizepool payouts online. The reason you don’t see more of this is simply because it’s too hard to create a 100% clean space for an online tournament to take place without any cheating.
When I first heard that Fortnite was going to run online tournaments for qualifiers I pretty much knew that there would be some cheating involved. As someone who has gone through this before with H1Z1: King of the Kill we saw the same behavior when we would try to run online events. Every time we put something up for grabs like a unique skin, the cheaters would all come out to try and get an easy prize. We had seasonal online Showdowns, basically the top 150 players of the season in each region, and we would have to scrub the leaderboards and stats each time to get rid of people who were cheating. Then on the day of the event we would still have to kick people out of the event that we caught cheating. Needless to say, blockchain needs to solve anti-cheat or online tournaments are always going to see this behavior. Let’s hope we as an industry can come together to help solve it!
How do you think cryptocurrencies will affect the micro-transaction and payment ecosystem within a gaming marketplace?
I feel that games in the future will all have some type of usable currency that players can spend outside of the game itself. Games are perfect for cryptocurrency because games have had digital currencies for decades. The only problem now is all that platinum and gold that you grind for in World of Warcraft is useless once you turn the game off. Imagine how cool it would be if you could donate some of that currency to your favourite streamer, or even use it to help pay for rent or the gas bill! On top of being able to earn a real currency or token in a video game I also feel like being able to purchase micro-transactions using crypto is just around the corner. I’d definitely be buying a lot more things in games if I could use up to 10 different coins, it doesn’t have to always be bitcoin as the accepted payment and I think once studios start to realize that they’re going to be more open to accepting it.
The use of blockchain could help build gamer credibility and make players accountable for their actions by keeping a record of their past interactions, trades, history etc.. This could help encourage good behaviour within the community as player reputations become publicly available across different titles. What is your opinion on using blockchain technology in this way?
I think this will split the community into two very separate groups even further than they are today. You’re going to have people that care a lot about their online reputation and try to almost use it as a resume to show their gamer credibility. On the other hand you will have people that will dig deeper into the anonymous hole and try to hide who they are so they can be mischievous without repercussion. Luckily with blockchain tech developers can make sure that if players want to play in the pool with everyone else they’ll have to show who they are and if they have a good reputation. Access to online tournaments, events, prizing, will likely be behind the velvet rope of exposing who you actually are. In this case it’s a very good step forward.
NFT’s have the potential to change the way that we currently use items in gaming with concepts such as story driven character items, questing and cross-title item use to name a few. What are your views on how NFT’s can impact the industry?
NFT’s are honestly where studios can both highly reward their players and also create a large flow of revenue if utilized fairly and correctly. As a player, being able to purchase, let’s say a gun skin, and it becomes an NFT on my account. I then have the ability to own that skin and transfer it to any other game that accepts it is a huge plus. You’ll likely see this within the same studio ecosystem and library of games before you see cross studio play of NFTs but we can 100% get there if studios are willing to cooperate with one another.
What are you most looking forward to in the next couple of years as a game designer but also from the perspective of being an avid gamer yourself?
From the perspective of being a gamer I’m looking forward to seeing what new esport games are on the rise and how different that landscape will look in 2 years time. I’m hoping that we get 4–5 really great new esport titles that are fun to watch and help grow into the mainstream. As a game designer I’m looking forward to working with RedFOX Labs and helping them create a fun and great game, utilizing all that blockchain has to offer. I know we can do it and hopefully in a couple years we can talk about the Journey in a part 3!
I’d like to thank Arclegger for his time.
Founder of The Daily Chain
- Disclaimer — This is not financial advice and I personally own some RFOX tokens
From Traditional to Blockchain Gaming: An interview with Arclegger was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.