HYPER - Cryptocurrency and Online Gaming Makes MMOney
Cryptocurrency and Online Gaming
In many ways cryptocurrency and online gaming is a marriage made in heaven. These cryptocurrencies - peer to peer digital currencies which use cutting egde cryptography rather than a central issuer and service provider to secure the network and ensure that coins cannot be spent twice - seem perfectly suited to driving an in-game economy, including players making in-game purchases as well as trading between players themselves. They even have the potential to add novel ways for game developers to earn a profit and for game players to actually make money from playing a game if they are good at it.
The players of many of the world's most popular games will already be familiar with the idea of an in-game currency that is separate from their own national fiat money. Many games use gold coins for this purpose, like World of Warcraft gold for example. This is useful for a range of reasons. Firstly it allows players to purchase small, low cost items within the game without the game's owners having to pay credit card processing fees on every purchase - which would make these small purchases unviable. It also allows players to swap or trade the in-game currency between themselves without the legal and tax problems which would come from trading with real money, and may even allow the best players to sell some of their in-game currency for a profit.
With their low transaction fees and the ability to send very small payments of just thousandths or millionths of a coin, crytocurrencies such as Bitcoin seem to be well suited to being used as in-game currencies. They have the ability to provide all of the functions of an in-game currency, but at the same time leave players using a form of money that also has value outside of the game, which they may use already and which they can easily transfer between games. And the fact that new coins are usually generated by the users and supporters of a coin rather than being issued by a central authority even offers the potential for game developers to use this for building an additional source of revenue.
One exciting new project which is trying to capitalize on the advantages that cryptocurrency can offer is HYPER - a digital currency designed specifically to power online gaming.
HYPER The Currency
Phase One Distribution: During an initial launch period just under 4.5 million HYPER coins were 'mined' using a combined 'proof of work' (PoW) and 'Proof of Stake' (PoS). Following this initial period which lasted for around two week, it become a pure Proof of Stake coin. This means that all new coins which are created are handed out to current owners of the coin, according to how much they already possess.
Phase Two Distribution: For around five years this PoS system will distribute new coins to users equivalent to a 5% monthly interest rate. The amount due is calculated and payments are sent out every single day.
Phase Three Distribution: A Second five year period will follow on from this, during which the creation of new coins will be reduced to the equivalent of a 10% annual interest rate.
Phase Four Distribution: The fourth and final phase will last indefinitely, for the life of the coin, and will create new coins at a rate equivalent to a 2% annual interest rate paid out to all users.
This PoS distribution has a number of advantages over the Proof of Work method used by many cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin for example. Firstly it means that anyone can get a share of newly created coins just by owning a few, rather than needing to have expensive specialist computer equipment and the technical skills to run it - as is the case with Bitcoin mining. This also means that PoS coins are 'low energy', as they don't require the high electricity usage needed to run Bitcoin mining software. One big advantage is that it offers an easy way for games developers to generate new revenue. By requiring (or simply encouraging) players to hold HYPER in a wallet hosted by the game for making purchases and trading with other players the server would automatically generate PoS rewards to help pay for the cost of developing and running the game.
Over time it is hoped that HYPER will power a wide range of online games. In addition to being used for in-game purchases HYPER can be traded for other cryptocurrencies or in-game currencies, and can be used outside of the games themselves to make online purchases at participating merchants as well.
Currently the only game where you can use this MMOney (Money for MMO games!) is Counter-Strike. The team behind HYPER have set up their own Counter-Strike server where you can not only buy weapons using this new MMoney, but you can even earn it by killing other players!
Is Cryptcurrency and Online Gaming Really a Marriage Made in Heaven?
HYPER The Game
In addition to promoting its use in other games, and setting up servers for MMO games like Counter-Strike, the HYPER team are using part of the funds from a 2.5% 'pre-mine' (meaning that 2.5% of the coins were created in advance and put into a fund managed by the development team prior to the coin's launch) to pay for the development of a Massive Multiplayer Online strategy game.
This MMO game will be set in the deep future - ten thousand years from now - and will involve players in the creation and development of intergalactic empires. HYPER will be used as the in-game currency, and in addition to being able to use it to purchase in-game items, the best players will also be able earn enough HYPER by playing the game to turn a profit!
Within the storyline of the game HYPER will be presented as a precious resource which is needed to power faster than light travel. Players will be able to harvest it themselves, or steal it from others, or earn it through trading.
Other Similar Projects
HYPER is not the only project to recognize the potential for online games to use cryptocurrency. Another interesting project is called Lith. Having recently funded its development through a crowdfunding initiative using the NXT decentralized trading exchange, DORCS have now begun work on developing a rural fantasy MMO game called Lith.
Lith is described as an 'emergent trading game' with a 'player-driven economy' in which players will interact in an 'immersive sandbox' to 'create their own paths and realities'. What all this means is that Lith is designed to be as flexible as possible, providing the basic tools but allowing players to wield a great deal of influence over the nature of the game and the direction the gameplay takes.
A dedicated in-game currency will be used, which players can earn or purchase, and use to buy in-game items, trade with other players, and so on. This currency will only exist within the game, but will be permanently exhangable at a set rate for NXT coins, meaning that players will once again be able to earn crypto coins for playing the game.
One of the longest running projects which can already be earned by playing games is called HunterCoin. You can 'mine' HunterCoins by killing other players within a game which comes with the wallet.
Another cryptocurrency which uses this kind of 'Proof of Play' mechanism for distributing newly created coins is MotoCoin, which rewards people for completing levels of a motorbike game which gets increasingly more difficult as more coins are mined. Unfortunately this game has become something of a failure, as programmers have written 'bots' to play the game for them, and because of this the game has now become so hard that it is not possible for humans to win a level and successfully mine coins.