Nine Chronicles: The Future of Gaming?30.07.2020, 14:02
Some game developers are exploring the realms of groundbreaking new technology, and the potential impact for all games may, in the long-run, be interesting and even revolutionary.
You could say the evolution of games has largely seen (predictable) increases in graphical detail, map size and scope, and better computer-based opponents (reactions and variation). Also, the ‘responsive environment’ of Red Dead Redemption series where the world feels like it’s taking note of your every action (which it is), or the more complex RPG decision-making features bringing greater depth to Assassin’s Creed historical storylines.
We can also see the trend of going ‘through the screen’ into the immersive potential of VR or AR continuing, especially for things like space combat, driving and flight simulation.
We’ve had fresh multiplayer modes suddenly take centre focus with games like Fortnite; ideal for the new generation of game streamers and influencers. We’ve also had other multiplayer-only games and the ‘free-to-play’ model winning dedicated or long-running user-bases. ‘Virtual’ currencies, season packs and special collectible items have helped to sustain interest and allow players to upgrade and do new things in their familiar spaces (and game engines).
Meanwhile, big-budget, couch-based console franchises have largely stayed similar. They continue to offer engrossing combat via a typical central campaign, but allowing for a mix of open-world survival, crafting, mini-quests, upgrades and multiplayer.
At the cheaper end of the spectrum, indie games have continued to provide the more arty, memorable and accessible game experience. A lot of these are platform-style explorations with puzzle elements, and can be immensely fluid, artistic and satisfying to play from a start to a finish. You normally only play these games once.
But… (yes, we got there) there’s one area of games evolution that was less predictable, and yet it may well shake at the foundations - and longevity - of the nature of many, large-scale video games with big environments.
Above, we’ve already discussed the characteristics of how games are evolving, but there is another area that is seeing evolution, and this is: the revenue model, and their storage.
For games to be created or maintained, they still rely on in-game or app purchases (or upgrades), initial investment, and/or initial, point-of-sale purchases.
However, what about new game-worlds which, from their inception, are permanent, decentralised, and with their own marketplaces and governance? It will be the players that may become the designers, growers, owners and rulers of many types of games to come. This is arriving today, and it’s thanks to blockchain technology.
Under the Hood
You only need to visit the website for Nine Chronicles, an RPG still in development, to get some idea.
“Nine Chronicles is a fully decentralized RPG powered by the players. Play, mine, govern together: this world is yours to keep.”
The plan is to have a game exist outside the control or dependence on the developers, but more in the hands of the players, who are able to govern and ‘own’ their involvement in the game.
The game leverages something called ‘Planetarium’, an open-source engine or developer suite enabling a new revenue model for developers that doesn’t rely just on in-game purchases or investment from publishers. It also allows anyone to create content that can be shared with all players.
“Planetarium is an open source gaming platform set to transform the longevity and the profit model of games. Rather than simply introducing open source model into games, we intend to make the games run forever through peer-to-peer networks and pioneer a new form of community-powered games.”
Forever? That's right. This new kind of game has the potential to massively increase game life-spans, and being so intrinsically monetized, may allow players to profit too, from their own participation and creativity in the game-world. This also means the landscape and look of the game could - within limits - change and evolve into unknown areas.
There are other games exploring this model too, which is fundamentally different to all 'company-run' game projects before. The possibility for an open-ended games project, where even the developers won't know what their community will do with the game down the line, has the potential to last forever. At least, they may last much longer than centralised games, controlled by one entity, and which inevitably get shut down.
This time, only the players will decide and vote whether to shut down a game-world.
This will also give budding creatives out there more incentive and peace of mind to get involved with a game project. Many creative people - who have contributed hugely to the content and depth of many RPGs or 'creative games' like Minecraft - will no longer have to worry about whether their files and hard work, will just disappear.
Decentralised games, then, are on the way.
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