Hi! In the last article, we talked about digital art and Pure NFT. Today we will try to touch on another area of interest for many — digital distribution.
You probably know the Steam digital store, and maybe you even have a whole collection there. And if you compare the buying a game in the Steam with what was before, it is definitely more convenient. No need to go anywhere, no need to worry that the purchased game will not launch… Just buy and install it in a couple of mouse clicks.
This approach, coupled with a huge library of games, has become a real step forward, compared to buying games on physical media. But aren't we missing something important by succumbing to euphoria? What was the advantage of buying games on CDs in a regular store, compared to Steam (except for obvious nostalgia)?
At first, I followed the path of least resistance and assumed that it was the physical media, especially, I perfectly remembered the time when, after learning about the long-awaited release, I ran to the store and asked the seller, in a voice broken with excitement, if the necessary disk was on sale. And then I rushed home as fast as I could to insert the newly purchased disk into an old CD-ROM with my excitement shaking hands, hoping that it would start normally.
After a few days (or weeks) of gaming binge, the disk was returned in the box and put in the rack (to the collection). Or it was handed to a friend with admiring phrases accompaniment. Stop! On this memory, I felt that I probably have found the right path. Collecting, plus the ability to share with a friend. Or even sell a set of disks to anyone who wants. There was something in it.
To confirm the guess, I decided to re-read the Steam platform rules and finally make sure that the conclusions are correct.
I decided to figure it out. What distinguishes a digital copy in the Steam from a digital copy on a CD?
According to the Steam rules, the user, firstly, is not the owner of digital copies placed on his account, and secondly, he is not even the account owner!
The user is only a "Subscriber" to the Steam service and additional content, which just includes the purchased games and other software. This means that in case of "subscription" termination, you may lose everything that you purchased on the Steam platform. Also, you do not have any rights in relation to the acquired, except for the right to personal use.
Accordingly, the Steam platform (and other similar digital distribution services), firstly, are not suitable for collecting games and other software, because the user of these services does not have any rights in relation to collections, and secondly, they seriously restrict the user.
All this does not look very fair to customers, but it is very profitable for the owners of digital distribution platforms and publishers of games and software. One digital copy in one hand without the right to transfer and with the possibility to refuse service at any time!
It is not surprising that with the gradual monopolization of the market, the produced games quality began to steadily fall, and the release of a frankly unfinished game became the rule rather than the exception. And while Steam is the hegemon of the digital distribution market, the situation will only get worse.
But can a completely new platform attract both game publishers and their buyers to its side? Or the situation, succinctly described by the phrase "mice cried, pricked, but continued to eat cactus" will never change?
When I was thinking about the difference between a game on a physical medium and a game "bought" through a digital distribution service, there was one thought in my head that I could not catch.
What does owning a physical medium give the user? The right to modify the content? No.
The right to copy the content? Also no. Just the right to do whatever he wants with the media himself. Exchange, sell, present…
Everything is possible
A small disclaimer: when I started working on the article, I did not even expect that I would find out, thinking about a pretty good, but somewhat ordinary idea. And I found a whole market that is absolutely not used at the moment. This finding surprised me a lot, and I decided to double-check everything before publishing, so as not to mislead readers. The information was confirmed.
And this painfully reminds me of the main NFT message, “the user is the full owner of a non-fungible token”.
Then I mentally combined NFT with a digital distribution service, and ... as if the puzzle elements finally fell into place!
Herewith, for the full functioning of such a service, it is necessary to use Pure NFT specifically, because they support data storage directly in the blockchain. But first things first!
What can a digital distribution service that uses Pure NFT as its main trading unit look like?
Suddenly, very attractive. For ease of understanding, I will use the FOIL Network in the example as the only one that supports Pure NFT. The game publisher simply releases the required number of NFTs containing an encrypted unique game key and a link to download the game. And then he puts these Pure NFTs on the market.
The aggregator platform’s launch program attached to the FOIL wallet checks the presence of the purchased game NFT on the account. Then it decrypts the key located in and integrates it into the game, allowing the launch.
At the same time, it is possible to check the relevance of the launch key by provenance (NFT ownership history), so that only the last owner can start the game.
“But the game can still be pirated!” - you will say.
Of course it can. There are no perfect defenses at all. But in the case of the NFT service, a new opportunity comes into play. How to say new… A well-forgotten old one!
We remember perfectly well that the user is a full-fledged owner of Pure NFT and can return NFT to the market after completing the game, if he no longer needs it!
Thus, players who do not want to buy the game they are interested in for the full price from the publisher can simply wait until other users have played enough and put their NFT keys on sale.
There is no need to wait for promotions from the publisher or sales on the platform itself… And there is no need to download suspicious builds from torrents, which do not know how to update automatically, but instead of additional materials from developers, they may contain additional software from virus writers.
Almost an ideal option for the user!
"But what is the benefit of the publisher?" - a logical question will follow. After all, with such a system, the publisher will lose a huge part of the profit, since the principle of "one digital copy in one hand" will disappear! No. Firstly, the p2p market will be formed for the most part from those who in any case would not buy the game for the full price tag, but would prefer to download it from torrents.
Secondly, and this is the most delicious, the publisher can assign an additional commission from the secondary sales of NFT games. This means that the publisher will receive funds not only from the very first sale, but also from each subsequent one. At the same time, the chain of resales of one NFT can bring more profit than the initial sales of several copies!
An additional incentive for developers will also be the release of free add-ons to the released games. In the current system, these add-ons often go in addition to paid DLC. This is absolutely logical: developers want to be paid for their work. But with the p2p market development, the release of completely free add-ons will be profitable.
Pure NFT and the free market
Watch carefully: the number of game NFTs is limited, developers are releasing a free add-on, and even those who have already passed the game for a long time and resold their NFTs may want to return. The p2p market is becoming more active, and developers receive their commission from each secondary sale…
In addition, the FOIL blockchain makes it easy to save game achievements, and the status system can completely change the game experience system.
You can also add a fundraising system for game projects, which is as transparent and understandable as possible. Perhaps we should also add the ability to integrate the FOIL wallet with game projects.
Tokenization of the game economy is a very interesting thing, which also practically destroys illegal platforms for trading game items. Indeed, why would they be needed if gaming items are NFT that can be freely sold on the market. By the way, developers here can also embed a small commission, receiving income from each transaction!
This can also eradicate the terrible system with in-game stores and loot boxes, which are already prohibited by law in many countries. Users will independently, in a game way, extract rare game items and form their market. No loot boxes and "donat shops". Each item will have someone's playing time behind it, and therefore they will be valued much more.
Tokens. Tokens everywhere!
There is a small fly in the ointment in this case. Automation of game actions. It's no secret that bots appear everywhere where the real value of game items comes into play.
A good example of an economy destroyed by automating the gameplay is the Alien Worlds game, where there are probably already 10-20 bots for every live game account.
As a result, we get a consistent decrease in the cost of game items and internal currency — and most importantly, an outflow of live users who otherwise could safely play, use the market and develop the game community.
But if we use the FOIL Network wallet for integration with the game, the problem disappears. All because of the built-in digital identification system. It is enough to simply limit the game items sale to accounts that have passed KYC/AML, and the problem of automating the gameplay disappears.
Although no. It does not disappear. It simply ceases to be of a mass nature. Cunning bot creators can still buy accounts that have already passed digital identification. But this will be much more difficult than registering hundreds of anonymous accounts, and it will be much easier for the game administration to deal with this.
It turns out that a digital distribution platform working in conjunction with Pure NFT and FOIL Network is a really good idea that solves a huge number of problems that hinder both users and game creators.
An attentive reader has probably already noticed that I forgot about another market that is almost as good as the gaming one. This is the professional software market.
If you look at the prices set, for example, by Adobe, the hair begins to move on the head. A novice video editor can not afford these products in any way. But what should he do if he learned his profession from them?
There are not so many options. Use versions with reduced functionality, if there are any, or still become one of the pirates. And now imagine the professional software market, built like a game market, according to the principles described above!
And what about…
In addition to the obvious advantages for novice specialists who will be able to purchase the programs (licensed and fully functional!) they need so much, this will positively affect the software developers’ motivation. The continuously incoming funds from secondary sales will allow them to fully focus on the release of new versions and fixing errors in the old ones.