Blockchain is penetrating into all modern industries, and local economies of the world. Payments, supply chains, digital identity, entertainment – entrepreneurs in nearly every sector realize the power of decentralized databases and try to implement them. Of course, most startups emerge in large IT centers like the United States or China. However, other countries follow the trend and focus on introducing blockchain-based systems, as well.
South Africa is a strong believer in innovations and was among pioneer countries that gave the nod to blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Consider Luno, a local peer-to-peer exchange, or the Blockchain Academy training platform, for example. However, these are not the only spheres that are disrupted by blockchain in this country.
The citizens of South Africa love gaming. In fact, the gaming market value here has recently exceeded $150 million, while the gambling sector brings billions in revenue and continues to lead the entertainment industry. Therefore, it’s only natural that businesses consider implementing blockchain to improve their technology and attract more players. But how this actually works? Read on to find out answers.
Diving into the history
Traditional entertainment destinations, especially gambling institutions, had been prohibited until 1996. However, this fact didn’t stop natives from launching their casinos across the region. Right before the National Gambling Act was issued to legalize land-based gambling, there had been more than 2,000 casinos in South Africa!
As for online gambling, it’s totally banned in the country. Since 2010, even global software providers and casino operators have been illegal. Strict laws impose $70,0000 penalties or 10 years of imprisonment on companies and individuals involved in online gambling! Only government-compliant lotteries and sportsbooks are available for citizens. They can bet on sports events and horse racing as well as participate in the South African National Lottery.
Desktop, mobile, and web-based video games are legal and really popular. eSports businesses and events are also highly demanded, so the industry is on the rise.
SA blockchain gaming in a nutshell
Currently, the gaming industry in South Africa lacks investment and unique technology. In the interview for How We Made It in Africa, Pippa Tshabalala – the local gaming enthusiast and author – states that developers may focus on indie titles, which don’t require a lot of investors’ money. The indie gaming is a quickly growing sector and South Africa may lead it. As the expert claims, the region has its own stories to tell and is significantly different from first-world countries.
Blockchain is a wonderful tool for such an initiative. The decentralized systems are ideal for small development teams and departments, which can’t attract as many investors as top-rated AAA brands do. Using blockchain, gaming companies can cooperate with the community to develop successful projects. For instance, gamers themselves can contribute to the project development by creating their own environments or unique characters, and then tokenizing them.
According to the recent research made by Katie Isaacson, a blockchain gambling expert, decentralized technology can also contribute to the transparency and auditability of the industry. With a ledger-based record system, the gaming platforms will become more reliable and socially acceptable.
In addition, developers can implement blockchain solutions to collect data and provide more personalized or localized content. During the entire process of designing, launching, and marketing a game, vendors can use blockchain to monitor players’ engagement and improve their experience.
As for other noteworthy advantages of blockchain gaming in South Africa, here are some of our findings:
- Fewer cheats – more trust. Blockchain eliminates the option of cheating because players interact with transparent databases, which record everything. Cheaters will be quickly detected and banned.
- Blockchain is to eradicate piracy. Similarly, all blockchain-based games have unique digital footprints. To get a copy and start playing, customers have to authenticate themselves through the decentralized platform, which (as we remember) records everything.
- More unique titles. Using open-source blockchain platforms like Ethereum, nearly anybody can start developing its own game and issue unique tokens for it.
To understand, how blockchain may change the gaming industry in South Africa, let’s take a look at the most famous local project – Augmentors.
Back in August 2018, Cape Town-based blockchain development studio NONA partnered with the Augmentors team to create the country’s first Bitcoin-backed AR game. Augmentors is focused on collecting and training unique creatures to fight against other players. The game uses a freemium model, features an in-system currency called Emeralds, and is powered by the unique DTB token. So, what are the key features of the game?
- In-game economy. The Augmentors game supports exchanging Emeralds for DTB and vice versa. Respectively, it’s possible to cash out tokens and sell them for fiat at cryptocurrency exchanges.
- Unique creatures. Each character of the game refers to a specific token type. DTB is non-fungible – thus, each creature has its own value and can be traded for real money.
- AR + blockchain. The game is based on some of the brightest technologies. While operating in the real world, it is filled with a wide range of virtual elements and distributed across multiple nodes.
South African gaming industry in perspective
Despite the fact that blockchain gaming is still in its infancy, we can expect the growth in the future. Decentralized and transparent systems may facilitate access to various gaming products and services, as well as solve the problem of illegal online gambling. While the recently signed National Gambling Amendment Bill is quite ambiguous for both gamers and operators, independent blockchain projects are in demand as they can provide a safe gaming environment and stay in line with the law.