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Game 2.0

ELI5: Today we are at game 1.0; with verifiable computation we will usher in game 2.0.

1- Video games have gone through many rounds of evolution, from the early days of Atari, arcade gaming, home gaming, to multiplayer gaming via LAN and the Internet, and mobile gaming. These revolutions shaped the various natures of video games we now take for granted - rich interactivity, social connectivity, competitive mechanics and matchmaking, immersion, non-linear storytelling, on-demand access to dopamine-driven game loops - all against the backdrop of exponential growth in memory capacity, compute power, audio and visual fidelity, and network speed and coverage.

2- Blockchain will impact video games in ways that are very distinct from their past evolution. If mobile brought casualness to gaming, blockchain will bring significance to gaming. Blockchain is a computation platform that is “hard” - the rules that govern state diffs are resistant to mutation from nation state attacks. This implies that “casual onchain game” is an oxymoron. But how would the infusion of significance transform video games?

3- Breadcrumbs can be found in at least two trends: the proliferation of UGC in video game, and the proliferation of defi protocols onchain. These two trends reveal something fundamental about human desire: the desire to take the creator stance, to be actively creating and expressing beyond passively consuming. With UGC, players get a taste of what it feels like to be game developers themselves, however restricted the exposed editor interfaces and licensing agreements may be.

4- Already with permissionless smart contract deployment, programmers now enjoy bringing transparent financial products straight to anyone who has access to the underlying blockchain or rollup, which was unthinkable even a few years back.

5- Recent statistics shows that the difference between the number of gamers and number of employees in game industry in the United States is about 1000x. To borrow the concept of web 1.0 vs web 2.0, this shows that today we are still predominantly at game 1.0. When we think of the gamer persona, we think of people who consume game logic and content programmed by game developers instead of contributing new logic.

6- A prediction is thus: blockchain will bring about game 2.0. Enforcing ownership on strongly-immutable execution platforms whose compute power scales with ongoing innovation in verifiable computation (proof system, proof recursion and aggregation, rollup layer architecture, sequencer decentralization, hardware acceleration etc) and whose programming paradigm strives for permissionless composability and interoperability, we are heading toward a future where large swaths of populations borderlessly and directly participate in the creation and evolution of core game systems - not just cosmetic items, custom game modes and maps, but the underlying character design, AI systems, and physics systems - in a modular fashion (composability) and owning their creation across contexts and ecosystems (interoperability).