The DGA is a group of teams and individuals who aim to promote the development of decentralized blockchain games. We believe that decentralized games can be just as complex as traditional online games. The group communicates and shares ideas, thoughts, and news about gaming through a Discord chat channel.
In November 2019, the founders of the group came together online to discuss ways to advance fully decentralized games. Despite being poorly understood and largely unknown, they believed that the technology had the potential to bring significant benefits. The founders all agreed that it was important to promote decentralized gaming and that working together as collaborators rather than competitors was the best approach.
The Discord server was established soon after and the group’s Twitter profile was created a year later. During 2020 and 2021, there was relatively little interest in decentralized gaming as the market was focused on the NFT craze. However, as of the end of 2022, there has been a surge of efforts to build decentralized games, often referred to as “on-chain gaming” within the Ethereum ecosystem.
The first decentralized blockchain game was Huntercoin. Development started in 2013 and then the game was eventually released in 2014.
What is Decentralized Gaming?
For the DGA, decentralized gaming refers specifically to computer games that involve distributed decision-making and authority, and are designed to be resilient to single points of failure.
Note that while decentralized computer games could be done without using a blockchain, we believe the inherent minimization of trust with blockchain technology is critical for building better games.
Design requirements of a decentralized game
The DGA considers the following features to be important for decentralized design and worth the additional development effort:
- Removing the need for trusted intermediaries
- Reducing the number of privileged actors
- Minimizing single points of failure
- Ensuring resiliency against errors and faults, including arbitrary or adversarial actors
- Ensuring correct behavior of participants in the network
What are the benefits of decentralization?
Here is a list of advantages that we think can be built into decentralized games. Most of the advantages are naturally based around trust, but not all. This is why we thought it was interesting to split the advantages out into two separate lists.
Advantages based upon trust
- Transparent economics
- True ownership
- Censorship resistance
Advantages not based upon trust
- Easier Multiplayer Coordination
- Reduced hosting costs / Incentivised hosting
- Easier fundraising
- Player loyalty
- Player governance
- Community preservation via forking
These points warrant further discussion, but to keep this brief, we will provide a link to the relevant section of Edward’s open source book on Decentralized Gaming for more information.
The founders of the decentralized gaming group are:
Edward writes extensively about decentralized gaming, and has participated in working group calls and podcasts on the subject. Currently, he is running a technology consultancy company in the blockchain space. Previously, he worked at the Web3 Foundation, covering the grants program (which he helped to create in 2018). Before working blockchain professionally he worked as a security consultant (pentesting + GRC) for Cisco in London, and in finance before that.
Kijun is the co-founder of Planetarium, a team creating open source and peer-to-peer online games powered by the community. Before founding Planetarium, Kijun worked for Dropbox and Nexon, crafting real-time collaboration tools and mobile games. He is a graduate of California Institute of Technology with a degree in Computer Science.
Andrew (Andy) is a founder of the Xaya project and serves as the creative lead on Taurion, a fully decentralised MMORTS that runs on Xaya. He was a pioneer in the sale of virtual assets in MMOs, such as EverQuest, from 2000 onwards. After mining Bitcoin and Namecoin, Andrew published the first concept of a fully decentralised game running on blockchain, known as Chronokings on the bitcointalk forum. This latter project evolved into Huntercoin which launched in February 2014 as the world’s first blockchain game.
Planetarium – 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.
Xaya – The history of XAYA starts back when team members became involved in the Namecoin project in 2011, and became voluntary leads in the project in 2013. Later on the team would fork Namecoin and build the world’s first blockchain game, Huntercoin.
Etherplay – Founded in 2016, Etherplay is a Blockchain Game Studio Based in Scotland Building Unstoppable Games running on ethereum. After succesfully launched the first ever game platform on Ethereum back in 2016, we are back with new game ideas.
Cartesi – Cartesi is special in the blockchain universe because it allows decentralized applications to run within a Linux environment. Complex processing can be executed off-chain, free from a blockchain’s computational limits and corresponding fees. Cartesi is chain-agnostic and developers won’t need to worry about the longevity of particular blockchains.