You, game developers, will change the world. Think about it, you are a creative hybrid of a lawyer and a programmer. The need to create rules and code, in order to come up with a game, forced you to become that hybrid. Please do realise, you are the core of the blockchain revolution.
For all of you whom are not familiar with what a blockchain is, here it goes a very reduced introduction, hopping to trigger your will to go on the net and inform yourself about it.
We can look at the blockchain in three ways:
Technically: is a back-end data base that maintains a distributed ledger, openly.
Business: is an exchange network for moving value between peers.
Legally: is a transaction validation mechanism, not requiring intermediary assistance.
What makes the blockchain such an innovative technology is the combination of this three aspects in a single body of code. The blockchain was the missing building block, the code innovation, the protocols and consensus required to develop decentralised systems, safely.
Such technology is what powers the bitcoin, or any other cryptocurrencies. aEURoeDecentralised moneyaEUR?.
I will post some links at the commentaries to have a better grasp of what the blockchain is.
Still, to be considered, there is no one-blockchain-fits all. The kind of blockchain that can be used in real state, public health, electronic voting, or for the peer to peer trade, is not exactly the same one. A blockchain data structure is decentralised (distributed), transparent (open), hard to corrupt, and has an immutable record based on time stamps. Still, different activities will require modulation of those properties for efficiency, privacy and control issues. So only my doctors can have access to my medical records, and not my neighbour nor a more evil entity.
Look at vehicles for instance, different activities demand for a certain type of vehicle, a truck, a SUV, a small car, a Formula 1 car, a vanaEUR| Despite the fact that all have wheels, an engine, seats.... Different applications for this technology will require slightly changes at the given blockchain code.
Where do game designers fit in all this?
Please do read the following definition.
In the book aEURoeRules of Play - Game Design FundamentalsaEUR? Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman (MIT) defined games in the following way:
aEURoeA game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome.aEUR?
Alright, now lets read Yale economics professor Benjamin Polak, in his opening lines in a lecture about game theory explains the concept aEURoestrategic situationsaEUR?.
aEURoeGame theory is a way of analyzing strategic situations. Strategic situations are any setting where the things that you care about, the outcomes you care about, depend not only in your own actions but on the action of someone else.aEUR?
You, game designers fit precisely there, in the obvious similarity between games and markets, and maybe, in the societal interest in decentralise those digital markets.
aEURoeBoard games show how interesting patterns emerge from play within a framework of simple rules. The market economy is such a pattern, emergent from property rights and contracts as the rules of the game. Just as chess doesn't change when you switch from wooden to aluminium pieces, the virtues of market phenomena should survive when ported into a properly secured digital world.
The rules of the capability game are well matched to the rules needed for market interactions. Capabilities are bearer instruments for rights, and message passing is the secure rights transfer primitive. Simple programs can then express Smart Contracts, arrangements granting derived rights to the participants, where the terms of the contract are enforced by the program's execution.aEUR?
Yes, you can design an alternative digital market for the good you care about the most. A fair and decentralised one by using the blockchain. So, from now on, when you hear aEURoedecentralised digital marketaEUR? please remind yourself that they are really talking about a digital game, and that you, along many others like you, could have done a better work.
In my case, what I care about is art, and I work as a recording studio assistant. You can instantly feel my pain, right? where is the middle class in the creative industries gone? I'm not talking only about music. Any content, text file, image, video, sound can be translated into bits and any industry that rely on those information delivery systems have been affected. Writers, photographers, journalists... and the people like me, that work for the creative people.
With the purpose to start a dialogue with anyone interested I will present the rules of a game, the game of the creative industries digital market. Hopefully with you I could refine the rule writing, if anything can be saved.
The licensing game.
Markets look like games and digital games really look like a blockchain front-end. And what the user sees and interacts with in digital games, verbs, and the blockchain smart contracts are virtually the same. If that is so, can a digital game, that uses (that is) a blockchain be used to achieve a decentralised, fair and transparent creative industries digital market? And how could it look like?
This is a game, therefor we will talk about players, not users
Information. Content, video, audio image or text. Objects.
Game set up.
This game does not host information, there is no central server. Information is hosted by the players. Each player, in his computer hosts the information that each player owns.
When players access to other player information, they do so directly, peer-to-peer. The access to or usage of other players information is regulated by smart contracts. Each player pays a monthly fee to play the game. The purpose of the players is to exchange their information for other players entrance fee money.
- Create objects. Upload information into their computer, account. - Consume other players objects. Watch, read or listen other players information. - License rights over objects they own to other players. - Ask to other players rights over their objects. - Associate with other players to promote objects and create new objects. - Host other players information.
Details of play.
- To consume other players objects, to grant/obtain objects licenses and to associate with other players through smart contracts are the moves, the actions, of the game.
- There are no turns. - There is no limit of number of actions a player can do. - There is no aEURoeend gameaEUR? but a cyclic quantifiable outcome. To consume other players object: - Buy an object.
The owner/owners of the object give a value to the object, value that it will be transferred to the other player by clicking on the verb Buy. All through smart contracts automatization.
- Accessing an object.
By reproducing a video or an audio file or displaying text or photography (sound, text, moving and still image) pressing Play or accessing ( Ej; by clicking the headline of an article) to the page where the image or/and text is located, which is, the other player computer.
To license : - Players of the game might want to use objects from other players in order to create new objects.
To use other players objects to create a new object, an image to illustrate an article, a song for video, many articles to create a magazine, many songs to create a radio station, many videos to create a channel...
Asking for a licenses.
A player finds an object that would suit his needs, lets say for argument sake, a song for a skate video that the player is editing.
Besides the object there will be a verb, request license. By clicking it the player will find an index to guide find the smart contract that the player needs. (Song for a video smart contract) That will start the interaction process. The figures and terms negotiations, the strategic thinking of the licensing game.
- The owner/owners of the object with a license request can; accept, negotiate or refuse the request.
After considering the request, the player can accept it as it did arrive. The player can also modify something in the request and send the request back to the other player. The player might not be interested I the request and refuse it. If the request is send back the player, after considering the new features of the smart contract can accept, modify parameters and send back, or refuse it.
The clauses of the smart contract agreed by the players will determine what is the precise smart contract that its being used.
The game must have a large library of prewritten smart contracts able to attend the demands of non copyright literate players, partially smart contracts. To allow any player to take part in the licensing game regardless of their copyright knowledge. My niece wanting to put some music in their video.
Players that need to make a new smart contracts can do so. The point is to have a preexisting library for the non literate, and the capacity for the experts to reflect complex contractual relationships.
- The owner/owners of the object can agree or not in advance to smart contracts, or define values on the most used smart contracts.
aEURoeYou can have my song if... but.... if...aEUR?. To save time and avoid unwanted requests.
Associate to other players. Players that want to promote their objects might want/need to join with other players to do so.
The types of associations that I can see are the following ones:
Association of peers: as an example, three players that know how to write, unlike me, want to create an e-magazine between them, to create a larger audience united than by themselves.
Association of convenience: Players that want to join with other player that know how to promote objects, for a share of the revenue that the objects generates after the union.
This associations of players will result in new entities, teams that simulate media companies, labels and publishers.
To associate with other players is to sign a smart contract that will stamp a previously agreed ownership distribution in the objects that the entity further creates, and modify those already created that the players agree to make part of the association. Like a label signing a band for their future and previous works.
Association of players can be used to reflect within the game previous existing relationships outside the game. Relations such as these can be formalised by smart contracts.
This is a cooperative/competitive game.
Although the purpose of the game is not to create teams of players, by doing so, players might have more possibilities to promote their objects.
Teams of players lead to specialisation. Specialisation that emerges from the will to apply efficiently the strategy that make them join to each other in the first place. aEURoeWe all write, but you correct, she looks for pictures to illustrate the article and only him takes care of social mediaaEUR?
A smart contract will formalise this, and many others, possible relations.
To host other players information.
The information is hosted by the players, not by the game. Players can associate with other players that will guarantee the access to the information when the original content owners are off line. Players can only access content that is online.
If players disconnect their computer from the internet, the information their computer hosts cannot be accessed by other players. If players have bad connectivity it will difficult the access to their information. If players have large audiences and a small server it will also difficult the access to the information. Black outs...
To solve this problems and some more, there will be players that will host other players information for something in exchange, money or data. Acting like an auxiliary server.
(It would be nice to have some of those servers at universities in exchange for data, that could be used for educational purposes.)
That is a targeted extract, resume, of larger essay that I also submit here.