Collaboration in the games industry - a Blockchain revolution
By Dean Anderson
We look back fondly to the early excitement of the internet- allowing workers to collaborate not just in different cities, but between different countries. However, beyond the more collaborative world of work, another exciting development began: the birth of dynamic online communities. The internet allows these communities to collaboratively pioneer innovations in areas such as science and technology, the arts and media.
It's time for organisations around the world to take this collaborative approach seriously.
No more unpaid labour
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies were in their infancy back in 2010. At that time there was no feasible way to financially reward gamers on mass for co-creating games. Now these technologies are established, a model where co-creators are guaranteed financial rewards is possible.
Providing real economic benefit for people to do the work they already want to do, co-creating games, should end to this unpaid labour.
The introduction of real rewards will also increase both the quantity and the quality of the work dramatically. Moreover, stopping the extraction of surplus value from co-creators by corporate players, and putting it back into their pockets will naturally see them buy more games.
By allowing developers and publishers to recognise this work and give it the scale of awareness it needs, community creators will quickly become third party developers and gain financial rewards for their work.
Compare this model to that used by the shining bastions of Web 2.0 - social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Their profit comes through the exploitation of their users' immaterial labour - hoarding data, and selling behavioural information, demographic statistics, purchasing and web browsing history.
For social networks, the adage, "If it's free, the product is You" could not be more true.
All forms of contributions to capital - not merely the financial contributions of shareholders - deserves to receive some reward, and blockchain will help to ensure this for the games industry.
This perception has fuelled my vision for Gamestatix.
Gamers will be rewarded with cryptocurrency for playing and reviewing games, giving feedback to developers and sharing social content to help in the promotion of games they love.
Developers will in-turn have access to millions of gamers throughout the entire creation process, and will even be able to license user generated content, sell and market these games through the platform.
This new model comes ahead of a key transition in the global labour market.
While it is widely known that AI and advanced technologies will render many traditional jobs obsolete, it is also true that new careers will arise. For some, this could mean an income supplement akin to a casual Airbnb host. For others, part-time passions could become full-time careers.
Different to the current sharing economy though, the livelihoods of players and notably, developers, will offer the means to bypass economic turmoil in their countries of residence.
Talent - global availability
Paying people anywhere in the world is something employers can now do, using blockchain-facilitated peer-to-peer cryptocurrency payments and transactions. This allows the possibility of hiring anyone, regardless of their location, tapping into a reservoir of global talent.
Such collaboration and the ability to access a global talent pool may be crucial to the future of a thriving UK games industry, which, according to TIGA, the network for UK games developers and digital publishers, may soon experience a talent shortage, depending on the final Brexit arrangements
TIGA CEO, Dr Richard Wilson says: "In order to grow and thrive, the UK video games industry will need to continue to recruit talent on a global level."
Blockchain-facilitated collaboration across the continent and beyond could help to reverse the stalling of the UK's video games industry, while helping the global industry to thrive.
By being able to call on a dedicated community with a wealth of knowledge and expertise, developers will be able to efficiently generate, curate and promote their content.
Meanwhile gamers are moving towards games they hear about from the communities they trust, rather than traditional brand placements. This approach allows developers to take advantage of the multiplier effect: the wider a gamer's reach, the greater the awareness and interest among newer audience groups.
Through inviting deeper community involvement, game co-creation will even see developers work directly with community modders and creators to formally co-craft, publish and sell add-on content that resonates with their communities.
The games industry could use blockchain technology to lead the way working in bringing recognition to talents and encouraging real innovation and creativity, all whilst helping to distribute power and wealth.
In some ways surprisingly the gaming industry, despite its roots in technology, has so far failed to adopt a collaborative model.
Gamers are known for being among the most passionate of the world's digital communities. No surprise then that more games are being released now than ever before.
With this wealth of releases, however, comes a major problem: it has become incredibly difficult for indie studios and developers to rival the influence of multinational companies and bring attention to new games.
However, blockchain technology could be the catalyst that transforms the current state of play. New platforms, such as Gamestatix, will soon provide a level playing field for all developers, no matter how small they may be.
Such equality of opportunity will allow developers to build better games with less risk. They will be buoyed by a platform that incorporates the interactivity of social networks, while gamers will, finally, be fairly compensated for their time, attention and contribution to the industry.
So with evermore sophisticated technology, we can expect to see borderless collaboration continue, but on a far wider and more advanced scale.
For the games industry in particular, this is unprecedented. It may even be the catalyst that sees other industries transform themselves by embracing blockchain technology.
Work process revolution
The whole work process can become far more productive and democratic with the incorporation of blockchain at all stages: hiring, employment contracts, working methods.
Employers must adapt to meet the challenges of global mobility according to Deloitte's 2017 Human Capital trends survey. It suggests that "a global workforce infused with 'digital DNA'" requires "a working environment that enables productivity and uses innovative technologies."
This environment will need communication tools "to promote engagement, enhance collaboration, wellness, and a sense of purpose."
Autonomous decentralised contact center network, PodOne, also believes that "the unbeatable advantages of blockchains" can be used to create "a truly global, truly open and truly democratic workforce and employment solution".
Foresight and technology trends researcher, Aida Ponce Del Castillo believes Blockchain can also facilitate a system of temporary employment that ensures fairness between workers and employers.
Blockchain will be a way of responding to an increasingly globalised workforce, that will blossom alongside the evolution of global mobility.
Given the constant technological advancements we've seen in recent decades, we can't know exactly what shape the video games industry could take in ten years' time. However, there is every reason for the video gaming industry to look forward with excitement to the benefits that will arise from the endless possibilities of a blockchain-facilitated, collaborative future. Similarly other industry sectors will be taking up the challenge and engaging with the benefits that blockchain offers.
Deloitte's 2017 Human Capital trends survey results suggests that global mobility must adapt to meet challenges in three main areas: https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/tax/articles/digital-innovation-in-mobility.html
Aida Ponce Del Castillo: recruitment industry can use blockchain "at a much lower cost than existing systems": https://www.equaltimes.org/three-ways-in-which-blockchain-is
PodOne: "a truly global, truly open and truly democratic workforce and employment solution using the unbeatable advantages of blockchains" can be created: https://medium.com/@PodOneNetwork/benefits-of-the-blockchain-for-a-decentralized-workforce-aa053d65aa28
TIGA's 2018 business survey: