In 2023, we at Token Gamer have been focusing a little more on AI and cloud technologies. The reason for this is not that there is more traffic around AI (although that’s true), but rather that in conjunction with blockchain, these three technological pillars are set to transform gaming in the coming decade.
At the end of September, I received a press release which was rare by virtue of it hitting all three of the pillars. The DFINITY Foundation partnered with The Game Company, a cloud-based web3 platform driven by AI, to “revolutionize gaming on the decentralized internet”.
The issue was that the press release created significantly more questions than it gave answers, and so I wanted to speak with Dominic Williams, the Founder and Chief Scientist at DFINITY, to get a better sense of what this partnership will do for gaming.
I want to add an editorial caveat here: I sent over the below questions for Dominic and I received the answers back; this was a mistake on my part. I would like to push for more clarity in certain areas, so perhaps I will revisit this partnership when it has evolved a little more as the rough vision is undoubtedly the right direction for gaming.
Nevertheless, every article I could find on DFINITY and The Game Company’s alliance is regurgitating the press release, so for those interested in this highly technical news, hopefully, our interview can shed some more light.
Interview With Dominic Williams, Founder and Chief Scientist at DFINITY
TG: Let’s start at the beginning: What does the DFINITY Foundation do?
DW: The DFINITY Foundation is a not-for-profit research and development organization that plays a significant role in advancing the Internet Computer blockchain. It is headquartered in Zurich and boasts one of the largest R&D operations in blockchain.
TG: What is the Internet Computer Blockchain?
DW: The Internet Computer is a decentralized cloud network built on blockchain technology that can deploy smart contracts directly to the Internet Computer Protocol (ICP) at speeds rivaling traditional services. ICP is designed to scale to millions of transactions per second and uses a distributed network of nodes to run smart contracts, meaning no single entity can control or censor the content that is hosted on the Internet Computer.
Online systems and services can be built directly on the Internet Computer using smart contract code, without any need for legacy IT, such as cloud services, databases and web servers.
TG: Why does DFINITY have an interest in gaming?
DW: I developed a strong affinity for gaming at a young age. During my childhood, I started coding using BASIC, where I channeled my creativity to design classic-style games like Space Invaders. Just before getting into blockchain, I created an MMO (massively multiplayer online) game and social network for kids called Fight My Monster, which grew to 3 million users.
Now, having worked closely with AI and blockchain, I see tremendous overlap between my childhood passion and these new cutting-edge fields. To turn this vision into reality we partnered with TGC (The Game Company) to explore innovative opportunities that emerge at the intersection of gaming, AI, and blockchain technologies.
Through my background and expertise, I hope to bring new dimensions to the gaming landscape, where virtual worlds and decentralized technologies meet to create exciting and transformative experiences for gamers and enthusiasts alike.
Just before getting into blockchain, I created an MMO (massively multiplayer online) game and social network for kids called Fight My Monster, which grew to 3 million users.
— Dominic Williams
TG: Can you unpack what AI brings to a cloud gaming platform?
DW: AI can enhance a cloud gaming platform by optimizing content delivery and reducing latency through predictive algorithms, ensuring smoother and more responsive gameplay experiences for users. Additionally, AI-powered analytics can personalize game recommendations, tailor in-game content, and detect and address cheating or abusive behaviors, ultimately improving user engagement and satisfaction.
TG: Could you outline the benefits of a “decentralized gaming experience” in the context of web2 gaming, such as Steam and Epic?
DW: A decentralized gaming experience in the context of web2 gaming platforms like Steam and Epic refers to a shift away from centralized control and ownership of gaming assets and experiences. Instead, it involves leveraging blockchain technology and DApps to provide players with more autonomy and control over their in-game assets and experiences.
TG: What makes a decentralized cloud preferable to traditional cloud technology? Cloud technology has barely found its feet with gaming as it is.
- Decentralized clouds use encryption and distributed storage to enhance the security of data. Since data isn’t stored in a single central location, it’s more resilient to traditional hacking and data breaches.
- Users have greater control over their data, as they own the private keys to access and manage it. This reduces the risk of data being accessed without consent.
- Decentralized clouds often rely on a peer-to-peer network of nodes, which can reduce infrastructure costs for providers, potentially leading to more competitive pricing for users.
TG: The press release states, “By leveraging ICP’s decentralized infrastructure, TGC’s platform will become more accessible to a global audience. Gamers from various regions can expect reduced latency, quicker load times, and seamless cross-platform compatibility, allowing for an inclusive and immersive gaming experience.” First question: Does decentralized cloud gaming really have better performance for the player than centralized cloud?
- Decentralized clouds are less susceptible to censorship, as they lack a central authority that can be coerced or influenced to restrict access to data or services.
- Decentralized assets are not tied to the lifespan of a particular game or platform. This means that players can continue to use and trade their assets even if a game is discontinued.
TG: Second question: Cloud gaming’s primary selling point for the consumer is accessibility. In what way does decentralizing the technology make it more accessible?
DW: One of the primary challenges in cloud gaming is latency, which is the delay between a player’s input and the corresponding action on the screen. Decentralizing the technology by distributing gaming servers geographically can help reduce latency. When gaming servers are located closer to the player, data has a shorter distance to travel, resulting in lower latency and a smoother gaming experience.
TG: Cloud technology has had a slow uptake in gaming, with internet connection speeds gating progress. Can DFINITY and TGC assist in overcoming that pain point with this platform?
DW: The integration will harness ICP’s advanced blockchain technology to provide gamers with a decentralized gaming experience where players can enjoy their favorite triple-A game titles, connected to accounts including Steam or Epic, with enhanced security, transparency, and reliability.
TG: If this partnership hits every goal you both set for it, how would it change the landscape of the games industry for both developers and players?
- Blockchain technology can enable cross-platform compatibility, allowing gamers on different devices and platforms to interact and trade assets seamlessly. This can help bridge the gap between console, PC, and mobile gamers.
- Blockchain can create scarcity in digital assets by limiting the issuance of NFTs. Limited edition items or characters can become highly sought after, driving demand and potentially increasing the value of these digital assets.
- Blockchain can be used to establish a player’s digital identity and reputation across games. This can help reduce toxicity in gaming communities and reward positive behavior.
The benefits of blockchain, cloud, and AI technologies to gaming are profound, but to see them effectively implemented will require enormous effort and investment, but to the winner goes the spoils. Whether DFINITY, The Game Company, and the Internet Computer Blockchain can combine to bring about this revolution remains to be seen — I still feel I don’t have a firm grasp on the reality of what they are doing — but all the components are in place.