Xaya - Blockchain For Games


About a week ago I wrote about what I think the perfect crypto platform would be. I mentioned a few projects I like that come close in some aspects. Then a few days ago I wrote about Nimiq to give more detail. Today I'm going to talk about Xaya.

Like Nimiq, Xaya seems very unknown. It also is the last of my list that is not feeless. I've said before that I think the future of crypto/blockchain must be feeless. So that is the main reason both Nimiq and Xaya fall out of the running for me.

So why even mention it? Again, like Nimiq, they are working on some features that are pretty awesome that no other blockchain/crypto project is doing (to my knowledge.)

The most interesting to me is real time gaming. Notice these play 2 earn games getting popular? Axie, Splinterlands, etc... they are not real time. They tend to be collection games or turn based games. This is because blockchain transactions are too slow to accommodate real time games.

Xaya is trying to accomplish this with something they call Game Channels. I've done a bit of digging in the code to see what they're doing. I am by no means an expert in this but to put it simply, game channels use the blockchain to establish p2p or server connections to allow real time gaming as we know it, but with a few verification/connection transactions to establish the game mechanics on the blockchain. It is really a pretty simple system that more or less works.

This kind of leads me to the next cool thing.

I had this idea years ago to build a sort of... self prolifirating distributed server based on p2p and blockchain ideas. One of the things Xaya is trying to do is make no server multiplayer games a reality. They're not doing it exactly how I had planned but it is cool to see it being worked on.

For a game developer looking to make a multiplayer game with blockchain features, Xaya seems almost too good to be true! And that's because it kind of is. They do have some games as proof of concept. And they are actually decent. So feel free to check them out.

However, Xaya transactions are not free and this is where it starts to crumble. As of now, the fees are extremely minimal. The whole system is built around a fork of Namecoin which is a fork of Bitcoin.

Since Namecoin is not as big as Bitcoin and Xaya not as big as Namecoin, the transaction fees currently are very minimal. In fact if you design your game to only have a couple transactions, you're probably getting away with hundreds of players playing multiple games for less change than you could pick out of your couch. However, as Bitcoin shows, if this kind of blockchain takes off the fees can bankrupt you pretty quickly.

So making games on Xaya as it is, certainly possible. But if a hit comes out, it may end up costing more than you can handle.

There is some potential good news. The game features of the platform are not completely tied into the blockchain. One of the developers mentioned in Discord that the fees are something they are conscious of, so moving to another blockchain in the future is possible.

At this point I do not plan to use Xaya. I really do think it deserves more attention though. Some smart people doing some awesome stuff over there. Just imagine eventually having a completely free multiplayer server, real time, distributed, no downtime, no cheating to worry about. Indie game developer's dream right?

If you are interested in investing or checking it out though, the price is really not too prohibitive. When I first found it you could get CHI for as little as 3 cents if I remember right. It has actually gained some traction however, looking now it seems to be up around $0.23 and had hit a high of $0.45 not too long ago.