Blockchain technology could be used as an alternative to DRM, that would enable digital game resale, but could also draw the ire of game publishers
The technology behind Bitcoin is being used to allow the resale of digital content, and the technology could render DRM obsolete.
A decentralised PC game store was launched recently. Called Robot Cache, the store aims to allow the resale of digitally distributed games, and it's making this possible using Blockchain technology.
To put it very simply, Blockchain is essentially a distributed, peer-to-peer database that ensures all transactions are easily verifiable, and completely transparent. In the case of Robot Cache and digital resales, it's being used to ensure that a piece of data, in this case single licensed copy of the game, cannot be activated and used at more than one single location. Thus, this would allow the transfer of ownership of digital copies, with the Blockchain network working in the background to ensure a sold copy can only be used by the new owner.
"You can't have DRM-free and resell in the same thing otherwise it doesn't work," said Brian Fargo, the founder of Robot Cache. "In order for us to facilitate the resell, the product has to be tracked on the blockchain.
"That very aspect of it is the very thing that allows people to resell their games. We think it's well worth the trade-off... and they get remunerated if it gets relicensed. I just see it as a win for consumers and publishers."
Blockchain technology has become increasingly hyped up in recent times, as more companies seek to attach themselves to this new technology. A soft-drink makers recently changed their name from Long Island Iced Tea Corp. to Long Blockchain Corp. and saw its share value skyrocket by 200%. But so far, it's the cryptocurrencies such as BitCoin, LiteCoin and Ripple, that have grabbed the most headlines as the technologies to come from Blockchain.
For their part, Robot Cache will also utilize their own cryptocurrency.
But it's Robot Cache's use of Blockchain as a way to track digital ownership, perhaps forever changing the way digital ownership is seen, that might also bring the most controversy. It might also fall foul of publishers, many of which already expressly forbid the resale of their digital products, who are also not keen on having a resale market exist for their digital products for which they do not receive any financial compensation.