A new token standard intended to fix some major problems for gamers and developers has been announced by Enjin.
On June 24, Witek Radomski, the co-founder and chief technical officer of Enjin, announced the development of a new Ethereum token standard dubbed ERC1155, which is intended to help game developers save money, facilitate atomic swaps („exchanging one kind of token for another without an intermediary“), and improve the efficiency of transactions between tokens. Enjin is a game development service that helps users create and develop their own games on the blockchain.
One of the biggest issues faced by blockchain-based game developers is that for every token/item they develop they must deploy a full EDCC (aka smart contract). This is similar to being forced to have separate television sets for your Netflix, Hulu, and Crunchyroll streaming services. These contracts are often redundant and contain the same code with minor tweaks to token names or decimal points, and every node on the blockchain in forced to store the data forever. So, for example, creating a game such as World of Warcraft, which contains over 100,000 items, would be inordinately expensive and time-consuming, and would require a huge amount of data storage space.
Advocates of the new ERC1155 token standard hope to solve these issues by storing all tokens/items in a single contract, which only requires the smallest amount of data needed to distinguish between items. This means developers would be able to stop repeating the same code in different EDCCs as well as save the money required to launch an individual contract.
The new standard also seeks to improve the exchange of one token/item for another without a middleman, often referred to as an atomic swap. The current system requires four separate steps because an additional approval step is required for each token the user wants to swap.
The process is streamlined because the user is able to bundle all tokens/items they want to swap into a single contract that only requires one approval step, and single or multiple tokens/items can be sent to single or multiple recipients. This should alleviate blockchain congestion as well as save users money on transaction fees.
Under the current system, developers are forced to separate tokens/items that are fungible from those that are not. Fungible items are available in large quantities and can be exchanged for similar items, such as refillable ammo and health packs; nonfungible items, such as machine guns and vehicles, are unique. ERC20 tokens work with the former, but ERC721 is used for the latter, and the two token types are very hard to mix. ERC115, however, is meant to allow users to trade and transfer both fungible and non-fungible items all at once and within the same contract, „making this an immensely powerful upgrade compared to existing token standards,“ according to Radomski.
Only time will tell if ERC1155 will solve all these problems, but many are optimistic about the benefits Ethereum might bring to gamers and developers. In November 2016, ETHNews explored the ways an Ethereum-based gaming marketplace could improve costs and the storage of player data. In March 2017, the independent game studio MetaGold announced in-game ERC20 tokens that could be used to purchase custom game items.
Nathan Graham is a full-time staff writer for ETHNews. He lives in Sparks, Nevada, with his wife, Beth, and dog, Kyia. Nathan has a passion for new technology, grant writing, and short stories. He spends his time rafting the American River, playing video games, and writing.
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