Redefining Trust: Can a True Random Game Be Introduced in Web3

The magic of randomness

The fascination with randomness has been part of our social and entertainment mechanics since ancient civilizations. In early Greek and Roman civilizations, local prophets provided seemingly random solutions and theories to describe the meanings perceived from natural phenomena. A good example is attributing meteors to specific events. The passage of such a celestial body is said to indicate a specific outcome of recent events, such as Julius Caesar becoming a god after the murder[1]. We’re always drawn to the unexplainable and unpredictable, whether we embrace it as luck or seize on random correlations in an effort to avoid the devastation of what we perceive as fate. A phenomenon is random, yet we have been giving it human explanations to answer many of the mysteries we face.

Redefining Trust: Can a True Random Game Be Introduced in Web3

Royal Game of Ur

Later societies introduced formal games of chance, reading physical information from a specific object designed to behave within the bounds of a statistical response. Some of these mechanisms are still in use today. Even our most modern societies still entertain themselves with classic card games; role-playing and board games are still played with dice-based action. It might feel like the statistical mechanics are working against us on game nights when we lose a mess, but in the end, the physics of the source of randomness overwhelms our inner skepticism. We can’t see all the natural effects on the dice we roll, but we know the character is fair because it’s happening right in front of us. At least, it’s transparent.

From classic to modern

We’ve come a long way from a 50% random coin toss. While there are still valid applications of such odds, we are now building algorithms to push out hundreds or even millions of random numbers from a single seed to expand the ways to enjoy randomness. The basic algorithm, or pseudo-random number generation (PRNG), is sufficient for simpler games such as poker. These games are translated into online versions where the randomness does not strongly affect the player’s level of enjoyment. We always know that there will be the same 52 cards in every game. Randomization improves the player’s experience without major losses or flaws due to randomization.

Over time, new and more complex digital games were created, and their randomization became more and more obscure, leading to debate about whether the game was random or not. Consider Dragon’s Nest, an arcade game released in 1983. In this game, there are groups of three rooms, and each group represents a choice to activate each level. As players complete random selections for each level, they advance to the next loop until all three rooms in each group are used. The level generator “remembers” the levels already played and ensures that the player encounters each level change during the game loop [2]. In such cases, even in puzzle games from minesweeper to sentry, randomness doesn’t prevent the game from being entertaining. It doesn’t change the mechanics of the game or the skills needed to win the game, it just introduces a new experience.


As the video game industry diversifies, so do possibilities based on randomness. It’s getting so complicated now that it affects the fun of the game in some cases. In an article written by Zack Zwiezen on Kotaku, there is a common perception that players are generally disgusted by output randomness – randomness caused by the decisions players make. By design, these types of randomization seem to contradict the previous randomization experience in the game, leaving players feeling cheated.

In reality, Zack points out, it’s because our instincts don’t capture statistical nuances. Loot boxes are appealing because they exploit both the human loss aversion response and the addictive nature of gambling. The quality of the loot chests obtained each time is not as high as the advertised statistic, which tends to have more pronounced negative sentiment than when the same player gets the legendary item. Even if players see the advertised statistics, they are likely to be fooled by this loss aversion bias — making them feel cheated. While the opportunity to acquire valuable items brings great appeal, there is currently no real-world value available. To achieve a successful balance, there needs to be a shift in which perceptions of sustained loss are less than perceptions of overall value gained.

In the pre-video game era, randomness was transparent, and you could see dice rolls, cards drawn, coins tossed. Now, the randomness all happens in the backend of the algorithm, leaving players questioning the authenticity of randomness. Especially as the entertainment industry begins to monetize “randomness” such as gambling and in-game purchases of mystery items, there is growing concern about the actual randomness of the mechanics, and the degree of predictability in that randomness.

The gaming industry is innovating ways to capture more consistent value through in-game purchases. Loot boxes are one of these mechanics that add value through the game as players spend time and money acquiring random in-game assets. According to Game Industry News, game developers often don’t publish the odds of getting something of value in loot boxes or randomized character/asset features, leaving players at the mercy of unknown algorithms. It’s constantly being said that they’ve been given an unusable item due to a level barrier, or that it’s a duplicate of an item they already have in their inventory. Since many games don’t allow you to buy, sell, or trade items with other players, it is often useless to have duplicate items, and any value of in-game assets is limited to the original owner. This has led to an overall distrust of loot boxes. Transparency in stats is something classic games do very well, and players are demanding that unmistakable predictability.

Blockchain provides at least some means to facilitate trust and true ownership of in-game assets and ensure a high-quality gaming experience in this complex environment. Game developers can achieve good long-term relationships with players through established tools that provide transparency and true randomness to players. Blockchain-based games and gambling are already in development and introduce transparency, as well as giving gamers more control and power over their items. Introducing true random number generation would only improve the groundwork already done in the industry.

Transparency is an angle of trust. Being able to demonstrate this randomness is another. Improving transparency in virtual games involves proving that you are procedurally random or truly random, like the physical randomness of dice rolls that have been used for centuries. In the traditional gambling game brought to Web3, we already know many statistics. What is missing is the ability to ensure randomness is enforced. Online gambling introduces an additional barrier to transparency, which can only be solved by introducing a method of ensuring randomness – verifying that the casino is operating honestly. Since the stakes in gambling can be staggeringly high, the more entropy in any randomness mechanism, the more attractive its value proposition will be.

Redefining Trust: Can a True Random Game Be Introduced in Web3

Both the gaming industry and the gambling industry must address user experience issues in improving their randomness mechanisms; however, the gaming industry arguably has more considerations on the road to improvement. Loot crates are expected to generate over $20 billion in revenue by 2025, and the industry has recognized this value by incorporating loot crates in various genres of games [5]. The gap that needs to be bridged is how user experience affects their level of engagement with random crate items. When players spend countless hours earning in-game currency to buy random chests, hoping to expand their inventory collection, encountering the same items (or even getting items of the same category) doesn’t feel random or fair. Even when the randomness is honest, players often feel victimized simply because there is no way to confirm that the game is running according to the advertised statistics.

true random game

As the gaming community grows and the number of items earned by each player increases, a use case emerges for identifying a greater number of unique items through truly random identifiers. Quantum random number generation (QRNG) is a number generation method that exploits an isolated natural phenomenon to produce an unpredictable, or truly random, result. With this quantum-level randomness now available through ANU’s QRNG, coupled with the introduction of loot boxes, can generate so much excitement and revenue for a growing industry, the opportunity for growth will only grow with transparency and increased reliability. With the use of smart contracts, the value proposition of Web3 games can be consolidated. At the time of purchase, an ID can be generated that contains all the necessary details to allow developers to divide players into reward pools and even include them in the original game in the event of a core version change.

It is necessary to at least be able to ensure that the randomness they claim in the loot box structure is enforced, no matter which randomness mechanism they use. With the introduction of smart contracts, game designers can even introduce innovations that expand opportunities to grow revenue and improve user experience. One possibility is that the smart contract could read the player’s inventory and provide something of the same random value that the player hasn’t been provided yet. Making an item an NFT would allow for such functionality, increasing the value of the item by reducing redundancy and saving users from being disappointed by the loss of redundancy. Another opportunity is to develop universally unique identifiers for items so that on-chain game assets can be used in other on-chain games. To do this, a common identifier needs to be introduced to ensure that items are uniquely identified in games that participate in item sharing. An efficient approach is to introduce a true random number to identify each item, so that it can be tracked regardless of which game ecosystem it joins. Both of these changes will provide more revenue potential while also taking into account the user experience.

In order to execute this innovation, smart contracts need to achieve true randomness. ANU’s QRNG provides a source of true randomness and was the first to introduce true randomness into Web3. PRNGs are often sufficient for randomness in our current environment, but QRNGs provide a more unpredictable randomization that is more secure while providing the benefits inherent in randomization, such as the ability to mint unique items as in-game NFTs, further Increase the value, variety and uniqueness of an item.

Footnote [1] Ancient origins. Myths and Meteors [2] Dragon’s Nest Project. Dragons Lair Scene Sequence [3] Kotaku. Randomness in video games is not all the same https://kotaku. com/randomness-in-video-games-is-not-all-the-same-1841049263 [4] Game Industry News. Why everyone hates loot boxes in video games /news-industry-happenings/why-everybody-hates-loot-crates-in-videogames/ [5] WHICH-50. Online gaming loot crates to exceed $20 billion by 2025 https://which-50 .com/revenue-from-online-gaming-loot-boxes-will-exceed-us20-billion-by-2025-study

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