A decentralized MMO is a type of online game in which players may interact without the need for a central server. They are also referred to variably as fully decentralized games, peer-to-peer games, or on-chain games. The earliest pioneer of decentralized MMOs was Huntercoin.
Most NFTs still rely on servers, and most blockchain games do not meet this definition. This is partially due to technical limitations: it remains difficult to store large data files in a decentralized manner, and the number of blockchain transactions required (especially by NPCs and other AI) is prohibited by current transaction fee levels. Proponents argue new scalability solutions will solve this problem.
The majority of decentralized MMOs work in one of two fundamental ways:
- They utilize smart contracts on platforms like Ethereum that are designed with Turing completeness in mind. This is the route taken by games like Orbiter 8, with scalability typically achieved by sidechains or rollups
- They issue data via transactions that can be interpreted by clients locally, not computed on-chain. This is the route taken by platforms like Xaya, with scalability achieved by game channels