The Ultimate Resource For The Blockchain-Based Games Marketplace (#GotBitcoin?)
Open source blockchain platform Waves and blockchain game distribution platform The Abyss will jointly launch a blockchain-based marketplace of digital goods and in-game items. The Ultimate Resource For The Blockchain-Based Games Marketplace (#GotBitcoin?)
Pitch: A Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)-style movie game. Instead of picking athletes from teams, you’re picking actors from movies, earning points based off their movies’ performance.
Business Summary: CinemaDraft helps solve the movie industry’s engagement problem which, despite being an $11B a year industry, has seen admissions decline 6% over the past decade.
The streaming, free-to-play games spur interest and fan engagement through fantasy gaming, much like how daily fantasy sports (DFS) has driven engagement with professional sports leagues.
Management Team: Edwardo Jackson, novelist, screenwriter, and one-time professional poker player combined his varied skill set to create and run the CinemaDraft game. His experience as poker room manager for an online poker site plus being an avid daily fantasy sports player with an extensive background in marketing & social media uniquely positions this lifelong entertainment professional as the one to popularize this game with the public.
Problem: The movie industry needs innovative ways to engage movie fans who have increasing content options vying for their attention instead of going to the theater.
Service: CinemaDraft provides a free-to-play, fantasy sports-style game for people who love the movies, encouraging them to engage more with the industry through gamification, movie discovery, and, ultimately, increased movie theater attendance.
Target Market: 246M North Americans (71% of the population) attended the movies at least once in 2016 (MPAA).
57.4M North Americans are fantasy sports users, with DFS players enjoying 40% more sports content after becoming players (FSTA).
The cross-section of moviegoing fantasy sports players equals a target market of 40.8M, with an underserved market opportunity of at least 13.99M female moviegoing, fantasy sports players. While DFS players are 98% male and 91.6% white (Eilers Research), the frequent moviegoing audience is 52% female & 56% white, offering an opportunity that caters to Mr. Jackson’s career marketing strengths.
Customers: Our primary focus is to provide an entertaining game for our players, creating a sticky gaming environment and community that invites paying for premium services while also being a pool of warm leads for marketing partners.
Marketing Strategy: In promoting cash prizes for our free-to-play game, we will attract gamers, moviegoers, and DFS enthusiasts alike through targeted online marketing campaigns; building a separate community site around the game featuring strategy, podcasts, and other content marketing; robust referral/affiliate marketing rewards & contests; and growing the size of prize pools and variety of contests to generate good old-fashioned word of mouth.
Business Model: Movie ticket brokering, contest sponsorship, player fees for premium mobile features, loyalty club subscription service for additional features & exclusive contests, and revenue share with players from opt-in email marketing from our advertising partners. Additionally, an innovative, decentralized app smart contract, cryptocurrency/token-based model native to the platform is in development.
Competitor: Fantasy Movie League, acquired by National CineMedia (May 2017).
Competitive Advantage: Mr. Jackson’s creative, professional, and gaming skill sets/experience; enhanced, more skillful & fun strategy/game mechanics; cash prizes for playing a free game.
Hollywood has a moviegoer engagement problem.
All it takes is one look at Box Office Mojo and some basic math to see that North American movie theater admissions are down 14% in the last 15 years (1.51B to 1.31B tickets), with it being down 8% in the last decade (1.41B tickets to 2019’s estimated 1.29B). As of September 1, 2019, attendance is down 5% from last year.
Attendance can be fickle year-to-year due to what is at the movies (“content is king”). However, this is a general trend that is exacerbated by more entertainment options competing for our attention, rising ticket prices, and a general disconnection from finding compelling enough content to go to the theater. For an $11B yearly industry, theatrical movie distribution losing 8-14% is a lot of money off the table.
CinemaDraft helps solve the movie industry’s engagement problem by streaming our free-to-play games that spur interest and fan engagement through fantasy sports-style gaming, much like how daily fantasy sports (DFS) has driven engagement with professional sports leagues. We are currently pivoting to a streaming content model in the midst of the global pandemic.
Michael Villante, player: Very cool site for movie buffs and fantasy sports fans. The best of
Nick Ringwald, player: Anyone who considers themselves movie buffs should be playing! It’s
fun and addicting and FREE!! Already won over $100!
Claudette, player: It really makes you want to learn more about the different movies and go see
Jay Devlin, “Mostly Sports” podcast personality, player: You’ve created a monster.
I want to make a very specific point that should guide our focus moving forward. Having been a lifelong lover of words, I respect and appreciate their power. And the most basic level of CinemaDraft is that this is a game to be enjoyed by our players.
In all consumer facing copy and internal communications that do not involve code, I want to address the concept of “user” as “player.”
At the end of the day, it’s all about the game. Games are fun. Players play games to have fun. I want us all, on the most basic of levels, to be guided like the North Star on a player experience that will be FUN. Because if this game is fun, then we all win.
So players over users. Tabs vs. spaces. Here’s to continued good work.
CEO & Founder
Atari Seeks New Cachet With Crypto — And A Return To Hardware
As Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp. prepare to launch their new video-game consoles, another legendary player, Atari, is readying its first new hardware in more than 20 years. The Atari VCS will come with a twist — a way for gamers to spend a cryptocurrency while they play.
First teased several years ago and expected to ship in November, the Atari VCS is being called a mini-console or a gaming computer. The product will offer access to more than 100 Atari arcade games and home classics, like Pong, plus new titles. It will have internet connectivity and let consumers buy products using Atari Tokens, which will go on sale in late October.
“We have a brand, we have a following — we think we are going to get some attention in any case,” said Chief Executive Officer Frederic Chesnais, adding that his competition is more the iPhone than an Xbox or PlayStation. “After that the product has to be good.”
On Oct. 29, Bitcoin.com Exchange will start selling $1 million worth of Atari Tokens for 25 cents apiece to retail investors outside of the U.S. The tokens will be used for in-game purchases and for partner games, as well as eventually in the broader gaming ecosystem if Atari’s effort to create a standard currency for the industry bears fruit.
The company is also working on a gaming stablecoin, which won’t be as volatile as most tokens. But it isn’t close to launch, said Chesnais, who led Atari out of its 2013 bankruptcy.
The push is part of Chesnais’s seven-year effort to revitalize Atari SA, making it more modern and relevant. While Atari’s predecessor companies raised a whole generation of gamers with arcade and home titles like Asteroids and Missile Command in the 1970s and 1980s, it has long been sidelined by stronger, bigger rivals.
The company has been split into pieces, merged and emerged from bankruptcy. Today’s Atari is tiny, with only about 20 staffers. Its Paris-traded shares have languished below 50 cents since 2018, when the company announced a cryptocurrency effort.
But Chesnais has great ambitions for Atari, which largely hinge on nostalgia for the brand.
“The consumer going for the retro systems is different than what the new consoles are targeting,” said David Cole, CEO at digital entertainment researcher DFC Intelligence. “And yes, that is an opportunity.”
So far, more than 11,500 people have preordered the new hardware through the crowdfunding site Indiegogo, where Atari ran a campaign for the player and took in more than $3 million.
The company is facing economic headwinds. While Covid-19 has led to a surge in people staying home and playing games, many millions have lost their jobs or fear losing them. That could limit their spending this holiday season and push consumers to opt for major players’ new consoles, instead.
There’s also the pricing. Atari’s all-in bundle, which includes an 8-gigabyte Atari VCS, a wireless controller, a wireless classic joystick, and 100 classic arcade and console games, costs $390. The Xbox Series S starts at $300.
“I am kind of pessimistic, to be honest, because you are going head to head with Xbox and PlayStation 5,” said Lewis Ward, an analyst at researcher IDC. “Obviously if you are a huge fan of Atari games, there’s always a nostalgia basis. But simply on a price-to-value ratio, I don’t see how this becomes more than a niche product.”
Covid-19 had already delayed the VCS — it was previously scheduled to ship in March. What’s more, Atari faces looming competition even in the retro category. Intellivision Entertainment plans to release its Amico player early next year with a starting price of around $249. That player “is looking more impressive,” Cole said.
Atari’s foray into cryptocurrencies could also be hit or miss. Past efforts to marry tokens with video games haven’t panned out. The good news is that cryptocurrency enthusiasts are also gamers. If Atari’s tokens do take off, they could be an “on-ramp for a major increase in crypto use,” according to Aaron Brown, a crypto investor who writes for Bloomberg Opinion.
“We’ll see how it plays up,” Chesnais said. “We don’t need to sell millions in the beginning, it’s a long-term effort.”
Abyss Reveals Its Collaboration With The Waves Platform
In a blog post published on Sept. 5, The Abyss revealed its collaboration with the Waves Platform, aimed at the development of a blockchain-powered marketplace of tradable goods and in-game items. The marketplace will enable users to purchase items with Abyss Tokens and sell them to other users.
Waves Blockchain-Integrated Tokens
The integration of Abyss Tokens with Waves blockchain will allow game developers to incorporate Abyss Token operations directly into their Waves-based games. Commenting on the development, Sasha Ivanov, founder and CEO of Waves Platform, said:
“We recognize the huge potential of the $100+ billion gaming sector as a major use case for blockchain which perfectly fits with current gameplay mechanics and trading of goods. We strongly believe that the gaming industry will be an enthusiastic adopter of blockchain, and partnership with The Abyss will drive its widespread use.”
This spring, The Abyss announced a partnership with Epic Games to allow developers on the platform access to the Unreal Developers Network. At the time, a The Abyss spokesperson commented on the partnership in an email sent to Cointelegraph:
“The program is aimed at attracting more gaming studios and titles to The Abyss platform, as well as supporting Unreal Engine developers in cryptocurrency adoption. More specifically, they will be able to accept ABYSS tokens both for game and in-game purchases in legal and easy-to-use way.”
In late June, Waves introduced an upgrade to its blockchain that enables decentralized applications on the platform, which will purportedly enable developers to perform calculations necessary for use cases on the Waves blockchain.
Real-Time Strategy Game For Mining ‘Crypto Gold’ Launches On WAX
The online real-time economic strategy game, Prospectors, will be launching on the Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX).
Prospectors Blockchain Game Lands On WAX
In a Sept. 17 blog post, WAX announced that one of the largest dApps in the world, The Prospectors, is launching on the WAX blockchain, on which users buy physical and virtual items using WAX tokens.
This blockchain-based decentralized strategy game set during the 19th-century gold rush launched on EOS in late June 2019. Notably, the game’s designers plan for it to become fully autonomous over time.
Arielle Brechisci, Content Manager at WAX said that the game will launch on the WAX blockchain within the next few weeks, so that WAX Token holders and millions of OPSkins Marketplace customers can start playing the game, adding:
“The exciting game of strategy gives players endless opportunities to earn crypto gold by utilizing blockchain technology, where they can start a business and explore a world teeming with resources there for the taking.”
WAX Summoned To California Court Over 2017 ICO
Cointelegraph reported in August that the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued a summons to video game virtual goods company OPSkins Group and WAX in response to a complaint filed by Crypto Asset Fund.
The complaint included 12 charges — including fraud, unlawful business practices and violation of the Securities Acts of 1933 and 1934. In particular, these concerned the accused’s initial coin offering of WAX tokens.
Largest Tencent Shareholder Leads $15M Round In Blockchain Game Developer
Naspers, the largest shareholder of Chinese Internet giant Tencent, participated in a $15 million investment in blockchain game developer Immutable.
Immutable, a Sydney-based blockchain gaming startup, completed a new funding round led by Naspers and Mike Novogratz’s crypto investment bank Galaxy Digital, the company announced in a blog post on Sept. 23.
As reported by the Australian Financial Review (AFR), other investors also included Sydney-based VC firm Reinventure and American private investment firm Apex Capital.
Scaling From 13,000 To 1 Million Gamers Projected
According to the report, Immutable’s flagship game Gods Unchained has made over $4.5 million in revenue in just over a year, despite it is being played by a closed group of 13,000 gamers.
Founded by brothers Robbie and James Ferguson in July 2018, Immutable reportedly expects to grow Gods Unchained from the current 13,000 to 1 million players with the new investment, James stated in an interview with AFR.
Based on the Ethereum blockchain, Gods Unchained is a trading card game that has reportedly overtaken other popular TCGs such as Artifact, Faeria and Kards, Immutable stated. In February 2019, Gods Unchained’s unique digital card Hyperion became the world’s second most expensive card ever sold after selling for137.8 Ether (ETH), or $62,000 at the time of auction.
On Sept. 17, the Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX) announced that one of the largest decentralized apps in the world, online real-time economic strategy game Prospectors, was launching on the WAX blockchain.
Game Makers Expect to Ring in Holidays With Strong Digital Sales
Makers organizing special events inside blockbusters, adding features to keep players engaged.
Videogame companies are planning to lean further on high-margin digital sales this holiday season, as more consumers ditch discs for downloads and publishers find creative ways to generate revenue from their biggest hits long after release.
Activision Blizzard Inc., Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. and Electronic Arts Inc. all raised their end-of-year guidance for revenue and net bookings in recent weeks, citing stronger-than-expected consumer spending. The December quarter, which is typically the largest revenue-generating period for these companies, is expected to show continued demand for digitally delivered content.
Game makers are organizing special events inside their blockbusters and adding new features to keep players engaged. For example, Electronic Arts late last month brought new factions, maps, weapons and vehicles to “Battlefield V,” the most recent installment of the company’s nearly two-decade-old war franchise.
“The holidays will also be a busy season for players in our live services,” Electronic Arts Chief Executive Officer Andrew Wilson said on last week’s earnings call, referring to spending that occurs after a game has launched. “Our communities will all have new content and new experiences to dive into during the holiday quarter.” The company also forecast the holiday quarter to be one of its biggest for net bookings, an important measurement of industry revenue.
While Take-Two expects revenue to fall year over year due to a lighter release slate, it forecast growth in spending inside its videogames. That is because people can spend money on virtual perks in its existing hits such as “Grand Theft Auto Online” and “NBA 2K20” any time.
“The business as a whole is overperforming,” Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said in an interview Thursday.
In the latest quarter, digital sales made up roughly three-quarters of net bookings for Take-Two and Activision Blizzard, both companies said Thursday. Last week, Electronic Arts said more than 60% of net bookings came from digital purchases.
“This is a trend we’ve seen happening for the last several years,” Stephens analyst Jeff Cohen said. “It’s having a positive impact on margins.”
Investors also want to see these companies boost margins. Share-price growth in all three companies has lagged behind the broader Nasdaq Composite Index this year, in part because analysts have raised concerns about their ability to lift profits.
This year, the major publishers are again serving up just a handful of mostly sequels and spinoffs for the holidays, continuing a decadeslong pattern that analysts attribute to rising development costs. They say publishers are investing in more advanced technology and talent to create beefier and higher-quality games.
With tentpole games now commanding budgets of around $100 million or more, up from single-digit millions in the 1980s, analysts say big publishers view original properties as a major risk, just like in sequel-heavy Hollywood for movies. “Franchises have built-in audiences with proven customer loyalty,” said Jefferies analyst Alexander Giaimo. “They’re a much safer play.”
For those big-budget holiday releases, Take-Two introduced a sequel to its decade-old Borderlands franchise in September while Activision Blizzard put out a new installment of its 16-year-old Call of Duty franchise last month. Next week, Electronic Arts is expected to launch its latest Star Wars-themed game, a franchise that has already been licensed for dozens of games over the last four decades.
The major game publishers are also pursuing opportunities to boost revenue through new channels, such as Stadia, a cloud-gaming platform launching later this month from Alphabet Inc. ’s Google.
Electronic Arts also said last week it is growing its digital subscription business. The company ended the quarter with about 5 million subscribers on EA Access, a service that allows people to play a collection of games through Microsoft Corp. ’s Xbox One and Sony Corp. ’s PlayStation 4, up from 3.5 million in July. The service is also expected to launch on the popular game-download store Steam in the spring, Electronic Arts said.
Online Gaming Platform Lets Gamers Collect BTC In First-Person Shooter Game
Donnerlab, an online gaming platform that builds lightning games and applications, lets gamers hunt for Bitcoin (BTC) and pick-up “Satoshi cubes.”
Shoot Other Players And Collect Satoshis
In a tweet on Nov. 19, Donnerlab announced the launch of its latest project, titled Bitcoin Bounty Hunt, a fully lightning-native multiplayer first-person shooter (FPS) game. The Lightning network is a payment protocol that allows for fast, micropayments between two so-called nodes — in this case, gamers.
Donnerlabs was founded by twenty-five-year-old Konstantin Nick after the 2018 Lightning Hackday in Munich, Germany, as a means to introduce the world’s largest cryptocurrency to more people.
The FPS game features an integrated neutrino wallet, where gamers can store coins in a noncustodial fashion, an ad space for Hodl-auctions, and of course the ability to kill off other players in order to collect bounties.
Bitcoin adoption through games
In October, Bitcoin-enabled games startup Satoshis Games announced the development of a Fortnite-like game with built-in Lightning Network microtransactions, titled Lightnite, where interactions between players trigger a monetary reward or penalty for the user. Satoshis Games said at the time:
“In simple words, players earn Bitcoin by shooting other players and lose Bitcoin when they get shot.”
The game reportedly updates in real-time when the player damages another player, gets damaged or picks up an item with BTC value and allows gamers to instantly withdraw their balance via Lightning Network when they wish to do so.
“Lightning network will drive Bitcoin to $250,000”
In November, the pro-cryptocurrency venture capitalist Tim Draper said that innovations such as the Lightning network would be key in propelling the Bitcoin price higher. Draper believes that Bitcoin could reach $250,000 by 2022 or 2023, in part due to “Bitcoin payment processors”, which “are really going to open the floodgates.” He said:
“It’s because of Lightning Network and OpenNode and maybe others that are allowing us to spend Bitcoin very freely and quickly, so that it’s not just a store of value but it can be used for micropayments; it can be used for retail, it can be used all over.”
Formula 1-Branded Blockchain Game To Auction Digital Race Car Tokens
Blockchain game F1 Delta Time — licensed by the world-renowned racing series Formula 1 — is holding an auction of F1 car-branded non-fungible tokens (NFTs) later this week.
According to an announcement on Nov. 22, the auction will be held on Nov. 28, with fans already able to participate in a live contest to compete for various related prizes.
As previously reported, F1 Delta Time purportedly draws 1.6 billion television viewers across over 180 territories and engage 506 million fans worldwide.
NFTs To Be Functional Within F1 Blockchain Game
Unlike most cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens are a form of a digital collectible: non-fungible meaning they are not interchangeable, carrying unique information and varying in their level of rarity.
F1 Delta Time notes that it has set five different rarity levels, while official team cars are not available in the lowest two rarity tiers. Each NFT will be usable in the forthcoming official F1 Delta Time game and will be auctioned simultaneously in a descending Dutch format, with a starting price of 30 Ether (ETH).
All F1 branded team cars will be included in the NFT auction, including Mercedes AMG W10, Ferrari SF90, Red Bull Racing RB15, McLaren MCL34, Renault R.S. 19, Racing Point RP19, Toro Rosso STR14, Alfa Romeo Racing C38, Haas VF-19, and Williams FW42.
According to the announcement, all cars’ performance indices are similar and will be disclosed next week.
F1 Delta Times’ contest is currently inviting fans to predict the order of sale for the F1 team cars, with prizes including 30 Ether and various types of F1 Delta Time Car Gear NFTs.
As reported, Formula 1 signed a global licensing agreement with blockchain startup Animoca Brands in March of this year, paving the way for the development of the F1 Delta Time Game.
At the time, both parties underscored the significant brand power of Formula 1 and the new licensing agreement’s potential to broaden consumer exposure to blockchain.
Animoca Brands has also entered into a licensing agreement with Atari — famous for being the developer of iconic video games such as Tetris and Pac Man.
In Feb. 2018, Atari saw its share price skyrocket by over 60% after announcing that it would be investing in cryptocurrency.
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has made the argument that non-financial blockchain applications can face more difficulty gaining traction and identified developments such as NFTs and gaming as potential areas that can broaden the technology’s appeal.
Microsoft To Turn 1980s Gamebook Series Into Blockchain Card Game
Microsoft, major game developer Eidos and gamebook firm Fabled Lands are jointly developing a blockchain card game based on a 1980s best-selling gamebook.
According to a press release published on Dec. 1, the new card game will be based on the 1980s best-selling book called “The Way of the Tiger,” written by Jamie Thomson and Mark Smith.
The game’s title will be “Arena of Death” and its players will fight in fantasy-themed card battles with features from the original gamebook series.
Ensuring Card Ownership
Thomson is also Fabled Lands’ chief executive officer and decided to use blockchain technology because he believes it suits what he is trying to achieve better than a traditional videogame. He said:
“We were going to relaunch the series into a computer game format but this new technology (blockchain), just made more sense. Imagine playing Magic the Gathering but knowing if you owned a card, it really does belong to you. Or if we say there are only 100 editions of an item or skill, you know there really are only 100 editions.”
The company plans to use non-fungible tokens (NFT) on the Vechain blockchain — which has been associated with enterprises and supply-chain management — to ensure ownership of in-game assets.
Vechain will allow creating cards and in-game items “without having to deal with all the crypto stuff,” says Thomson.
In-Game Blockchain Tokens Gaining Popularity
The tokenization of in-game assets appears to be a growing trend. As Cointelegraph reported in late November, Blockchain game F1 Delta Time — licensed by the world-renowned racing series Formula 1 — held an auction of F1 car-branded NFTs.
Elsewhere, the Ethereum (ETH) based trading card game Gods Unchained has far outstripped CryptoKitties by volume after a censorship scandal involving game-developer Blizzard, reaching almost half of a million NFT transfers per day.
What Attracts Investors To Blockchain Gaming?
Blockchain is transforming the financial industry right before our eyes, with many market onlookers anticipating a complete replacement of existing payment, trading and banking infrastructures. Blockchain and finance seem like the perfect match, but there are other sectors, for which the technology may play a game-changing role. For one particular industry, the latter adjective isn’t figurative at all, because blockchain can do just that – change the gaming market. This is a unique chance for investors, and it seems like they don’t want to miss it.
During the last few years, the gaming industry has been pampered with several innovations at once – virtual reality (VR), augmented reality and artificial intelligence. But it is blockchain that can have the greatest contribution, bringing more transparency and trust to the gaming space.
Investors don’t want to be simple observers and are jumping on the blockchain gaming bandwagon. For them, the technology has a disruptive potential that can be converted into profitable deals. Thus, they consider this emerging technology to be a breakthrough in the gaming industry.
Transforming gaming at all levels
Blockchain can help developers remove grey market trading of in-game assets — game developers have designed their games to be closed ecosystems, which ensures that any value inputted into the game cannot be extracted. For instance, players were not able to sell their assets for money, use them in other games or trade them for another game’s assets. This led to the creation of grey markets where players could come together to facilitate these types of activities. Blockchain technology enables publishers to embed rules into their tokenized assets that enforce a transaction fee upon each transfer of the asset, regardless of where that asset is being sold. As a result, users are free to trade their assets as they see fit, and publishers can continue to generate revenue beyond the primary market.
Blockchain enables projection of value to intangible assets — everyone realized the close interaction between DLT and gaming when CryptoKitties came out on Ethereum. The game allows players to purchase, breed and trade unique virtual kittens with cryptocurrencies. This collectible game uses so-called non-fungible tokens (NFT) since each digital kitty is unique. So far, players have spent millions of United States dollars for the kitties, with the most expensive one being sold for 600 Ether (ETH) — over $173,000 at the time. Games like CryptoKitties demonstrate the power of DLT through the tokenization of assets. This ensures that each asset can be proved to be unique or rare; it ensures that users have ownership over their digital assets; and it allows these assets to interoperate with other applications outside of their original ecosystem. These features all contribute to a greater perceived value by the user, which increases the propensity to spend real dollars within the app. While CryptoKitties showcased the attributes that DLT could bring to gaming, it failed to create an engaging experience that would entice a wider audience. Next generation blockchain-enabled games, like Epics Digital Collectibles, seamlessly integrate DLT with a consumer-centric, captivating and gamified experience.
Blockchain can help with buying, selling and storing in-gaming assets — with DLT, the issuing and trading of in-game assets reach the next level.
Developers can create games that allow players to buy in-game assets with cryptocurrencies, which makes the process easier, more rapid and secure. Also, cryptocurrencies can address the challenge of microtransactions. However, publishers understand that the average consumer is not ready to make a transaction in cryptocurrencies, and thus, they obfuscate these crypto mechanics behind a familiar fiat payment gateway.
Moreover, developers can create specialized frameworks for digital assets used in games. As mentioned, CryptoKitties was built on Ethereum, but there are already blockchain-based standards focused exclusively on gaming. One such example is dGoods, which is a token framework developed initially for the EOSIO protocol.
Mythical Games is one of the creators and developers that has used dGoods for its in-game assets. The company is set to launch its first game, called Blankos, in 2020. Blankos is projected to be the biggest launch of a blockchain-enabled game to date, accessing the wider gaming communities on PC, console and mobile.
Soon, more developers will begin leveraging digital asset frameworks and will collectively improve the operation of in-game assets.
Blockchain can help developers reach higher engagement rates and improve the Average Revenue Per Paying User (ARPPU) — NFT’s can be used to increase player engagement and improve the ARPPU. Game publishers have been noticing that blockchain-enabled games produce much higher ARPPU metrics due to the greater perceived value by the user. NFT’s are changing the way brands interact with their consumers. This new form of marketing is non-intrusive and offers the end consumer value, which ultimately drives up engagement rates. For instance, Azarus runs a challenge network on the Twitch streaming platform that rewards players for watching their favorite esports streams with AZA tokens that can be redeemed for in-game goods and items. Rewarding users with in-game items related to the game they are watching incentivizes them to continue viewing, which increases the likelihood of them spending more time playing the game. Given the engagement results that these new forms of marketing are producing, it is no surprise that game publishers are starting to invest marketing dollars in this industry.
Contributing To Market Growth
The gaming market is huge, and blockchain has attracted many investors who are now driving the industry’s expansion to new levels.
Today, there are over 2 billion gamers who either play on computer devices or smartphones. Games and esports analytics firm Newzoo estimates that the total number of gamers is 2.5 billion, suggesting that 1 in 3 people play video games. By the end of this year, they will have spent a combined $152.1 billion on games, which is a 9.6% increase compared to 2018.
Gaming is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world right now, and blockchain plays an essential role in polishing its image by bringing a new set of possibilities through a more open and trusting environment. This, in turn, attracts investors, many of whom are looking specifically for gaming firms that adopt DLT.
Some prominent blockchain-oriented investors have been including gaming firms in their portfolios. For instance, venture capital firm SVK Crypto has invested in Mythical Games, Azarus and High Fidelity. The latter is a VR platform co-founded by Philip Rosedale, the founder of the popular game Second Life, that uses blockchain technology to manage the ownership of in-game assets and currency.
SVK Crypto is part of Block.one’s EOS VC syndicate alongside Galaxy Digital and FinLab AG. Interestingly, FinLab AG has also shown interest in gaming firms, as it invested in Upland. Elsewhere, Galaxy Digital recently took part in a funding round held by Immutable, a Sydney-based blockchain gaming startup.
All in all, blockchain-oriented institutional investors don’t want to stay aloof from the rapid growth of the gaming space. Therefore, they might play an essential role in driving the industry’s expansion.
Microsoft Teams Up With Enjin To Offer Crypto Collectible Rewards
Do Good Work, Earn A “Badger.”
That’s the idea behind a new incentives scheme launched by Microsoft in partnership with blockchain gaming project Enjin.
Dubbed Azure Heroes, a new web page for the initiative describes its as a “new and fun way to earn digital collectibles for meaningful impact in the technical community.”
Simply, Azure Heroes rewards Azure community members for positive actions, such as coaching, making demos, providing sample code, making posts about Azure or completing challenges.
Participants with demonstrable contributions will be handed badges, er no, badgers, across various categories. These include community leadership, content, mentorship and innovators.
Issuance and transactions of the badger collectibles will be carried out on the ethereum blockchain, allowing winners to hold them as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
According To Microsoft:
“Microsoft and Enjin have collaborated in a local pilot to create a blockchain based recognition programme. The Azure Heroes badgers were created in a number of original and unique designs which have been tokenised into a digital asset on the Ethereum public blockchain.
Initially a pilot in “select Western European countries,” badgers will be created in limited numbers verifiable on the public blockchain. Some of the NFTs, which will be issued in “seasons,” will be tougher to win than others, says Microsoft.
Badgers will be issued by sending a QR code to winners, which when scanned will give the recipient the option to install Enjin’s wallet. Once claimed, the NFTs can be sent to any public ethereum address or destroyed if desired.
The news looks to have brought a major boost to the price of Enjin’s token. At press time, enjin coin had risen over 44 percent in 24 hours, as per CoinMarketCap.
In October, Enjin became one of the first portfolio companies of the new venture arm of wallet and data provider Blockchain after receiving an undisclosed investment. The project also became an official partner of Samsung Electronics on its flagship, blockchain-enabled Galaxy S10 smartphone this spring.
Gaming Is Key To The Mass Adoption Of Crypto
A whole new exciting world of value is being coded into life right now by gamers. While it may be a far cry from the lofty ideals of banking the unbanked and taking down the global banking system, gaming is gearing up to be a massive force in the crypto space.
Addictively fun games will draw a whole new base of users into the crypto economy. Gamers are an excellent target market for adoption because many gamers are a touch more tech savvy than the average internet user and tend to be a bit more open to new ideas.
Just imagine this — a gamer beating a monster, picking up a rare item, selling that item for Ether (ETH) on a secondary market, and then using that Ether to buy a new hat online. This creates a whole new network of value that is liquid, fast and global — and most importantly, taps into gamers’ existing behavior: playing games.
But for this exciting future to transpire, games need to be fun… addictively fun. Up until now, most crypto games have been little more than retro 1980s throwbacks — with very simple graphics and limited playability — which is nice for nostalgia but will not add anything significant to the crypto economy.
However, a new class of games is changing this scenario and is set to take crypto games into the leagues of the truly great online games.
NFTs Pave The Way
Before looking at some examples, it is important to note that all of this has been enabled by nonfungible token technology, which allows for the proliferation of in-game digital assets on public blockchains.
Gaming could possibly be one of the major contributors to the crypto economy, with game developers making new token standards and technical developments that benefit the entire ecosystem — as well as the players of these games generating significant on-chain activity that helps to feed the miners. So, let us not make the mistake of thinking that crypto games are not lifting their weight in terms of ecosystem development.
Here Are A Couple Of Examples Of What Is Being Built And Played
Gods Unchained is bringing the wonder and excitement of a collectible card game like Magic: The Gathering to Ethereum. Gods Unchained is graphically enticing and has a great in-game flow of animations that keep the action rolling. The game has already attracted thousands of players to tournaments and continues to find a growing community of enthusiasts. Under the hood, players own the cards that they play with, storing the unique nonfungible tokens in their Ethereum wallet. Rarity is provable on-chain, and swaps on the secondary market are seamless. In February, a card sold for $62,000, which is astonishing for such a new game and really underlines the excitement building around crypto games.
Then, there is the Enjinverse, which is a growing multi-game experience that allows for in-game items to be used and moved seamlessly between dozens of games. Enjin itself is one of the most important cryptocurrencies in the gaming realm. One of the most interesting games in the Enjinverse is Age of Rust, which is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure with stunning graphics and an enticing story. Looking at the popularity of games like Dead Space or Fallout, it becomes clear that Age of Rust stands a good chance of gaining significant popularity.
While the game itself is exciting, it is the underlying tech that really makes Age of Rust stand out: Not only are Enjin assets interoperable between games, but they also have value baked into them. So, regardless of the long-term outcome of the game itself, the items you acquire in the game all are forged with Enjin tokens melted into the in-game asset. These assets can be melted back down at any time, enabling you to claim the tokens underpinning the value of the item — as well as creating increased scarcity for the item class, as once it is melted, that item it gone forever.
Here are some major players to watch. Enjin is working closely with Unity, which accounts for nearly half of all game developers globally. Cocos has 1.4 million game developers using its engine, and the launch of its blockchain is likely to bring many of those developers over. Loom is focused on interchain operability and on enabling fun, user-facing games that will draw more users into crypto — with such titles as Neon District, which is a Blade Runner-esque RPG.
According to the recent research conducted by a gaming and e-sport analytics provider, the gaming industry as a whole is expected to be worth $180 billion by 2021, so the opportunity for crypto gaming is massive.
For players, there will be better experiences; for developers, there will be more tools to attract players to their games; and for investors, there will be the ability to own the cryptos that will be at the forefront of a major trend — but that has not yet taken off.
James Ferguson on Decentralized Gaming’s Next Moves
Growing up, CEO of Immutable James Ferguson’s favorite game was Runescape (a fantasy game). He said he found ways to run arbitration schemes in the MMORPG’s medieval economy and amassed a horde of virtual gold. After spending thousands of hours on game play, however, he realized his new-found wealth couldn’t be traded outside the game ecosystem.
It was this experience of investing time and effort without being able to fully reap the economics rewards that spurred Ferguson to decentralized game development. His studio’s creation, God’s Unchained, uses non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as game pieces appended to the ethereum blockchain to ensure players maintain ownership. Described as Magic: The Gathering meets Hearthstone, the fantasy-themed cards have real-world value.
In 2018, one of these NFT’s sold at auction for 146 ether, worth more than $60,000 at the time. This year, Immutable raised $15 million from investors including Naspers Ventures and Michael Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital EOS VC Fund.
Ferguson emailed his thoughts on what it’s like running a decentralized game studio as well as the crypto industry in 2019.
Why Do You Think Investor Interest Sparked For Crypto Games And NFT This Year?
There’s a compelling argument that gaming will be the first vertical within the crypto industry which achieves mainstream adoption. Gamers have historically been first-adopters, and they are accustomed to interacting and valuing digital assets. We’re reaching a state where blockchain games like Gods Unchained are compelling for their gameplay alone, with expert teams from the games industry and veterans like Chris Clay, taking the games to new heights. Crypto simply allows new mechanics and forms of ownership to exist, such as ownership of the cards in Gods Unchained.
With more of these examples popping up, crypto gaming has begun to separate away from the noise and prove product-market fit.
“There’s a compelling argument that gaming will be the first vertical within the crypto industry.”
What Are The Problems Unique To Developing Decentralized Games?
The stakes for designing and building out in-game economies is greater in decentralized games. Considering these assets have real value and live within an immutable environment, developers need to ensure the underlying economic mechanics and the way in which players can generate assets is done in a sustainable manner and resistant to bots and sybil attacks. We’ve hired some of the best meta designers and economists in the world for this reason, economic impact is something that underpins most of the decisions we make within game design.
What Were Some Of The Things You’ve Learned About The Crypto Community And Gamers While Developing God’s Unchained?
One of the largest differences we’ve found between the crypto-natives and gamers is the requirements in marketing to them. Unlike crypto-natives, gamers have a general aversion to anything blockchain-related given the turbulent past of the industry. At the same time, they love the trading and benefits that blockchain gaming offers and understand the value of it once effectively explained. Getting them to a stage where they understand and believe in what we’re doing before placing judgment is an art, and requires a completely different approach compared with someone who already understands and believes in the fundamentals of the technology.
Do You Envision God’s Unchained Being Brought Back On-Chain?
With a game as complex as Gods Unchained, it doesn’t make sense for the gameplay to be on-chain. Nearly all of the benefits you get from introducing blockchain into games can be accomplished simply by decentralizing the underlying assets. By approaching development this way, we can move faster and build a far better user experience than if the entirety of the game’s logic was developed into a smart-contract. That being said, the best mechanics and features for Gods Unchained have yet to be introduced, so we will continue aggressively investing in the development of the game. We’re also hyper-focused on improving the touchpoints users have with the blockchain, aiming to make the experience of interacting with decentralized assets noob-proof.
What Do You Think Is Next For The Crypto Industry?
While protocol development continues its slow and steady pace, there have been some breakthrough improvements at the application layer this year, with significant milestones taking off in the decentralized finance space. As these building blocks and infrastructure continue to be built out, the possibilities at the frontier continue to expand and I think we’ll see some big developments here as defi liquidity and functionality continues to improve.
Ubisoft Might Be The First Major Games Company To Geek Out Over Blockchain
It’s already well-theorized that it’s not cryptocurrency or decentralized finance apps, but gaming that will actually drive blockchain use cases in the real world.
While this has moved many smaller development companies and hobbyist programmers to release their own blockchain-driven games, distributed ledger technology’s reception among mainstay gaming companies has so far largely been neutral.
A New Partnership Between Old Players
But that’s about to change in the wake of Ubisoft’s partnership with Ultra, a DLT-driven gaming platform that might be fairly described as Steam on the blockchain. Users can earn digital currency, buy games, and resell them.
Ubisoft is the mainstream gaming giant responsible for the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Far Cry, and a whole range of other commercial hits. The company knows how to make and market games that people actually play, and they know how to do it exceptionally well.
The professional, at-scale approach to game development within a blockchain paradigm isn’t exactly common. Most blockchain games nowadays are by passion project developers or small-scale commercial enterprises. Perhaps due to the technology’s association with regulatory uncertainty, game developer heavyweights are mostly keeping blockchain at arm’s length. Except now Ubisoft is going to become a block producer on Ultra’s associated UOS blockchain.
Meaning For The Future
This move is purportedly about lending UOS more trust since Ubisoft is such an established company, and its hardware is now part of the ecosystem that approves transactions in UOS tokens that are confirmed by other block producers. It is also not too great a stretch of the imagination to hypothesize that Ubisoft could begin developing blockchain-dependent games for the Ultra platform.
But that’s raw speculation for now. Until then, Ubisoft is lending its hardware and credibility in support of a new crypto gaming project.
Minecraft Players Can Win Bitcoin On New Treasure Hunt Server
A new Minecraft server allows players in the blocky universe to compete against one another to find hidden treasure and receive a bitcoin reward.
Known as SatoshiQuest, the challenge is to find the hidden loot within “vast Minecraft landscapes.” Users pay $1 in bitcoin for an in-game life. Entry fees are collected and most will go towards a specific treasure wallet address, which is awarded to the player who finds the loot first.
In order to participate, users set up their own in-game wallet they can use to pay for lives and receive their winnings. Should they wish, they can also connect an external wallet to the Minecraft game server.
More than 180 million copies of Minecraft have been sold since late 2019, making it the single best-selling video game in history. It allows users to create their own worlds on their own servers. The game has already featured bitcoin, with the BitQuest and PlayMC servers, from 2014 and 2015 respectively, which both integrated the original cryptocurrency to test and educate users about digital currencies.
The first round of SatoshiQuest began on Jan. 26 and the game resets once treasure has been found. The server checks the bitcoin spot price every 15 minutes, automatically updating the participation fee to keep it at $1.
The project is open source, with the code available on GitHub.
Ninety percent of total game fees go towards the treasury address, with the remaining 10 percent going towards developer costs. After finding the treasure, winners receive 85 percent of the balance, while the remaining 5 percent is kept the wallet until the next round. The reward is only paid out if the treasury wallet balance exceeds the transaction fee.
The Minecraft contest comes after another more real-world bitcoin treasure hunt was launched last April. Called Satoshi’s Treasure, the game’s developers hid the keys to $1 million-worth of bitcoin across the globe.
The keys to the bitcoin wallet containing the prize were divided into 1,000 fragments, requiring a minimum of 400 key fragments to access and transfer the funds. Players are able to collect and unravel clues any way they want, and can even sell leads.
Overview And Market Trends Of Crypto Games In 2020
After CryptoKitties proved to be successful in the mainstream limelight in 2017, a surge of digital collectibles built on blockchain technology ensued. This rising trend made it pretty clear that blockchain and gaming make a perfect match.
While blockchain technology provides a reliable reward system for players to collect digital collectibles making the game worthwhile, the gamification process, on the other hand, creates a friendly environment for learning and mass adoption.
When it comes to crypto games, Japan leads the pack with an estimated net worth of over $40 billion. In addition, expert blockchain researchers have predicted that with increasing smartphone penetration around the globe, the crypto gaming industry could take off even further in 2020 and beyond.
Here is a list of some popular blockchain-based games to watch out for in 2020.
My Crypto Heroes
The Japan-based blockchain game has barely existed for more than a year, yet it ranks first in the world in terms of transactional volume. The game was developed by Double jump.tokyo inc. on Nov. 30, 2018, and is built on Ethereum as a decentralized application.
The game can be played on both mobile and PC’s that are online and features records of historical heroes that can be collected and trained to fight in epic battles. The heroes are all hidden, and their enemies have made them weaker.
The player’s role is to go through the depths of this fantasy world to free and restore the heroes to their former glory. Players can even train their heroes to acquire new characteristics. The game also allows to trade heroes on a social marketplace.
Blockchain Cuties takes the idea of digital collectibles a bit further by making them available on multiple blockchains. The game is made up of cute fantasy creatures, like cats, puppies, pandas and lizards, that can be traded, sold or turned into traditional digital currencies. Furthermore, these digital collectibles can be trained with multiple skills that are put to the test in battles.
Blockchain Cuties can be played both on PC and mobile devices through a web browser. What makes this game interesting is its growing support team and its intuitive design.
Forgotten Artifacts is a crypto game that allows players to go on an endless adventure to find Forgotten Artifacts. The collectibles in this blockchain game are a mix of fungible and non-fungible tokens each with a limited supply thereby making them unique and valuable.
Currently, in its pre-alpha development stage, this crypto game can only be played with an Enjin wallet, as it is the only way to store the ERC-1155 tokens and collectibles. So far, there has been a huge interest in the game from the gaming community with a user base that the Forgotten Artifacts team calls “assiduous.”
Gods Unchained is a deck-building card game that lets the players acquire card packs and accumulate unique collections of rare cards. With cards that are built on Ethereum’s blockchain, the game players get true ownership of the cards and can exchange them for other cards or sell them on a market place.
Easily compared to Blizzard’s Hearthstone — with the only difference that GU is built on a blockchain — Gods Unchained gained traction in the past year after Blizzard expelled one of its top players after he voiced support for the Hong Kong protests.
Most importantly, the crypto game has received upwards of $15 million in funding, making it one of the most promising blockchain-based games of 2020. In November of last year, the game’s transactional volumes surpassed that of CryptoKitties during its peak. In just 3 days, this fantasy card game was able to transfer upwards of 6 million cards, which were valued at more than 4.7 million transfers when it achieved its peak in 2017.
Spells of Genesis
This mobile crypto game is designed to be a mix between an arcade-style game and a card trading game. Players of Spells of Genesis can embark on epic adventures while collecting and trading orbs to build strong decks that can be tested in battles. Players get to cast their spells on enemies using the deck of cards with strategy and skill being key elements for victory.
Since the collectibles and cards in the game are built on blockchain technology, players get to keep their items and cards that they win from playing the game. What’s even more interesting is that this is one of the first role-playing Bitcoin (BTC) games that allows to directly store collectibles on the Bitcoin blockchain. Additionally, winnings can be exchanged outside the game, which is exciting for gamers.
Any Game of Thrones fan will find it easy to fall in love with Splinterlands. This crypto game is set in a fantasy world made up of six kingdoms that battle for control of Splinterland. And just like Games of Thrones, there is a prophecy that predicts the coming of a common enemy that will force the Splinters to unite and fight.
Players get to use in-game collectibles to defeat enemies in battle. Thanks to its use of blockchain technology, each card is unique, and the results of every battle can be verified easily. The game is built with an algorithm that prevents tampering with the results of battles. Even game creators cannot manipulate or change them.
Bitcoin Flip (Trading App)
For novices who are trying to learn how to trade cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin Flip Trading App is the game for you. Designed as a Bitcoin exchange simulator, this game allows players to understand the basics of trading crypto while having fun at the same time.
It is a free Bitcoin simulator that features real pricing, charts and tools. Using Bitcoin Flip, players can test their trading strategies in a safe sandbox. However, unlike most game features on this list, users do not earn crypto while playing.
Another simulator that can make trading crypto exciting is Altcoin Fantasy. The game allows players to start trading with virtual U.S. dollars. Therefore, players can pick from over 140 cryptocurrencies and adjust their portfolio accordingly.
What’s even more exciting about this game is that it features contests allowing players to win prizes that have a monetary value. Altcoin Fantasy has partnered with companies like bread, Paxful and OKCoin to sponsor its contests financially and reward players with real Bitcoin, as well as other cryptocurrencies.
Developed by Blockade Games, Neon District is an all-time favorite for cyberpunk lovers. This is a role-playing game driven by a story with a mix of elements of sci-fi dystopian movies like The Matrix. What hooks gamers is the fact that, at every stage, players have to acquire skills to fight enemies and solve complex puzzles.
New characters can be collected along the way to build up a personal profile. These characters and in-game items are programmed to the blockchain to secure ownership. In 2020, the creators of the game plan to develop a second season to the story that includes a new co-operative play that allows players to join forces with one another.
For those who enjoy spaceships and outer space fantasy games, 0xUniverse is a good fit. It comes with an intuitive user interface. Built on Ethereum, this game is all about using strategy while going on a cosmic ride into the universe, much like The Mandalorian.
On each planet, users will be able to find different resources and meet new people. A player can own an entire planet or a part of it since all in-game items are recorded on the blockchain.
If Monopoly and everything real estate are of interest, MegaCryptoPolis is a blockchain game to feed this need. The game is designed so that players can acquire a piece of land, construct something and collect Ether (ETH) daily as a profit. Players can even grab the entire district to collect taxes in the form of tokens.
Just like in real life, plots of the land rise in value. Additionally, they are hardcoded as ERC-721 tokens and stored on the blockchain. What’s more, the game comes with a demo version that can be played on any browser, making it easy for beginners to get familiar with the interface.
So far, the game has had a positive reception in the gaming community, amassing over 4 million views on YouTube, — not to mention a total of 10,000 Ethereum wallets being registered.
Launched in February 2018, Mythereum is another blockchain-based card game built on Ethereum’s blockchain. The game features a variety of characters who battle for survival. Players are supposed to keep their characters alive.
Also, these characters can be traded on third-party marketplaces. The in-game currency is Mythex, which is a redeemable ERC-20 token. The gameplay is affected by a strategic deck-stacking process that includes adding powerful characters to the deck to increase the overall performance.
Built on one of the most prominent blockchain networks, EOS Knights comes with smart contracts that account for every action. Players can collect in-game items that resemble natural elements or even craft new and unique items, using materials found in the game. The game also has the ability to have pets that can be adopted. All the collectibles found in the game can be traded with the EOS token on a native marketplace.
The crypto gaming scene is growing as more games are being invented and more collectible in-game items are being built on blockchain technology. Not only do games make mass adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies possible but they also provide an easy way to learn how blockchain technology works.
Cointelegraph spoke to James Ferguson, the CEO of Immutable (the creators of Gods Unchained), about 2020’s outlook in the crypto gaming scene. According to Ferguson, 2020 will feature huge progress in terms of ease of use and quality:
“We’re expecting an influx of mainstream users that far surpasses what was achieved in 2019 as a result.”
However, as in-game items become increasingly popular, it can be difficult to imagine a world, in which cryptocurrencies and in-game collectibles do not collide:
“In-game digital assets will likely be the largest driver of cryptocurrency adoption over the next couple of years, especially considering games will be one of the greatest tools for onboarding users into the ecosystem.”
IRS Does Not Consider Fortnite Money As Virtual Currency After All
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) removed wording on its website that put game currencies as examples of a convertible virtual currency. This clarification is important as a new tax filing requirement obliges taxpayers to report whether they dealt with virtual currencies.
The move was first reported by Bloomberg Tax on Feb. 13. Official guidelines on the IRS website indicated Fortnite’s V-bucks and Roblox’s Robux as examples of virtual currencies. A screenshot captured by Bloomberg Tax shows a fairly detailed explanation of the concept, even mentioning blockchain alternatives such as the Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG).
Poor Examples Of A Virtual Currency
The IRS definition of a virtual currency hinges on its ability to “operate like ‘real’ currency,” which means that it needs to be freely transferable between users and easy to exchange for fiat currency.
Spokesmen from Epic Games, Fortnite’s publisher, told Bloomberg that none of these apply to the game’s currency:
“V-Bucks cannot ‘be digitally traded between users,’ nor can they be ‘exchanged into, U.S. dollars, Euros, and other real or virtual currencies.’”
Roblox representatives voiced a similar stance, noting however that Robucks can be exchanged for fiat money under specific circumstances. The transaction is automatically submitted to the IRS, the company added.
The revised guidelines only mention Bitcoin (BTC), striking off a previously existing reference to Ether (ETH) — which should fall under the definition.
Aggressive Stance On Crypto
The U.S. tax enforcement agency has recently made a strong move in its efforts to curb perceived tax evasion facilitated by crypto. Form 1040 now features a straightforward question:
“At any time during 2019, did you receive, sell, send, exchange, or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?”
Categorizing game money as a virtual currency would have led to millions of people having to answer “yes” to this question. There are generally few profits to be made from owning game currencies, however.
Given that lying on the form can cost up to $250,000 in fines, this measure was likely introduced to force cryptocurrency users to go through the effort of reporting their gains.
Doing so is likely to be quite complicated. For example, each crypto-to-crypto exchange is considered as a taxable event that has to be reported. Though some hoped that these fall under the definition of a “like-kind exchange,” an IRS official denied this. This definition would have meant that cryptocurrency gains are only taxed when converting to fiat currency.
Cryptocurrency taxation remains an unclear subject, with worldwide regulators having widely diverging approaches. As an example, France does not tax crypto-to-crypto transactions.
A new bill recently proposed in the U.S. Congress could ease the use of crypto for payments by exempting low value transactions from tax returns.
Crypto Games, A Market In The Making Of Its Own Fortune
Since the release of a game called CryptoKitties in November 2017, the concept of nonfungible tokens has been rooted in the minds of developers and crypto investors alike. The year 2019 was groundbreaking, with large, multinational companies beginning to draw attention to the new sector of digital assets and develop their own projects. In 2020, however, new games backed by different technologies are starting to emerge. So, what does 2020 hold for crypto games?
Tokens That Cannot Be Changed
There are a lot of fungible tokens that the crypto community uses every day, like Monero (XMR) and so on. An excellent example of such tokens is the well-known standard, ERC-20, which emerged back in 2015. Their interchangeability is mainly used in cryptocurrencies, but also in initial coin offerings. In addition to fungible currencies, tokens can be used in gaming — for example, to buy equipment or weapons — that is, they can be used for anything that does not require uniqueness and that can be exchanged.
Then comes the need to make tokens unique. Imagine that a gamer has spent 100 hours to get a very rare artifact in a game, but upon receiving the item, realizes there is no way to trade or exchange it. So, the time spent obtaining it is wasted.
To prevent this, special tokens have come to the rescue, which turn a valuable weapon in the game into a unique, one-off asset that can be exchanged or sold. Nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, are not interchangeable, as there is only one of each of them in the world. The most popular standard for such tokens is ERC-721.
The ERC-721 standard has become popular due to its convenience. It defines the minimum interface required by a smart contract to be comparable to the management, ownership and sale of unique tokens. One of the cases of using this sort of token is for game characters.
NFTs gained their popularity thanks to the well-known game CryptoKitties, which assigns tokens to each unique cat, the data of which is written into the tokens’ metadata. This data cannot be changed. The cats can have different coat colors, different eyes and accessories, and other features.
In Gods Unchained, a card game where each card is backed by a smart contract, the developers took it a step further, not only using NFTs to generate cards but also enabling cats from CryptoKitties to be added to the game. The cats are presented in the form of a talisman placed in the corner of the playing field. In this case, the talisman can be converted back into a cat and sold if necessary.
Thus, NFTs make it possible to transfer game items from one game to another. In addition, smart contracts that are based on ERC-721 have implemented a function that fixes the movement of tokens, so they can accumulate value by themselves. This is great for digitizing unique assets such as art objects, paintings, legal documents and assets in other industries. This has great potential for various stores that deal with unique digital goods.
The Rise Of NFTs In Games
2019 was a turning point in crypto being accepted into the gaming community, and there were several reasons for this. First of all, after the success of CryptoKitties and Gods Unchained, other collectible games have gained popularity, such as Decenterland, Spells of Genesis, Rare Pepe, 0xUniverse and others.
In addition to the gaming industry, trading platforms like OpenSea, RareBits and OpenBazaar have also launched NFTs that are trading as collectibles. The infrastructure around NFTs is also in progress and offers work tools for the production and management of NFTs. Another project, Codex Protocol, founded in 2018, has developed a decentralized registry of unique assets such as art, rare liquor and antiques.
There are other factors explaining why NFTs are becoming more popular. The main one is the interest of global companies in blockchain games. Back in September 2018, major videogame publisher Ubisoft sponsored the Blockchain Game Summit and became a Blockchain Game Alliance member.
At the end of 2019, the Microsoft Azure cloud platform released its own program called Azure Heroes, aimed at rewarding its own developer community. The release and transactions of collectible items will be carried out on the Ethereum network, which will allow the winners to keep them as NFTs.
To earn one of these tokens, developers must first be nominated either by themselves or the internal community. The moderators then choose the best nominees and award tokens, which can be transferred to any NFT-compatible address in the Ethereum network.
Another project of Microsoft is a blockchain-based card game in collaboration with large game developer Eidos and game book maker Fabled Lands. It will be called Arena of Death, and its players will fight in battles using fantasy-themed playing cards. The project will use collection tokens as NFTs on the Vechain blockchain to secure ownership of gaming assets.
In spring of last year, it became known that Liberty Media, the owner Formula One, would release a blockchain-based game where tokens will also act as collectible elements. A couple of months later, an anonymous buyer paid more than $100,000 for a unique car in the F1 Delta Time game.
2019 was also quite a successful year for NFT games because many projects — seeing the success of CryptoKitties — took an attractive idea and developed and improved upon it, attracting players. The creators of Gods Unchained, Tyler Perkins and James Ferguson, shared their thoughts with Cointelegraph on how the industry should be developed:
“Crypto games will never succeed if we don’t increase transaction limits. Earlier this year we made some breakthroughs that allowed us to batch hundreds of transfers in single transactions. This allowed us to transfer over 3.7 million ERC-721s in a single day, over 4x more transfers than the previous all-time high, all without clogging Ethereum.”
Kara Miley from Infura, ConsenSys’ dev tooling and infrastructure product, also gave a similar example of Axie Infinity, which came up with its own solution from a project learned from predecessors:
“A team of blockchain engineers and early crypto adopters were able to take a concept CryptoKitties pioneered and take it to the next level with strategic gameplay and great IP. They were able to bootstrap the business on the backs of a number of successful NFT asset sales.”
The More Advanced, The Better
NFTs do have uses outside of gaming. For example, a famous musician can make a new album and sell each copy for a certain price. One million copies of the album can be created and sold through auction. As the copies begin to run out, the price of the remaining ones is likely to rise. In doing so, the goods and the ownership rights will not leave the internet. 0xGames Founder Segey Kopov told Cointelegraph that such examples are likely to become a reality soon:
“This standard provides the ability to work with digital objects as real unique objects. Such items can be owned, transferred and sold. In real life, the uniqueness of items is usually needed only for collectors. Therefore, now NFT is used only for handling collectibles. Outside of games, we see this, for example, in art and celebrity areas. So it’s logical to expect evolution in this direction.”
Developers are also working on ways to make tokens more functional. One such attempt is the relatively new ERC-825 standard, designed to transfer several nonfungible tokens in one transaction. The ERC-1155 standard, developed by the Enjin project, allows to issue and send a large number of tokens at once.
What Will Happen In 2020?
Crypto gaming is a very young sector. The entire ecosystem of developers and users still has a lot of work to do to get this idea to the masses and take root. There is still the problem of lacking convenient interfaces that users often encounter with unique tokens and games.
The second problem is the limited scalability of the blockchain, and consequently, the ensuing problems in the number of supported transactions per second in a particular decentralized application. CMO at Satoshi’s Games, Federico Spitaleri, also pointed out that the competition is likely to grow as NFT-based games come up against those powered by the Lightning Network:
“I believe NFTs based crypto gaming companies will have a hard time considering that now, thanks to the Lightning Network, players can get rewards in Bitcoin. In addition, those companies will have to answer the question ‘How do you plan to solve scalability issues in order to bring your product to the mass market?’ and they’ll figure out that their competitors from the Bitcoin space already found a solution which is called Lightning.”
But the NFT market is beginning to standardize, which will give a big breakthrough in the development of digital goods trading. Kara Miley believes that, given more comfortable interfaces and interesting storylines, NFT games could continue to attract players this year:
“We’ll see a few viral games launch this year that will help onboard hundreds of thousands of new mainstream users to owning their first digital asset. These players may not know at first they’re trading a NFT or spending a stable token, but over time as they start earning crypto and seeing the benefits of more open and transparent ecosystems, they will be incentivized to dig deeper and explore more of the Web3 world.”
Collectible William Shatner Figurines Have Now Been Authenticated On Ethereum
Matterum’s platform for authenticating collectible items is now live, and it’s already processed several $10,000 William Shatner figurines.
According to its website, Mattereum “has the tools to make physical goods flow around the world as easily as information using Ethereum blockchain smart contracts.”
The company’s first client is Third Millenia Inc. (which works on the authentication of real-world items), co-founded by actor William Shatner of Star Trek fame. Amongst the first digitized objects were several signed Captain Kirk action figures. They’re worth a lot of money!
As you might imagine, this project goes beyond sci-fi collectibles. In its whitepaper, the company claimed that one of its first on-chain objects would be a $9,000,000 Stradivarius violin. It wrote: “The governing committee for the instrument [violin] will have legal decision-making powers over the instrument [violin], protecting and curating it on behalf of the token holders and posterity, in accordance with a written constitution.”
Among the other items that have been digitized are a WWI rifle cartridge and a bottle of 1931 Vintage Wine. To our inquiry about the violin, the team responded:
“We have the relationships, we’ve accumulated most of the savvy, we are clear on the business model, but a 325-year-old instrument in the hands of a century-old dealer is not coming on-chain two weeks after the launch of the pilot set of assets.”
In this present pilot stage, the team is focused on digitizing and authenticating more modest items that belong to team members, or to its first client.
It remains to be seen if blockchain and Star Trek collectibles are a match made in heaven, or if it’s a 23rd century daydream.
New Platform Helps Developers Tokenize Their Games On Ethereum
A new initiative aims to make game creation and creative projects on the blockchain simpler for a wider community.
Today, Feb. 18, blockchain startup Enjin launched its gaming and digital collectibles creation platform on the Ethereum mainnet.
Platforms such as Enjin’s consider that the blockchain can and should be used for purposes beyond currency and value transfer.
Commodities such as video games, digital art and even memes can be tokenized and monetized, circulating in a peer-to-peer community using blockchain technology.
For this kind of ecosystem, a unique but tradeable blockchain asset — known as a non-fungible token — can be used to represent all manner of virtual — and equally, real-world — goods.
Unlike many digital tokens and currencies, non-fungible tokens are a form of a digital collectible: non-fungible meaning they are not interchangeable, carrying unique information (metadata) and varying in their level of rarity.
Enjin’s pitch is that they provide a simplified interface for users to design and market their games without needing to get into the nitty-gritty of mastering code and blockchain infrastructure engineering skills.
The platform allows users to create both fungible and non-fungible tokens, and to customize their supply model, transfer fees, value and other parameters.
Game and other product creators can also use an Enjin-hosted blockchain-based crowdfunding model to raise capital for their development needs — offering investors either digital currencies or in-game assets that can be later be used or exchanged.
As reported this week, digital collectibles and blockchain-based gaming ecosystems are quickly gaining traction as a lucrative industry, providing a means for individuals and enterprises to efficiently monetize online viral phenomena and branded products.
The field has attracted household names such as Microsoft, Formula 1 and Atari — the developer behind the iconic video games Tetris and Pac Man.
Last year, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin argued that developments such as NFTs and gaming are potential sectors that can help propagate and broaden blockchain’s appeal.
‘The Sandbox’ Game On Ethereum Sells $206,000 Worth Of LAND
A large part of the economy will always remain dependent on gamers. Whether it was parents throwing down $200 for a Nintendo Entertainment System back in the 1980s or millions enticed by freemium models, people around the world are drawn in by addictively fun games.
Blockchain-based games like The Sandbox (TSB) are fulfilling these needs for a new generation of users, and Ethereum has been quick to capitalize on its success.
The first presale of TSB was in Dec. 2019, which sold more than 3000 pieces of LAND — virtual spaces in the game — in four hours. Sandbox announced the second presale on Feb. 16 sold 6,192 pieces, bringing in 800 ETH, or approximately 206,000 USD.
The Round 2 (5% of our total Map LANDs supply) of @TheSandboxGame Metaverse is💯SOLD OUT‼️
💖 A BIG thank you to everyone for your support. Let’s build together an AMAZING Blockchain Virtual World! 🚀 pic.twitter.com/6CyglDINgV
— Sebastien (@borgetsebastien) February 16, 2020
The game has 166,464 pieces of LAND in total, meaning about 5% of the available space has already been sold in these presales. According to Decrypt , among the major buyers are other gaming companies like CryptoKitties, My Crypto Heroes, Old Skull Games, as well as Dapp.com, a website ranking and analyzing decentralized applications.
Successful Blockchain-Based Games Help With The Adoption Of Crypto
Games with nonfungible token technology like TSG are the key to the mass adoption of crypto. What started as a mobile creation game with more than 40 million downloads has become one of the most coveted blockchain games on the market.
COO and cofounder Sebastien Borget is aware of the effect TSB has had:
“The success of the first two presales of The Sandbox strongly validates our approach to building a gaming metaverse, showing the growing interest from creators and gamers in the benefits of true digital ownership that will allow them to monetize their future creations within an open economy. We can see without any doubt that users are ready to jump into our vision of the Metaverse.”
The Sandbox is expected to launch in late 2020. However, a third presale of the highly desired LAND may be announced in the near future.
$100K In Early Prizes Looks To Lure The NFT-Curious To Decentraland
Decentraland opened for gameplay on Thursday and anyone who thinks they might like it is better off playing now rather than later, because free stuff.
For regular gamers, Decentraland may be a new kind of experience, what they call a “metaverse” where different game properties can meet in a shared virtual world. There’s a potential that it could evolve into a new platform for games and social experiences. And since it’s on the ethereum blockchain, the “stuff” in that world is transferable (and sellable) beyond it.
Either way, there’s an estimated $100,000 worth of digital goods to be found for early explorers.
There will be 15 intro games set up in the virtual world to introduce players to Decentraland’s mechanics. Players going through these games can get prizes and treasures from playing. These non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are tradeable for other kinds of crypto. As was seen most famously with the game CryptoKitties, those tokens can go up in value.
“It’s the first virtual world that’s based on blockchain technology,” Federico Molina, Decentraland’s head of marketing, told CoinDesk. “I think you will be able to make a profit by playing. It’s something new in that regard.”
Earning free crypto or items for playing will probably persist on Decentraland, but as in so many other things in this space: the early incentives are very likely to be the most generous.
Among the items on offer: a bunch of MANA (Decentraland’s money), NFTs from a bunch of projects, such as CryptoKitties and Axie Infinity, items specific to Decentraland, 25 parcels of actual real estate within the game (more on that later) and even an HTC Exodus phone.
Decentraland has the resources for profligacy. It is one of that fortunate category of initial coin offering (ICO) startups that ran its token sale before the 2017 bull run really got going. (Of note: One of Decentraland’s most enthusiastic investors is CoinDesk’s parent company, Digital Currency Group.)
It raised $25 million selling 40 percent of the total supply of its MANA ERC-20 token, according to Molina, during a part of the year when ETH ranged from about $200 to $400.
Not long after, ETH would be trading at over $1,000, giving the company a great deal of budgeting latitude.
Olive Allen is a grassroots entrepreneur in NFTs, and she’s both hopeful about Decentraland and frustrated about how much money it grabbed to launch. The least expensive parcel for sale as of this writing costs over $600 in MANA, making owning any chunk of the space prohibitive for regular people and creative types who might make the most use of it.
“I think Decentraland has a bright gambling future – Vegas in VR – but due to barriers of entry the company created while chasing profits it closed its doors to culture and creativity,” Allen told CoinDesk via text message.
She compared Decentraland to San Francisco, a place that used to be great but got too expensive and drove all the cool people away, she wrote – “an attractive cultural center turned into a run-down soulless town.”
What Is Decentraland?
Decentraland is a 3D world that people can navigate as they do in popular video games such as Fortnite or Call of Duty, except players both explore and build the world, like Minecraft but with money on the line.
“It’s something really shiny. Something really new that hasn’t happened before,” Molina said.
Theoretically, players will be able to do it with virtual reality equipment, too, but because demand for that medium has not been as high as many had hoped, Decentraland is not prioritizing these features.
Unlike other games, the 3D space represented into Decentraland doesn’t have one coherent narrative over all of it. There are districts that people can go to in order to have certain kinds of experiences (such as looking at art, playing fighting games or gambling). The theory here is that people who have other digital experiences could build additional experiences in Decentraland.
Obviously, there’s nothing stopping teams from creating their own digital worlds, but if they build it in Decentraland, that presents an opportunity for discovery. Decentraland players might find your property in the game and become big fans. Some 24,000 people have had access to the beta up to now, Molina told CoinDesk.
There are also themed districts set up in the game-world organized around specific kinds of themes. It being crypto, one whole district is devoted to gaming, and Decentraland has already announced a mega-casino location.
Play-to-earn is a model that shows traction in crypto. War Riders distributes its token, BZN, algorithmically, to players as they play the game.
So Real Estate Really Is On The Blockchain, After All?
Sort of, yes, but the digital kind.
There are three kinds of tokens in Decentraland, MANA (the money), WEAR (wearables and items) and LAND (actual property). Early players are likely to find examples of the first two, though all of the latter is spoken for.
Players of the game can own virtual land inside it. Like in the real world, they can sell it or lease it out. Also like the real world, in certain parts there will be rules on how it can be used. Yes, zoning restrictions have already shown up on the blockchain.
The world of Decentraland has a fixed size, made up of 90,601 parcels of land. About 80 percent of that land is in private hands, with some portion usually for sale or rent on Decentraland itself.
There is land that no one owns, such as roads and plazas. A player moves between parts of Decentraland by walking their character along these common spaces.
Because people move around the space in a way that’s similar to how people physically move, location matters. Parcels located near more popular spaces will be worth more than those located near less-popular spaces.
Location is still everything, even for property that only exists on ethereum.
How Decentralized Is Decentraland?
Molina argues it’s being decentralized in every possible way. For example, there’s not going to be any kind of traditional username/password login. Users log in with their ethereum wallets.
Identities will be tradeable, so Decentraland has a small fee for making a name (100 MANA) in order to discourage name squatting, though an identity is not required to play.
From land itself to wearables in the game, most of the trade in Decentraland occurs on its marketplace. When sales occur, a small fee of MANA (2.5 percent) gets burnt, Molina said. This should nudge up the price for all MANA holders, and the Decentraland creators are major holders. This is their business model. “It’s like making the MANA holders as successful as possible. It will be adding value to the stakeholders,” Molina said.
The team is actually looking to cede control of everything (including the question of whether or not MANA remains deflationary) to the community, by creating a DAO to govern all the rules in the virtual world.
“I think what we’ve seen for now is like the tip of the iceberg,” Molina said. “When we start adding real utility to the NFTs – not just the collecting utility, like you’ll be able to use it inside games, I think that’s where it will begin to fly and lift off.”
Italian Soccer Giant Juventus Inks Deal For Ethereum-Based Player Collectibles
Top Italian soccer team Juventus is launching digital collectibles of its star players on blockchain-enabled fantasy football platform Sorare.
The freshly inked licensing deal, announced on Wednesday, will see Juventus offer digitally rare collectible “cards” of world-famous players such as Cristiano Ronaldo on Sorare.
Sorare, which is based in Paris, France, provides a soccer team management game with digital cards – created with ethereum tech – representing players that fans can collect and trade. The firm told CoinDesk the cards represent non-fungible tokens (NFTs) based on ethereum’s ERC-721 standard.
“We are very proud to have signed this agreement with such an Italian heavyweight,” said Sorare CEO Nicolas Julia. “We see this as a new key step in our vision to onboard the best soccer clubs from around the world and bring blockchain-gaming to football fans around the world.”
Other top European clubs have already joined the platform, including Atletico Madrid, Porto and AS Roma.
For each player, Sorare issues 1 “Unique” card, 10 “Super Rare” cards and 100 “Rare” cards. For the Juventus tie-up, Cristiano Ronaldo collectibles will launch on Feb. 20, with the same 111 cards to be offered.
The cards are used in Sorare’s game to comprise five player teams, or can be traded in the secondary market. The firm said some of the Unique cards have fetched prices of over $2,000.
Juventus has a huge global fan base, in part thanks to a trophy cabinet stuffed with gilded metalwork. The team has won the European Championship two times, the Intercontinental Cup two times and has topped the Italian Serie A league 35 times.
This isn’t Juventus’ first foray into the world of blockchain. In 2018, the club launched a token that allowed fans to participate in polls, thus giving them more “voice” in the club’s activities. The token was launched in partnership with Socios, which recently also helped FC Barcelona launch a similar token.
The ZEBEDEE Developer Dashboard & Unity SDK
Make the points in your game matter.
Today we are pleased to announce the launch of the ZEBEDEE Developer Dashboard and Unity SDK. We developed these products in partnership with the game development community because we believe games are missing one vital tool — the native currency of the Internet.
What if the points collected in a game were worth something? What if they could be collected, and then taken out of the game? What if they could be given to someone else, and have universal value? What if value and rewards were digital and programmable, in the same way all your other game developer tools are? Our Unity SDK opens up a new dimension of creativity and monetization capabilities by enabling value flows within the gameplay itself.
We do this by building on the Internet of Money — the global network of Bitcoin. ZEBEDEE takes care of the heavy lifting for you and does away with any complex parts of the system, letting you focus 100% of your time in building the best games and gaming experiences, with no need for prior knowledge of Bitcoin.
Our developer tools and SDKs aim to simplify away all of the operational complexity of building games that integrate Bitcoin, and our Developer Dashboard is a simple and intuitive interface which allows you to manage your game integrations and analyze transaction activity.
This is a closed-beta launch. We’d like to invite game developers to experiment with demos and implementations that use our tools to involve value flows. If you think you fit the bill, sign up below for beta access to the Dashboard.
If you’re interested in learning more or contributing to our work please join us in the ZEBEDEE Discord Group. The whole team is there so you can ask direct questions as well!
The ZEBEDEE Developer Dashboard
The aim for the ZEBEDEE Developer Dashboard is to provide an easy-to-use developer tool for managing your games that integrate Bitcoin. You can easily create new games, retrieve API access keys, and visualize transaction details and value flows within your game. Using the Dashboard (and the ZEBEDEE API) can be as easy as signing up for an API key and inserting a few lines of code into an existing game. You now have money flowing through your game!
The possibilities are immense and we’re just scratching the surface here. Implementing the API can be as easy as adding a simple paywall to an action or section of your game, or be as complex as an entire in-game economy.
MandelDuck Studios was able to add audience participation capabilities allowing spectators to purchase power-ups for players through instantaneous microtransactions. We’ve also written a detailed tutorial for those that want to get familiar with integrating the ZEBEDEE API in a Unity gaming environment.
Games And Profits
Games have tried to make money fun in the form of points, gold coins, or golden rings — collectable “valuable” items. But regardless of the rewards system in the game, all of the time invested by the players in collecting these items ultimately yields a big fat ZERO. Why are players not allowed to make a return on all of their time invested in playing and mastering a game?
“Tell me again why Bitcoin fixes this?”
Bitcoin isn’t a silver bullet, but we think we’ve found a use for this network that fits our purpose. The Lightning Network solves a lot of the well-known technical constraints of Bitcoin, and it gives us what we think might be a great natural in-game currency: the satoshi.
1 Bitcoin = 100,000,000.000 Satoshis
Bitcoin isn’t money as you know it. It’s something unique. When divided into its sub-units called Satoshis, you achieve distinct pieces of data that have value, but are small enough that they can still be fun to play with (at the time of this writing 1 Satoshi was equal to $0.0000986765).
Creating digital assets is pretty easy. However, creating the network effects to give that scarce digital asset global recognition and value are pretty damn difficult. Bitcoin has already done that job for us and our SDKs and Developer Dashboard enable game developers to tap into a $200 billion dollar market of stored digital value to power their in-game micropayments.
Game developers and users can take advantage of these network effects in ways that weren’t possible before. You can earn Satoshis in one game, take them out, use them in another game, or even buy a coffee IRL. There’s also a huge amount of already-installed Bitcoin infrastructure. For example, you can use any compatible Bitcoin Lightning wallet to store your funds. There’s even a robust, regulated market to convert your Bitcoin into your local currency, if that’s what your users want to do.
Games are also truly global economies. A universal currency makes sense for games.
This is the first public versions of our SDKs and Developer Dashboard. As the community begins to discover which new game concepts are possible with our SDKs we will continue to push the boundaries of R&D and develop cutting edge tools for new types of interactions. Stay tuned!
If you’d like to see more details about the ZEBEDEE API, the available SDKs and some of our guides and tutorials, head on over to our Documentation Portal.
If you want to see what we are up to in person, we will be showing off some cool Bitcoin-powered games and presenting at the following upcoming conferences:
Fake Horses, Real Bets: Unikrn Is Putting Racetrack NFTs On Ethereum
Digital racehorses with unique attributes, trade histories and win records – all with bloodlines named for crypto luminaries like Nakamoto, Szabo, Finney and Buterin.
“We’re trying to bridge the gap between modern-day wagering and blockchain,” said Unikrn CEO Rahul Sood.
Sood’s esports platform is partnering with horse racing game ZED RUN to bring horse betting to the ethereum blockchain. The game relies on the non-fungible token (NFT) standard first made famous by Dapper Labs’ CryptoKitties.
The horses are purchasable on ZED and tradeable on Unikrn’s platform with each piece of data tracked via ethereum’s ERC-721 standard. Only 38,000 horses will ever be created on ZED – although users can breed horses from their own stables.
In fact, one ZED stallion sold for 50 ether, according to Sood, worth about $11,000 depending on market conditions.
The first race is set to debut in two or three weeks, Sood said.
Place Your Bets
Gambling is hardly new to blockchains. Tron, popular in Asian speculation circles, facilitated $1.6 billion in dapp volume in Q1 2019 with 64 percent of applications attributed to gambling (including a now-defunct dog-racing dapp). According to DappRadar, casino games dominate the gambling dapp sector in terms of usage.
Traditional horse racing is dominated by an older crowd who share a love for the track but have poor gambling platforms, Sood said. Unikrn thinks it can combine two audiences – esports fans and horse bettors – onto one platform.
For context, one billion hours of esports were streamed on Twitch in January 2020 alone with some four million viewers, according to TwitchTracker.
“You can own a horse,” Sood said. “Your horse can win prizes and your horse can gain notoriety. … We’re catering to a very broad audience, not just young people.”
Unikrn launched crypto betting on Twitch streams in May 2019 for popular games such as Fortnite. Sood said Unikrn has four million users across its various products with an average of 160,000 gamblers who can use either crypto or cash.
The near on-demand nature of virtual horse racing and the plethora of locations at which an event can occur are digital features that best traditional racing, Sood said. The Las Vegas Strip or Sydney Harbour Bridge were two examples of possible race tracks Sood gave. Plus, typical tracks can only support a handful of horses while Unikrn can support dozens of horses at once.
As of now, players can bet on themselves in 41 U.S. states, although competitive betting is still in the works pending partnerships with local casinos. Unikrn is also available for betting in 43 countries around the globe.
“In the U.S., betting on sports is regulated state by state. In order to get a license, you have to own a land-based casino or be partnered with them,” Sood said.
For self-bets, Unikrn tracks user information such as past races to create custom betting odds against the house itself, Unikrn. Bets can be placed in USD or UnikoinGold (UKG), the platform’s native ERC-20 token. Other cryptos can be deposited on the platform and converted back-and-forth to UKG as well, Sood said.
Unikrn launched in 2014 and raised $10 million in venture funding from Binary Capital, Ashton Kutcher and Mark Cuban, among others. The company conducted a $40 million public token sale for UnikoinGold in late 2017.
Ethereum-Based Card Game from Horizon Raises $5 Million
Companies designing digital trading cards and online games are continuing to show their ability to rake in the big bucks in the blockchain world.
According to TechCrunch, Horizon Blockchain Games raised $5 million in capital for their game SkyWeaver. The principal investors included Initialized Capital, with additional funds from Regah Ventures, ConsenSys, Digital Currency Group, Polychain Capital, Golden Ventures, and CMT Digital. This investment is an extension of a 2019 seed funding round, in which Horizon raised $3.75 million.
SkyWeaver is a “free-to-play trading card game that unifies the best aspects of digital and physical collectible card games” built on top of the Ethereum blockchain network. With this latest round of funding, the game has been continuing its closed beta testing.
In a company blog post, Co-founder and CEO Peter Kieltyka made it clear how blockchain would impact the gameplay on Ethereum:
“To make SkyWeaver possible, we’ve developed a number of novel protocols and transaction infrastructure for Ethereum. Through clever and careful design, we’ve architected an Ethereum-based blockchain stack for virtual worlds that is non-custodial (i.e. players have full ownership of their items), user-friendly and easy to build on.”
Making Blockchain Gaming More Accessible
Blockchain gaming hasn’t quite gone mainstream yet, due to many users needing to be familiar with and having their own crypto wallets. However, Kieltyka tries to allay these concerns by providing an alternative to using their own wallets.
“Even with no prior knowledge of blockchain, each and every player will be able to store, manage and trade their virtual items with a user-friendly wallet that we provide. Or, for those more familiar with blockchain, they’re welcome to use any other Ethereum wallet.”
The digital trading card game currently has 12,000 users playtesting, with over 90,000 waiting for access.
Reddit Co-Founder’s Firm Leads $5M Funding Round For Blockchain Game Studio
On March 7, Horizon Blockchain Games announced it has raised $5 million a fundraising round led by Initialized Capital — the investment firm co-founded by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. The raise comes ahead of the release for Horizon’s blockchain-based card game SkyWeaver.
In the blog post, Horizon Blockchain Games co-founder Peter Kieltyka stated that the funds will be used to deliver SkyWeaver — the company’s first game — to market.
The raise included contributions from new investors ConsenSys, Regah Ventures and CMT Digital, in addition to existing partners Polychain, Digital Currency Group and Polychain.
Kieltyka added that Horizon currently has a team of 24 full-time members.
SkyWeaver Attracts 100,000 Test Players
Kieltyka states that the private beta launch of SkyWeaver currently has 12,000 test players, with over 90,000 more players waiting for access to the game.
He states that Horizon has been focused on balancing the game and improving the user interface, and testing their marketplace for card trading on the Ethereum testnet.
The private beta is currently hosting the SkyWeaver preseason, in which players will compete to earn rewards that can be used in-game, traded or sold.
The post adds that members of the project’s Discord will be able to receive early beta access. When launched, the free-to-play game will be supported by PC, Mac, iOS and Android.
ERC-1155 See Increasing Adoption For Blockchain Games
SkyWalker tokenizes cards as ERC-1155 tokens — a standard for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) issued on the Ethereum blockchain.
On March 1, the most-valuable ERC-1155 currently in existence was minted — comprising a homage to the long-running Doge meme.
Titled “It’s good to be the King,” the NFT is backed by 1,155,777.1 Enjin (ENJ) and is valued at roughly $101,500 at press time.
Enjin Courts Blockchain Game Developers With Multiverse Program
Blockchain-based gaming ecosystem Enjin (ENJ) has launched its Multiverse Program and is now seeking applications from interested developers.
The program is designed to attract developers to explore Enjin’s Multiverse platform — a gaming platform that supports the creation of in-game digital assets that can be transferred and used across multiple games hosted in the multiverse.
Developers selected for the program will receive one year of free access to the Enjin Platform, support from Enjin’s developers and project promotion across Enjin’s social media.
The program is open to existing projects at all stages of development.
Enjin Multiverse Supports Interoperable Tokenized In-Game Items
The Enjin Multiverse was launched in August 2018 and initially hosted six games.
Despite each game being developed by different teams using different programming languages and game engines, shared in-game assets were integrated across all six releases.
In-game items can be minted as nonfungible tokens using Enjin’s ERC-1155 standard.
Players Can Buy, Sell And Trade In-Game Digital Assets
Enjin claims that the ERC-1155 standard addresses limitations inherent to ERC-721 NFTs through storing multiple items within a single smart contract and using the minimum amount of data needed to distinguish individual tokens.
NFTs and fungible tokens created for the Enjin Multiverse can be bought, sold and traded by their creators. The prices for the ERC-1155 tokens are derived by a chosen quantity of ENJ that is locked up and used to back the digital asset.
Enjix currently lists 15 tokens supported by the Enjin Multiverse. The most expensive multiverse digital asset is “The Monolith” — which is backed by more than 1.15 million ENJ, equating to roughly $64,300 at current prices. “The Horn” is the second-most expensive — backed by 512,221 ENJ or $28,700.
The remaining monolith items are backed by between 1 and 100 ENJ — valued from $0.056 to $5.60.
Blockchain Gaming Platforms Compete For Early Advantage
Enjin’s Multiverse Program is a clever attempt to entice engagement from developers amid increasing competition between blockchain gaming networks.
The creator of the popular Facebook game FarmVille recently entered the blockchain game industry through his new company, Blockchain Game Partners — which is building a blockchain-based gaming platform, dubbed the Gala Network.
The Gala Network will also offer tokenized in-game items that players can buy, sell, trade or use across future games released on its platform.
On March 7, Horizon Blockchain Games announced it conducted a $5 million fundraising round, led by the Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s investment firm, Initialized Capital.
On March 11, MakerDAO launched a bounty program intended to promote the use of its Dai (DAI) stablecoin as a currency within the gaming community.
MakerDAO Launches Bounty Program To Get A Foothold In Blockchain Gaming
MakerDAO, the organization behind the Dai (DAI) stablecoin, is making a bid for Dai to serve as a “real parameter” of dollar-pegged value for video game economies.
As blockchain and crypto gain increasing traction with the gaming industry, MakerDAO argues nonetheless that “soft currencies” for in-game economies “don’t always feel authentic.” In a March 11 blog post, the organization wrote:
“Like flight miles or credit card points, a soft currency’s unit of account isn’t always relative to the value of an actual currency. With Dai, players know exactly how much their game skills are worth.”
An Appeal To Developers
Proposing that Dai can serve as a key integration between decentralized finance (DeFi), fiat-gateways and video game economies, MakerDAO is launching a Dai Gaming Initiative Bounty Program to incentivize developers to build using Dai for rewards.
Notably, MakerDAO says it is open to seeing Dai integrations in both legacy games and blockchain games, observing that both are developing strategies at levels of increasing economic complexity to shape player engagement and behavior.
With the advent of blockchain games, a new category of crypto assets, known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), has emerged. Their key feature, well-suited for gaming, is that they have unique and collectible — rather than currency-like — properties.
MakerDAO’s approach is both to widen the use of Dai in online gaming marketplaces and to establish a series of partnerships with NFT creators to design Dai-branded, in-game blockchain assets.
The bounty program is tiered into four categories, beginning with a 5,000 DAI prize for the best DSR integration in a game. DSR — or Dai Savings Rate — is a DeFi feature that allows Dai holders to lock their tokens in a smart contract to earn additional Dai as dividends.
Two further prizes — at 2,500 DAI each — are offered for the best player-versus-player experience and the best player-versus-evil experience. For this latter, “ingenuity” will apparently be rewarded.
Lastly, two 1,500 DAI rewards will be given for the most creative integration of Dai in a game.
A Quickfire Industry
Just this week, Cointelegraph reported on the launch of a blockchain game network from the creator of the popular Facebook game FarmVille, and a fundraising round for Horizon Blockchain Games, led by an investment firm co-founded by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
Tezos Co-Founder Turns To Gaming With ‘Hearthstone’ Competitor
Digital card games like Hearthstone are fun, but getting the cards needed to play is not.
That’s a problem Coase – a company launched by Tezos co-founder Kathleen Breitman – aims to solve with its new game, Emergents.
The new title, whose alpha version opens up to a select few in early April, comes as the market for online card games nears $2 billion in size and coronavirus-related shutdowns drive gamers indoors.
Coase’s innovation: Let people easily acquire and swap the cards they actually want.
“Providing optionality makes people feel better and also it promotes experimentation, which is something that seems to have been lost in the transition to digital,” Breitman told CoinDesk in an interview.
In collectible card games, there are two giants. The original, analog version, Magic: The Gathering, which is arguably the most successful brand in the Hasbro portfolio; and the digital Hearthstone, which brings in an estimated $400 million for its owner, Blizzard Entertainment. But both have issues with how cards get distributed.
For those who have never played Magic, cards are distributed in physical packs, which each have a distribution of cards of different rarities. Generally speaking, only one or two cards per pack are worth holding. Anyone who plays knows they will inevitably end up with loads of unwanted duplicates. There’s a strong secondary market for Magic cards but the game’s maker has largely pretended it doesn’t exist.
Hearthstone is more complicated. Players get free cards. They can buy packs. They can also trade in their cards to get other cards, sort of, but they lose a lot of value when they do that. So, “Hearthstone” has a built-in secondary market, but it’s very extractive.
For Coase co-founder Zvi Mowshowitz – who is also a 2007 inductee to Magic Hall of Fame – both distribution approaches leave a lot to be desired.
Emergents will take a radically simple approach: Let people buy the cards they want.
Brian David-Marshall, a third co-founder, said Coase has “an economic model for doing a collectible card game on the blockchain that captures a lot of what makes physical card games great.”
Cards As Tokens
Coase will be the primary and secondary marketplace all in one. Like bitcoin on Square’s Cash App, Coase will be the seller and the buyer for Emergents cards, essentially acting as a market maker.
The company is using bonding curves, much like Ethereum’s token-swapping platform Uniswap, to distribute the cards. Cards will have a fixed supply and their prices will swing with demand, determined by an algorithm.
New Cards Will Come Out And Be Sold On The Site At A Low Price.
Each card sold will make the next card sold just a little pricier, but each card sold back to Coase will make the next card sold a little cheaper. When the market for a given card is saturated, it will be cheap. As the card gets scarce, it will go way up in price.
Cards can be sold back to the company at something like 95 percent of their value. “One of the things we wanted to take advantage of with this blockchain technology is giving people the opportunity to feel really smart,” David-Marshall said.
So, for example, there could be a card that looks just OK to most players, but any longtime player of Magic knows that the value of cards can change swiftly as the community learns the game. If some player built a deck that did great things with that card, word would get around and it would go up in value fast.
So in this case “feeling smart” would also mean the option to sell a card back to Coase’s market for a nice gain.
Users can trade directly, of course; this is crypto, and people will be able to set up exchanges for the cards as well. But the founders hope the user experience of buying and selling most cards through Coase will be so good that players will primarily rely on their markets.
That said, the founders were very clear that the company will not resist users trading cards however they wish. Once they buy them, they are theirs to use however they wish.
The whole project is being built on Tezos, so all trades will be made in the blockchain’s native cryptocurrency, XTZ, but the company is also working to hide this behind fiat rails for users who don’t care about the crypto aspect.
Going digital also allows the company to spin up interesting mechanics. For example, one of the most popular forms of Magic is “draft,” where everyone buys three packs but players get some choice about what cards they keep.
Emergents plans a phantom draft, where players will have a similar experience but can then choose whether they want to buy cards they played with at the end of the game (or not).
Some cards will become more unique with use, which is where there might be opportunities for exchanges in uniquely blockchain-y circumstances.
For example, Magic cards cannot keep track of games the cards have played. Digital cards can.
So it all depends on how popular the games get, but if the fandom gets big enough, serious fans might care about somewhat intangible qualities of the game that can be logged and proven on the blockchain, even if they don’t impact gameplay.
“Our cards have memory,” Mowshowitz said.
That means a card could have a record showing that it played in the winning deck at a major tournament. An artist or player could also digitally sign someone’s card, proving that the collector has met someone from the digital experience.
Coase’s bonding-curve-governed pools probably won’t be good at illuminating the card’s memory, which could create an opportunity for entrepreneurs to create a marketplace for cards with unique provenances. If the fanbase gets large enough, that is.
However, one key question anyone from centralized gaming will wonder is this: Will the company mess with supply?
For example, if the game suddenly spikes in popularity and supply gets tight, will they wreck card values by quickly pumping up supply?
The Coase co-founders were very clear on this: No. Cards will come out with fixed supplies and they will stick to it, which could be painful one day for players who really want something but also great for people who got that card early.
The view of the Coase team was that it had to be that way.
“This is crypto,” Mowshowitz said.
Enough about the cards. What about the game?
Right, the game.
Of course, the plan for Coase works best if its first game comes out strong.
Emergents is still in alpha, but basically it’s a game of pitting super-beings against super-beings. The intellectual property is from an analog deck-builder created by David-Marshall called Emergents: Genesis.
Players act as the team leader of a gang of super-beings who are slowly coming out and attempting to attack the other player. To attack they first have to get past their opponent’s own team of super-beings. The games are divided into different factions, powered by different sorts of resources.
“The way you build your resources to play cards is by playing cards,” David-Marshall said.
There are some elements of the game where the Coase team believes they’ve added innovations to the form, but these don’t hinge on the game’s usage of blockchain technology.
“I think the needle that Zvi and Brian are trying to thread,” Breitman explained, “is making a game that has a lot of strategic depth that can also be enjoyed by novices.”
There’s also the ability to put cards on the field without using them immediately. That is, removing them from your hand but waiting for the right time to activate them.
To start, there will be a bunch of tutorials. The company will release a base set of free cards everyone can start with, in a format called “free card constructed.” Then other cards will come out each week that players can buy. This means there will be new cards all the time; it also means when the game gets out of balance in some way, Coase can quickly print new cards that deal with it.
Additionally, the company will eventually release a software development kit (SDK) that would even allow users to create experiences for using their cards (new formats, new rules, new limitations). Magic cards have a basic game attached to them but players have invented lots of new games based on the cards. A player with some coding skill could do the same eventually with Emergents.
And if blockchains start communicating effectively, Emergents could even evolve beyond Tezos. There is, after all, a full metaverse for games out there.
‘SkyWeaver’ Didn’t Plan For A Captive Audience of Millions but It Sure Helps
Gamers who act soon could be among the first to own a very rare game asset in the Initialized Capital-backed SkyWeaver – that is, if they play their digital cards right.
SkyWeaver is a collectible card game (CCG) where players acquire cards for excelling that can be traded like any other Ethereum-based asset. On Friday, the company creating it, Horizon Games, opened its final closed-beta season, Season 0, as millions in the U.S. stay at home to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Similar to Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone and a new entrant still in alpha from Kathleen Breitman’s Coase, SkyWeaver is among a crop of blockchain-based games (led by Gods Unchained) looking to prove the value of digital scarcity in the gaming industry.
Season 0 kicked off today at 14:00 UTC on the SkyWeaver testnet. Although the loot players earn will evaporate once the open beta is launched, there’s still a reason to play.
“The players who rank in the top 1,000 will each earn a rare gold card that players can play, trade or sell,” Michael Sanders, one of the Horizon Games co-founders, told CoinDesk. The gold card will be accessible once the open beta launches on the ethereum mainnet.
The company will be waving through a chunk of its extremely long wait list, but it’s also easy to hop the line. Players who join the community on Discord and ask to get an invite will be given an access code. There are thousands of people playing now and that number is likely to grow.
Horizon Games isn’t committing to a timeline for launching the open beta, other than to say it will be this year. When the game is in open beta, though, card ownership will move to the mainnet and the cards players buy and win really will belong to them from then on, held in their Ethereum wallets.
Max Palmer is a 28-year-old longtime CCG gamer who has been playing in the SkyWeaver preseason since early this year. Previously a fairly successful Hearthstone player who drifted away from that game, Palmer shared his early impressions.
“To be honest, with me, the most important thing is just that it’s a good game,” he said of SkyWeaver’s crypto aspect. “Because if it’s not a good game then the asset wouldn’t matter as much.”
SkyWeaver is free to play but Horizon is calling it play-to-earn. There will also be a revenue model for the company, with players being able to buy cards for the game’s constructed-deck mode.
Horizon gave CoinDesk an invite to the preseason, and this reporter’s record stands at 5-5, as of this writing.
The basic format of the game is much like other similar one-on-one games played with a deck of soldiers and spells. One difference: You are playing with a lead character (“a hero”) who is on the battlefield and the goal is to keep that character alive longer than your opponent’s hero in the turn-based format.
As in other CCG titles, you use a resource (“mana”) to play these cards and you get one unit more of it to use each turn. One difference in play that Horizon’s Sanders emphasized was the fact that some cards have spells built into them, effectively making them two-for-one.
So once a card is played you can also spend your resources activating a one-time effect built into that card, “which allows for an entirely new gameplay dynamic,” Sanders said.
Palmer echoed the sentiment that the game has a lot of elements that work together in a fun way.
“It’s hard to really exactly explain what makes it so good, but there’s just a lot of good elements within the game design,” Palmer said.
That game design is led by Jonathon Loucks, who helped build games at a number of big companies, including Wizards of the Coast, which makes Magic: The Gathering.
SkyWeaver players can choose one of two formats: discovery or constructed. In fact, they have to start playing “discovery,” which provides a random deck of cards the player doesn’t keep. Players earn cards they can use later by playing and winning.
Once a player has enough cards, they can choose from them to build a deck in the “constructed” setting. The 1,000 players who will earn a gold card in Season 0 will actually be the top 500 in each of these two categories.
Unlike Coase’s Tezos-based Emergents, Horizon hasn’t committed to creating a software development kit to allow other developers to create new game formats. Horizon will decide which other ways of playing (such as two-on-two or all-for-one, for example) come next.
“Once we’re in open beta we’re going to learn from the community in terms of what sort of game modes we want to build next,” Sanders said.
There are 500 cards to learn, 100 in each of the five categories within the game. A deck has 20 cards. If you play “constructed” and don’t have enough cards in the category you’re playing, the game will just randomly give you enough other cards to play with for that round.
We are still struggling to get better at the game, so no tips on gameplay but one: A lot of cards have the effect of attaching a spell to your hero. Just know that any new spell attached destroys the prior one, so use it or lose it.
Other than that: Just have fun. The game does its best to match you with players at a similar level so each game should be just challenging enough.
The card economics are not completely nailed down, Sanders said, so any of the below could change. The company plans to put out a blog post soon articulating version 1.0 of the marketplace, Sanders added.
There will be three kinds of cards: playable cards held by the game, “silver cards” which are purchased from Horizon and “gold cards” which are the most rare, and are earned by the best players.
Silver and gold cards will be the same cards as the regular cards, in terms of names and abilities, but they will be cosmetically enhanced and the players actually own them.
Silver cards should sell for something like $2 each. There will be no fixed supply of these cards. Sanders said that once a silver card is created it should always be for sale by Horizon.
The company has created a peer-to-peer marketplace for exchanging the cards between players that serves as an automated market maker.
Gold cards don’t have a fixed supply either, but they are limited at the pace they can be released. Right now, the thinking is that the top players each week will earn a cryptocurrency called WEAVE (an ERC-1155 token), and 500 WEAVE can be used to mint a random gold card. Only something like 2,000 will be minted each week and no one can control which card can be minted.
There’s no plan right now for cards in SkyWeaver to have a memory of their gameplay, because that might make the marketplace too confusing. One critical factor will undoubtedly impact cards’ value over time: the SkyWeaver team may modify cards’ stats if they prove too disruptive to gameplay, an effect that gamers refer to as “nerfing.”
Players of Magic are familiar with this, only in that game the card just gets “banned,” which basically always causes its value to plummet on the secondary market. In a digital format, it can just be modified slightly.
Still, crypto-oriented players might not feel quite so much ownership over assets whose attributes might change at any time. That said, Palmer, the 28-year-old gamer, said there’s just no perfect solution.
“It can be annoying at times when things are changing and prices are changing and you’re just trying to play the game,” he said, but never changing anything once a card is published could create its own problems. “It’s just a balancing thing essentially.”
Ethereum-Based SkyWeaver Game Launches Season 0
SkyWeaver, the forthcoming free-to-play blockchain-based card game from Horizon Blockchain Games, has opened its final closed-beta season.
On March 21, Horizon announced that season 0 of SkyWeaver had commenced. The season will be live until the launch of SkyWeaver’s open-beta version.
Horizon Opens Season 0 Of SkyWeaver
The collectible card game uses Ethereum-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as in-game items — which players can either use within the game or trade on secondary markets.
The in-game items earned during season 0 will not be able to be used once SkyWeaver enters open-beta. However, players who rank among the top 500 in either of the game’s modes will be gifted a ‘gold card’ that can be used in the open-beta version.
Horizon expects to launch in open-beta before 2021.
Players Can Earn And Own Ethereum-Based In-Game Digital Assets
SkyWeaver features two distinct modes of gameplay. In ‘discovery’, players are given a random deck of cards that they do not keep, but can be used to earn gold cards by winning. Once the player owns enough cards, they can play in ‘constructed’ mode — where they can choose to build their deck using the cards that they possess.
When live, the game will feature ‘normal’, ‘silver’, and ‘gold’ cards. Normal cards are hosted within the game, while the silver and gold cards are owned by players.
Silver cards can be purchased from Horizon, while Gold cards are earned as rewards in-game — and are the only type of card to feature scarcity, owing to a controlled rate of release.
However, Horizon reserves the right to modify the stats of a card should it prove overpowered or disruptive to gameplay — which could unexpectedly impact the market value of gold cards.
Horizon Receives Backing From Reddit Co-Founder
On March 7, Horizon announced that it had secured $5 million in a fundraising round led by Initialized Capital — the investment firm co-founded by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
In a blog post, Peter Kieltyka, the co-founder of Blockchain Games stated that the funds will be used to launch SkyWeaver.
Initialized Capital also led Horizon’s $3.75 million seed round in 2019.
Ethereum-Based Game To Enhance User Experience With Matic Scaling Solution
TSB Games, the firm behind VR game The Sandbox, announced a partnership with second-layer scaling solution Matic.
According to a March 19 announcement, Matic will allow the decentralized application (DApp) to carry out faster transactions and create a better user experience. The partnership is also meant to better facilitate decentralized transactions on the platform.
As part of the partnership, Matic also participated in Sandobox’s second round of the presale of the virtual LAND represented by non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The land staked by Matic will be used to help introduce the project’s community to NFTs and DApps. The announcement reads:
“This will be the occasion for our communities to familiarize with another side of their project and meet up in their exclusive LAND.”
Cointelegraph reached out to Matic and The Sandbox for additional commentary, the article will be updated once they are received.
Virtuals Worlds In The Land Of Blockchain
The Sandbox is the latest example of a blockchain-based VR project that allows its users to purchase a limited supply of virtual land. As Cointelegraph reported in a recent analysis of similar projects, the users of Ethereum-based VR world Decentraland have spent over $1 million on digital land.
The Sandbox has recently announced its third land presale after its mobile creation game has seen over 40 million downloads. The game has also attracted the attention of the gaming industry veterans Square Enix, known for releasing the Final Fantasy franchise. The video game giant has invested $2 million in the project.
Forte Taps 5 New Gaming Partners As ‘Blockchain by Itself Isn’t Enough’
Amid the increasing adoption of blockchain technology in the gaming industry, some of the world’s biggest game developers like South Korean Netmarble are partnering with blockchain gaming startup Forte Labs to streamline blockchain-powered game experiences.
Forte, a known partner of major cryptocurrency firm Ripple, has just tapped five new high-profile gaming companies in line with its mission to provide best-in-class gaming experiences based on blockchain technology.
All Five New Partners Will Integrate Forte’s Blockchain Platform Into Their Games
According to a March 24 blog post, Forte’s new game developers include United States-based Hi-Rez Studios and nWay, Canadian social games provider Magmic, German gaming firm DECA Games and Netmarble. The newly announced partners follow their previously joined collaborators, including Disruptor Beam, Other Ocean and Kongregate.
Per the partnership, each of the five game developers will integrate Forte’s blockchain platform into one of its games, enabling new benefits for both developer and player communities, the firm announced to Cointelegraph. By using Forte’s blockchain, game devs can unlock new revenue streams by bridging the gap between digital gaming and physical collectibles and eventually providing real-world value to in-game experience.
Forte Believes That “Blockchain Technology By Itself Is Not Enough”
While Forte sees blockchain as a tool for unlocking greater game experiences such as secure asset ownership and the ability to integrate peripheral markets, the firm is confident that sole blockchain integration doesn’t solve all gaming problems.
“At Forte, we firmly believe that blockchain technology by itself is not enough,” the startup said, emphasizing that engaging player experiences must accompany tech advancement. According to the firm, that is the biggest reason behind the addition of new game partners.
Josh Williams, Forte’s co-founder and CEO, outlined that the new partners will bring deep knowledge in creating engaging game experiences that would be helpful in bringing blockchain-powered benefits to the mainstream. He continued:
“Together, we’ll work towards building a more open, equitable, and sustainable ecosystem that addresses many of the issues found today in the games industry.”
To date, Forte’s blockchain platform operates on an invite-only basis while the product is designed to be free and work across any game platform, the firm said. The platform is based on open source protocols like Ethereum and Interledger to facilitate the creation of game assets as well as cross-chain transactions.
The news comes after Forte’s entrance into a major industry partnership with Ripple’s developer ecosystem project Xpring. On March 12, Forte and Xpring established a $100 million fund to support game developers and foster the mass adoption of blockchain technology in the gaming industry via boosting engagement and monetization tools.
Do Video Games Subconsciously Teach Users Crypto Economics?
The underlying premise of many video games might actually give people a core understanding of economics, especially in the crypto space.
“As a kid, I played a lot of RuneScape,” crypto YouTuber and programmer Ivan on Tech said in a March 28 video.
RuneScape is a medieval era fantasy game in which players interact with other live players, completing journeys, buying, selling, and trading various tools and materials, as well as battling.
“A part of RuneScape is that it has its own economy,” Ivan said. “There’s actually a lot of experience you get from playing games as a kid,” he also noted. “I learned my first market mechanics in this game.”
RuneScape Helped Ivan On Tech Learn To Flip Crypto Assets
Looking over a list of various fake, digital items within RuneScape, Ivan showed that players can sell and trade thousands of items, such as gold, water, steel, grapes and a plethora of other supplies.
Clicking on each item brings up a stock-like chart showing the asset’s price journey over time within the game. Some of said items even showed volatility reminiscent of cryptocurrencies.
“Oak logs, they had a bull market up until December of 2019, and, since then, they entered a bear market in RuneScape,” Ivan explained.
Ivan Found Out About Pump And Dumps From The Game
The YouTuber said RuneScape even taught him about pump-and-dumps — a less than moral method of pumping an asset’s price through deception, only to dump on hopeful buyers later, crashing prices in the process.
Ivan explained that RuneScape helped him see which assets were going through pump-and-dumps in crypto. “I got my first experience being dumped upon in RuneScape,” he said.
This recognition can help investors and traders stay away from, or navigate, potentially risky trades.
Other Games Also Teach Similar Market Familiarity
RuneScape is not the only game housing a framework similar to real-world economics. A virtual world game called Second Life employs Linden Dollars — simulated online money players can buy with USD.
World of Warcraft also holds an internal economy similar to that of RuneScape. Some players even try to sell items for real world cash.
Additionally, ties between video games and real life economics have only increased with time. Cryptocurrency and blockchain pave the way for sending in-game currency into the real world for sale and trade, as well as ability to transfer items between users.
On a similar note, blockchain-based virtual reality platforms are on the rise, selling digital real estate for crypto assets such at Ethereum (ETH).
AR Crypto Game Makes An Impact On Social Distancing
The coronavirus pandemic is causing the worst global economic recession among all business sectors since 1929. Advertising and marketing budgets alone could see a $3 billion loss in 2020.
Both traditional brands and crypto companies are replacing their high profile ads with low budget posts in an effort to combat the rising pandemic.
Crypto Industry Is Taking On The Social Responsibility
Triffic, a free augmented reality game which rewards players with cryptocurrency, is doing their part to promote social distancing among their user base. On March 26, the startup announced on twitter that beta users can now collect limited indoor special items, such as toilet rolls, hand sanitizers, and facemasks. By participating, users could help raise money to help fight COVID-19. The company explained that:
“Triffic is raising up to $10,000 for COVID-19 Response by donating GPSTokens every time a beta user collects an AugmentedReality, toilet roll, hand sanitizer or #facemask.”
Triffic told Cointelegraph that its business model is based on the ability of their users to move freely and collect beacons. With many people on lockdown, they decided to implement this idea as a way to help raise social awareness. The company’s goal is to donate to an important cause while promoting the beta test of their game at the same time. The team added that:
“Who wouldn’t want to collect virtual toilet papers instead of Pokemons, right?”
Public health officials have recommended social distancing as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus. So far, these efforts have been successful in countries such as China and South Korea where the virus first occurred.
Other companies are doing their part as well. Rather than postpone the date of their conference, Crypto Asia Summit announced that they would be moving their event online. The summit invited 30 plus speakers to contribute to the gathering. Each speaker will have their own page for people to access online.
Bitcoin Plays A Major Role In Helping Payment Sectors
As Cointelegraph reported previously, crypto adoption in the payment sector is increasing due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Among other things, it has encouraged Italy’s Banco Sella to launch a Bitcoin trading service to help facilitate international money transferring.
‘MLB Champions’ Downplays ETH, Aims For Mass Market In New Game Reboot
The game once known as MLB Crypto is getting a facelift by reducing its dependency on its underlying blockchain, Ethereum.
Announced Tuesday, MLB Champions introduced a slew of new features while cutting the game’s in-app minting process for non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The update introduces a range of gameplay options but also adds more steps for creating unique digital items that can be traded outside of the game itself. Namely, the new version of the game moves the “minting” system off the mobile app to the MLB Champions website, according to the startup.
Randy Saaf, CEO of Lucid Sight, the company behind the game, said the team will be launching an in-app marketplace with its own token in the near future. It will not accept ether (ETH) because of censorship concerns on app marketplaces.
Saaf said MLB Champions is one of the few blockchain-based games on Google Play due to a near shadowban of decentralized applications (dapps).
“Crypto gaming is struggling right now,” Saaf said in a phone interview. “This is pretty new technology.”
Instead, the app will move almost entirely to a custom-built “digital scarcity engine” to create artificial ownership limits in the game.
The team built a MongoDB database that fit Lucid Sight’s focus as a gaming business, Saaf said. Lucid Sight also has limited-ownership items for purchase in other games such as its space title, Crypto Space Commander.
“The whole point of Scarcity Engine is to cover up the complexity of blockchain. If it looks like it isn’t blockchain, they have done a good job,” Lucid Sight investor Jonathan Sweig told CoinDesk in a private message.
Digitally Scarce Sports
That’s not to say digital scarcity as a concept hasn’t held up well for the startup.
Rather, incorporating Ethereum as the game’s base layer proved too complex for onboarding new users, Saaf said. Fellow NFT startup Dapper Labs recently expressed similar sentiments with Ethereum and opted to move to a custom blockchain instead.
For example, the old version of MLB Champions required users to download the app, go through an exchange to purchase ether (ETH) and move ETH into the game via MetaMask. The average user just wants to open his phone and play ball, Saaf said.
Lucid Sight is not waiting around for scaling solutions to Ethereum’s slow transaction speeds either, he said. Moreover, other crypto platforms offer faster transactions but still face questions regarding censorship from tech giants like Google or Apple.
“We all want massive adoption here. I think the way we do that is to add crypto in the game, but not for the sake of crypto,” Saaf said.
The team decided a middle path – mixing traditional databases and blockchain together – was the best approach given the current gaming market.
“Your average consumer needs a free-to-play version and it needs to be mobile-first,” Saaf said.
At the same time, players still have access to the Ethereum market itself, which has seen MLB Champions items that increase the odds of winning fetching tidy sums on third-party markets such as OpenSea.
“[MLB Champions] is a rare blockchain game that is accessible for the mass audience on mobile devices while still providing benefits of digital ownership on Ethereum,” Lucid Sight co-founder Octavio Herrera said in an email. “Users will be able to play MLB Champions on their mobile phones and users who wish to can mint their MLBC Figures as NFTs on Ethereum and transact with others in our Marketplace or using other marketplaces that support NFTs.”
Right now you can bid on players such as the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts or 2017 MLB MVP Jose Altuve for 0.25 ETH, or about $35.
Lucid Sight announced a $6 million Series B in April 2019 from the likes of Salem Partners, Galaxy EOS VC Fund, Digital Currency Group, Breakaway Growth, Frontier Venture Capital and Animoca Brands. It originally raised $3.5 million in 2016 to focus on virtual reality gaming.
NFT Floodgates Open With Impressive Lineup of Blockchain Games In 2020
Blockchain in the gaming industry is one of the space’s hot topics of 2019. This year is catching the interest of both young independent developers and large corporations. Conferences and hackathons are periodically held around the world for developers to search for new ideas for integrating blockchain into games.
The main advantages of blockchain are its decentralization and open-source nature, which can significantly change the gaming market. The technology is taking trust between developers and players to a new level, and users can now own and freely exchange in-game assets without intermediaries and even between different games.
This is also beneficial for game publishers, as they can earn extra revenue by selling game tokens and items. Of course, the launch of AAA title games using blockchain is still a long way off, and gamers will not be playing World of Warcraft or Counter Strike on Ethereum anytime soon, but blockchain games that allow gamers to earn tokens are becoming more numerous as well as an attractive way to spend one’s time.
Of course, the growing interest in games that use blockchain could not be split away from the development of the blockchain itself, or rather the appearance of various types of tokens. Almost all such games use nonfungible tokens, which record unique features of an in-game item in token metadata and allow the transfer of items from one game to another.
Today, one of the most popular tokens is the ERC-1155 multi token standard, developed by the Enjin project. It can be simultaneously issued and sent in large quantities. Its popularity is explained by the BlockPegnio team, developers of the The Six Dragons game:
“We have built all our tools on the Ethereum network, using the ERC-1155 standard and tools of the Enjin Platform. Our decision was driven by the security of the Ethereum ecosystem, the simplicity of Enjin blockchain tools and the excellent blockchain wallet of Enjin, that can be easily used not only from crypto-experienced users but newcomers as well.”
Moreover, NFTs and the games that use them are supported by large investors. The Winklevoss twins in November 2019 acquired the Nifty platform, positioning itself as the first centralized U.S. dollar-based NFT exchange. The platform allows users from the United States to withdraw fiat and plans to implement funds withdrawal for international users soon.
What To Play In 2020
Since 2019, the interest in blockchain-based games has been on the rise, helping some projects such as Gods Unchained to generate significant revenue. This year promises to be even more exciting for the industry. The biggest change is likely to be seen primarily in the development of various game genres, which was confirmed by the BlockPegnio team:
“In terms of popularity, we have to recognise that last year Gods Unchained was the most popular title. […] We expect game developers to start focusing on creating real gaming experiences that can reach people beyond the blockchain niche market.
That means, to move from gamified concepts (such as CryptoKitties, Axie Infinity, and Trading card Games) to real 3D experiences like fantasy RPGs, first-person shooters, and the likes.”
Besides the biggest existing projects like the Sandbox, Decentraland and Gods Unchained, the market will see a number of newcomers in 2020 claiming to change the state of gaming itself, and these projects aren’t only card games.
Card Games Still Leading The Pack
The card game genre is booming. SkyWeaver, a free Ethereum blockchain-based card game akin to Blizzard’s super-popular Hearthstone, is one of the favourites.
SkyWeaver players collect decks of unique cards and battle it with other players. In Hearthstone, users cannot freely exchange cards, nor can they sell or give their cards away. Contrastingly, blockchain allows players a host of options: buying, selling, giving away to friends or even destroying cards.
The project is handled by Horizon Blockchain Games, a development company that is also a platform for distributing blockchain games. On March 21, Horizon announced the start of SkyWeaver 0 season, which will run until the launch of the open beta version of SkyWeaver later this year. The game is in private beta right now and already available on mobile and PC.
Chief Storyteller Of Horizon, Michael Sanders, Explained To Cointelegraph How Players Can Receive In-Game Tokens:
“We co-authored the ERC-1155 multi token standard. SkyWeaver cards are ERC-1155’s. We’ll also have a crypto-token called Weave (ERC-1155), which players can win by ranking highly on the SkyWeaver leaderboards. Weave can be used to craft rare Gold cards (ERC-1155’s) in SkyWeaver. And, there will be an ERC-20 stablecoin for players to use for buying and trading cards in the marketplace.”
Another interesting project to emerge soon is Emergents. In March 2020, co-founder of Tezos (XTZ) Kathleen Breitman announced the launch of a new game that can potentially be built on the basis of the Tezos blockchain. This game will use NFTs, over which players have full ownership. The company will also act as a buyer and seller for NFTs.
The game is be similar to Blizzard’s Hearthstone, but will use a variety of blockchain-based features. Although the development company behind the game, Coase, will sell and deal cards, players will be able to exchange cards without restrictions.
Coase will also give Emergents cards “memory,” which means that the activity of each card will be recorded on the blockchain. For example, data on Emergents cards that were used to win a tournament match will be recorded on the chain, thereby increasing their value.
The year 2020 will not be complete without a game close to the real world, especially if it’s possible to buy and sell “real” objects, like in Upland. This game is based on the EOS blockchain that offers trading of virtual real estate in real cities such as San Francisco.
The game will be available later in 2020 both on mobile and the web, but for now it can only be played on smartphones. So far, registration is limited to a beta of San Francisco. Other cities will gradually appear.
Upland is similar to Pokemon Go, but instead of Pokemon, players accumulate buildings and local attractions. On a map similar to Google’s, players can buy and trade digital real estate on the EOS platform. Players can hold entire collections of buildings, for example, by type or location, assign unique properties that their real prototypes do not possess, make a profit, and display the value in fiat currency, like in Monopoly.
The developers promise that after launch in 2020, they will add the ability to exchange in-game tokens for real fiat money. Dirk Lueth, the co-founder of Upland, told Cointelegraph:
“We have an in-game cryptocurrency called UPX. It is in-game for regulatory reasons and for reasons to have a stable exchange rate to the dollars. Our players however can use their crypto to purchase UPX. Soon we will be allowing players to sell their NFTs of our game for FIAT and Crypto on our marketplace to other players.”
The Six Dragons
The Six Dragons is an RPG developed by BlockPegnio Ltd. for PC. An early alpha version of the fantasy game is currently available and boasts a massive open world for players to freely explore, fight, farm, harvest and create more than 300 unique blockchain items.
Players can also pave their own path by creating unique classes of characters with unique combinations of abilities based on wizards, warriors and clerics.
Although the game is single-player, gamers can assemble a group of five companions and embark on quests. BlockPegnio also plans to release PvP battles, an esports mode with standard equipment, and a joint game for two to four players.
As with other blockchain games, item creation will drive the game’s internal economy. Six Dragons has its own token (TSDT), tied 1:1 to Enjin’s coin to facilitate free transactions for various gaming mechanisms such as crafting.
Neon District is a cyberpunk RPG adventure and the flagship of the blockchain game development studio, Blockade Games. The plot is simple, taking place in a city called Unity, in which there are neighborhoods of rich people and a quarter of outcasts in the “Neon District.”
The rebels are fighting against an oppressive government. Players level up their characters, collect NFT equipment, develop a strategy, fight it out in story missions and among themselves. As the level of characters and equipment increase, players can choose new abilities and properties. All equipment can be freely sold or exchanged on the Ethereum network.
In October 2019, the Neon District developers announced that the game will soon be available, but the release of Neon District was postponed for six months, taking the launch date to summer of 2020. Game studio Blockade Games cited “unforeseen circumstances” and individual misfortunes as the main causes of the delay.
For now, players are waiting for a full version of the game to use their earned items as well as team up with friends and complete joint missions. The game will be available on Windows, Mac and mobile devices.
In the last couple of years, the professional sports industry has shown great interest in cryptocurrency, with numerous teams participating. The collaboration of blockchain and sports organizations is mainly aimed at tokenization — a hobby that reaches back to the baseball-and-bubblegum summers of the 20th century.
For example, in F1 Delta Time, players can assemble virtual Formula One cars, pick their drivers and participate in races.
Competitive racing will be a key element of F1 Delta Time.
When the racing game comes out this summer of 2020, players will first gain access to qualifications. This qualification consists of three laps, with the first lap being the starting one. The fastest lap will be used to match other players for the actual race.
Another project is NBA Top Shot. In December 2019, Dapper Labs and NBA announced the collectible game Blockchain NBA Top Shot, for which Dapper Labs managed to obtain a patent for digital collectible tokens for NBA in Brazil.
NBA fans can buy, sell and trade collectible digital units during the season. Digital collectible units could be used for network games or tournaments.
On The Way To Real Money
Blockchain-based games are not just created for entertainment but they fulfill an important mission: To introduce blockchains to an interactive environment and attract people who are unfamiliar with the crypto world — an important step toward mass adoption of the technology.
Even though these games are at an early stage of development, in just over two years, the blockchain gaming industry went through impressive diversification. President of Blockchain Game Alliance, Sebastien Borget, believes that NFT games, whatever genres they are, will provide not only a unique gaming experience but will also help players to earn real money:
“The main benefits of NFTs being true digital ownership and permission less transfers, allowing users to trade and monetise their game assets was primarily captured by Digital Collectibles games. […] Play-to-earn has been emerging as well and I do think it is the future of gaming, offering a great added value to gamers and enabling deeper engagement within blockchain-based games.”
Blockchain Gaming Platform Enjin Updates Wallet Ahead of China Expansion
Blockchain gaming platform Enjin is opening its wallet to Chinese users ahead of a planned expansion into the Asian nation.
In an announcement on Monday, the project revealed its the wallet for its Enjin coin (ENJ) cryptocurrency is now “certified and compliant in China.” Speaking to CoinDesk, the startup said approval for the wallet had come from the nation’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
“The infrastructure running our services and products, including the Enjin Wallet, has been certified/licensed by [the] Chinese state agency,” said Bryana Kortendick, vice president of marketing and operations at Enjin.
“The wallet app itself complies with all local laws and regulations set forth by the Chinese government and communicates with the … compliant licensed infrastructure,” Kortendick said.
The wallet has also been tweaked to include changes to how users can send and receive funds, and now supports the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) that simplifies wallet addresses, from long, hard-to-remember phrases into human-readable names.
Launched over two years ago, Enjin Wallet made headlines in 2019 when it partnered with technology giant Samsung in 2019, featuring in Samsung’s Blockchain Keystore – news that boosted the price of the native Enjin Coin by more than 70 percent.
The project also teamed with Microsoft on a crypto collectible rewards scheme for Azure community members.
In addition to ENS support, Enjin Wallet also now has the ability to send and “melt” up to 100 distinct non-fungible and fungible ERC-1155 blockchain tokens in one transaction.
“Melting” refers to burning, or destroying, unused or unwanted collections of ERC-1155 blockchain assets in exchange for ENJ tokens. Previously, the multiple token transfers feature was only available to developers, but is now accessible to all users.
While no details were provided on a timeline, the firm suggested to CoinDesk the Enjin platform would be launched in China going forward.
For now, Chinese users “can enjoy the [wallet] app with certainty that it’s compliant with their local laws and regulations,” Kortendick said.
Blockchain in Games Must Add Value Gameplay, Blockdown Panelists Discuss
April 16 saw the opening of the Blockdown 2020 online blockchain conference. One of the early panel discussions revolved around the use of blockchain in the gaming industry, and how this is likely to develop in the future.
One of the biggest misconceptions that many have about blockchain in gaming is that it is limited to the addition of non-fungible tokens which can be traded independently between players.
As Sebastien Borget, co-founder of Sandbox developer Pixowl explained, games like CryptoKitties may have popularized the idea of blockchain in gaming, but in reality, only really scratched the surface of what blockchain can add.
Nic Watt, VP of product at Gods Unchained said that the mass market may still look upon blockchain as a scam. In order to overcome this, developers should concentrate on building experiences that people want, regardless of whether the technology is present.
Blockchain itself will not make a game a success but works best to add value and magnify the experience that a game can already provide, a view shared by Immutable CTO, Alex Connolly.
Scalability Issues Will Be A Welcome Problem To Solve
Following the congestion that games like Crypto Kitties brought to the Ethereum network, many feel that scalability is the most pressing issue for blockchain gaming.
The panel however, had a different view, suggesting that in fact, a main point of friction is the onboarding of players, who may not be familiar with cryptocurrency basics like setting up a wallet.
The key question then, according to TomoChain CBDO Kyn Chaturvedi, is how to mask the current blockchain experience, while still using it to power the game. Once this friction is overcome, then the issue of scalability can be addressed.
Connolly also said that his company’s research had shown that users care a lot about owning their non-fungible assets, but not so much about the gameplay logic being coded on-chain. The exception to this is when the transparency of the game logic is essential, for example in a casino or lottery-type game.
Getting Traditional Game Studios Onboard
One of the big hurdles to getting traditional games studios involved is convincing them to give up some of their control. In traditional games, all of the in-game assets that players collect are not owned, but belong to the developer and are licensed to players.
Giving up control of this and allowing players to actually own and trade unique assets is a big step for many traditional developers, but can reap rewards through community engagement with real value. An advance on this model is allowing players to create their own assets and trade in-game.
However, an influx of traditional studios was not considered essential to blockchain gaming’s success. The panel pointed to the example of mobile gaming, in which many major developers were latecomers or weren’t involved at all.
Similarly, it will be the innovators who can best utilize the technology within already compelling playing experiences, who will lead the way. This will attract the players, which in turn will attract bigger developers to the blockchain gaming market.
Crypto Gaming Seems To Be Exploding During COVID-19
Bling’s crypto gaming apps have seen a surge of downloads in the wake of COVID-19.
US-based crypto gaming company Bling has reported a significant increase in the number of people using its products since most of the world entered various stages of lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to statistics shared exclusively with Cointelegraph, Bling’s user statistics are up almost 50% over the month of March. The platform is reaching 70,000 users per day, and over 400,000 active users per month. Bling’s flagship app, Bitcoin Blast, has furthermore passed one million downloads from Google Play Store.
The COVID-19 Crisis As An Opportunity
Bling CEO Amy Wan told Cointelegraph that she chalks these statistics up to people being stuck at home “and bored.” Not only are there more users than before, but people are spending more time in their apps. Most of these users are located in the United States, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brazil.
Wan said that this trend has been taking place for mobile gaming in general. Most companies in this space are seeing more downloads and increased activity amid the quarantine requirements around the world.
“We think that this may be an opportunity for many folks who previously heard of Bitcoin but never got around to learning much about it to take that time to learn and collect some Bitcoin. Whereas many crypto companies focus on selling Bitcoin, our unique proposition is that we give it away for free through gameplay.”
She added that the current situation is both “a blessing and a curse.” Yes, Bling is seeing more users spend more time in its apps. But the company’s ad revenue has also gone down — since some advertisers are pulling their ad spend due to economic uncertainty.
Vinetree Corp CEO: Gamers Won’t Be Able To Imagine Gaming World Without Blockchain
Cointelegraph talked to the CEO of Vinetree Corp about using blockchains in the video gaming space and Vinetree’s vision of the future.
Cointelegraph spoke with Josua Kim, CEO of Vinetree Corp. — the company behind GameTalkTalk DApp on the blockchain-based Lutena Protocol. Mr. Kim spoke about blockchain applications in the video gaming space, and Vinetree’s vision of the industry’s future.
In Search Of Better Ways To Match Games With Potential Users
Kim believes that game companies are going to find it more and more difficult to effectively target their marketing dollars. Kim explained:
“As much as our clients are important to us, our users are at the forefront of our business and we want to give them peace of mind that our rewards system does not have any bias. That being said, the decentralized nature of blockchain technology allows for all transactions within our ecosystem and platform to be made publicly available, eliminating any potential discrepancies that members of the platform may have.”
Kim went on saying that one of the challenges in the gaming world for publishers is users’ attention spans. Companies are in a constant struggle between keeping up with new trends, while still making profit:
“On top of that, traditional commission rates charged by publishers to developers increase the hurdles of new games coming to market in a timely and cost-effective manner. At Ludena Protocol we want to encourage developers to bring their ideas to light by charging a significantly reduced commission fee, which we can only offer through the benefits of digital asset adoption.”
Speaking about his expectations for how blockchain could change the gaming experience, Kim noted that blockchain technology will shake up the industry in terms of true digital asset ownership. He continued:
“The issue we are seeing with the current system of games integrated with blockchain technology is the tokenization of digital items/money. Ownership of in-game assets, cross-game trading and game transparency are key features of blockchain-based games, but we face several obstacles such as issues arising from scalability, UI/UX inconveniences, lack of adoption and so on.”
Kim said he believes that the industry will resolve the aforementioned limitations soon through the trial and error. He further expressed his hope that:
“Gamers will not be able to imagine a gaming world without blockchain.”
Challenges And Benefits Of Blockchain Integration
Kim explained that scaling has always been a staggering issue in the world of blockchain integration:
“Considering the market size we are looking at targeting, it is a daunting feat to find the technology capable of handling the amount of expected transactional data. After meeting several developers to proactively address this issue, we felt the most confident with the team at Lambda256, the research arm of UpBit’s parent company, Dunamu. We are working together to innovatively build a system where integral transactions take part on a blockchain, allowing for scalability regardless of total transaction volume within the ecosystem’s various branches.”
Kim noted that the feedback for Vinetree’s forthcoming DApp has been extremely positive. Most game publishers liked the transparency blockchain brings to their marketing dollars, and the added incentives it brings to users. Kim said:
“Harnessing blockchain technology makes it easier to expand our business to a global audience, giving gamers around the world the opportunity to earn from gaming.”
Plans For A Native Token And In-Game Trading Of Digital Items
The team behind Ludena Protocol aims to eliminate blockchain gaming stigmas by developing an infrastructure that can be easily accessed by global gamers. Vinetree plans to launch an item exchange where users can trade in-game or digital items. Blockchain will be used to ensure transparency of operations:
“Traders will be able to view the counterparties’ transactional record, and gauge trust in a transparent manner. Our virtual item exchange will be completely fee-less and that really is something that the world can only achieve through the benefits of blockchain.”
Kim added that Vinetree is looking forward to exposing a large group of people to cryptocurrency, calling it “a natural choice:”
“For the past 7 years, our 3 million users have already become accustomed to receiving digital assets as rewards for their gaming activities. Similar to most game layouts, we have incorporated a tiered leveling-up system that requires users to hold a certain amount of tokens in order to unlock new benefits within the ecosystem. We believe that these incentives are crucial to a solid token economy.”
Other experts expect growth in the in-game token economy. According to Mike Brusov, co-founder and CEO of fintech firm Cindicator, gaming companies could “use tokens for managing access and rewarding gamers” as a way to attract more gamers.
Sebastien Borget, co-founder and COO of TSB Gaming, maintained that a natural way of increasing mass adoption is through competitive and collaborative gaming. He believes that this will push blockchain-based games to be played the “way video games are played: built and shared across communities.”
CryptoWars Leaves Loom Sidechain In Pivot To ‘Play-to-Earn,’ Aka Betting
In another data point raising questions for blockchain-based gaming, Experimental Games’ CryptoWars has pivoted away from running on the Plasma sidechain operated by Loom. Meanwhile, Loom appears to be pivoting away from gaming entirely.
“No decent game can run nowadays fully on-chain, even though that was our gaming utopia,” CEO Matias Nisenson told CoinDesk. Loom, he said, is discontinuing its service aimed at gamers, and Experimental doesn’t trust any other provider.
There are diverging accounts about what happened here. Nisenson told CoinDesk that Loom collapsed multiple times under the activity driven by CryptoWars. Loom disputes that account.
“CryptoWars ran fine on Loom. Platform handled it fine,” former Loom CEO Matthew Campbell wrote in an email to CoinDesk. Loom has not yet replied to a request for additional comment.
Campbell claimed Experimental was upset Loom wouldn’t provide funding for its game to continue operating. “Games don’t make any money and just continually want the platforms to fund them. That just doesn’t make business sense,” Campbell wrote.
Loom was very early into the scaling conundrum that has plagued Ethereum. It was a company doing a lot of things: tutorials, games and, most importantly, sidechains. Last autumn it even got into interoperability, starting with Tron and Binance Chain. In February, Loom notified users Campbell was stepping out of the CEO role. According to his LinkedIn profile, Campbell has been CEO at Remote Ventures since August.
CryptoWars, which previously ran on Loom’s Plasma sidechain network, is a resource management game that debuted last year as a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG). At its peak, the game had 12,000 players going at once, Nisenson said, making it one of the top dapps on Loom. To win, players built mines, built vaults, built an army and then used it all to grow a treasure chest.
Early on, it would run weekend-long global tournaments with solid prize packages put up by sponsors including the MakerDAO Foundation. Members of the CoinDesk editorial team burned a considerable amount of time last summer on one of these competitions (no prizes were attained).
“Loom basically exploded” during the first CryptoWars tournament, Nisenson said. It improved but the game still put the network under too much stress. “Blockchain does not scale now,” he said.
To be competitive, players basically had to stay by their terminals at all times. People weren’t sleeping, Nisenson said.
The Gaming Biz
Loom had previously had a considerable focus on gaming, though its sidechains were meant to be useful for many applications. Not only did it provide services to game makers, it created its own Kickstarter-funded, zombie-themed collectible card game, Relentless. Its website touts other clients in the crypto gaming space, including Axie Infinity, Neon District and Crazy House.
However, in the blog post about its leadership transition, Loom indicates other priorities, writing, “Recently, we’ve been working on a couple of new projects, one targeting the healthcare industry and one targeting the travel industry.”
It is unclear how that will affect the network’s existing gaming titles.
One corner of the industry has long argued gaming would be crypto’s gateway drug to the mainstream but video games have never really done as well as gambling. And that’s where CryptoWars is headed. The game now only uses blockchains for one thing: money.
“We went from fully on-chain to just accepting crypto and paying crypto,” Nisenson told CoinDesk. “We use Coinbase Commerce and MoonPay for crypto deposits and credit card deposits, respectively.”
Money is important to the game now because its business model has shifted to players betting on who wins a 20-minute, one-on-one game. Rather than the weekend-long marathon sessions, competitors can now put up as little as $0.60 or as much as $100 on the 20-minute sprints. Whichever player wins takes the pot, after Experimental takes its 17 percent cut.
Experimental calls this “play-to-earn,” but to earn someone also needs to risk paying. That’s why most people would call the model wagering. The new approach became necessary when the company realized there was no good alternative to playing large games on-chain.
The play-to-earn version soft-launched last week. In its first day, CryptoWars topped 600 one-on-one matches, with the most staked on a game at $100 (the max allowed).
The game is playable around the world, including most states in the U.S. Entering the game can be done in fiat. That said, winnings can only be extracted in crypto, so blockchain newbies will need to learn a wallet like MetaMask if they want to take their gains outside the game world.
If it can make the model work for CryptoWars, Experimental says it will invite outside strategy games onto the platform.
“The idea is: Most game studios all around the world, they just make games,” Nisenson said. “Most of them are unsuccessful and they don’t make money, but they are still good games.”
Players don’t have to bet money to play the new version of CryptoWars. There’s also a practice space where you can build your skills.
In fact, players will accumulate play money the more games they play in free mode. The game will release more play money regularly but players will need to be in the game to collect it, rewarding attention. Further, periodically the game will run tournaments where real money from sponsors can be won, and it will only take play money to enter. The first sponsored games should go up in the next few weeks.
Sponsors will also boost the winnings on games played with real funds at stake. This echoes the approach taken on decentralized finance (DeFi) site PoolTogether, where sponsors buy tickets to grow the pot, but never actually win.
The winnings will continue as long as Experimental can make this iteration turn a profit. In crypto gaming, that’s been an elusive dream.
Game Developers Can Implement Cryptocurrency Alternative To Ad Revenue
Independent game developers can now easily implement a blockchain-based revenue stream into Unity games, which incentivizes players and removes the need for in-game advertising.
Independent game developers face an almost insurmountable hurdle in their quest for success. Without a marketing budget, many have to give away their work for free. Their only hope is to recoup some of the development cost through in-game advertisements or micro-transactions — both of which are off putting to many potential players.
Blockchain development team, BlockBastards, are hoping to change this with a new decentralized proof-of-play ecosystem called Qudo.
Drag And Drop Unity Integration
Qudo offers a blockchain-based alternative revenue stream which can easily be implemented into any game built using the Unity platform. Following our alpha-test of Blox, the first game to use the system, Cointelegraph spoke to Qudo Managing Director, João Abrantes, about the benefits for game developers.
Initially, developers must stake a minimum amount of QUDO to the network to have “skin in the game.”
This figure will vary, but currently stands at 150 QUDO (projected to have a value of around $15). Abrantes says that the value will never be so high that it creates a barrier to entry.
Developers can stake higher amounts, but the staking reward system is non-linear so there is no great benefit to a major developer placing a huge stake.
Qudo has then made it as simple as possible for developers to implement blockchain rewards into Unity games.
“Games can be connected to Qudo in a matter of minutes. Literally 15 to 20 minutes. It’s virtually drag and drop … Once implemented, the system offers an additional mechanism to incentivize players, who are rewarded by the network for paying attention to the game, not adverts.”
In addition to this Proof-of-Gameplay mechanism, developers can also reward players with tokens for in-game achievements, which can then be spent with the developer on in-game purchases.
Levelling The Playing Field For Small Developers
Every ten minutes the network produces a block reward of 1,000 QUDO. Everyone who has played in this period will report activity, and 90% of the block reward will be distributed between active games and active players, with 10% reserved for founding partners.
All games that have been played will earn a reward based on their staked amount. 10% of this will go to the developer and 90% will be split between the active players of this game during this period.
This rewards gamers for trying out new games and those from smaller developers that have less players. Players can also spend rewards earned in other Qudo enabled games on in-game purchases.
“Qudo brings interoperability to game credits, where players are rewarded for their time and performance while playing any game and then spend these earnings across all games as well. With Qudo, we want to eliminate silos and give smaller games a fair chance for success”
Qudo will also list games in a democratic way, taking merit into consideration, meaning smaller games will not be obfuscated by games with a large advertising budget.
However, developers will be able to use their QUDO rewards to purchase affiliated services listed in the Qudo marketplace, which will include advertising services such as becoming a featured game.
The potential return for developers integrating Qudo into their Unity games won’t be known for certain until the platform goes live later this year. But with such a low barrier to entry, along with the additional player incentives, it could bring blockchain gaming into the mainstream.
Fortnite Fans Race To Earn ETH-Based Rewards On Reddit, Crypto Users Saunter
Over 10,000 Redditors have signed up for the platform’s ETH-based rewards, however, 75% of them are Fortnight players.
Within days of launching on the Rinkeby testnet, Reddit’s Ethereum (ETH)-based Community Points rewards system has seen more than 10,000 addresses created.
Reddit’s points were rolled out across two subreddit communities pertaining to the topics of the popular video game Fortnight (r/fortniteBR) and cryptocurrency (r/cryptocurrency) from March 13 to March 15.
Perhaps surprisingly, over 80% of wallets created on the testnet so far represent the Fortnight community.
Reddit ‘Community Points’ Wallets Tag Five-Figures
Within three days of completing its rollout, over 10,000 users have signed up to receive Reddit’s Community Points as a reward for their activity on the popular social platform.
As of this writing, 8,666 wallets have been created to hold r/fortnightBR’s Bricks, while just 2,073 Redditors have embraced r/cryptocurrency’s Moons.
2,295 transactions have been executed by Moon wallets, while Brick wallets have produced 9,584 — producing identical per-wallet activity of 1.1 transactions per address so far.
Will Reddit Spike Gas Prices?
Reddit plans to migrate its Community Points system on the Ethereum mainnet after the summer. A timeline is yet to be given for when Reddit plans to offer the crypto-based rewards to its entire 450 million user base.
While many Ethereum users have welcomed Reddit’s use of the protocol as a likely catalyst for widespread adoption, others are concerned that its Community Points could drive up Gas prices once it migrates to mainnet.
Atari Partners With Litecoin Foundation — LTC Discount For Game Consoles
Legendary video game producer Atari partners with the Litecoin Foundation to take advantage of the overlap between the two communities.
On Tuesday, the Atari Group announced a partnership with the Litecoin Foundation, betting on the overlap of interests between the crypto and gaming communities.
Atari has raised 74.19 Bitcoin (BTC), worth roughly $514,000, over the course of the presale stage of its initial coin offering up to now. The funds came mostly from partners. Not only will Atari accept investments in Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin and Ether (ETH), but gamers will be able to pay for its upcoming Video Computer System, or VCS, with Litecoin and receive a discount. It will be available at the foundation’s online store.
The Overlap Between Gamers And Crypto
Atari’s CEO, Frederic Chesnais, told Cointelegraph that he hopes the Litecoin community will be receptive to the partnership:
“I hope [Litecoin’s] is a big community. There’s a good overlap. At the end of the day, we are just hoping that people will take advantage of the discounts, and will take advantage of the opportunity to use Litecoin as well.”
Fantastic Connection To Gamers
Jay Milla, the head of marketing at the Litecoin Foundation, said to Cointelegraph that he also believes there is an overlap between the two communities:
“We both have a fantastic connection to gaming or gamers as well. In the digital currency space, obviously, there are a lot of people that are in the gaming space and gaming space are usually people that are first early adopters. And it’s great to see a brand like Atari reinvent itself. And there are plans for us to see ways that we can work together in everything that Atari is doing.”
Also, According To Chesnais, The VCS Could Be Used To Work On A Variety Of Blockchain Use Cases:
“The VCS is very interesting. It’s your personal computer. So I think in the crypto community, it could become one of the platforms, which is very flexible and you can use that to work on the Blockchain cases.”
Recently, the gaming industry has become one of the hottest areas for the adoption of blockchain technology. With Litecoin being a top 10 cryptocurrency and having one of the biggest communities, this partnership could further contribute to the adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency in the gaming space.
Nvidia Disguised $1B in ‘Fickle’ Crypto Mining Sales As Gaming Revenue, Lawsuit Claims
Nvidia, the multinational chip-making giant, is still being sued by disgruntled investors for allegedly under-reporting its sales of hardware used to mine cryptocurrency.
According to The Register, the computer processing giant stands accused by a group of shareholders of attempting to pass off the sales of as much as $1 billion in graphics processing units (GPUs) used for cryptocurrency mining as gaming hardware.
The shareholder class suit accuses CEO Jensen Huang, CFO Collette Kress and Jeff Fisher, senior vice president and head of gaming, claiming they knew the spike in GeForce GPU sales was related to the crypto mining boom and could not be sustained over the long term.
The lawsuit dates back to the height of the crypto fervor in 2017, but an amended suit was filed in California last week (see below).
The joint plaintiffs claim the “defendants opted for a strategy that would capitalize on miners’ fervent demand for GeForce GPUs while falsely telling investors that the spike in GeForce sales came from gamers, not miners.” They then allege the company made it appear its revenue was sheltered from the ups and downs of the cryptocurrency markets.
“Defendants refused to publicly acknowledge that NVIDIA’s proliferating sales were the result of fickle cryptocurrency miners, lest investors discount the Company’s stock to reflect the volatility of crypto-related demand,” the filing states.
In 2018, Nvidia’s share price plummeted 20 percent after demand tapered from the mining craze the year before. As cryptocurrency prices dropped significantly, so, too, did miner profits, forcing many operations to close down.
Via a trial by jury, the shareholders now seek damages from the company and its executives for what they claim is a violation of U.S. Exchange Act for misrepresenting where Nvidia’s revenues were coming from.
Play-to-Earn Crypto Gamers Flip Virtual Properties For Fiat Rewards
A blockchain game adopts a play-to-earn model that lets users receive fiat for virtual property transactions.
As the world discovers more ways to implement blockchain technology, the billion-dollar gaming industry is leveraging the technology to bring transparency, trust and ownership of digital assets to players. A new vision for blockchain games is emerging — one that aims to bridge the gap between virtual worlds and reality through user commerce.
This notion is being demonstrated by blockchain game developer Uplandme. On May 21, Uplandme announced a partnership with Linden Lab’s Tilia division for leveraging Tilia Pay to enable fiat payments for virtual properties traded within the Upland game marketplace. Currently, the virtual San Francisco properties listed on Upland are traded and purchased by players using the in-game cryptocurrency UPX. Upland’s co-founder, Dirk Lueth, told Cointelegraph that when Upland was initially built, the goal was to create an ecosystem representing a real-world open economy. He said:
“Upland is a virtual version of Monopoly. It’s a trading game based on the EOS blockchain that features real-world addresses in San Francisco. These addresses are all tokenized as nonfungible tokens (NFTs), which can be traded and bought using the in-game cryptocurrency, UPX.”
However, in order for Upland to flourish into a truly open economy, a monetization method that would allow players to earn real-world commerce was required. Upland launched its open beta in January 2020 with the promise to exchange digital goods purchased with in-game tokens for fiat money.
According to Leuth, Upland’s vision of a functioning open economy is now achievable through the partnership with Tilia. Linden Lab initially created Tilia Pay to support commerce for its Second Life virtual world, which conducts 1.5 million transactions per day and has an annual GDP of over half a billion dollars. Upland represents the first third-party customer for Tilia, which serves as a registered money service provider and licensed money transmitter.
Upland’s co-founder, Idan Zuckerman, mentioned that the service from Linden Lab will finally allow players to obtain real-world value from digital goods earned through in-game purchases, adding:
“We strongly believe that the future of games and digital property is true ownership; giving players full control over the digital goods they spend time and money acquiring and allowing those goods to retain value in a fair and open marketplace. This partnership helps us fulfill that true ownership promise.”
Bridging The Virtual World With Reality
Tilia CEO, Aston Waldman, told Cointelegraph that allowing users to extract real-world value within virtual worlds greatly increases engagement, benefiting both players and game developers. Yet in order for this to be achieved, Waldam explained that regulations and licenses are required to move real-world value:
“Tilia has licenses in every state in the U.S., which gives us a unique advantage since no other company has this currently. This is what allows us to move real-world value, like USD, any type of fiat, or cryptocurrencies, between users on a virtual platform.”
Waldman further noted that these licenses allow for a wallet to be integrated within online games, functioning as “in-game bank accounts” that can hold fiat or cryptocurrencies. He added: “The ultimately allows users to extract USD or any other currency out of their accounts, or convert cryptocurrencies to USD to gain profits from goods on the virtual platforms.” Tilia Pay will be implemented into Upland in the coming weeks, putting the platform one step closer to bridging the gap between a virtual world and reality.
Play-to-Earn Is The Future Of Blockchain Games?
The partnership with Upland and Tilia is also noteworthy, as it demonstrates another instance where a play-to-earn model is adopted by a blockchain game. This is important, as there are certain features naturally built into blockchain games that cannot be offered by centralized platforms. For instance, blockchain games provide true digital asset ownership through nonfungible tokens. On this matter, President of Blockchain Game Alliance, Sebastien Borget, told Cointelgraph:
“Play-to-earn is possible in fiat, without using cryptocurrency, but blockchain, NFTs and cryptocurrencies are facilitators for the payment part, allowing to trade, exchange in a decentralized manner. The game company is not the custodian of a player’s funds and assets.”
Borget further noted that play-to-earn blockchain games are the future of the industry, predicting that this will become a mainstream business model over the next five years, adding:
“I am positive we are getting closer to this mass-adoption moment, as the unfortunate conditions of current world pandemic are pushing players to look for (new) ways to escape the reality of their closed home and apartments by playing video games. Games allow them to express themselves socially in digital spaces, share and interact together.”
Indeed, play-to-earn blockchain games are becoming more common. For instance, Borget mentioned that the flagship game Axie Infinity is growing an active community through sharing tips on how to earn money from crypto gaming. He also shared that popular online games such as Angry Birds, Fortnite and Minecraft are working to enable blockchain features to provide players with the benefits of true ownership and play-to-earn models.
Moreover, Borget shared that The Sandbox decentralized gaming platform, of which he is a co-founder and the chief operating officer, is moving forward with the vision of building out an ecosystem where creators can truly own and monetize their games and creations.
Is It Better To Earn Fiat Or Crypto?
Interestingly, while blockchain games like Upland are moving toward play-to-earn models based on fiat, some skepticism remains. Venture capitalist Tim Draper told Cointelegraph that these games may be more successful if they stick with cryptocurrency monetization models:
“Upland looks like an awesome game and Second Life has been around for a long time with very loyal customers. However, they might be even more successful if they didn’t worry about converting back to fiat currency. Bitcoin/crypto is just better, and fairly easy to spend now if anyone wants to spend it.”
While it may be too soon to determine which model will reign supreme, Upland did mention big plans for the future now that Tilia Pay is being leveraged. According to Lueth, Upland aims to create an entirely new genre of gaming, one where people interact in digital worlds to generate commerce that can be used in real life. He mentioned plans to eventually bring businesses onto the platform, saying:
“We are in talks with a car manufacturer now, as we want to tokenize cars so they can be traded and sold virtually. We are also thinking about going global and listing properties in places other than San Francisco. The grand vision is for the entire world to be open and accessible from anywhere.”
Is Gaming A Waste of Time? A Blockchain Game Wants To Change That
A blockchain-based game says its motivation is to transform the reason that players switch on games.
A blockchain-based game says it has the ambition of becoming the title that “started a revolution” by leading the industry to mainstream adoption.
Brave Frontier Heroes has brought together two titles that were successful in their own right. While My Crypto Heroes is said to be the world’s number one blockchain game, Brave Frontier is a role-playing game dedicated to smartphones that has been downloaded 38 million times.
The collaboration between both companies dates back to the summer of 2019, with their jointly developed blockchain game launching in January. This saw the intellectual property and creativity behind Brave Frontier join forces with the technology and know-how that drives My Crypto Heroes.
Already, it’s claimed that Brave Frontier Heroes has recorded transaction volumes worth more than 5,000 ETH — achieving a loyal following in Japan and one of the biggest daily active users on the globe.
For the developers behind Brave Frontier Heroes, a major motivation has been transforming the reason for playing games in the first place. Until now, many players have simply been looking only for fun — an escape from the pressures of everyday life or, more recently, something that’ll keep them busy during the lockdown. However, the team behind this title says the use of nonfungible tokens also offers something that hasn’t been commonplace in the gaming industry before now: the chance to earn assets and even become a small business.
Indeed, nonfungible tokens (otherwise known as NFTs, for short) are at the beating heart of Brave Frontier Heroes.
Although rare characters and game items have been coveted assets ever since video games hit the mainstream a few decades ago, the company argues that the industry has struggled to find a way for these items to be traded in a fair and socially acceptable way.
More Insights From Brave Frontier Heroes Here
As the company explains, NFTs are irreplaceable — and no two are the same. Even though they may look identical, each offers distinctive qualities that make them impossible to swap. A common analogy that the industry reaches for is that of the plane ticket: Although they may all appear the same, each is printed with a different destination, name and seat.
Gaming companies have often been reluctant to embrace trading data because of how it falls out of their control. Eiji Takahashi is the CEO of Alim, the company that helped develop Brave Frontier. He says NFTs offer a breakthrough by “making possible what the game industry has been prohibiting.”
A New Experience
Through Brave Frontier Heroes, players can actually own their heroes — not to mention their weapons, shields and items — via the power of blockchain. It’s playable on any mobile device or desktop, and the app can be downloaded via Google Play for Android smartphones or Apple’s App Store.
Using the app, players automatically get a wallet generated, where they can store their NFTs — otherwise known in more technical terms as ERC-721 tokens. Detailed, step-by-step guides are offered for those who are unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies, allowing them to make the most out of this new experience.
Since Brave Frontier Heroes was officially launched in January, an ambitious roadmap has ensured that new features are continually being released. The team says that one particularly interesting feature has enabled players to upload their very own illustrations for their characters, providing the opportunity for gamers to express their individuality, personality and artistic flair in a way that few other titles can match. Moreover, the company will start selling a new character from the legendary category, starting on April 30.
Enjin’s New Minecraft Plug-in Lets Players Spawn Blockchain Assets
Minecraft, one of the world’s most popular video games, has a new plug-in enabling players to place blockchain assets directly into their servers.
Built by gaming startup Enjin, EnjinCraft is an open-source blockchain plugin that enables players to spawn assets in the Minecraft Java Edition without the need to write any code.
The tool works by dropping the EnjinCraft file into a player’s server “plug-ins” folder, where they can then begin integrating and distributing blockchain assets in the form of tokens.
The plug-in marks the second release by Enjin for Minecraft after it initially released DonationCraft in 2013 in collaboration with Bukkit. Now downloaded 5.1 million times, DonationCraft allows players to grow their Minecraft servers by creating a server website and donation store.
The new offering allows server hosts to create their own localized Minecraft economies by providing their players with tangible ownership over in-game items and currencies. It also allows for players to securely trade their assets in peer-to-peer (P2P) fashion through the server or via external chat rooms and digital trading platforms like the Enjin Marketplace.
“EnjinCraft is the beginning of a new era for sandbox games. Players now have a tangible stake in their gaming worlds, and server owners can create new kinds of addictive experiences by using branded collectibles and items with scarcity and value in the digital universe,” said Enjin’s co-founder and CTO, Witek Radomski..
Enjin has also released an open-source software development kit (SDK) for Java, allowing developers to implement blockchain in Java-based mobile, desktop or web apps.
The gaming-focused project has been active this year, having launched its development platform on Ethereum in February.
The launch enables potentially millions of developers to integrate crypto assets into games and apps without prior knowledge of coding for blockchain.
In April, Enjin announced it would be opening its crypto wallet to Chinese users ahead of a planned expansion into the Asian nation after it sought approval from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Minecraft Meets The Blockchain Thanks To New Plug-In
Enjin announced the integration of EnjinCraft into the popular video game to boost its blockchain solutions for the gaming industry.
Blockchain game technology company, Enjin, announced that their plugin “EnjinCraft” is now available on the popular video game, Minecraft.
According to the announcement made by Enjin, the blockchain plugin will allow players to integrate, trade, and use blockchain gaming items through the servers.
By integrating blockchain technology, the company aims to make it easy to tokenize Minecraft items and thus incorporate them within the players’ servers.
The plugin is based in Java, with some specialized functionalities like the integration of the tool on external games, servers, and websites.
Linking Minecraft’s Blockchain Wallet To The Servers
EnjinCraft’s plugin includes the possibility of integrating blockchain-based Minecraft assets, attaching an existing blockchain asset identity to the in-game items via console commands, and giving players the ability to link their blockchain wallet to their servers.
Enjin details that the plugin will show players their real-time Enjin Coin and Ethereum balance while providing special items and permissions to players based on blockchain assets they own.
Another functionality highlighted by the company is the possibility to initiate Ethereum (ETH) transactions that can send blockchain assets to players via console commands. It also allows users to re-develop the open-source code to suit the developers’ specifications and needs.
EnjinCraft’s Technical Requirements
Enjin clarifies that to use the plugin, server owners would need to be running Java 8 or higher, must have created a project on the Enjin platform, and own the Spigot 1.13 plugin version and above. Tokens integrated using EnjinCraft must also be fungible.
The plugin is available in English, Danish, Filipino, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, and Spanish.
Enjin continues to strengthen its presence in the gaming industry so far this year.
Cointelegraph reported on March 12 about Enjin’s official launch of its Multiverse program, designed to support the creation of in-game assets that can be transferred and used across multiple games hosted in the multiverse.
Samson Mow’s Infinite Fleet Game 2020 Launch Backed by Major Players
Pixelmatic hopes to use the support of major crypto players for mainstream gamer adoption of digital currency with its INF token.
Prominent Bitcoin figures are working together to ensure the alpha release of Pixelmatic’s Infinite Fleet space adventure game is launched by the end of 2020.
Infinite Fleet, under the leadership of Blockstream Chief Strategy Officer and Pixelmatic Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Samson Mow, is being backed by major crypto players like Litecoin (LTC) founder Charlie Lee, WhalePanda, “the father of cryptocurrency” Adam Back, former Bitfinex Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) Phil Potter, Max Keiser, and others. Some of them will even have their likenesses used for characters in the game.
In-Game Currency On Exchanges Soon
Their plan is to bring AAA gaming and cryptocurrency together. Infinite Fleet’s in-game currency, INF, is on the blockchain, but won’t require players to have an in-depth knowledge of crypto unless they decide to transfer assets out of the game.
Hope Fan, Pixelmatic’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), spoke to Cointelegraph saying that the company planned to make the token available for trading on crypto exchanges shortly after the game is launched. However, Fan said there will not be an initial offering like other coins:
“INF can only be earned via in-game participation as a reward, which will then act as the medium of exchange for the game’s player-to-player marketplace. We are not selling INF and it should discover its own market value organically, depending on players and player-created benefits. There will be a fixed total supply of INF, which will be gradually distributed over a long period of time via in-game participation.”
Inspired by Second Life’s Economy
Infinite Fleet will utilize blockchain as a decentralized accounting ledger for all P2P transactions of INF. According to Fan, this system was inspired by the currencies in other massive multiplayer online games (MMOs) like World of Warcraft’s Gold and Second Life’s Linden Dollars.
Fan said the GDP of Second Life — valued at roughly $500 million in 2015 — was “hugely inspiring” in the the creation of Infinite Fleet’s online economy: “…we thought that by using a cryptoasset, the whole process would be much more frictionless, and would at the same time encourage the adoption and use of cryptocurrency.”
What Exactly Is Infinite Fleet?
“Infinite Fleet is very different from so-called “blockchain games” from the past couple of years,” Fan told Cointelegraph.
The MMO space strategy game features space stations, steroid mining, fleets of spaceships and real time strategy style combat. Infinite Fleet uses players vs environment (PvE) collaborative play and will have a directed narrative, meaning that the actions and consequences of players in real time will have irreversible effects and be forever recorded into the game’s history and lore.
“…we realize that in order to actually onboard players, the game itself must first be good and have depth. As such, the Infinite Fleet game is not on the blockchain, however, the game currency is issued as a crypto asset, so that players will have the option of extracting value from the game and moving it outside, which is potentially powerful.”
Full Release By 2021
If successful, Infinite Fleet could be one of the first blockchain-related user applications to bring cryptocurrency adoption to millions of gamers.
“Currently we are planning to make an alpha release by the end of this year, with the full game likely ready by some point in 2021,” said Fan, who also mentioned a security token offering (STO) for players to invest in equity and profit sharing in the game. Cointelegraph has reported Infinite Fleet partnered with blockchain marketplace STOKR to make such an STO.
“We are big believers in a decentralized financial system and bringing mainstream gamer adoption of cryptocurrency is one of our main goals.”
Blockchain Gamers Earned $20M in Their First Year
Research by Flipside Crypto into revenue generated by blockchain games shows that, in some cases, gamers are earning more than the game companies.
New research compares how much gamers and game developers made in the year following the launches of some of the most popular blockchain-based games.
According to data from Flipside Crypto, the overwhelming majority of revenue was earned by just one, very famous, game.
Revenue Earned By Blockchain Gamers & Gaming Companie
Cat Breeding Is Very Lucrative
No one could have envisioned that cat breeding could become such a lucrative business. CryptoKitties generated $27 million in revenue in the first year with $7 million going to the company and $20 million to the breeders.
In CryptoKitties, gamers breed virtual cats that have unique traits on the Ethereum blockchain. The offspring inherit some of the traits of their parents and cats with rare features are more valuable than others.
One of these virtual kitties was sold for 600 Ether (ETH) or $170,000. The game is notorious for almost breaking the Ethereum network.
Revenue for other blockchain games paled in comparison. Gods Unchained made $4.2 million in its first year, and players have since earned $237,000 (though auctions were not held in the first year). My Crypto Heroes made $1.5 million in its first year and players earned $118,000 through selling in-game assets.
The research provides an interesting breakdown on how revenue is being distributed. On one extreme, there is Gods Unchained, where almost all of the money went to the company. On the other is Crypto Kitties, where the gamers or the breeders raked in 75% of revenues.
Many consider blockchain gaming as one of the most promising use cases for the technology. Recently, even Blockstream got on the bandwagon when Lightnite was launched on the Liquid Network, a game that uses non-fungible tokens.
NFT Marketplace Opens Korea’s Multi-Billion Gaming Industry To Crypto
A Korean blockchain game company has launched a native NFT marketplace for Korea’s multi-billion dollar game sector.
Korean Blockchain gaming company PlayDapp has launched a marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), offering Korea’s multi-billion gaming industry a native gateway into digital assets.
Announced on June 8, the new platform, ‘PlayDapp MarketPLAce,’ advertises itself as providing free support for coin-to-coin trading between NFT-based in-game items.
Koh Kwang-Wook, a founding member and former CTO of Item Bay, an early online brokerage platform for in-game items, led the development of PlayDapp’s marketplace.
Korean NFT Marketplace Targets Gaming Industry
At launch, the platform supports items from Ethereum-powered collecting games CryptoDozer and DozerBird.
Over the past 24 hours, the games have attracted 201 users and 30 users respectively.
CryptoDozer has generated $610 worth of trade over 2,132 weekly transactions, while DozerBird represented less than $12 in volume over 277 transactions.
Korea’s game industry is the fourth-largest globally, representing 14.3 million KRW ($12.1 billion) in 2018. Korea’s gaming sector has grown at an average annual rate of more than seven percent over the past decade.
Earlier this year, Korea-based blockchain game developer SuperTree announced it had attracted $2.5 million in Series A investment, including participation from SBI Investment Korea.
NFT Marketplaces Proliferate
The growth of NFT-powered games and gaming ‘multiverses’ has sparked the launch of a number of new NFT marketplaces.
In March, the Winklevoss-owned platform Nifty became the first U.S.-dollar-based exchange for NFT trade. Despite Nifty announcing it would be taking a “slow and intentional” strategy regarding support for tokens, a surprise run of limited edition CryptoKitties saw the platform experience outages last month.
May also saw the launch of Tokyo-based startup Yiedl, a peer-to-peer marketplace for NFT rentals and mortgages.
Gaming Giant Atari to Use Its ‘Atari’ Token For Betting, Gaming and Shopping
Gaming behemoth Atari announced that holders of its Atari token will be able to spend it on betting, gaming and shopping.
According to an announcement on June 12, the new offerings for Atari token holders follow a partnership with esports firm Unikrn.
With the partnership, Unikrn will get access to Atari’s classic games such as Centipede, Pong and Asteroids. Atari — on the other hand — will get access to the firm’s esports betting platform and will see its token added to its ecosystem.
Per the announcement, Atari’s token will be available for use on Unikrn’s shopping, betting and gaming services. Unikrn co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft Ventures Rahul Sood explained that he believes betting will be an important part of the future of esports:
“We know the wagering will be an increasingly driving force in the game industry’s future development, and we can’t wait to get the benefits of this partnership to Unikrn’s community.”
Atari Bets On Crypto
Atari is a gaming firm founded in California in 1972 that turned out such classic titles as Frogger, Pac-Man, Pong, Asteroids and Space Invaders.
After developing and launching video games in the 70s and 80s, the firm is now betting on the application of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to the gaming industry.
In May, Atari first partnered with Arkane — a blockchain firm specializing in the integration of tokens into videogames — and announced an initial coin offering to be held this year and the development of two crypto assets: the Atari and Pong tokens.
Blockchain Game Economy ‘Will Be Bigger Than Japan’s’
Hironao Kunimitsu, the founder of Tokyo social gaming firm Gumi, spoke about the future of gaming and NFTs at Cointelegraph Japan’s Traders Live last week.
Hironao Kunimitsu, the founder of Tokyo social gaming firm Gumi, believes that blockchain-based trading of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in video games will grow to become ‘more valuable than Japan’s entire economy’.
Kunimitsu was speaking about the future of gaming and NFTs at Cointelegraph Japan’s Traders Live last week.
NFTs bring economic activities to gaming. They’re unique tokens representing a specific item. For example, an NFT can give game users proof of ownership of game items and characters. These can then be traded for cryptocurrencies at exchanges such as OpenSea.
In Minecraft some players build lots of houses, but at present they can show other people their efforts and that’s about it. But an NFT token that provides ownership of the house is a different story.
“If blockchain guarantees that ‘this house is the only one existing in the world’, there will be someone who wants to pay to get it. If the number of particular furniture available is ten, if the number of clothes for aviators made by Gucci is limited to one hundred, if the supply of lands, buildings, etc. are also limited, they become valuable”.
Big In Japan
The potential scale is huge: Fortnight has about 150 million players per month and Minecraft is not far off. Kunimitsu points out “that is bigger than Japanese population” and if they start adopting blockchain technology, the value of game items in their worlds will surge.
“Now Facebook’s Zuckerberg is developing Libra. They are also doing the VR business through Oculus. In the near future if a game world with more than 100 million, 200 million, even 300 million population is born, [by using blockchain] you can trade game items as assets and Libra may become a base currency. Then you will see the economy bigger than Japan is emerging”
Parents Will Want Kids To Play
Moreover, Kunimitsu thinks the new world of blockchain gaming may change children’s education. “For now the amount of time you use for playing video games doesn’t bring any value,” he said.
“Playing sports like baseball and soccer is somehow OK. Studying is of course OK. Your parents won’t scold their child for doing them. Why are you studying so much? Why are you playing soccer so much? They wouldn’t say it. But they will say why you are playing video games so much. This is because it is a waste of time.”
Kunimitsu believes the kind of attitude toward video games will change as blockchain games become prevalent — and more valuable. “Playing Minecraft for an unlimited amount of time you can build a magnificent house and sell it to the people who are good at making money in the real world”, said Kunimitsu. “There will be lots of elementary school students who earn a lot”
“Children will no longer be scolded by their parents for playing video games.”
Kunimitsu is also the president of The Blockchain Contents Association (BCA) based in Tokyo and a director of double jump.tokyo, a blockchain gaming developer behind My Crypto Heroes and Brave Frontier Heroes.
Counter-Strike Superstars to Play in Crypto-Powered Tournament
Couter-Strike superstars with two million fans will participate in a crypto-powered tournament, while fans will be able to bet on the outcome with crypto tokens.
Esports superstars of the popular first-person-shooter game Counter-Strike will participate in a crypto-powered tournament where fans will be able to bet with crypto tokens.
The tournament is sponsored by Verasity — an attention based platform for video, gaming and entertainment rewards with a native VRA token.
The tournament will feature Nathan Schmitt (NBK) and Asia’s best player Kevin Susanto (Xccurate), who according to the press release, have two million fans worldwide. Verasity has signed a long-term deal with the players agents. The company is also in the process of obtaining a gambling license in Curaçao.
VRA Aims To Take On The Basic Attention Token
The concept of the VRA token sounds a lot like the Brave browser’s Basic Attention Token (BAT), however, the company CEO RJ Mark Hain told Cointelegraph that VRA has some major advantages over its better-known competitor — it is environment agnostic and 100% of the revenue goes to the content creator.
Hain said, “The publisher has to get on board with using BAT for getting monetization by those rewards. What we do is entirely different. We don’t have anything to do with a browser. If you work for a large publication like Bloomberg, Bloomberg has a video player which is powered by Brightcove. […] And Bloomberg wants to have a reward, whether it be Crypto or anything else.
They take our SDK, it takes them about a half hour to install it, and then they control the monetization of all of that, of everything that goes on inside of that video player and ad stack for themselves.”
According to Hain, Verasity is trying to capitalize on the COVID-19 induced e-gaming boom. However, in the future, they may expand to other games like chess and even globally popular sports like soccer and basketball.
KittieFIGHT Mortal Kombat For Cryptokitties Launches On Ethereum Testnet, With Ether Jackpot Competition
KittieFight is Mortal Kombat for Cryptokitties. For every fight match, there is an Eth & KTY token jackpot to be won in every game. The ETH & KTY tokens are awarded and shared between players in winning groups/coalitions of fight match sessions.
These Fight matches utilize customized fighting kittie avatars derived from the Cryptokitties platform and Crytokittie’s holders. Both/opposing sides in games start off with a level 50% winning probability, but the best performance based on the collective and incremental and frequent Ether bets actually wins game..
Fight matches on the KittieFIGHT platform are interesting experiments in opposing coalition competition over vast sums of money, and additional competition between players within the same coalition or group with various interesting group behavioral outcomes. You can read more about the game theory dynamics in the whitepaper here
KittieFIGHT’s kittie avatar are actually controlled by supporting players. Just like how the cheering crowd at a boxing match motivates boxers to box, in the case of kittyFight, the crowd bet on each kitty they are in support of, causing their kitty to attack the opponent. The supporters choose which cat to bet on, resulting in action on the part of the chosen cat. The actions are as a result of bets placed on the blockchain.
The outcome of the betting results of each crowd participant causes events emitted from the blockchain api service to the front-end/UX resulting in kitty animation actions (punching, scratching, etc). The actions result in damage which is reflected in opposing cat through vibration and or shaking or blocks.
Bets are comprised of two requirements from a supporter; KTY Tokens and Ether. The size of Eth contributed in a bet by each supporting bettor over the lifetime of the game, also determines if the supporting bettor is eligible to win the lion ‘s share of honeypot/jackpot.
Tokens are also paid into the system as a means to prevent spam, address fees, thereby increasing utility, consequently increasing demand and value of KTY tokens as the platform awareness grows. Players can enter to compete and earn Eth and KTY tokens freely as long as they already own kitties from the Cryptokitties network.
Supporting bettors do not need to have NFT kitties from the Cryptokitties network. The Ether and KTY tokens in each honeypot associated with each game serves as incentive to pay required fees in KTY tokens in-order to participate in a game.
Games scheduled over several intervals can be accessed and joined from the marketplace portal. Games are created from previously listed Cryptokitties NFT kitties by the owners of the Kittie NFT. There is a limit to daily games played, but such limits will be removed as resources become unbounded.
The marketplace displays scheduled games, Newly listed NFT kitties and dead kitties. Dead kitties are kitties stuck in kittieHELL forever and kittieHELL is a place where losers of fight matches are sent to be memorialized but never to be used again.
Playing First Public Testnet Game
From the marketplace you can join the first ever public game to be held on NOV 2nd 2019 here .
To join a fight, you will need to have Ethereum rinkeby KTY tokens and Rinkeby Ether to pay the transaction fees. Join the discord and receive free test ETH and tokens to play. . Also follow this guide to learn how to play.
Special Place In Hell For Losers
As explained above; kittieHELL is a place where losers of fight matches are sent to be memorialized but never to be used again. This is true with the exception that you can redeem a losing kittie within a certain amount of time as long as the price to redeem is paid within that time frame.
In order to fulfill the redemption price from kittieHELL, several hundred NFT kitties must be BURNED and a fee in KTY tokens proportional to winning kitties earning, must be paid within a certain time frame.
The burned kitties can be almost worthless kitties costing less than $0.0001 thus enabling a potentially expensive NFT kittie to be redeemed. The main Idea is that the mechanism creates scarcity for the Cryptokitties platform enabling the Cryptokitties community to benefit from rise in value through scare kitties.
Summary & Competition
We will be holding a set of public testnet games on NOV 2nd 2019 and NOV 9th 2019 and the very first Ethereum Main- Net Game on Nov / Dec 2019. For both testnet game dates, $500 will be credited to the top 10 bettors in Ether. The top 2 bettors in each testnet game will be each be awarded additional $500.
Actual top bettors from the First (NOV 2nd 2019) and second (NOV 9th 2019) testnet games are chosen as Black-corner and Red-corner for first main-net game competition. All Payouts are in Main-net Ether and KTY Token, scheduled for our main net release Nov / Dec 2019.
Main net launch date is affected and determined by the speed by which smart contract audits are finalized. Please check the following ledger for the rules of the competition and expected payout dates.
Pokereum: Decentralized Ethereum Poker High level Overview And Multi-Party Computation Library
Pokereum is a Provably fair global and decentralized poker platform built on the ethereum blockchain. Pokereum uses a real time p2p RTC Telehash library to leverage high speed peer to peer interactions, collaborative cryptographic security and Ethereum blockchain with decentralized storage technology to provide trustless interaction between players and historical accuracy and provable fairness.
Pokereum was the first Decentralized poker to be announced on the Ethereum Blockchain. As explained in the previous post, The project had begun development with a draft whitepaper dating back 2013 and was presented to some corporate outfits who are now building similar competing products.
Nevertheless the resources to be provided are useful for any project or organization to build upon and for the progression of decentralized poker.
Today rather than pitch industry scandals and “well sounding solutions” to satiate the average poker enthusiast’s appetite, this little pie slice of a publication is giving full insight into one component layer of our internals: our Multi party computation library , without the security and encryption of our Shadow Poker Protocol.
We will also be doing another publication on Shadow Poker (part 2); our brand of mental poker that represents the key to unlocking a properly working decentralized smart contract dependent poker system as first specified in this working white paper back in 2013.
Any projects hoping to build decentralized poker can hopefully fine test/fine tune these libraries for integration and or improvement. Pokereum is a venture dapp governed by the SuperDAO organization.
Brief Technical Overviews
* Network & Routing
* Jury Observers
* Ethereum light client integration & Payment channels
* Pokereum RTC Multi-Party Computation
* Shadow Poker
The pokereum whitepaper is in a constant state of improvement as we iterate and conclude on the most viable specification. A final specification will be available by early 2017 to be published for any academic research. for now it resides in this public repository undergoing changes every now and again.
Network & Routing
Before we talk about actual p2p poker gameplay, it is important to note that the bootstrapping process is an important part of any decentralized network which involves seeding the network with initial nodes to provide signaling mechanisms to other node looking to join the network.
The pokereum global network will eventually build upon the whisper protocol using “Topics” to broadcast player ip addresses and ports and also game sessions for global redundancy, this is already built into our implementation but not used.
But For now the proof of concept uses adhoc server routers to signal and establish the Telehash connection links. Once the links are up there is no need for the router during gameplay. Sample router library is provided here: lib, if you are interested in testing out the system.
An important part of of the pokereum network games, are jury observers using challenge-response mechanism for game state finality. A similar but changed scheme to POI (Proof of Importance) pioneered by the NEM platform, in this case amount and velocity of money spent counts as a reputational component towards the most trusted juror observers eligible for observation roles.
An incentive network payment scheme to motivate honest juror participators while punishing fraudulent jurors through forfeited bonds is enough to enforce honest gameplay in the network.
Ethereum Light Client Integration
The final layer of integration is by way of Ethereum light clients. From the recent developments with IPFS, we would have seamless access to the blockchain and decentralized storage wrapped up in a small light-weight electron desktop client.
Also, naturally, payment and state channels moderated by SuperDAO autonomous smart contracts would ensure payments between players are unhindered and efficient.
Under The Hood : Pokereum RTC Multi-Party Computation
The above was supposed to be a 3-player demo, but it was impossible due to network connections. As you can see its pretty surreal and fun sending simple messaging and multi-computed, synchronized game state update messaging.
Mental Poker VS Shadow Poker Note
It is important to note that order-independent commutative encryption or 3 pass protocol as some are touting as a snake oils solution has been shown to be an historically non-viable solution to a real time, multi-player game strategy suitable for the marketplace. If someone tries to sell you that as a viable market solution, run for the hills! It is however a nice feel good experiment in collaborative security test.
Part of our shadow poker protocol is one in which card permutations are pre-computed. Yes, thats right, precomputed. The trick is you need a very large number of permutations and clever collaborative random selection, masking and unmasking schemes, with thresholds and more, all without outrageous gas cost while using smart contracts, oh my! More on that later 🙂
Virtue Poker Adds Phil Ivey As Adviser
Ivey, widely considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game, will lend his expertise in a variety of areas. First, he will assist with product development, helping the Virtue team fine-tune their nearly finished poker client.
Second, he can use his extensive contacts in the poker world to expand relationships for the company, adding value through increased reach and brand awareness. Finally, he can provide valuable info about the state of the poker world, from possible target markets to new and innovative game offerings.
“I’m looking forward to serving as a strategic adviser to the Virtue Poker team,” Ivey said through a press release. “I believe their new peer-to-peer solution built using blockchain technology can add significant value to the online poker experience.”
The announcement of Ivey’s involvement comes just months after his fellow poker superstars Brian Rast and Dan Colman teamed with the Ethereum-based business as ambassadors and the company announced its ambitious mission.
A Refresher on Virtue Poker
On the surface, Virtue Poker looks functionally similar to other online poker rooms. Players sit at a virtual table, get dealt hole cards, and click on buttons that correspond to poker actions like betting, checking and folding.
Under the hood, however, things operate quite differently.
Virtue aims to solve two age-old issues with online poker: trust in the fairness of the software and trust in the operator as a neutral party that holds player funds in escrow. In both cases, blockchain technology is the key.
When it comes to the software, random number generators have long been the engine driving online poker software. Virtue employs a program called Mental Poker, a peer-to-peer card shuffling protocol. All players seated at the table contribute to the card shuffling, so company employees have no capability to see players’ cards.
“Instead of trusting a random number generator from an operator stored in some offshore server, every single player has an RNG built into the machine that they utilize and they shuffle the deck for each hand played on the platform,” said Virtue co-founder Ryan Gittleson.
The long and sometimes sordid history of online poker has been littered with less-than-scrupulous sites that made off with or misused player funds. Poker players have become understandably wary at this point of trusting sites with the money after seeing the likes of Lock Poker, Ultimate Bet and even industry giant Full Tilt Poker prove less than liquid when it came time to pay up.
Virtue completely eliminates that potential issue because the site never actually controls player funds.
Players use their cryptocurrency to fund a digital wallet. They can then buy in, sending the funds into an escrow via an Ethereum smart contract. When the game ends, the contract executes and automatically pays out winnings.
Algorand Joins Blockchain Gaming Alliance After Bringing Chess To DLT
Algorand to provide creation of nonfungible tokens for the gaming industry within the Blockchain Game Alliance.
An American blockchain technology startup, Algorand, has joined a major blockchain gaming association, the Blockchain Game Alliance, or BGA.
Algorand, known for providing technology to a number of national digital currency projects, is now officially a BGA member. They join more than 60 BGA companies, such as ConsenSys and MakerDAO, according to the BGA website.
Announcing the news on July 2, Algorand said that the firm will be contributing to the BGA as a member and supporting sponsor.
Bringing Online Gaming On Blockchain
By joining the alliance, Algorand wants to bring a number of benefits to the gaming industry. These include the simple creation of nonfungible tokens, or NFT as well as new monetization models. Algorand promises to provide increased network speed, reduced transaction costs, expanded market opportunities for players and publishers, and “community ownership of the entire gaming ecosystem.”
Founded in 2019, the BGA intends to boost blockchain adoption in gaming. They also seek to represent blockchain gaming and major game industry events with sponsorship from leading technology companies.
Shamir Ozery, marketing programs director at Algorand, highlighted that the new partnership will contribute significantly to mainstream acceptance of blockchain tech in the gaming industry. He wrote:
“Our partnership with the BGA is an opportunity to spread awareness about blockchain technologies and encourage adoption by highlighting their potential to foster new ways to create, publish, play, and build strong communities around games.”
Algorand Is A Major Technology Provider Globally
The news comes shortly after Algorand was recently selected to record official chess ratings on blockchain as FIDE Online Arena launched digital games. To commemorate the opening of the Algorand-based chess ratings, Algorand founder Silvio Micali played a round of chess against chess grandmaster, Sergey Karjakin, on June 18.
Founded in 2017, Algorand is a major blockchain project focused on creating a transparent system for decentralized projects and applications. The Algorand protocol has been widely implemented worldwide, with the Republic of the Marshall Islands selecting Algorand as a technology partner for the country’s national digital currency in March 2020.
Algorand’s native token, ALGO, was originally distributed through an initial exchange offering on the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance. It is now among the top 100 cryptocurrencies by market cap.
Record Revenue For Blockchain Gaming Company During Pandemic
Animoca Brands, the firm behind noted NFT-powered games The Sandbox and F1 Delta Time, has reported record revenue amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
Animoca Brands, the firm behind blockchain-powered games The Sandbox, F1 Delta Time, and Crazy Defense Heroes, has reported unaudited revenue for the first four months of 2020 of $7.34 million amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first quarter was Animoca Brands’ strongest on record with $4.33 million in revenue, followed by a record month with $3 million during April.
Animoca Brands held $6.08 million in fiat and crypto assets at the end of April. Roughly $770,000 of the company’s holdings comprised Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), alongside $1.12 million in various altcoins.
Animoca attributed the increase in its crypto holdings to successful sales involving non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for its titles The Sandbox, F1 Delta Time, and Crazy Defense Heroes.
NFTs Drive ‘Property Rights Revolution’
Speaking to Cointelegraph, the founder of Animoca Yat Siu, recounted discovering NFTs in 2017 after acquiring a small Vancouver-based company called Fuelpowered — whose co-founder, Mik Naayem, also co-founded CryptoKitties.
Yat Siu likened the impact that NFTs will have on gaming to the introduction of property rights to feudal Europe, asserting that ownership over in-game items compensates gamers for the time and labor that they invest into playing games.
The entrepreneur also discussed the firm’s strategy of acquiring established gaming companies with loyal users and making the benefits of blockchain technology available to them. He said that mainstream blockchain adoption in a gaming context may be contingent on clever game design that conceals the complexities of blockchain technology.
“We’re not just acquiring a talented team […] but acquiring customers that already play the game […] We’re not acquiring them because we are just wanting them to continue to make mobile games. We have a very clear directive to ultimately move them onto the blockchain.”
COVID-19 And Gaming Firms
Yat Siu noted that while the coronavirus pandemic was the catalyst for a significant increase in game users in the short term, some gamers may drop-off as the world returns to normalcy.
However, Siu believes that the coronavirus lockdown has fostered a “change in behavior” among many new and ‘born-again’ gamers that will last into the longer-term — with gaming becoming a cornerstone of their entertainment-seeking rituals.
ESPN Global To Launch The Future of E-sports – The Perfect Pairing Of Online Gaming And Blockchain
London, U.K. : E-Sports Programming Network (ESPN Global) recently integrated online gaming with Blockchain technology. It is a unique Blockchain based gaming revolution, wherein you can win cash by winning battles and tournaments. With their premium membership, one gets priority access to slots, and super early access to the most sought after games. The platform is under pre-launch phase and later will allow players to make deposits and withdrawals using bitcoin and other variety of crypto-currencies.
Crypto-currency payment specialists “Cryptopay” is being used by ESPN Global, to make the process a lot simpler, swift and secure.
As for ESPN Global, it is the mobile e-Sports platform based in UK. It is run by ESPN Global Corporation Ltd., headquartered in Poland. It offers some of the most popular games in one application. It is a format where users choose a game and can join a group of participants. Users can compete with each other in real time and winner is announced on the basis of highest score.
“As per a research done by 3EA Limited, a global strategic management consulting group, e-sports and online gaming is a $140 billion global industry driven predominantly by digital micro-transaction economies, which we believe will benefit immensely from the integrity and resilience of the Blockchain technology,” said Mr. Chris Parker, one of the Directors of ESPN Global. With the Blockchain system, you can verify and support extreme levels of simple transactions without the need for a centralized platform, and this is what industries are seeing as the most attractive feature.
Apart from this, ESPN Global is also integrating the recently launched game Satoshi’s Treasure. This game is based on Blockchain, and is named after Satoshi Nakamoto, the father of bitcoin. As per Mr. Parker, “With this $1 million puzzle game Satoshi’s Treasure, we are promising a bounty-laden bitcoin wallet whose keys will be divided into 1,000 fragments, spawning a global hunt for the prize pieces.”
In further conversation with Mr. Parker, he told us about the future planning of this incorporation. He said “Apart from further advancement in our application and integration of more exciting Blockchain based games, our Incorporation is intended to launch IEO (Initial Exchange Offering) of our own SGT (Smart Gaming Token) based on ERC-20 platform, once we built a good E-sport community.
From the day we start our operations, we will be giving airdrops of SGTs to all registered players as a gift. Not only this, all players who will loose money by participating in any games or tournaments, their losses will be covered by our corporation and their ERC wallets will be credited with our SGT airdrops which will be equivalent to their losses.”
As per ESPN Global, the current valuation of SGT airdrop is $0.001, which will increase with time as our community grows.
For their premium members, ESPN provides 2X SGTs against the amount of super-contest. This means one can get back every penny one has invested and this can be used to bet and earn more. Also, they said that if their premium members lose a game, he will get back his initial investment in the form of SGT airdrops.
A user also gets a referral bonus for every player joining through their referral link. All earnings can be directly encashed.
The company also announced the launch of Game Developers Console by January, 2022 where Gaming Studios and Independent Game Developers across the globe can launch their games on the platform. Interesting gaming experiences to look out for, indeed.
BnkToTheFuture: Max Keiser, Charlie Lee, Samson Mow & Simon Dixon Discuss “Infinite Fleet”Gaming Token And Project
By launching one of the first security tokens build upon Bitcoin using Liquid, investors can now co-invest with Charlie Lee & Heisenberg Capital in the Bitcoin Liquid powered massively multiplayer online (MMO) strategy game created by Blockstream CSO Samson Mow exclusively on BnkToTheFuture.com.
Cayman Islands, 30th July 2020. BnkToTheFuture, the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech & crypto companies, has announced today the addition of a unique security token equity offering for its non-U.S. investors – the revolutionary massively multiplayer online (MMO) space strategy game with a crypto asset in-game currency, Infinite Fleet. Infinite Fleet will be joining other BnkToTheFuture clients that have raised through BnkToTheFuture including Kraken, BitFinex, BitStamp and portfolio companies Coinbase, Blockchain.com, Circle and many others.
The publishing company of Infinite Fleet, Exordium Limited, is raising funds in the form of a security token offering to support the game’s development. The company’s private fundraising round so far has been supported by crypto industry visionaries such as Charlie Lee (inventor of Litecoin), Adam Back (CEO of Blockstream), and Max Keiser (Keiser Report and Heisenberg Capital), and BnkToTheFuture has managed to secure an exclusive allocation for the remainder of the fundraising round.
With a mission to revolutionize online gaming and virtual assets Infinite Fleet chose to partner with BnkToTheFuture, the company disrupting equity investing. BnkToTheFuture has a network of over 90,000 qualified investors and has enabled compliant equity funding rounds for a variety of established crypto firms, such as BitFinex and Kraken, having now facilitated almost $850m of investments in the sector.
“The world is changing rapidly and companies must adapt and innovate. Infinite Fleet will be the first proper video game to truly bring together gaming and cryptoassets,” said Samson Mow, the creator and visionary behind Infinite Fleet.
Infinite Fleet’s implementation of a cryptoasset as its in-game currency means that players will have the power of extracting value from the game to the real world, with the intermediary process becoming frictionless. Existing MMO games such as Second Life and EVE Online already have massive in-game GDPs of $500+ million, and they are proof of the massive monetary potential of in-game economies, especially as our world moves further into digitization post-pandemic.
“I love the fact that Bitcoin is being integrated into non-financial applications through liquid security tokens and look forward to supporting new innovative ways of building adoption for Bitcoin in gaming and fundraising” Simon Dixon, CEO BnkToTheFuture.com
Qualification to invest is dependent on the investors local securities laws, but the platform is designed to be as inclusive as laws permit. Qualifying investors are able to now invest as little as $1,000 USD to gain equity exposure in Infinite Fleet through BnkToTheFuture. Investors Can Check If They Qualify To Invest By Signing Up.
BnkToTheFuture is a global Online Investment Platform allowing qualifying investors to build their investment portfolio in the equity of Crypto & FinTech companies, security tokens and other new alternative financial products. BnkToTheFuture was the very first securities business in the crypto market launching shortly after Bitcoin in 2010 and now has a community of 90,000+ qualified investors from all over the world who have invested over $850m in funding rounds listed on its online investment platform. BnkToTheFuture portfolio companies include Coinbase, Circle, Blockchain.com, Kraken, BitStamp, BitFinex, ShapeShift, BitPay, Ripple Labs and over 100 others. For more info visit.
About Infinite Fleet
Infinite Fleet is a sci-fi themed MMO strategy PC game to be published by Exordium Limited. The game will have strategic cooperative combat and all the social and economic elements of an MMO game. Unlike typical “blockchain games” which have been little more than tokenized card trading, Infinite Fleet is developed by a serious team of AAA game designers who hail from top game studios such as Relic, BioWare, EA, and Ubisoft, and it will provide mainstream gamers with the deep game experience they expect. Infinite Fleet stands out from traditional MMO games such as EVE Online or World of Warcraft in that its in-game currency will be a cryptoasset issued on the Liquid Network of Bitcoin, thus giving tremendous incentive to players as they have the option of extracting their in-game assets out to their personal wallets or third-party exchanges. This non-intrusive implementation of crypto aims to give millions of mainstream gamers the option of learning about crypto, without forcing anyone to buy crypto beforehand or using complex plugins. For more information on Infinite Fleet, please visit: infinitefleet.com
Here You Can Find More Details Of This Exclusive Fundraising Round of Infinite Fleet
The Evolution of Blockchain Games: Three Major Stages
There are certain stages that we need to go through before we are able to challenge and potentially replace the existing and proven gaming systems.
When CryptoKitties burst onto the scene back in November 2017, we had our first taste of load-testing a blockchain solution at scale. Congestion spiked, and we saw glimpses of how far away we were from mass adoption being a realistic achievement.
After setting about increasing “birthing fees,” in search of a better solution, the game continued to prove popular with both collectors and breeders and ignited the imaginations of countless developers and gaming communities.
Stage One: Copy And Paste
By taking a nonfungible token and attaching it to a regular video game, we introduce a basic economy that differs from the existing model of in-game “soft gold.” The NFT is a record of ownership, is transferable, and, in some instances, can be swapped for other fungible cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies.
NFTs also guarantee an item’s uniqueness and signify it is one of a kind, different to all the others in circulation. Therefore, if you are selling thousands of the same item in a game that has the same purpose, you can also substitute the NFT with a fungible payment method.
It’s no wonder we have seen many older style games make an appearance on blockchains after failing to monetize the game on traditional platforms. After all, who wants to spend hundreds of hours playing a game to win something that is worthless? By giving items a “badge” of uniqueness, they suddenly become worth something, especially if someone else will pay for them.
So, the first stage is to take a game that already exists, make the in-game items nonfungible, do little-to-no blockchain integration, launch it on a chain with a massive audience and network effect, and call it a blockchain game.
Many games and developers have settled for this outcome once they realized the limitations with scaling, price, security and complexity.
Stage Two: Meet Me Halfway
The second stage is where games with real potential, traction or an existing user base realize that they simply can’t scale on some chains or that running the game is cost-prohibitive and, therefore, start looking at other newer options. Some may qualify for a grant or a payment to build the game on a particular chain but then have the added complexity of dealing with less proven technology, smaller audiences and more unknowns.
In this instance, those with every intention of building on-chain quickly work out that there are too many trade-offs. So, they put partial functionality on-chain and leave the rest to legacy systems and platforms.
The idea of melding items from other games together to combine value, to increase powers, etc. is a novel concept and one made better by the fact the transaction can be reversed. This is a great use case for NFTs in games, for shared gaming economies, and it’s a step in the right direction for games that share the same NFT technology.
Stage Three: The Holy Grail (Mass Adoption Ready)
You could argue that mass adoption will be achieved when you have 100% game logic on-chain — it’s a mobile app that can scale fast and securely. Many have set out with this end goal in mind and have ended up having to adopt a close-enough-is-good-enough mentality, for now.
Why is it the Holy Grail? Approximately 50% of all PC and console gamers spend money in-game. This number increases to 75% for mobile gamers. In addition, 44% say the payment methods need to be improved, and 19% have fallen victim to fraud.
If blockchain technology can offer a better solution to those that already exist, then gaming companies using the technology will be well-positioned to compete for the $159.3 billion that gamers spend each year. Blockchain technology can add incredible value in different ways for different games by offering some or all of the following:
* Identity Verification Where Required.
* Provably Fair Outcomes.
* Funds Custody/Escrow Through Smart Contracts.
* Immutable Player History And Records.
* Proof Of Ownership Of In-Game Assets.
However, this won’t happen without significant challenges. In addition to trying to execute a full 100% logic on-chain game comes the challenge of which chains can actually facilitate this. Do they have the traction needed for adoption, and do they have the tools to make the onboarding experience smooth enough to convert existing blockchain gamers across? And most importantly, will they convert traditional gamers?
There are a few games that fit this bill in production at the moment, and only time will tell how successful they are. To those who are building these roads for the rest of us to travel down, we salute you.
‘The Sandbox’ Game Announces $3M Token Sale Through Binance Launchpad
Highly anticipated blockchain game The Sandbox has announced a token sale for its SAND utility tokens later this month through Binance’s Launchpad platform.
Blockchain-powered gaming experience, The Sandbox, will hold a $3 million token sale for the ecosystem’s main utility token, SAND. The sale will be held through the Binance Launchpad platform.
The initial exchange offering, or IEO, will start on Aug. 13. This follows a private round investment by Binance Labs and will be only the third token sale held on Binance’s token launch platform so far this year.
Sandbox Already Making Big Waves
The Sandbox is a community-driven platform that allows users to play, create, and monetize gaming experiences within its metaverse.
It has already held a number of presales for its LAND tokens, representing virtual space in the game. As Cointelegraph reported, both the second and third pre-sales sold out — the third in just five hours. The fourth LAND presale is currently underway.
The platform has also secured over 50 partnerships with other companies in the gaming space. This has included a $2 million investment round in Q3 2019, led by Japanese developer and publisher, Square Enix.
Gaming giant Atari has also brokered a deal to create versions of classic games like Asteroids, Centipede, Pong, and newer creations such as Rollercoaster Tycoon within the Sandbox platform.
Levelling Up With Binance Involvement
SAND is the main utility token in the Sandbox metaverse, and will be used by gamers and creators to buy and sell LAND and ASSETS, and provide rewards to creators and LAND holders. It will also allow holders a chance to participate in decentralized governance.
The Sandbox co-founder and CEO, Arthur Madrid, explained to Cointelegraph the benefits of partnering with Binance, and the unprecedented engagement it has had with players during the recent period of global lockdowns:
“There is an incredible expectation around the Metaverse concept and economy, and we do believe millions of players are interested in exploring the benefits of decentralization, interoperability, and the creator’s ecosystem. Having Binance as a partner will help The Sandbox to bridge the gap and help on boarding the Roblox and Fortnite generation to a new gaming experience where they can own, earn and trade everything in the game.”
The $3 million token sale will start on Aug. 13 at 6:00am UTC. As with other IEOs held on the Binance platform, it will take on a lottery format. Users will be able to claim up to ten tickets based on their average Binance Coin (BNB) holdings in the seven days preceding the sale.
A maximum of 15,000 winning tickets will then be drawn, each being allocated 2,400 SAND tokens at a total price of $200.
Binance’s involvement, both as an investor and host for the token sale, brings benefits such as easy future trading of the in-game tokens on the Binance exchange. Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao, commented:
“We are delighted to welcome The Sandbox to the Binance ecosystem. We hope that together we will be able to spread the power of blockchain as the lead technology in the gaming industry.”
Samson Mow’s Infinite Fleet Game Raises $3.1M On BnkToTheFuture
Exordium Limited raised more than $3M through sales of its EXO security token for Infinite Fleet from investors including Adam Back and Charlie Lee.
Pixelmatic’s Infinite Fleet space adventure game raised more than $3 million within 24 hours from investors including Adam Back and Charlie Lee.
According to a statement from Pixelmatic, shared with Cointelegraph, the game created by Blockstream CSO and Pixelmatic CEO Samson Mow raised $3.1 million on global online investment platform BnkToTheFuture through sales of its EXO token.
A private funding round led by Litecoin (LTC) creator Charlie Lee, Blockstream CEO Adam Back, and Max Keiser, host of the Keiser Report went beyond Pixelmatic’s $3 million goal after an allocation on BnkToTheFuture sold out within 24 hours.
Infinite Fleet’s publisher Exordium Limited launched the EXO security token “representing equity and profit sharing rights” on Liquid Securities, a platform that sits on top of Bitcoin (BTC) sidechain Liquid Network.
Cointelegraph has reported that Infinite Fleet partnered with blockchain marketplace STOKR to launch a public security token offering (STO).
Combining Gaming And Crypto
The blockchain space strategy game features space stations, asteroid mining, fleets of spaceships and real time strategy style combat. Infinite Fleet uses players vs environment (PvE) collaborative play and will have a directed narrative, meaning that the actions and consequences of players in real time will have irreversible effects and be forever recorded into the game’s history and lore.
Infinite Fleet’s in-game currency, INF, is on the blockchain, but won’t require players to have an in-depth knowledge of crypto unless they decide to transfer assets out of the game. The company will reportedly make the token available for trading on crypto exchanges shortly after the game is launched.
“Infinite Fleet will be the first proper video game to truly bring together gaming and crypto assets,” said Mow, who created the game. He continued:
“Infinite Fleet not only aims to revitalize an MMO genre that has been lacking fresh ideas in recent years, but to potentially become the ‘Trojan Horse’ that brings mass adoption of cryptocurrency to mainstream gamers.”
Pixelmatic is planning on an alpha release for Infinite Fleet by the end of the year, with the full game ready in 2021.
Animoca Targets Non-Crypto Gamers By Developing Big Brand Games
The CEO of Animoca Brands, Yat Siu discussed his firm’s strategy of bringing the benefits of blockchain technology to non-crypto-native games with loyal audiences.
While investment is heating up in the blockchain gaming sector, a common criticism of crypto-powered games has been how to secure users from outside of the cryptocurrency space.
Blockchain gaming powerhouse, Animoca Brands, believes that acquiring mainstream games with loyal players and exposing them to the benefits of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) is the best way to attract new audiences into crypto.
Cointelegraph spoke to Yat Siu, the chief executive of Animoca Brands, to learn about his firm’s strategy for bridging the gap between the mainstream gaming and crypto worlds.
Animoca Brands has quickly emerged as a leading firm within the crypto gaming sector, securing a global licensing agreement with Formula 1 ahead of its F1 Delta Time release, and announcing a $3 million initial exchange offering (IEO) for its title The Sandbox on Binance’s launchpad last week.
Siu described The Sandbox as a prime example of how strategic acquisitions have allowed Animoca to capture non-crypto-native audiences and expose them to blockchain technologies.
“When we do acquisitions, we’re not buying companies that are necessarily blockchain-related,” Siu said. “When we acquired the company Excel, it was a traditional mobile game developer that had the Sandbox game that wasn’t yet fully on blockchain, although they had the vision to go there,” he continued.
“We’re not just acquiring a talented team that could make stuff on blockchain, but we are also acquiring customers that already play the game — and these are gamers that we can transfer over.“
A Stake In A Game’s Success
Siu emphasized that Animoca’s seeks to acquire games that “already have a captive audience that is already generating revenue [and] already loving the product as it is.”
“By giving it the benefits of blockchain technology, those gamers will get an additional benefit that we think is very powerful,” he added.
Siu described blockchain as driving a disruption to the gaming industry akin to the emergence of online gaming, but with very different concepts around “ownership and value.”
“Ownership allows [gamers] to actually have a stake in the success of the game.”
Unraveling The Blockchain And Crypto Gaming World One Click At A Time
The latest wave of incoming blockchain-enabled games promise AAA experiences for gamers, potentially exposing 2.5 billion people to crypto.
Regular readers will no doubt be aware of the high expectations currently being placed on the shoulders of blockchain gaming. For advocates of blockchain technology, there is the hope that tapping into the estimated 2.5 billion gamers worldwide will provide a huge leap toward mainstream adoption.
Blockchain and distributed ledger technology continue to make inroads into all kinds of industries as an increasing number of people discover and gain an understanding of the benefits that it can bring. From supply chain efficiencies through certification of authenticity and provenance to the immutable nature of information stored on a blockchain, the technology is already seeing ever-increasing interest.
In the last month alone, there have been announcements from firms associated with global brand names like Coca Cola, international shipping giants working with the Port of Rotterdam, and national governments such as the Philippines regarding blockchain technology implementations.
However, this impressive growth is still somewhat organic in nature despite the promotion of the technology by industry leaders and political advocates such as Chinese President Xi Jinping. It also does little to increase blockchain and cryptocurrency awareness among the general public.
The theory is that getting blockchain in front of a potential third of the world’s population, many of whom are already comfortable with in-game payments and currencies, could be the push that finally takes the technology mainstream. This may well feed back into increased adoption of cryptocurrency from gamers who are exposed to the underlying technology through blockchain gaming.
What Blockchain Can Do For Gaming
Some believe that the integration of blockchain technology has the ability to revolutionize the gaming industry. Known for its progressive nature, the gaming industry has been fairly quick to get on board, as Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a press release shared with Cointelegraph:
“The potential of blockchain and cryptocurrencies reaches far beyond the financial sector. Given the readiness of the gaming industry in its continuous evolution, especially in new technologies. […] Blockchain is becoming an essential part of game development and is set to change the global gaming industry.”
Blockchain brings a number of benefits to gaming, some of which are inherent blockchain attributes that apply to many industries. The transparency of blockchain technology can bring provably fair gameplay. Its security, meanwhile, can guard against fraudulent play or hacking. But perhaps the biggest evolution that blockchain has brought to gaming came with the development of nonfungible tokens.
Essentially, NFTs allow players to own their in-game items, characters and abilities and then trade these items with other players. CryptoKitties was the first game to implement NFTs, but the link between cryptocurrency and trading in-game items goes back way further than that.
At one point, Mt. Gox became the biggest Bitcoin (BTC) exchange in the world, but it fell victim to one of the most infamous Bitcoin exchange hacks of all time. However, the website first started as a card-trading platform and got its name from “Magic: The Gathering Online” (eXchange). One could say that the path of gaming and blockchain technology has come full circle.
Time To Roll Up The Sleeves
So far, Cointelegraph’s coverage of blockchain gaming has been focused on venture capital investments in gaming platforms, NFT pre-sales for forthcoming games, and technologies springing up to support the industry, such as decentralized exchanges for NFTs and platforms enabling developers to easily implement blockchain tech.
While there have been a few game reviews, these have generally been of sample games to show how the technology has been implemented. But if bringing gamers to blockchain technology can increase mass adoption, then Cointelegraph is ready to install the latest graphics drivers and start the grinding.
This means expanding the gaming coverage to include the exciting developments in the space from the gamers’ perspective, with one eye firmly on the blockchain technology, of course.
As a little teaser, here are just a handful of the games that will be looked at.
Age of Rust
Age of Rust is a first-person, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi adventure developed by SpacePirate Games. Featuring drop-dead gorgeous graphics, it combines exploration, stealth, combat and puzzles galore, some of which form an in-game treasure hunt with a prize fund worth 20 BTC.
While some puzzles are of the standard “move-the-block-to-reach-hidden-switch” type, others will require specific crypto-items in combination with one’s cognitive powers to solve. These can be collected in-game, traded, bought and sold. As part of the EnjinVerse, an ever-growing collection of games that allows in-game items to be shared, some of the items can be discovered within other games using the platform.
The game is blockchain to its core, and SpacePirate Games founder and CEO Chris LoVerme told Cointelegraph that: “One the reasons why we decided to build the game is to start to break down the walls that exist between gamers and crypto-based platforms.” The early beta release of the game is scheduled for this fall.
Neon District is a cyberpunk-themed role-playing game and the flagship release from developer Blockade. As players battle through enemies in a sci-fi dystopian environment, they collect unique items and abilities, all of which are represented as NFTs that can be bought, sold and traded with other gamers.
As Cointelegraph reported, the game has gone through a number of unfortunate delays, the latest of which was last month when the company announced a move to Ethereum layer two solution Matic after its original platform went AWOL.
However, there are plans to release Neon District experiences on web and mobile later this year, with a full release of Season One on Steam slated for 2021. Rest assured, Cointelegraph will be there to beta test this one when it becomes available.
Infinite Fleet, the highly-touted, massively-multiplayer online space strategy game from Samson Mow’s Pixelmatic, has been making headlines recently through various successful funding rounds.
The game will see players take control of a fleet of large spaceships protected by multiple small AI-controlled fighters. Featuring collaborative gameplay mixed with crypto incentives, Infinite Fleet unites gamers to defend against an invading alien threat.
Moreover, Mow has described the game as:
“The first proper video game to truly bring together gaming and crypto assets.” While the alpha test is still some way off, Cointelegraph will be getting involved and reviewing the game as soon as possible.
Hash Rush is a real-time strategy game where players must collect resources, build bases and manage armies. It features classic RTS mechanics, such as fog of war and an increasingly challenging opponent.
While an open beta version is currently available for anyone to download, the developer has prioritized gameplay for now, so blockchain features are still in development. However, the first elements of blockchain integration are promised to come online soon, and the eventual aim is to offer a “play-to-earn” model for those who want it.
The Sandbox has been around in one form or another since May 2012 when it was released on iOS. The latest 3D blockchain-enabled iteration has already been making news with its pre-sales of LAND packages and its recent native SAND token sale on the Binance Launchpad. It’s billed as a community-driven platform where creators can monetize the gaming experiences they create in an open-world sandbox environment.
The public beta of the game is slated to launch later this year, but in the meantime, Cointelegraph has been given access to the Game Maker Closed Alpha, a review of which will be landing on screens rather soon. Cointelegraph-themed gaming experiences will become available when the full game launches.
Game Review: Upland — Expanding Its Virtual Metaverse To Include NYC
A review of the public beta of blockchain property trading game Upland, following the launch of its second city, adding New York to the previous real estate in San Francisco.
Blockchain-based real estate trading game and DappRadar Top 5 gaming Dapp, Upland, has expanded its metaverse to include New York City, as of Aug 20.
The expansion adds virtual properties mapped to actual Manhattan addresses and will be opened in several phases, with the first bubble to launch being the Lower East Side. Further bubbles will cover Midtown, the Upper West Side, the Upper East Side and Chelsea.
At the same time, Upland will launch new districts in San Francisco, adding to the existing map.
While this may be very exciting news for some, it will undoubtedly leave others scratching their heads and wondering what this all means.
So after several hours of playtesting, Cointelegraph took this opportunity to review the public beta of Upland and explain what it’s all about.
Sign Me Up
Firstly, as the game is still in public beta it is being updated regularly and you may occasionally have issues.
As an example, when I first tried to play, all I saw was an empty map, save for a city hall building which told me it was under construction. Trying again on a different browser presented me with the expected log-in/sign-up window.
The game is also available for mobile devices on the iOS and Android app stores.
Whichever route you choose, you will want to use a bonus link like this one exclusively for Cointelegraph readers. This will net you 6,000 of Upland’s in-game currency, UPX, as opposed to the regular 3,000.
Once signed up, simply choose a design for your Block Explorer (essentially your playing piece), and away we go.
Upland’s virtual metaverse is overlaid onto the real-world map of San Francisco (and now New York). Street plans and building plots are accurately marked, which users can buy and later trade or sell.
Your Block Explorer (BE) will randomly move across the map, exploring nearby blocks. You may also see a number of other players’ BEs doing a similar thing.
Addresses/building plots will be a certain color depending on their status. Light blue addresses are already owned, dark green addresses are also owned but are up for sale. Bright green addresses and grey addresses are both unowned, the difference being that the bright green ones have been discovered by your BE and can be bought.
Buying a property is probably one of (if not the) first thing you want to do, although in hindsight I’d suggest being a little more careful than I was when choosing where. Knowing what would happen next would have given me a distinct advantage.
Buying an unowned property will result in a spanking new nonfungible token (NFT) being minted on the EOS blockchain. You will be the proud owner of said real-world token.
Your property will net you a passive income. My 4,000 UPX property pulls in around 60 UPX per month. In just five and a half years it will have paid for itself, and in less than three years I’ll have saved up enough to buy another.
But waiting three years doesn’t sound like much of a game, and knowing the housing market, prices will have gone up by then anyway. So what can I do?
Well, you can earn extra UPX for collecting… um, collections. A collection may include a number of properties in a certain part of town or a number of a certain property type. Owning a collection gives you an instant UPX bonus and an ongoing multiplier to your passive income, depending on its rarity.
Fortunately, the newbie collection requires ownership of just one property, which netted me an extra 800 UPX, and means I’m now bringing in 0.29 UPX every three hours instead of 0.28 UPX
Is That It?
At this stage I was a bit stuck. I couldn’t even try to flip the property I’d bought for a profit (not that anyone would have bought it, as next door was still freely available), because that requires Uplander status, and until my net worth reached 10,000 UPX I was classed as a lowly visitor.
After a bit of digging I discovered the possibility of treasure hunting. Treasures come online every so often, and hunters can click any minted property within range of the BE to get a clue to the treasure’s location.
The hunter then clicks another minted property (hopefully nearer the treasure) and can “send” his BE to that property for a fee set by the property owner. You can also set the fee (default 40 UPX) that people pay when they send their BEs to your property, but don’t rely on this to make your fortune either.
You then get another clue, then rinse and repeat until you find the treasure.
Except of course, that you won’t find the treasure, because somebody else will be much better at reading the clue. Most competitive treasures are gone within two minutes of generating.
You can also spawn a personal treasure which can be worth between 230 and 6,600 UPX. The hunting follows the same process, but you are playing against a 3-minute timer. You get one free treasure spawn per day, or you can choose to pay 100 UPX for additional treasures.
I actually managed to find around 50% of these within the time limit, and it was a fairly fun mini-game. Unfortunately, finding the treasures required an average of about five or six “sends,” meaning I could easily spend 300 UPX finding (or worse, not finding) a treasure.
Needless to say, my treasures were pretty much all 230 UPX, so rather than making money I was losing it. You also get a limited number of “sends” to other Uplanders’ properties and I occasionally ran out mid-hunt.
I wondered if I would have better luck in New York, so I “sent” myself to the airport. But the flights were 2,580 UPX (1 UPX per mile) so I couldn’t afford to go.
Pay To Play To Earn
So you might assume that my conclusion must be that the game isn’t worth playing. And certainly my experience, treasure hunts aside, involved a lot of waiting to see if anything would happen.
But I wasn’t really playing the game as perhaps it was intended.
You can, of course, buy additional UPX for fiat at a rate of $1 per 1,000 UPX.
Armed with a fistful of (virtual) dollars, and depending on your budget, you can buy up huge swathes of San Francisco and New York, completing multiple collections, buying up rare properties to flip for profit, and really making the most of the play to earn model (at least when fiat property trading is implemented).
Indeed, a bit of searching online revealed a guide recommending first steps to get the most out of a game on four budget tiers: $10, $100, $1,000 and $10,000.
If you’ve ever wondered who the idiots are dropping $99 on in-game tokens for mobile games, these figures might make you wince. However, those games are not blockchain-enabled and that $99 gets you nothing but the “respect” of your fellow players.
An investment in Upland is just that… an investment. And for those with money to spend and time to play, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find yourself with a healthy profit.
Upland is a great example of how blockchain can be implemented into this style of game. While it may not be my personal cup of tea, it will certainly appeal to fans of the genre.
And I might even go back myself and practice treasure hunting until I get good enough to reach Uplander status and truly own my properties. Until that point I have to renew my visa every seven days, or I’ll lose them.
Maybe then I could sell 750 Persia Ave for a profit and start playing properly. All serious offers accepted.
Gaming platform Ultra Integrates Theta Network For Live Streaming
Gamers will see previews of games being played live before purchase and can earn rewards to spend in the Ultra ecosystem for sharing streams.
Blockchain-powered gaming platform Ultra announced Sep. 3 that it will integrate Theta Network’s live streaming technology as part of its user experience.
The service will allow users to see games in action before making a purchase, and earn rewards that can be spent within the ecosystem.
Ultra is a game distribution platform using blockchain technology to bring new features to both players and developers. With a planned release in Q4 2020 it aims to disrupt the $160 billion gaming market by enabling gamers to play, discover, compete and socialize with zero friction.
When a user hits a particular game’s landing page they will see the game being played live via Theta streaming technology directly within the Ultra platform. Users can then earn rewards of both Theta (TFUEL) and Ultra (UOS) tokens for relaying the streams that they watch.
Streamers can also use the system to airdrop non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to fans and viewers, and earn rewards for promoting games on Ultra.
Theta Network is a peer-to-peer decentralized video platform that rewards viewers for sharing bandwidth and resources, which purportedly allows for high quality video streaming without expensive infrastructure.
As Cointelegraph reported, its partners and backers include Google, Binance and Samsung.
Ultra also has its big-name backers, including mainstream gaming giant, Ubisoft, and chip-maker AMD.
Its technology enables the injection of a bespoke user interface into 5,000 existing Direct X, OpenGL and Vulkan games to add functionality such as in-app purchases and NFT trading. It also comes with a software development kit (SDK) enabling porting of games from consoles and the Steam platform.
Ultra has set its sights on becoming a blockchain-enabled replacement for Steam, although it may have a fight on its hands.
Fellow gaming platform, Pavilion Hub from GOATi Entertainment, incorporates similar blockchain-based features into a platform which also allows players to directly purchase existing games on Steam. It also features streaming functionality via Twitch.
Blockchain Gaming Project Seeks To Go Mainstream With New Matic Network Migration
The company hopes to solve issues that were prevalent on its previous mainnet.
IGGalaxy is migrating away from Tron and onto the Matic Network. They hope that this move will allow their platform to go mainstream, while simultaneously avoiding what they referred to as “performance constraints of the Ethereum mainchain.”
IGGalaxy’s incentive-based economy offers tokens to players in exchange for their participation in video games, video content, and eSports. Naeem Shabir, co-founder of IGGalaxy, explained that the move to Matic’s network will hopefully provide a more “seamless” user experience, and help the company to gain greater mainstream traction:
“Leveraging Matic’s high throughput and cost-effective network will be crucial in achieving our mission to establish IGGalaxy as the space for social competitive gaming and esports.”
Cointelegraph recently interviewed Mac Ocampo, who is the head of growth at the blockchain entertainment outfit, Virtually Human Studio. Ocampo stated that the gaming sector faces a number of challenges — namely that “not all gamers are crypto traders, and not all crypto traders are gamers.”
Our analysis of upcoming blockchain-enabled games recently showed that some in the space are aiming to provide a AAA experience for gamers. If successful, figures indicate that these games could expose up to 2.5 billion people to crypto.
Blockchain Gaming Takes A Colossal Step Forward As Media Giant Announces New Offering
You’ve definitely heard of this major media player.
Multinational media and entertainment conglomerate, WarnerMedia, is joining the blockchain gaming ecosystem via its subsidiary, Turner Sports.
The company, which is responsible for sports broadcasts on channels such as TBS, TNT, and TruTV among others, recently announced “Blocklete Games”; a platform which will allow players to collect, train, trade, and compete with digital athletes while earning cash prizes.
This is all made possible through the implementation of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs — crypto tokens that are each verifiably unique, despite being issued under the same specifications as other tokens of their kind.
Fans who join Blocklete Games will be able to own digital athletes, called “Blockletes”. These players can be bought and sold through the gaming brand’s open marketplace platform. Thanks to their status as Ethereum tokens, each Blocklete has a special signature which ensures every player is one-of-a-kind.
Turner Sports also announced the platform’s first game, “Blocklete Golf” — a simulation game that offers NFT-backed “Blockletes” golfers.
Yang Adija, VP of business operations & strategy at Turner Sports, commented on the company’s interest in the blockchain sphere:
“With Blocklete Games, we see a transformational opportunity to give fans more control over the video gaming experience by reversing the conventional power dynamic between player and publisher. Our service leverages the blockchain such that anyone can play personalized sports games with their friends, with the potential to also generate a return on their investment in the game.”
WarnerMedia’s Turner Sports said that the company partnered with BitPay, enabling users to purchase Blockletes and Blocklete collectibles using Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), XRP, ETH, and other four dollar-pegged stablecoins (to be announced soon).
Back in July, Craig Russo, director of innovation at Polyient Games, said that the NFT market has come to represent one of the “most attractive opportunities” across all digital assets. He stated that immediate use cases were already being found within the art, collectibles, and even the gaming industries.
Germany-based Gaming Company Releases RPG On The Litecoin Blockchain
“It’s the first major game that utilizes the Litecoin blockchain for all of its interactions,” said LTC creator Charlie Lee.
In an online event prepared by the Litecoin Foundation on Sept. 15, Litecoin (LTC) creator Charlie Lee and CipSoft CEO Stephan Vogler announced the release of LiteBringer, a role-playing fantasy game which runs on top of the Litecoin blockchain.
“It’s the first major game that utilizes the Litecoin blockchain for all of its interactions,” Lee said.
Vogler stated the game is fully decentralized, meaning all users have to be running a Litecoin node to play. He also noted that access is completely dependent on players having at least some Litecoin on hand. The game reportedly includes a “Litecoin faucet”, which could allow some users to get a little Litecoin for free if they aren’t willing or able to transfer their own.
“Every move in the game is a transaction on the Litecoin blockchain that creates value,” said Vogler. “If you’re a good player, LiteBringer will live up to its name, and may bring you some Litecoins.”
According to Vogler, all weapons, characters, and items in LiteBringer are stored on the LTC blockchain. He assured viewers that the technology was “absolutely secure and decentralized”, as private keys are never transmitted. CipSoft reportedly chose the LTC blockchain for its popularity and the fact it carries low transaction fees of “less than a cent per transaction.”
CipSoft’s foray into blockchain-based RPGs isn’t the first time a blockchain or crypto firm has seen the potential of gamers to advance adoption.
In May, Atari announced that it had partnered with the Litecoin Foundation to allow gamers to pay for its upcoming Video Computer System. Infinite Fleet, an online game which utilizes crypto, is currently under the leadership of Blockstream Chief Strategy Officer, Samson Mow.
“Blockchain technology has huge potential for online gaming in general,” said Vogler. “I think there will be games for every popular blockchain sooner or later.”
Game review: Can ‘LiteBringer’ Do What It Says On The Tin?
Idle games are brilliant at soaking up your time and leaving you with nothing in return. But what if you could earn LTC in the process?
Among the many current and upcoming blockchain-enabled gaming titles, LiteBringer promises something different. It claims to be the first game running entirely on the Litecoin blockchain.
But can it live up to its name, and bring players Litecoin (LTC)? There was only one way to find out…
Pay To Play
The first thing to note about LiteBringer is that it really is played directly on the Litecoin blockchain. Every move that you make is a transaction and will require a mining fee (currently around 0.0014 Lites).
You will also need to get a subscription for every character that you wish to play with. Subscription fees are available for an initial period at a 90% discount, meaning that you currently pay just 2 Lites ($0.10) for around a month’s worth of blocks.
I started the game with around $0.50 worth of LTC and have subscriptions on four characters, with plenty of change to spend on as many quests as I can manage.
An idle-clicker RPG
The game has an RPG theme – think wizards, warriors, and thieves – but the quests don’t actually require much input, and LiteBringer is in essence a bit of an idle-clicker.
Available quests are green, quests you need to power-up for are red, and locked quests are grey. Choose from a loot, xp, or resources quest, and it will tell you how many blocks the quest will take. Then just click, pay the mining fee, and you’re off.
I really don’t like idle-clickers… because they’re so damn moreish.
“My life will surely be complete if I can just unlock the next upgrade.”
In LiteBringer you are levelling up your characters, finding loot to boost your stats, and collecting resources to boost the loot.
This is an idle addict’s dream/nightmare.
One thing I thought was really cool was that quest lengths are based on blocks. This really ties the game back to the blockchain and makes you (at least casually) consider the technology that powers it.
I.e. You will be cursing when you are waiting ten minutes for the supposedly two-and-a-half minute block which will complete your quest and allow you to click again.
A Trading Game
Of course, an idle clicker doesn’t really need a blockchain to run it, and the other element of LiteBringer is its trading marketplace.
This allows players to trade any and all of their in game items: from collected resources, to buffed equipment, to full characters.
Through the skillful purchase of the right equipment at the right price, players can leapfrog the early stages, and avoid some of the grind of levelling up.
However, having an allergy to spending my own money on work assignments, I decided to take the opposite route. Could I level something up in game and then sell it on the marketplace for a profit?
The added bonus is that anyone who wants to buy my gear will be paying in real Litecoin and not some proprietary in-game token that I have to then convert on an exchange.
During my idle-clicking phase, I had inadvertently buffed up some ‘pants of fire’ more than anything else. My challenge then, was to upgrade the pants to the maximum level of 15 (at which point they can still evolve into an even better pant) and try to sell them for more than the $0.50 I’d invested.
Suddenly my clicking wasn’t so idle. I spammed the resource quest with all four of my characters, farming fire for all I was worth. As everything levelled-up, quest lengths became longer and longer and my required input became more and more infrequent.
After a couple of days, I achieved my level 15 ‘pants of fire’ – actually ‘leggings of disarming’ (with a fire elemental) but who’s counting?
Play To Earn
I extracted the pants from my hero (which involved sending her on another quest), and created a “sell offer” for them. But how much should I ask for such a fine pair of leggings?
Unfortunately – and this is one element I would like to see changed in a future update – you can’t see what items have sold, only those that haven’t sold. This means that you don’t really have any idea of the value of things, only that certain things might be overpriced.
I had seen a couple of level 15 items listed at 210 Lites when I first looked at the marketplace. They were no longer there, but that didn’t necessarily mean that they had been sold.
I decided to put my pants up at a far more reasonable 120 Lites. Surely that would have the other players snapping? And it was more than 10x my initial stake in the game.
All I had to do now was wait… oh and why not click a bit more, while I’m here.
Winners (And Losers)
As mentioned above, I don’t like idle clickers, because I find them horribly addictive and will never get the time invested in them back. But what if I can get paid for my time?
LiteBringer’s clicking is just as compulsive as any other idle-game, although it doesn’t require constant observation. The shortest possible mission takes one block, so even if you have several characters, you might want to be doing something else at the same time.
Before you know it you’ll be going on half-hour quests, but will still sit and watch those blocks tick down when there are only a few left.
Quests become available based on the power required to beat them and unfortunately these power levels tend to be grouped in clusters with big gaps in between.
E.g. After completing the intro quest and putting on some clothes you will have a power of over 200, unlocking the first batch of quests. The second batch of quests however are all grouped at around 2,400 power, which will take several days of grind.
It would have been nice if the quests were spread between these two levels, as it would feel like I was constantly unlocking new content. Although other than the reward gained and time taken, each quest is essentially the same.
So did I sell my pants? At time of writing they have been on the marketplace for nearly a day, and were reduced to an absolute steal at 60 Lites.
My gut feeling says that they will sell at that price eventually (bringing me much profit), but obviously the marketplace is still pretty green and it’s impossible to tell what the situation will be like once it starts to mature.
While I believe it is possible to make a decent return from the game now, this may not be the case once supply and demand find their balance.
Rough price points may start to develop, but the more people who are farming items to sell, the lower this price will be. And of course, the discounted subscriptions won’t last forever.
The market also requires fresh blood coming in with more money (than time), which makes it sound a bit like a ponzi scheme.
Why anybody would want to spend money to avoid the early grind, simply to get involved in the later grind, is another matter entirely.
It’s quite an enjoyable grind however, if you begrudgingly enjoy that kind of thing.
As for me, if the pants don’t sell soon I might just remove them from the marketplace and buff them some more. It would be nice if I could just get one of my power levels to 2,400 to unlock the next bunch of quests… and maybe then 4,600 to unlock the cluster after that?… and…
Atari’s VCS Reboot Promises Standard Blockchain Gaming Features
The hybrid console/PC will come with the Ultra blockchain-enabled gaming platform integrated into the system.
Atari is the latest big name in gaming to get into the blockchain space with new functionalities on its forthcoming console.
The Atari VCS was first released in 1977 to bring classics like Space Invaders and Pac Man into the home.
While it can’t compete with the major consoles of the gaming world, Atari’s rebooted VCS console/PC hybrid will have the Ultra blockchain-enabled gaming platform installed as standard.
This means that when the user tires of playing the included retro games from the original VCS, they can use the Ultra app to download PC games to play through the service.
Gamers will also be able to take advantage of the platform’s blockchain-enabled features, including in-game NFT trading, esports tournaments, and the recently announced game streaming feature, all whilst earning tokenized rewards.
Hardware will also be available to purchase through the Ultra platform, using UOS or Atari tokens.
The VCS has experienced several delays due to hardware redesigns and the coronavirus pandemic.
While stopping short of announcing the actual launch date, Atari told Cointelegraph that the initial batch of consoles and accessories are currently in transit to the fulfilment warehouse in the United States.
The company expects to have everything under one roof and ready for sorting and shipping by the end of October.
Atari has been making waves in the blockchain and crypto world since first investing in the space back in 2018. More recently it announced a partnership with The Sandbox, aimed at recreating some of its classic games within the open-world metaverse.
South Korean Regulator Is Wary Of Nft-Based Games
The South Korean gaming regulator is reluctant to embrace NFTs.
The South Korean blockchain gaming industry is concerned regulators are looking unfavorably on non-fungible token based games, after the Game Rating and Administration Committee (GRAC) postponed an application for the NTF-based Five Stars on September 22.
According to iNews24, the watchdog decided to hold off from issuing a rating for Five Stars, a game developed by South Korean tech giant, Kakao. The company is well-known for its recent ventures in the local crypto industry.
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are crypto tokens that are each verifiably unique, despite being issued under the same specifications as other tokens of their kind.
Local legislation requires the GRAC to give a rating to any video game — online or offline — created by South Korean firms before it is released to the public. As of press time, the GRAC has not yet given an official reason why they delayed the application submitted by the developers of Five Stars application.
However, iNews24 suggests that the “highly probable” reason for the delay is the forthcoming implementation in 2021 of the Special Payment Act, which strengthens the rules on anti-money laundering (AML) for financial services, including crypto. This has led to speculation that NFT-based games may be required to implement KYC to allow users to trade with each other in future.
This is not the first time that a blockchain-based game has had issues with their approval by the gaming regulator. Infinity Start, an NFT-related game manufactured by local firm NodeBrick, didn’t get the green light by the GRAC in 2019.
At that time, the regulator explained that they couldn’t grant a rating to a game whose items could be bought, sold, and traded by the users on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain.
Local analysts quoted by Fn News weren’t optimistic on the rejected requests filed by the firms behind those blockchain games:
“If NFT items are a problem, blockchain gaming’s death warrant has already been signed.”
Cointelegraph recently had an interview with Craig Russo, who is the Innovation Director at Polyient games — an investment firm dedicated to the creation, management, and distribution of NFTs.
He believes the NFT market has come to represent one of the “most attractive opportunities” across all digital assets, with immediate use cases already being found within the art, collectibles, and even the gaming industries.
Blockchain-based Fantasy Soccer Game Sorare Signs On Paris Saint-Germain
PSG players Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, as well as club veterans like David Beckham, will be issued as collectible digital player cards on blockchain platform Sorare.
French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain hasn’t dropped the blockchain baton just yet, with the club now set to issue player collectibles as rare tokens.
PSG — which plays in the highest tier of French soccer — had already partnered with blockchain platform Socios.com to launch its own “Fan Token Offering” in 2018.
This week, the club has become the 100th soccer club to join the Ethereum blockchain-based fantasy soccer game Sorare platform.
PSG players Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, as well as club veterans like David Beckham, will be tokenized as limited edition digital player cards. The score of player cards will depend on their real-life performances in soccer league tables and the rarity of collectible cards is vouched for using blockchain technology.
News of the new partnership also coincides with Sorare’s official launch in the United States, which has become the game’s second-largest market worldwide.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, a spokesperson for Sorare explained that the game had been in closed beta in the U.S. through to Dec. 2019 (invite-only), and open beta until its launch on Sept. 28.
Close to 60 million people play fantasy sports in the U.S., according to data from the Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association — making the market for blockchain entrants particularly attractive.
“We consider that with 100 clubs and three of the top 10 soccer clubs in the world — Juventus, PSG, Atletico Madrid — we’re now officially on track to start advertising the game as a full-on gaming experience,” the spokesperson said.
Ahead of the U.S. launch, he noted that the game had “needed some fine-tuning, such as the scoring matrix and the progression within the game.”
Since its launch in March 2019, Sorare has generated $2 million in revenue from card sales across 60 countries.
Nonfungible — a rankings site for blockchain games and issuers of collectible, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) — currently has Sorare ranked 5th. It reports $205,131 in 7-day volume as compared with $954,231 for the top-ranked game, Cryptokitties.
NFTs first came to prominence in 2017 with the launch of Cryptokitties, which, like Sorare, is based on the Ethereum blockchain. The NFT collectibles market was estimated to have hit $370 billion as of July 2020.
Blockchain-based Fantasy Soccer Game Sorare Signs On Paris Saint-Germain
PSG players Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, as well as club veterans like David Beckham, will be issued as collectible digital player cards on blockchain platform Sorare.
French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain hasn’t dropped the blockchain baton just yet, with the club now set to issue player collectibles as rare tokens.
PSG — which plays in the highest tier of French soccer — had already partnered with blockchain platform Socios.com to launch its own “Fan Token Offering” in 2018.
This week, the club has become the 100th soccer club to join the Ethereum blockchain-based fantasy soccer game Sorare platform.
PSG players Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, as well as club veterans like David Beckham, will be tokenized as limited edition digital player cards. The score of player cards will depend on their real-life performances in soccer league tables and the rarity of collectible cards is vouched for using blockchain technology.
News of the new partnership also coincides with Sorare’s official launch in the United States, which has become the game’s second-largest market worldwide.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, a spokesperson for Sorare explained that the game had been in closed beta in the U.S. through to Dec. 2019 (invite-only), and open beta until its launch on Sept. 28.
Close to 60 million people play fantasy sports in the U.S., according to data from the Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association — making the market for blockchain entrants particularly attractive.
“We consider that with 100 clubs and three of the top 10 soccer clubs in the world — Juventus, PSG, Atletico Madrid — we’re now officially on track to start advertising the game as a full-on gaming experience,” the spokesperson said.
Ahead of the U.S. launch, he noted that the game had “needed some fine-tuning, such as the scoring matrix and the progression within the game.”
Since its launch in March 2019, Sorare has generated $2 million in revenue from card sales across 60 countries.
Nonfungible — a rankings site for blockchain games and issuers of collectible, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) — currently has Sorare ranked 5th. It reports $205,131 in 7-day volume as compared with $954,231 for the top-ranked game, Cryptokitties.
NFTs first came to prominence in 2017 with the launch of Cryptokitties, which, like Sorare, is based on the Ethereum blockchain. The NFT collectibles market was estimated to have hit $370 billion as of July 2020.
Video Game Legend Atari Seeks Public Token Sale In November
The token sale could take as little as one second, according to Atari’s CEO.
Atari will conduct a public token offering on Bitcoin.com in early November. As soon as the offering is complete, the ERC-20-based AtariToken will become available for trading on the Bitcoin.com exchange. While the precise details of the token sale are yet to be announced, Atari CEO Fred Chesnais told Cointelegraph that he believes the token sale could take as little as one second:
“It depends. It could be 1 second, could be 1 hour. It depends on the amount you set as a hard cap and how much you are raising. So I don’t know. I can’t really answer that question.”
Atari has raised $1.5 million thus far in private rounds. Chesnais said that for him, the most important thing about a public offering is not raising additional capital but the immediate subsequent liquidity.
He has been negotiating with various DeFi protocols about possible use cases for AtariToken, but a lack of liquidity has been an obstacle that he hopes the upcoming sale and subsequent listing will fix. Chesnais believes that AtariToken could create a unique DeFi use case — game financing, which involves the funding of new games in exchange for a portion of its future revenue:
“We want to announce that we are going to be listed because I have done more than 3 billion euro of investments in games and game financing. And when I know that the token is listed, I will be able to propose some very innovative formulas for game financing. That’s one of my goals.”
He noted that the sale will be compliant with all local regulations and, as such, will not be available to U.S. citizens. Atari is a publicly listed company, though the token offering is conducted through a Gibraltar-based entity in which it owns a 50% stake.
The token offering page on Bitcoin.com will launch on Oct. 15 where users will be able to register and initiate Know Your Customer onboarding.
With The Rise Of NFTs, ‘Pay To Win’ Games Have Got Mightily Expensive
It’s one thing to “win at all costs,” but what if that cost is half a million dollars?
By far the biggest benefit of blockchain gaming being pushed by developers and publishers is the creation of the nonfungible token, or NFT. This technology allows in-game items, from a mystical sword of plenty to that level-99 mage you’ve been grinding, to be represented on the blockchain and freely traded with other players.
NFTs give players who don’t want to put in the hundreds of hours that it has taken you to buff said mage to level 99 a quick and easy route to progress to the later stages of the game.
In some ways, this is similar to the “freemium” model of gaming that became popular when mobile games really started to take off. If you’ve ever played Candy Crush for free and wondered who exactly is spending $99.99 on the special offer of 200,000 gems, it’s probably the same person who is willing to fork out for a level-99 mage NFT.
However, there is one big difference: While the $99.99 spent in Candy Crush goes straight to the developer (once Apple has taken its sizeable chunk), the NFT profit comes directly to you, the seller. This is great news for gamers, and as long as the game (and marketplace) maintains an active user base, the developer should make a healthy return from transaction fees.
Enter stage right an announcement unveiling a new “epic” roleplaying game, “Mirandus.” Of course, “unveiling” does not mean that the game is available to play yet, and on further inquiry, Cointelegraph was told that “There is currently no playable version of the game. We are in the concept phase and moving to pre-production this year.”
There is not much to write about there, then. The “big news” is that players will be able to fully own their in-game items as NFTs on the blockchain — but it is a blockchain game after all, so that detail isn’t particularly newsworthy by itself.
As luck would have it, some of the NFTs have already been minted and are available to purchase directly from the developer. What a time we live in when one can spend money buying in-game items for a video game that is still in the concept phase.
Aside from a few robot body parts, the main NFTs for sale at the moment are the deeds to various property types, ranging from a humble landholding ($50) to one of five ancient citadels ($500,000). The game’s website stresses that “Players are ONLY safe within the walls of a property” and that “Better deeds mean better walls.”
So, the very best walls — and hence, being the very most safe — will cost half a million dollars. And I thought the person who spent $99.99 on Candy Crush had more money than sense.
Now, many of these blockchain games are built around the concept of having to speculate to accumulate. When reviewing the Upland public beta, I highlighted a guide on how to get the most (return) out of the game on a budget of $10,000.
But half a million dollars? Who is going to invest that much into playing a game? Well, according to Mirandus developer Gala Games:
“People who want a strong influence over the game world and have always wanted to develop their own game, but without the cost of hiring an entire development team.”
Gala told Cointelegraph that it had no doubt that these NFTs would sell, but if not, then “The kingdoms will remain monarchless until someone steps up to claim their crown.”
While there are opportunities to monetize your citadel by charging other players to use it, the main reason to buy a citadel, other than direct access to the development team, is the associated title and respect.
Well, for $49.95 you could buy a plot of land in Scotland, call yourself a Lord and, purportedly, get more respect in the real world. But if you really can’t think of any better way to spend $500,000, then I’m not going to stop you.
Videogames Are About To Get More Expensive For The First Time In 15 Years
Publishers are pushing top-end game prices for new generation of consoles to $70, the first time since 2005 that the top price for console games has increased.
When a new generation of gaming consoles arrives ahead of the holidays, there will also be a new price tag on top-end videogames for the first time in more than a decade.
Publishers have announced that certain games for Microsoft Corp.’s MSFT new Xbox and Sony Corp.’s SNE JP:6758 new PlayStation will reach a $70 price point. Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.
TTWO caused a stir in the gaming world over the summer when it announced that its annual basketball game, “NBA 2K21,” would cost $69.99 for next-generation consoles, and recent Sony announcements included two games priced at that level.
Top-of-the-line videogame titles have remained at a $60 price point since 2005, when game developers started hiking prices from a standard $50 to follow Activision, which pushed the cost for “Call of Duty 2,” to $59.99, according to NPD Group analyst Mat Piscatella. Adjusted for inflation, $60 in 2005 would have the same buying power as $78.29 today, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“We believe our suggested retail price for NBA 2K21 on next-generation platforms fairly represents the value of what’s being offered: power, speed and technology that is only possible on new hardware,” Take-Two spokesman Alan Lewis told MarketWatch in an email.
Activision Blizzard Inc. ATVI told MarketWatch it had no announcements on future games but confirmed that “Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War” would retail in the U.S. at $70. When asked if Electronic Arts Inc. EA intended to release $70 games, a spokesman would only say that customers who buy “FIFA 21” or “Madden NFL 21” for $59.99 on the current PlayStation or Xbox will be able to upgrade their game for the new consoles at no additional cost.
Barclays analyst Mario Lu expects the other publishers to move higher for premium games after Sony listed $69.99 prices last month for two games exclusive to the PlayStation 5, “Demon’s Souls” from Bluepoint Games and “Destruction All Stars” from Lucid Games.
“We think this could mark the tipping point for next-gen games pricing as we think many developers will now be more inclined to follow suit after seeing Sony pricing its own first-party titles at launch at $70,” Lu said.
The 2005 increase to $60 from $50 did little to slow down rapid growth in videogame sales, and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased videogame play even more. Piscatella, though, pointed out that the industry has since diversified to offer more games as part of subscriptions or as free-to-play games that monetize through in-game purchases.
“When it comes to what’s different now, well, not much and everything,” NPD’s Piscatella told MarketWatch. “Not much in that the same trepidation that exists now about some next generation titles releasing at $69.99 also occurred prior to the launch of ‘Call of Duty 2,’ … [but] the range of games and services available makes it a much more competitive marketplace today than it was way back when.”
Piscatella noted that many games have higher-priced “Premium” or “Collector’s” editions that are often priced as much as $40 higher than the basic game, and that the number of gamers willing to pay that much has been growing, especially for high-profile titles. He also expects many games to avoid going for that higher price, though, saying $69.99 will not become “a de facto standard across all releases on the next-generation consoles.”
“There are so many ways games can be monetized now, and no one way of pricing or selling a title will work for everyone,” he said.
The videogame industry has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the coronavirus pandemic, as gamers play with friends online from the safety of their homes. Videogame sales in the U.S. are expected to come in around $45.6 billion this year, out of an estimated $200.3 billion world-wide, according to Lewis Ward, IDC research director of gaming. Worldwide, that’s a growth rate of 21.3%, with $22 billion more in sales than in earlier forecasts.
Sony’s release of the PlayStation 5 is scheduled for Nov. 12, seven years after it released the PS4. Also seven years after its last major iteration, Microsoft’s release of the Xbox Series X is slated for Nov. 10. An update to Nintendo’s JP:7974 NTDOY Switch console, which first came out in 2017, has no official release date but is expected to arrive sometime in 2021.
Piper Sandler surveyed 9,800 teenagers this summer and found that they are growing more eager to buy new consoles and continue paying upfront for games despite free-to-play options.
Analyst Yung Kim reported that 63% of teens intended to buy a next-gen console, up from 59% in the spring, and 44% said that free-to-play games would not discourage them from buying games, up from 40% in the spring. Activision’s “Call of Duty” was the most cited title, with 42% of teens saying they were “excited” to buy it this year.
Kim has overweight ratings on Activision, EA and Take-Two.
Jefferies analyst Alex Giaimo expects the current momentum behind videogames will result in faster refresh rates for new consoles compared with previous releases, and of course more profit.
“This is important in the context of full-game price hikes, as we estimate that a 10MM unit seller would contribute an incremental $56MM in net income at a $70 price point as compared to $60,” Giaimo said.
Barclays’ Lu expects the shift to $70 games will boost earnings-per-share to Take-Two and EA by double-digit percentages in fiscal 2022, and boost Activision’s EPS by 6% in fiscal 2021.
Zenit St. Petersburg Are Creating Collectible Blockchain Cards Of Their Players
Russian Premier League soccer champion Zenit St. Petersburg is the latest high-profile club to enter the blockchain gaming world.
Zenit St. Petersburg — the top soccer club in Russia’s Premier League — has signed on to the Ethereum blockchain-based fantasy soccer Sorare platform.
As of Oct. 15, Zenit players will be released as collectible and tradeable digital cards within the blockchain-based game, joining 100 other international soccer clubs, among them Juventus, PSG, Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.
Blockchain player cards can be exchanged with other managers, and gamers can play games as soon as they have a minimum of five digital cards. The score of each player card is tied to their real-life performances in soccer league tables.
Sorare CEO Nicolas Julia says the platform aspires to create a global fantasy soccer blockchain game that includes the top 10 leagues in the world.
Since its launch in March 2019, Sorare has grown an average of 52% month-on-month and today counts 40,000 users globally. Interestingly, Russia has grown to become Sorare’s third-largest marker worldwide, witnessing 70% month-on-month user growth. The country also ranks first in average daily time spent on the gaming platform, at one hour and 15 minutes per day.
Zenit’s general director, Alexander Medvedev, has said he hopes the partnership with Sorare will give the club’s brand better coverage and enable it to reach out to younger fans overseas, especially in Asia and America.
Nonfungible — a rankings site for blockchain games and creators of collectible non-fungible tokens — currently has Sorare ranked 4th. It reports a seven-day volume of $181,353 compared with $445,545 for the top-ranked game, Superrare.
The Next Big Crypto Market Could Be Fantasy Sports, Says Messari
Desperate for viewership dollars, traditional sporting leagues may soon turn to fantasy sports to boost fan engagement.
As “digitally native” ecosystems like esports continue to synergize with blockchain technology, industries like fantasy sports could be primed for mass adoption, says digital research firm Messari.
In a newly published report, researcher Mason Nystrom argues that fantasy sports are primed for significant growth due to COVID-19. He also opines that blockchain-based applications could help boost fan engagement in this rapidly expanding market. Nystrom explains:
“While the peak culmination of esports and cryptonetworks waits for improvements in emerging technology and 5G connectivity, blockchain-based fantasy sports are poised for consumer adoption.”
Citing PwC research, Nystrom says betting and fantasy sports are expected to grow 7.2% over the next three to five years. This may bode well for the segment, as 75% of traditional sports betters also played fantasy sports, according to a study from 2018.
Unlike traditional sports betting, where participants bet on the outcome of a game, wagering on fantasy sports is when you assemble a fantasy team and compete against opponents for a cash prize.
The need to digitize the sporting experience has taken on paramount importance after the spread of COVID-19 led to a drastic reduction in viewership revenue. With large indoor gatherings unlikely to return until at least 2022, the industry is looking for new ways to enhance user engagement. The end of a federal ban on United States betting markets in 2018 provides one such avenue.
Blockchain-based applications can be used as a foundation for digital ownership and monetization, with platforms like Ethereum offering a high level of trust. The trade-off right now, Messari says, is a poor user experience because if you lose your assets, they are gone permanently.
Fantasy games built on top of the blockchain operate by selling nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, that ostensibly increase in value based on how real athletes perform.
The top three crypto fantasy sports — Sorare, MLB Champions and NBA Top Shot — have already amassed over $10 million in sales. Sorare and MLB Champions are built on Ethereum, while NBA Top Shot resides on the Flow blockchain.
Although there are hundreds of NFT assets currently tracked by sites such as OpenSea, the vast majority have either nonexistent or extremely low volumes.
Game Time? Microsoft Adopts Ethereum Blockchain For Gaming Royalties
Microsoft’s blockchain platform expands for royalties management, but how will this impact the gaming sector as a whole?
Enterprise Ethereum is beginning to show its impact as some of the largest companies in the world start to leverage the Ethereum network to solve complex business challenges. For example, tech giant Microsoft and Big Four firm Ernst & Young announced the expansion of Microsoft’s blockchain-based solution to extend to gaming rights and royalties management.
Paul Brody, blockchain lead at EY, told Cointelegraph that Microsoft’s blockchain solution for this particular use case is being conducted on a private Quorum network based on Ethereum.
Brody noted that this expansion will provide a financial system of record for royalty agreements, allowing Microsoft’s blockchain network to record contract creation, payment and reconciliation transactions associated with gaming rights.
Specifically speaking, Microsoft plans to use the expanded blockchain functions to enable its Microsoft Xbox gaming partners — along with its vast network of artists, musicians, writers and other content creators — to gain increased visibility into tracking, management and payments processing for royalty contracts.
Luke Fewel, general manager of global finance operations at Microsoft, told Cointelegraph that the biggest benefit of a blockchain solution for royalties management is that it provides real-time, compliant accounting of transactions between Microsoft and its gaming partners:
“The solution will let partners know exactly what they’ve earned in real-time, and allows Microsoft to record the transactions in an automated, fully compliant way. Ultimately this project will touch thousands of partners, who all rely on timely and accurate royalty payments, as part of their business model.”
An in-production blockchain solution for royalties management
According to Brody, a blockchain-based solution for royalties and rights management is an ideal use case for video games and other content platforms that have large, digital supply chains that are combined with complex ownership structures and rights agreements. He added: “Administering these is one of the biggest costs companies face in content distribution, and doing it in a transparent and fair manner is a similarly large challenge.”
As such, Brody believes that putting royalty agreements on a blockchain allows all the parties to work off the same foundational information while enabling each to examine the business logic that applies to different participants. Simply put, Microsoft’s newly expanded blockchain network serves as a single source of truth, or a financial system of record, meant to improve the end-to-end royalties management process.
For example, Brody commented that contributing artists may all be entitled to a share of revenue or a payment based on a transaction for a game sold through the Xbox network.
While managing rights and royalties, in this case, has typically been challenging and nontransparent, Brody noted that smart contracts written on the blockchain can automate this process: “Smart contracts implement unique logic for each agreement and, over time, extend the network from publishers onwards to developers and contributing artists.”
According to Brody, EY and Microsoft have already managed to reduce the cycle time for this process by 99%. Other benefits achieved from Microsoft’s blockchain platform that is currently in production include accelerated contract digitization for faster contract creation; seamlessly generated and integrated invoices connected with enterprise resource planning applications to quickly record royalties; generated accounting capabilities; and incorporated compliance standards that are required for the solution to function as a financial system of record.
Brody further remarked that he is confident in the enormous value creation that will result from Microsoft’s blockchain network for royalties management. Fewel further explained that the goal of this solution is to continue expanding upon Microsoft’s blockchain network, which is already being used for a variety of business use cases including a recently released wellness tracing app geared toward travelers.
Fewel added that blockchains have the most impact when there is a network effect and when enterprises can easily share information: “We see many other use cases for blockchain including tracking and accounting for fixed assets, and vetting and managing supplier information.”
How Will This Impact The Gaming Industry As A Whole?
While a blockchain network can ensure transparency, trust and faster payments, the question remains of how this will impact the billion-dollar gaming industry outside of Microsoft’s network.
Robby Yung, CEO of Animoca Brands — a gaming development platform specializing in blockchain games — told Cointelegraph that a blockchain network for gaming royalties is indeed interesting, given the benefits it can provide:
“A solution such as this reduces the time it takes for contracts to be paid, simplifies self-service content creation and reduces costs. Generally speaking, this is a good thing. That said, while it’s great to see further blockchain adoption in the gaming industry, back end payment processing is not necessarily what will capture developers’ imaginations about the potential of blockchain.”
Yung further mentioned that as long as the owner of the intellectual property is comfortable with the agreed-upon terms, the business case for blockchain is apparent when it comes to royalties management.
However, he pointed out that it must also make financial sense for game developers: “The key will be if Microsoft can provide the kind of plug and play tools for developers that will provide enough of a value proposition to offset cutting Microsoft a slice of the royalty pie in exchange.”
Another interesting point to consider is how this solution will fare with nonfungible tokens, which have become a major element of the blockchain gaming ecosystem and are often traded on secondary markets.
Sebastien Borget, president of the Blockchain Game Alliance — an organization helping to advance blockchain in the gaming industry — told Cointelegraph that digital assets such as NFTs can usher in a new era for additional engagement between content producers, gaming platforms and developers, as well as their audience: “In my opinion, NFTs have the most potential of all since they can enable royalties to be redistributed to the IP holder on every secondary trade between users.”
Borget pointed out that the blockchain solution from Microsoft and EY only serves as a document management solution for the gaming industry. While it solves major pain points, Borget mentioned that it doesn’t create new business opportunities for content creators. NFTs, however, are capable of expanding a content creator’s reach, as these digital assets represent unique art, music, collectibles and more that can easily be traded between users.
While these points from the gaming community are certainly valid, Fewel believes that the biggest challenge is getting businesses to adopt a new technology like blockchain:
“We are doing things that have never been done before, but by being customer obsessed and applying a growth mindset, we remain focused on the end goal of providing transparent, compliant, automated transactions between Microsoft and its partners.”
Move Over, Kickstarter: NFTs Are The Newest Way For Indie Games To Fundraise
When NFTs and crowdfunding meet, game developers and players can both win.
On December 6th, just two days after the start of a NFT-backed “card pack” sale for their blockchain-based video game Alien Worlds, the 15-man team behind development studio Dacoco sold out of packs after having successfully raised $250,000.
While a quarter million might seem like a pittance in a world where a single NFT critter can fetch six figures and more established games like The Sandbox and Decentraland routinely raise millions, but for a smaller studio it’s the kind of raise that can ensure success for a project — and, according to Play To Earn editor-in-Chief Robert Hoogendoorn, the unique set of incentives for buyers means it might well become part of a larger trend.
“Finding smaller games, investing early and hoping they blossom is very similar to cryptocurrency investing,” Hoogendoorn said. “You hope to find that game that grows into the next Minecraft and makes that investment go 100x.”
Where traditional crowdfunding efforts for videogames allow early believers to pledge their money in exchange for rewards like in-game characters named after them or invitations to launch parties, NFT-backed games potentially turn the same concept into a real investment.
“For centuries, land ownership has been a privilege of the upper classes,” says Alien Worlds co-founder Michael Yeates. “Now in crypto, everyone has the chance to earn passive income by owning land which is truly theirs.”
In-game items and resources backed as NFTs can accrue significant resale value if a game becomes more popular, and according to the Alien Worlds team, complex game economies can even turn them into yield-bearing assets.
“The [Alien Worlds] NFTs are unlike pure collectible NFT cards because they have actual characteristics that are recognised by the gaming smart contracts,” explains Alien Worlds co-founder Saro Mckenna.
“One NFT might yield you more Trilium (Alien Worlds’ in-game currency) when you use it, another might be capable of being used more frequently […] This is pretty sophisticated by blockchain standards, where oftentimes functionality is still somewhat basic even if immutability and decentralisation are in place.”
Alien Worlds, which pitches itself as ‘DAOs and DeFi in space,’ is among a handful of titles at the forefront of monetizing in-game NFTs for players, but Hoogendoorn thinks there will be more to come.
“For developers it might sound weird to give players ownership over assets. But what if developers receive 5% over every in-game / on-chain transaction? They will create a new revenue stream. On top of that they create a community that has a stake in their game world. Engagement will be much higher because of the economical incentive.”
However, developers looking to cash in on the new trend might want to do so research first, cautioned Hoogendoorn.
“Understand scarcity, and build the game’s economy around that, and [make sure] you’ve got a game economy that’s interesting for players to put lots of time and effort in.”
Animoca Brands Signs Up Manchester City For Games And Collectibles
The club’s men’s and women’s teams will be featured along with Man City-owned Melbourne City FC.
Animoca Brands has teamed up with Premier League football club Manchester City and Australian club Melbourne City FC to develop games and collectibles based on the two teams.
A Dec. 21 post on the official Man City Twitter account announced the partnership, which will feature the club’s mens and womens teams, along with the Melbourne City club, which it also owns.
Animoca Brands will develop mini-games for its hyper-casual gaming site, GAMEE. It will also create a set of collectable trading cards to be distributed on its NFT digital collectibles subsidiary, Quidd.
There will also be Manchester City and Melbourne City themed gaming experiences created in The Sandbox, which is a subsidiary of Animoca Brands.
This is not the Premier League club’s first foray into the world of blockchain. As Cointelegraph reported, in August 2019 it teamed up with South Korean blockchain football gaming startup, Superbloke, to incorporate Man City players into Superbloke’s FC Superstars game.
Animoca Brands has signed a number of big-name licenses from outside of the traditional crypto space in an attempt to target their large and loyal audiences. These include its licensed Formula One game, F1 Delta Time, which recently achieved the record price for an in-game NFT sale, when an NFT representing 5% of the world-famous Monaco track was auctioned for $220,000.
Major Gaming Conglomerate Nixon Prepares To Acquire Bithumb
South Korean media has reported that Nexon, a multi-billion dollar conglomerate led by CEO Kim Seong-Ju, plans to acquire the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
After a troubled few months, crypto exchange Bithumb looks like it’s set on turning over a new leaf through an acquisition by one of South Korea’s top gaming firms.
South Korean media reported on Jan. 7 that Nexon, a multi-billion dollar gaming conglomerate, has signed a memorandum of understanding, or MoU, to acquire the exchange at an evaluated price of 650 billion won ($460 million).
Nexon, led by CEO Kim Seoung-Ju, will reportedly work with one of the major shareholders in Bithumb, Vidente, to buy out the exchange and take control of the company, crypto journalist and Cointelegraph contributor Joseph Young has summarized. According to South Korean media, Nexon plans to take a 65% stake in Bithumb.
As the report notes, Bithumb’s existing shares are trading at a total value of 1 trillion won ($914 million) on the over-the-counter market, meaning that the deal, if successful, will allow Nexon to take over at a “discounted price.”
The sale of the exchange has reportedly been in the works since late August 2020, with a preliminary bidding held in September at which a number of financial and strategic investors, including domestic and foreign private equity fund managers, bid for success.
Yet the ongoing police investigation involving Lee Jung Hoon, chairman of board at Bithumb Korea and Bithumb Holdings, appears to have slowed down the process.
The report notes that the legal entanglement of the exchange’s current shareholders, who are also being sued for embezzlement by investors, could make it difficult for the exchange to secure the legally required registration as a crypto entity with South Korean authorities.
An acquisition and change in management could clear this regulatory obstacle. Young has commented that Nexon’s acquisition would, more generally, “improve the image around the most dominant crypto trading platform in the local market.”
Nexon’s holding company, NXC, has previously invested in cryptocurrency and fintechs, including the well-known exchange Bitstamp. Given Bithumb’s prime position as South Korea’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, Nexon’s market dominance is expected to benefit if the acquisition is successful.
In the third quarter of 2020, the number of subscribers to Bithumb reportedly exceeded 5 million, and the company is said to have plans to expand its products and upgrade its compliance measures in the hope of securing a virtual asset business license.
Gamers Are Still Nvidia’s Masters, But Ether Miners Could Change That
Nvidia’s chief financial officer says the firm could restart its mining-specific line of graphics cards if demand from cryptocurrency miners increases.
Gaming hardware giant Nvidia has addressed the ongoing shortage of its new RTX 3000 product line after high demand from gamers, and to a lesser extent, cryptocurrency miners, pushed up prices and cut availability.
Nvidia chief financial officer Colette Kress said the company didn’t have good visibility into how much demand came solely from cryptocurrency miners, but she doesn’t believe it’s a big part of the business at this time.
That’s despite reports of some Ether (ETH) miners constructing rigs comprised of 78 of Nvidia’s Geforce RTX 3080 graphics cards, estimated to net their owner profits of $122,000 per year.
Kress did suggest that any future spikes in demand from miners could present a good opportunity to restart the company’s CMP product line. CMP refers to a range of Nvidia graphics cards created specifically for cryptocurrency mining, which ship without the display outputs unnecessary for the task in question.
Speaking at the 19th Annual J.P. Morgan Tech/Auto Forum Conference on Jan. 12 via Seeking Alpha, Kress told an audience of investors that should the firm observe any demand from would-be miners, they would consider manufacturing more mining-specific graphics cards.
“So, in summary, if crypto demand begins or if we see a meaningful amount, we can also use that opportunity to restart the CMP product line to address ongoing mining demand,” said Kress.
The chief financial officer believes the majority of demand still comes from a primarily gaming-focused user base, adding that gaming demand alone outpaced the company’s supply capacity.
Kress said cryptocurrency mining was one of the many unique applications resulting from the programmable nature of Nvidia’s cards, and one that had helped drive market growth in the past:
“Yes. So, cryptocurrency is interesting. So GPUs, as you know, have been programmable for many, many years, and it allows a constantly discovering capability for new applications to use the overall GPUs, and that has driven our overall growth in the market. Cryptocurrency mining is one of those such applications.”
According to Kress, Nvidia’s supply capacity would remain diminished until at least the start of Q2, and revenues are expected to remain flat until that time.
Gaming Company The9 Agrees To Buy 26,000 Bitcoin Mining Machines
The company says a “majority” of the ASICs are already deployed.
Publicly traded Chinese gaming company The9 (NCTY) announced an agreement to buy 26,007 bitcoin ASICs as part of its plan to launch a cryptocurrency mining initiative.
* The9’s subsidiary NBTC will own and operate the machines, which are expected to total 549 petahashes per second (PH/s) of hash power.
* The9 says a “majority” of these mining machines have already been deployed in Xinjiang, Sichuan and Gansu.
* Per a press release, Canaan’s (CAN) former director, Jianping Kong, will also help the Shanghai-based Internet company launch and maintain its cryptocurrency mining operations.
* Details about which machines and from where The9 purchased them were not disclosed, but The9 said it signed five separate memorandums of understanding (MOUs) to secure the machines.
* The9 will issue shares to pay for the new machines, but didn’t disclose how many shares are to be issued.
* Shares of the company gained more than 18% Monday from their Friday close, currently trading above $13.
FunFair (FUN) Gains 183% As The Blockchain-Based Gaming Industry Grows
Increasing interest and growth in the blockchain-based multiplayer gaming industry are the key factors pushing the price of FunFair (FUN) higher.
Many DApps and blockchain-based games are designed with casino-style and RPG features that allow players to use cryptocurrency for gambling.
FunFair is essentially a white-label, turnkey blockchain-based casino and the platform aims to provide services with zero set-up fees and no monthly minimums.
The platform’s native FUN token is the fuel behind every function on the FunFair platform and players need to use it to place bets, and winnings are also paid out in the same way. FUN tokens are used to compensate game developers and pay for fees and services to affiliates and within the game.
Since Jan. 28, the token has rallied by 183% and the move appears to be backed by the growth in users, amount wagered on the platform, and on-chain transfer volume.
It is worth noting that FunFair itself is not a casino. Hence it only holds a testnet version (showcase) on their website. Nevertheless, they provide links to two real use cases which are both powered by its technology.
In June 2017, the ICO raised $26 million for 21.3% of all FUN tokens. Founders and advisors kept 14.4%, while the FunFair Foundation retained the remaining 64.3%. Since then, the Foundation decided has buned more than 6 billion tokens, reducing the max supply to 11 billion.
The team aims to offer transparency to prevent cheating from casino operators and players alike. By using peer-to-peer technology and smart contracts, FunFair can eliminate the usual required trusted third party.
The platform hosts classic games like virtual slot machines and Blackjack and FanFair Technologies and third parties are actively developing new games. The system is entirely browser-based using HTML5 and WebGL standards to deliver a smooth mobile experience.
Multiplayer Games And Second Layer Scaling
In October 2020 FunFair created a new business unit to explore multiplayer games and a distribution agreement was signed with EveryMatrix’s remote gaming server which is used by 600 casino brands globally. Shamrock Treasures was the first game launched using this technology and it is currently avaliable to third parties and approved by regulators.
FunFair has also integrated second layer solutions to reduce gas fees and its FunFair Wallet already supports xDAI. The L2 option will also serve as the base for the upcoming multiplayer games launch.
Daily Active Users Soar
According to the FunFair blog, participation (gambling) has increased by 255% compared to the precious quarter, and the number of players grew by 140%.
Furthermore, several payment options such as Uniswap, Changelly, and Moonpay have been integrated into the FunFair Wallet.
On-chain data shows that activity started to pick up just ahead of the new year, surpassing 1,000 daily active addresses, while transfers recently reached $10 million.
The only feature that seems to be a possible game-changer is the integration of MetaMask but FunFair’s roadmap does not show an exact date for this.
Meanwhile, social activity metrics from TheTie shows that FunFair’s recent growth and new product lines appear correlated with the token’s price appreciation.
Blockchain-based gaming is a vast market and multiple analysts have said that the sector could develop into a multi-billion dollar market in the next few years.
FunFair’s blockchain transparency and its white label technology will likely be attractive features to game designers and these features alone seem to be the primary substance backing the recent rally.
Amazon’s Next CEO Says He’s Committed To Making Video Games
Responding to a Bloomberg report about turmoil in the gaming division, Andy Jassy told staff he sees a bright future ahead.
One day before he was named the next chief executive officer of Amazon.com Inc., Andy Jassy reaffirmed his commitment to making video games while acknowledging the stark challenges the team has faced, according to an email to staff reviewed by Bloomberg.
Jassy expressed support for Mike Frazzini, the head of Amazon Game Studios and the subject of a Bloomberg profile last week examining the troubles the company has faced in gaming. The story was based on interviews with more than 30 current or former Amazon employees. Both executives sent emails to their staff this week referencing the article, saying the accounts were exaggerated but recognizing that they had made mistakes.
“Some businesses take off in the first year, and others take many years,” wrote Jassy, currently the head of Amazon’s cloud computing division and Frazzini’s boss. “Though we haven’t consistently succeeded yet in AGS, I believe we will if we hang in there.”
The pledge of support from Jassy takes on added importance now that Amazon has said he will succeed Jeff Bezos as CEO this summer. The company’s entry into video game creation in 2012 was originally ordered by Bezos, three people who worked with the founder have said.
Since then, Amazon has spent billions of dollars, released two big-budget games—both of which flopped—and canceled many other projects. Its struggles reflect broader issues big tech companies have discovered when trying to break into gaming. On Monday, Google said it was shutting down its game development studios.
“Being successful right away is obviously less stressful, but when it takes longer, it’s often sweeter,” Jassy wrote in the email Monday. “I believe this team will get there if we stay focused on what matters most.” An Amazon spokeswoman didn’t immediately have a comment on the emails.
Jassy’s message came in response to an email Frazzini sent to his team. Frazzini addressed allegations reported by Bloomberg that the studios had cultivated a “bro culture,” alienated many women and drove them out of the company. “We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior, or anything less than a fully equitable and inclusive environment,” Frazzini wrote.
Frazzini had never made a video game before he was appointed head of Amazon’s studios, and that lack of experience was a frequent complaint from current and former employees who spoke to Bloomberg. “We’ve learned and improved a lot along the way, myself included, and we will continue to do so,” Frazzini wrote to his team. “Making great games is hard, and we’re not going to get everything right.”
Decentralized Esports Tournament Series Looks To Bring Traditional Gamers To Crypto
Polyient Games co-founder Craig Russo referred to the partnership as “a major step towards bringing mainstream adoption” to the crypto industry.
Non-fungible token-focused investment firm Polyient Games is launching a new online tournament to introduce mainstream gamers to the crypto space.
In an announcement today, Polyient Games said it would be partnering with esports tournament platform Community Gaming for a $100,000 series featuring games using non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. The esports games will reportedly “function as a method of introducing mainstream gamers to the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain assets” by allowing players to acquire digital collectibles and use NFTs as in-game items.
“The marriage between decentralized technology and gaming will be one of the most significant themes of the coming decade,” said Craig Russo, co-founder of Polyient Games. “Our work with Community Gaming on this brand new decentralized tournament series serves as a major step towards bringing mainstream adoption to this new industry.”
In addition to esports games, the tournament will reportedly feature blockchain games including trading and battling game Axie Infinity and Ethereum-based digital trading card game SkyWeaver. All games will reportedly utilize Polyient Games’ decentralized exchange for in-game currencies.
The first event of the $100,000 tournament will begin on March 29, with prizes paid out in U.S. dollars and Polyient Games’ native token, PGU.
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