LONDON (Bywire News) – As Ultra announces a major partnership with games publisher Skybound, and two new additional partnerships with ‘Plug In Digital’ and ‘Microids’, are we on the verge of a tipping point for blockchain?
Gaming has long been one of the most promising avenues which could unlock the path to mass adoption of the blockchain and this is one of the biggest and most promising deals yet.
First, let’s have a look at what the Ultra deal includes.
A big moment
Skybound is synonymous with the Walking Dead series, and it will be these games which will be among the first available on Ultra along with other favourites such as Before Your Eyes, an award winning first-person narrative game and the popular puzzle game Rainbow Billy. More publisher agreements in additional to Plug In Digital and Microids are rumoured to be announced soon, but it’s the release of the Walking Dead which has got the gaming community chattering.
Responding to the announcement the Walking Dead Twitter page came back with this Tweet:
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) November 9, 2021
Speaking about the deal, Skybound’s President Dean Murray hailed Ultra as potentially transforming the gaming world.
“Ultra’s platform is poised to transform the way games are purchased, shared, and experienced” he said. “We look forward to working closely with Ultra and their comprehensive platform solution to deliver Skybound Games’ slate of original titles to a much wider network of gamers.”
So, what’s all the excitement about? From a user’s perspective, downloading a game on Ultra will be quite different than usual. In fact, gone are the days of buying a physical game, playing it to completion and then discarding it to gather dust. Now the game becomes a non-fungible token (NFT) which proves your ownership and allows you to sell it on an NFT marketplace.
You’ll also be able to tokenise in-game assets and many other elements from within games. Players can be rewarded for referring the platform to a friend with tokens being added to an Ultra Wallet which can be spent on items within the platform – such as an NFT from the marketplace or another game from their collection for example.
This is a big moment. It’s a major step forward in bringing existing popular games of the sort that people are already downloading on their PCs and delivering the advantages of the blockchain, in-game. It occurs at a point when the wider gaming sector is looking closely at the Blockchain. Skybound have already been one of the more active players and will see this as a useful partnership, with a big opportunity to develop further. Big players such as EA and Ubisoft are already making moves in this direction. In an earnings call earlier in the month, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said that these would be ‘an important part of the future of our industry’.
In many ways the blockchain is a perfect fit for the direction gaming is already going. Tokens and cryptocurrency-like structures have been features of games for many years, with players using tokens to buy in-game objects. Games such as Fortnite have pioneered the move away from the traditional model in which game developers rely on users purchasing the game to make their revenue, to one in which offers free to play options, with most of the revenue driven by in-game purchases.
The immutable nature of the blockchain offers a way to make this more powerful by providing proof of ownership, combating fraudulent game assets, and allowing users to transfer assets across other games. Assets can be transformed into NFTs which provide a verifiable proof of ownership and even the scarcity of an asset, making it much more valuable, reliable, and tangible for players and investors alike.
This could have an enormously beneficial impact on the gaming sector. According to data from WorldWide Asset Exchange, a blockchain platform focused on virtual items, 62% of gamers would be more likely to invest in digital assets if they were transferable between games.
So far, though, most of this is highly speculative and unproven. Most of the blockchain games released to date have been relatively simple in scope and fall into one of two categories:
Decentralised, in which developers can only make changes with the approval of the game community.
Hybridised, which means the game runs on a traditional decentralised server but the assets themselves are traded on a decentralised marketplace.
This project is different. It’s bringing sophisticated and already highly popular games into the blockchain sphere. It will offer a new dimension to gamers and will serve as a use case experiment for the wider gaming community into how the blockchain can be used as a value add for gaming.
Towards mass adoption
Success should pave the way for blockchain mass adoption. Make no mistake, it’s the blockchain which needs gaming, not the other way around. Although the blockchain represents a valuable new avenue for gaming it will not be the be all and end all. For the blockchain, though, success in gaming could be the key which takes it onto a whole new level of wider adoption, of a very valuable demographic.
Even now, with the blockchain demonstrating use cases across various industries, from finance to data transfers, the wider community still sees it as little more than the tech which makes Bitcoin work. The blockchain community – especially within EOS – knows that there is much more to it than that. Gaming will be the chance to access a massive sector with a vast worldwide user base. Success for early projects could be the key which unlocks a world of opportunities for EOS, and the wider blockchain community.
In this regard, Ultra represents an enormously important and potentially transformative project. Its success could echo throughout the blockchain ecosystem. Both the gaming and blockchain communities will both be looking on keenly.
As such, the fact that it is run on EOS will also be vital. EOS has always felt perfect for gaming thanks to its superior speed, low transaction costs and versatility. This project will serve as an important demonstration event – both for the blockchain and more generally for EOS. This will be a chance for EOS to make its superior technology count. A world in which EOS successfully becomes the platform which brought mass gaming to the blockchain will be very exciting news indeed.
(Writing by Tom Cropper, editing by Michael O’Sullivan)