One of the worlds largest game publishers, Ubisoft leads the gaming industry to adopt blockchain technology with the newly formed Blockchain Game Alliance (BGA) that includes Ethereum venture studio ConsenSys and a plethora of blockchain gaming companies.
Announced at the first-ever Blockchain Game Summit in Lyon, which was sponsored by Ubisoft, the BGA will provide an open forum for knowledge-sharing and collaborative research, creating industry standards and best practices for gaming applications that rely on distributed ledger technology (DLT) The BGA website states:
“Our ultimate goal is to help spread the integration of blockchain” which also “fosters new ways to create and play games”
As well as the French gaming giant Ubisoft, the BGA boasts the membership of leading gaming and blockchain companies that includes Alto, Gimli, Fig, Ultra, B2Expand, EverdreamSoft, Enjin and the aforementioned ConsenSys.
With approximately 2.6 billion gamers worldwide, in 2017, the video game industry was estimated to be worth $36 billion. The industry believes that with the introduction of nascent technologies such as blockchain and virtual reality, these numbers could increase significantly.
According to a news release, the founder of Gimli, a crypto-betting platform for livestream gaming and a chair of the BGA, Dan Bitton stated that:
“blockchain core technologies such as distributed ledger, smart contract, and consensus mechanism have a huge potential and broad prospects in gaming,”
A panel discussion of BGA founding members at the Blockchain Game Summit, also touched on the potential for the technology to bring benefits to “both developers and players”, which will be bolstered by developing universal blockchain standards, Ultra’s Co-CEO, Nicolas Gilot stated that the BGA will:
“create a more interoperable and transparent ecosystem, which will benefit stakeholders, by furthering innovation and ensuring economic viability.”
Although a number of big players have joined the BGA, the organisation is yet to begin revealing use cases. Anne Puck, Ubisoft’s blockchain initiative associate manager and a board member for the Blockchain Game Summit stated:
“blockchain is the biggest thing on the market for technology since the Internet.” she said “everything around blockchain is worth investigating.”
Back in February Ubisoft revealed that it was examining blockchain technology as part of its work at its Strategic Innovation Lab, with a focus to reduce “toxicity” in gaming communities, while still adhering to EU privacy laws.
With gamers being early adopters of both blockchain and cyptocurrencies, last month Ubisoft’s blockchain initiative manager and BGA board member, Nicolas Pouard announced the release of a pilot game entitled ‘Hashcraft’. Inspired by the well known ‘Minecraft’, it allows players to design quests and challenges that are stored on a public blockchain.
Interestingly, in the same week as joining the BGA, Ubisoft also launched a trial run of “Project Stream”. Partnering with Google, it is giving eligible participants the opportunity to stream its latest AAA game ‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’ for free through the Google Chrome browser.
These projects come amid the firm’s belief that the video game console is set to be eclipsed by streaming services. Back in June, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot stated:
“There will be one more console generation and then after that, we will be streaming, all of us.”
Ubisoft is not the only gaming giant to be focusing on blockchain technology. As per a BCTech Report, back in April, Sony filed a U.S. Patent to use blockchain for digital rights in entertainment, and will include its Playstation Network. Meanwhile, Microsoft is already using it to administer its Xbox Live royalty payments to developers.