With yesterdays major partnership announcement between Xpring and Forte and the setup of a $100,000,000 fund to support developers in implementing blockchain technology into videogames (press releases at the end of this article), we take a look at the top runners and riders and cryptocurrencies trying to make a splash on the gaming industry. While not all gaming related cryptos will succeed (and indeed a number have already failed) there are definitely some with huge potential. And with in-game virtual currencies in thousands of video games already (think of Farmville, World Of Warcraft Gold, Second Life, Angry Birds, etc etc etc) this is one area I think cryptocurrencies will absolutely thrive in.
I don’t think we need to talk that much about XRP here. We have all heard about the dizzying number of partners and projects on the go related to XRP and with this new Xpring incentive for the gaming industry it is sure to absolutely kill it.
Enjin Coin (ENJ)
Enjin made quite the impression last week with a high profile rumoured partnership with Samsung bringing about a doubling of the price and seeing ENJ rise from outside the top 100 into the top 50 by market cap. While the price has retraced 30% from its peak, the team has confirmed some form of partnership with Samsung and although the exact details remain sketchy, there are screenshots of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10 featuring ENJ in the crypto wallet.
Intergalactic Gaming Gold (IGG)
Intergalactic Gaming are one of the shining lights of the Tron network and have the aim of ruling the eSports industry. With white papers and manifestos detailed enough to fill a library and with constant and continual developments, this is a coin to keep a very close eye on. While BTT (BitTorrent Token) has taken all the TRC20 token investment and attention since its launch, with 20x less supply, 1/3rd of the price and a substantially larger potential user base, IGG remains our dark horse for a long term bet.
Remember the old game Second Life? If not then it was (or still is) a massive multiplayer world where players create a character and interact with others. And do stuff. I guess it is something like Minecraft. Maybe (I haven’t played either of them). But I do remember back in the day, Second Life Bucks were used in game but bought for using real money and items, buildings and cities were changing hands for silly money with the two most expensive virtual buildings selling for $330,000 and $635,000.
Decentraland claims to be a virtual reality blockchain version of Second Life. There are other pretenders to the blockchain Second Life throne but Decentraland is the highest profile of them all.
Atari has announced it plans on releasing Atari Token and aims to port some of their classic games including Roller Coaster Tycoon onto blockchain. Atari already has an interest in cryptocurrency as players can play slot versions of their games at crypto casinos through a partnership with gambling company Pariplay.
Vibe is a Virtual Reality platform that at one point was down 100x from the ATH. It has since recovered a fraction but is still one of the big losers of the 2018 bear market. Their claim to fame was to be featured in a Super Bowl advert last year but their section was pulled due to all the anti-crypto FUD going on at that time.
GameCredits (GAME) formerly GamersCoin (GMC)
GameCredits claims to be an in game store for video games. This crypto has just celebrated its 5 year anniversary but does not yet have a product. They aim to finally launch something this month though looking at their history, team and lack of updates red flags have to be raised. And then there is of course the story of “GNation [GameCredits (GAME) and MobileGo (MGO)] Commits ICO Crypto Fraud”. One to avoid.
The future is bright for the gaming cryptos that succeed
There is no doubt in my opinion that gaming is where cryptocurrencies will get one of the biggest and earliest adoption rates. Gamers have been using virtual currencies for two decades stretching back into the 1990’s where players would pay for in game credits via credit card or even SMS. Moving to the future it is clear that crypto has a real use case here, where bought or earned credits can be used on multiple games rather than being useless once a player tires of an individual game.
There are dozens and dozens of gaming cryptos and we could not list them all here but with this weeks news XRP has firmly placed itself at the top table for gamers alongside platforms such as IGG, ENJ and MANA.
Xpring in $100m partnership with Forte to bring XRP to video-games
12th March 2019: The cryptocurrency company Ripple on Tuesday announced an ambitious project to integrate blockchain technology into video games. The plan, which features a $100 million fund for developers, could remake the gaming industry by creating a new way to create in-game marketplaces for digital goods.
The fund will be overseen by Forte, a San Francisco company founded this year by prominent gaming executives, and which is backed and advised by a host of big Silicon Valley names, including Andreesen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures and Battery Ventures.
“Video games have long been quick to adopt new technology, from console to the PC to mobile. Now, blockchain will help game designers who’ve had a hard time facilitating an economy that can serve all types of players,” said Ethan Beard, a senior executive with Ripple’s development arm Xpring, in an interview with Fortune.
Blockchain technology, which provides an indelible ledger run across multiple computers, holds promise for video games because it offers a verifiable way to track digital assets—say a sword or even a character—across different owners in a game.
This is significant because secondary markets for online games, even very popular ones, are clumsy or not entirely legal. Beard notes that people will buy other players’ accounts off eBay for hundreds of dollars, or turn to third party sites to buy in-game currency such as “gold” from World of Warcraft. By integrating blockchain technology into their platforms, game makers could bring such transactions inside the game.
The idea of using blockchain to trade digital goods is not new. In late 2017, a trading game called Crypto Kitties enjoyed a brief flurry of attention because it let users buy and sell unique digital cats, some of which sold for thousands of dollars. In retrospect, though, Crypto Kitties appears to have been more of a proof of concept than a viable game.
“Crypto Kitties introduced what a blockchain could do. It showed the benefit of having a public record of transactions people could trust, and how an in-game economy is well suited to blockchain,” said Brett Seyler, who is Chief Platform Executive at Forte.
Seyler added that Crypto Kitties failed to gain permanent traction in part because the blockchain it employed, known as Ethereum, proved to be too congested for many transactions.
As for Forte, the company is relying heavily on technology developed by Ripple, including the Interledger Protocol, an open source protocol for conducting transactions across different blockchains, and a smart contract service known as Codius.
For Ripple, the $100 million development fund represents an attempt to expand its blockchain services beyond its core business of financial messaging software. At the same time, in the event gaming platforms decide integrate the Interledger Protocol, it could spur the broader adoption of the cryptocurrency XRP, which Ripple holds in large amounts.
According to Beard, Ripple’s Xpring will distribute the grants to game developers in the form of XRP, though he acknowledged most recipients will likely convert them to U.S. dollars given that services like AWS only accept fiat currency.
In terms of distributing the grants, Forte and Ripple say they are targeting game developers with over 50,000 daily active users. Beard added that big and small companies will be eligible to receive grants, and that some of the grants could be worth millions of dollars.
More broadly, the push to promote blockchain adoption by video game developers could represent a third major use case for the technology. Currently, many companies are using blockchain for financial settlement and supply chain management, though in many cases those uses have been experimental.
The new fund could also raise the profile of Forte, which launched in February, and is being headed by the founder of mobile gaming platform Kabam. Forte describes itself as a “provider of blockchain-based platform technology for the games industry.” Its other investors and advisers include Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam, Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan and Richard Lyons, the former Dean of Berkeley’s Haas Business School.
Xpring and Forte invest in crypto for videogames
12th March 2019: Forte launched last month to solve a specific problem in gaming: how to better align player engagement and developer business models. New platforms enable new models: cloud and mobile evolved the gaming industry from shrink-wrapped discs delivering static experiences to free-to-play, social games that were constantly evolving and accessible across all platforms. This shift not only introduced business model innovations, such as in-game items, but also new user behavioral models such as virtual self-expression and online congregation. But on the way to the Metaverse, the balance between monetization and user fun became difficult to manage and were often in tension.
The parallel dynamic is that games have been a core driver of adoption for new platforms: personal computers, mobile, social and VR. The thesis extends that similar forces are at play between gaming and crypto and there are exciting early indicators of this. At Xpring, our core belief is that crypto presents an opportunity to realign interests and incentives of marketplaces of all types, including between gamers and developers. The potential is that, by using crypto, the unidirectional relationship (developer sells virtual item to user) can evolve into something radically more powerful: fully functioning peer-to-peer economies where users are primary and active participants.
Forte’s platform design aligns well with where crypto is headed, with a sharded, application-specific architecture and coherent protocol-based abstractions for cross-chain interactions. Towards this, we’ve worked with the Forte team from early on to deeply embed Interledger, Codius and XRP in the platform architecture to maximize cross-chain interoperability, security and liquidity. With this technical foundation bundled other core technologies, tools, and easy-to-use services, Forte is building one of the most exciting platforms that will enable developers to reach mass consumer audiences.
We have continually been impressed by the Forte team. With backgrounds from Kabam, GarageGames, Unity and others important companies, they have been leaders in transforming the gaming industry. They have a deep understanding of the economic and technical potential of crypto and ask the important questions around how concepts such as scarcity and liquidity can apply to game developers’ needs. They are intensely focused on great game-play, new user behavioral models and delivering the best experience for developers and players. We believe Forte is the right team to tackle these problems and ultimately deliver mainstream adoption for crypto based games — you can learn more about their approach here.
We’re thrilled to partner with Forte on this journey to realign the economic relationship between players and developers, as well as deliver new gaming experiences that will begin to diverge from legacy formats and into novel new territories.