The world’s fourth largest publicly traded video game company, French gaming giant, Ubisoft, is reportedly developing Ethereum in-game items and blockchain games.
It was widely reported last week that Ubisoft, the company behind iconic games such as Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry, is applying blockchain technology to develop game features using the Ethereum blockchain, this, according to French news outlet, Les Echos. According to Les Echos’ sources, the development team at Ubisoft is now in the advanced stages of creating a blockchain-based marketplace for in-game items, the team involved having been working on this project in secret for many months.
This development would enable users to purchase game commodities using the blockchain and crypto assets. It would also help the company gain a competitive edge over rival gaming companies, especially after the phenomenal success of the on-line game Fortnite, by Epic Games, which is free in itself but which allows players to purchase online accessories for the game’s characters in the course of play.
In this way, the model that Ubisoft is thought to be using is not new, but Ubisoft’s exploration of this possibility demonstrates the relevance of blockchain based transactions to support monetisation of video gaming. The difference – and this is where Ubisoft’s competitive edge may well rest – lies in the use of the blockchain, which can create a digital element from the transaction. Currently, the purchase of a costume for a character in Fortnite, for example, ends at the acquisition and use of that costume. With the use of blockchain, the costume could retain a value and could be traded for another item or game benefit at a later stage.
Ubisoft is still working on this development and it is not known whether blockchain-based virtual content would be used in one of its existing franchises or in a brand new game. Nor has a timetable for launch been disclosed, which may be based on the lack of regulatory clarity on the use of the blockchain that still exists in France. While Ubisoft explores use of the blockchain to gain competitive edge for its games, as a publicly traded company, the company will be acutely aware of how the markets might react to the launch of a project using innovative technology in an area where French authorities have not quite yet made clear its regulatory stance.
Although regulatory uncertainty may nudge Ubisoft towards holding on to its cautious approach, it is expected that global moves towards adoption and standardisation of a regulatory framework will result in France, and the rest of the EU, adopting favourable legislation that will facilitate and accelerate innovation in the use of the blockchain and the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.