How has traditional gaming companies’ blockchain gaming performed? Ubisoft will launch blockchain games, but how will they do?
How have traditional gaming companies fared with blockchain gaming? What is Ubisoft's plan for blockchain games?
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首先、伝統的なゲーム会社は、この基本的なインフラストラクチャである公共鎖に参入しています。2022年2月に専門のゲームブロックチェーンOasysを立ち上げた有名なゲーム会社バンダイナムコとセガは、OasysをEVMに互換性のあるチェーンにしました。 Oasysの初期のノードオペレーターは、フランスのゲームグループUbisoft、韓国のビデオゲーム会社Netmarble、Wemade、Com2 uS、フィリピンのチェーンゲーム協会Yield Guild Gamesなど、すべて伝統的なゲーム会社から来ています。
However, in terms of the total number of game projects, the top three blockchain games are currently Binance Smart Chain, Ethereum, and Polygon. Blockchain games on these three public chains account for 76.2% of the total. Native chain games still prefer traditional public chains, and the blockchain game projects running on this game public chain jointly developed by traditional game companies are currently only 11. According to DappRadar data, there are a total of 2270 blockchain games so far.
In addition, Sony has applied for an NFT patent, allowing NFT assets to interact between different games and game devices (such as PS4, PS5, mobile phones, computers); Unity is developing an engine integration with Metamask SDK, allowing users to use wallets more smoothly in the game, and so on.
What have traditional game companies done?
Ubisoft, a famous French 3A game manufacturer, launched Champions Tactics on the Oasys blockchain this time. It has also supported a blockchain game company’s chain game Nine Chronicles (role-playing game), and participated in the financing of game companies, such as the $65 million financing of the blockchain game company Animoca Brands.
Ubisoft is also the first major game company in the world to involve NFTs. In 2021, Ubisoft added NFT content to its own game “Ghost Action: Breakpoint”. This is part of their Quartz NFT plan. According to the announcement, the Ubisoft Quartz platform allows users to obtain NFTs of items that can be used in the game, such as weapons, clothing, or vehicles. Ubisoft Quartz calls these NFTs “Digits” and chooses to base these NFTs on the Tezos blockchain. Ubisoft also promised to introduce this plan into other games. The construction of the Quartz platform took four years, but Ubisoft was actually very cautious in the process of launching NFTs, and its other games did not have similar practices.
In “Ghost Action: Breakpoint”, at first, the “Wolf” skin, helmet, and a pair of pants of the M4A1 tactical rifle were provided free of charge to initial players as NFTs. Later, these NFTs could only be obtained as rewards after achieving certain achievements in the game. For example, the rifle required players to reach level 5 XP in Ghost Recon Breakpoint, and the pants required players to play for at least 100 hours, while the helmet required players to play for at least 600 hours.
These NFTs can be resold, but according to reports, the NFT resale market for “Ghost Recon: Breakpoint” seems to have had only 15 NFTs sold, with a total transaction volume of only $400. Currently, Ubisoft has ended updates to the content of “Ghost Recon: Breakpoint”.
It can be said that the NFT-ization of in-game assets was a failure in Ubisoft’s practice. When Ubisoft launched the plan, it was questioned by many players. For ordinary gamers, owning an NFT of an in-game equipment does not affect their gaming experience.
Bandai Namco Dreams
One of the initiators of the Oasys blockchain, the Japanese gaming giant, held its third Gundam Summit on March 29, 2022, announcing the development of the Gundam Metaverse. It will gradually establish the foundation of the Metaverse space, first creating virtual communities for each category and linking them to Bandai Namco Dreams IDs, and then connecting these communities, called space colonies, to form a Gundam Metaverse space SIDE-G. In the future, the Metaverse, which is mainly composed of animation, Gundam models, games, music and other categories, will gradually unfold in virtual space.
Currently on the official website of the Gundam Metaverse, only related promotional content can be seen, and there is no further progress. Based on Bandai Namco Dreams’ past business moves, we can see that for the Metaverse world that carries its own game, it has been active and has even opened VR experience venues in many parts of the world.
One of the co-initiators of Oasys, a well-known Japanese game company. In October 2022, Sega partnered with Japanese blockchain game company Double Jump Tokyo to release its first blockchain game. This game is an online arcade battle exchange card game based on Sega’s classic game “Dynasty Warriors”.
This is an NFT chain game. It is understood that Sega only lent this IP to Double Jump Tokyo for development, and the specific game will be released at the end of this year, only on the PC side.
Previously, Sega actively explored the NFT field. It still cooperated with Double Jump Tokyo. It is understood that Sega also invested in the company. Sega has also entered the NFT field. In May of this year, Sega launched the first NFT on the Oasys network’s NFT market Oasy, based on its classic IP “Virtual Fighter”.
Netmarble is South Korea’s largest mobile gaming company, which developed games such as “Marvel Future Fight” and “Lineage 2: Revolution”. Tencent is its third-largest shareholder, and the company was established in 2000. In January 2022, the company announced that it planned to adopt a dual-track strategy, to seize the opportunity of blockchain games, and to issue its own cryptocurrency for in-game transactions. Its subsidiary, Netmarble F&C, will focus on producing blockchain-related content, including games, metaverse characters, virtual humans, and webtoons.
In 2022, Netmarble launched three blockchain games that utilize its own IP, including the battle royale game “A3: Still Alive,” the fantasy adventure role-playing game “Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds,” and the fighting action game “King of Fighters: Arena.”
Take “A3: Still Alive” as an example. In this game, the unique currency INETRIUM, which players refine in the game, can be directly exchanged for virtual currency MBX. When it was launched, the price of each MBX rose to a high of KRW 68,000 (approximately CNY 360), and then fell all the way to its current price of KRW 1,440 (approximately CNY 7.7).
However, diving into blockchain games did not save Netmarble’s decline. The company suffered a net loss of KRW 172.3 billion (approximately CNY 900 million) in the first half of 2022 and a net loss of KRW 277.5 billion (approximately CNY 1.5 billion) in the second half of the year.
This year, Netmarble launched “Meta World: My City,” a game that combines the board game “Let’s Get Rich” with a real estate metaverse IP that has been downloaded more than 150 million times worldwide. Players can trade land and buildings as NFTs and earn income in the form of in-game tokens through real estate investments.
In terms of actual gameplay, “Meta World: My City” is more like a “Monopoly” game dressed up as a metaverse. On the one hand, players roll the dice on various city maps to experience the competition with other players in the virtual world. On the other hand, they enjoy expanding land, building landmarks, and creating a business in the metaverse.
However, “Meta World: My City” lacks richer and deeper virtual universe elements other than personalized character models, despite the fact that it is labeled as a “metaverse.”
In terms of revenue, Mir 4 Global is far from reaching the heights of Axie and Stepn in the blockchain gaming industry, and the development costs of the latter two are much lower than MIR4. Compared with traditional games, NCSoft’s “Blade & Soul” generated over $100 million in revenue in just eight days after its launch, and Netmarble’s “Ni no Kuni” also achieved $100 million in revenue in 11 days. Mir 4 Global lags behind them.
Overall, in terms of game revenue, Mir 4 Global, as the first blockchain game in South Korea, although its game quality far exceeds that of other blockchain games of the same period, its actual revenue performance is barely satisfactory, and the token economy in blockchain games also significantly shortens its game lifecycle.
Domestic Game Giants
As early as 2016, Alibaba launched blockchain game products, including the well-known “Ant Forest”.
However, the first outbreak of blockchain games in China was in 2018, when major domestic game companies launched blockchain games. At that time, the domestic blockchain game market was very single, mainly focused on collection and transaction games, such as CryptoKitties. Baidu developed Laitz Dogs, 360 developed Block Cats, Chenxin Technology developed Baoli Horse, and Geek Network developed Cloud Fish. Blue Harbor Interactive and NetEase, which have professional game teams, also developed blockchain games such as CryptoDogs and Fortune Cats.
In 2021 and 2022, Baidu launched the social game “Xilang”, ByteDance acquired the leading domestic VR industry company PICO for RMB 9 billion, and Code Qiankun, a leading investor, launched the platform game “Restart the World”, which combines creation, entertainment, and social functions, and also developed a metaverse social product “Pixsoul” internally. Tencent’s TiMi Studio announced a new project, a metaverse game called “Z PLAN”. NetEase also implanted blockchain technology in its popular games “Nishui Han” and “QianNv YouHun”, and tried to establish an industry-wide virtual asset management standard through a digital asset called “Fuxi Tongbao” to change the division of labor and cooperation mode of future blockchain games and activate the asset storage of game users.
However, the good times did not last long. In May of this year, the person in charge of Baidu Xilang has resigned. According to an internal employee of Tencent Games who revealed to Blocking, Tencent’s blockchain game-related business has all been shut down.
Because of policy reasons, blockchain games still pose a high risk for domestic big companies. Although the metaverse is the future direction of development, the road is long and the technology has not yet reached a stage where users can have a good experience and bring profits to the company.
The development of blockchain games is still very limited. The purpose of blockchain game players is clear: make money by playing games, as long as the game can make money and be played, other things are not important. This part of the players is also very limited. In fact, the development of blockchain games urgently needs Web2.0 game companies to bring fresh blood and gameplay.
A good game and gaming experience should be the top priority, followed by the consideration of the economic model embedded in it. 3A big companies such as Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, and Square Enix have had a difficult time in recent years and have encountered bottlenecks. For traditional game companies, blockchain games are undoubtedly an opportunity to bring new vitality to big companies.
Exquisite production, vivid game plots and good game experience combined with the on-chain assets and good economic model are definitely the direction of blockchain game development, and it should also be the high ground that traditional game companies strive for.