Infotech Ubisoft: “The blockchain has the power to change the video game”

Ubisoft: “The blockchain has the power to change the video game”

The recent agitation around “NFT” [jeton cryptographique dit « non fongible », représentant un objet numérique certifié, NDLR] led many people to consider blockchain [technologie qui permet de garder la trace d’un ensemble d’échanges, de manière décentralisée, sécurisée et transparente, sous forme d’une chaîne de blocs], the technology on which they are based, as a solution to a problem that does not exist, sometimes with good reason. However, the benefits of this innovation are major. Its potential to decentralize virtually any type of organization and establish uniqueness and ownership of digital content allows users to interact with confidence without the mediation of a third party. In our “all digital” world, it redefines and redistributes value by putting it back in the hands of its respective creators and owners, pushing all industries to reinvent themselves.

Towards a virtual universe, but with real money

This new paradigm has revealed unprecedented possibilities for artists, creators and users. The rise of cryptocurrencies and NFTs is a direct, though still unclear, consequence of this disruption of digital economies in the finance and art sectors respectively. The outcry and skepticism aroused by these early blockchain applications should not, however, obscure the latent trend behind this craze: the behavior of individuals and online communities has evolved. They have become stakeholders and even co-creators of digital universes and experiences, and they now expect their content, data or time to produce value that they too can benefit from.

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More balance in the developer-player relationship

The video game industry is no exception. Gamers have long taken an active role in co-creating their gaming experiences, supported by the continued expansion of the ecosystem – across mobile, streaming and esports – as well as the rise of multiplayer. online and “UGC” (user generated content). These developments have led to a major transformation in the industry’s development models. For example, the rise of free games (called “free-to-play”) and “game-services” allows players to regularly enjoy new content, while allowing their developers to continue to create and support. these games in the long run. While these models have been able to meet the new expectations of players, they do not recognize or reward the value generated by content creators and by the communities at the heart of these gaming experiences.

Internet Memes Can Make Lots, Lots of Money

We see blockchain as a way to make this possible, not as a one-size-fits-all solution, but as a natural evolution of real-life possibilities within digital spaces. By going beyond current technical limits, it allows gamers to create value from the time they devote to video games, the virtual items they buy or their contribution to the gaming experience of the community. In this, we believe that blockchain has the potential to bring more balance to the developer-player relationship.

A reasoned approach to integrating blockchain into games

However, we believe that this fairer vision can only be achieved if we adopt, as an industry, a reasoned approach to the integration of blockchain in games. It cannot be ignored that confidence in this technology has been seriously damaged, with the emergence of first projects based on an overly energy-intensive form of this technology, marketing operations, scams and other speculative mechanisms. We oppose these practices and firmly believe that blockchain can deliver on all of its promises if we meet three conditions.

First of all, it is essential that the established players in the sector position themselves as benchmarks for the players and create the conditions necessary to establish this trust. This can only be done by allowing them to use this technology in safe and familiar environments, in a way that makes sense to our media. This condition is essential to help them understand the advantages of a new model that allows them to create value in virtual universes.

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Next, innovation must never come at the expense of environmental considerations. The energy consumption of “Proof-of-Work” blockchains is a major constraint that we identified at the start of our research, four years ago. As such, we fully support the call of the IGDA (International Association of Game Developers) to favor traditional solutions to NFTs if they can offer the same advantages, and to use only “Proof-of-” blockchains. Stake ”(“ proof of stake ”). Where blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum consume the equivalent of a country the size of Argentina every year, this version of the technology achieves the same results while consuming no more energy than a hamlet. of 20 people. We are committed to respecting these principles and call on our peers to follow this responsible implementation and to contribute to the reflection around “clean” NFTs.

Make the players the full actors of their experiences

Finally, the move towards a decentralized philosophy requires giving players more control over games and their content. Minimizing this aspect would drastically reduce the interest of this innovation, boiling it down to a simple gimmick. By bringing uniqueness and ownership into virtual environments, blockchain rebalances the relationship in favor of players by giving them much more control over what they are, own, or create, be it their character, of a house they have built or their inventory. Each element of their history becomes, in essence, their property. They should therefore be able to treat them like any real-life item, including reselling them and benefiting from the value that arises from the time or skill required to craft or obtain them.

The day playing video games got cool

We see this “play-to-earn” model, and soon “create-to-earn”, as a means of making players fully-fledged players in their experiences. Our deep conviction is that video games must provide a significant return on the investment in player time and effort – whether through entertainment, knowledge, creativity, socialization or even monetary value.

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Blockchain can only be a game-changer if our industry really puts players at the center of this evolution. The possibilities open to them will be immense. The inherent interoperability of blockchain and its decentralized nature would allow for a more rewarding relationship between players and developers, allowing them to push the boundaries of what is possible today. This means, for example, that the objects (and their NFT “tokens”) will no longer be limited to the environment of a single game, allowing a real interconnection between virtual worlds. Players will be able to transport their inventory, experience, and achievements from game to game.

The metaverse, destination of the future?

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This is particularly what we tested with Sorare as part of our joint One Shot League experience. Introducing decentralization by default in games, using code, provides unprecedented autonomy and freedom to communities at all levels – governance, economy, interactions and even distributed computing power without a central server , as we explored with our first HashCraft prototype.

The combination of these elements opens the door to a real “metaverse”, a notion that extends far beyond the vision of a single company, and which cannot exist without a native digital economy and decentralized technology, intrinsically. community. Yes, blockchain has the power to be a game-changer, but only by using it appropriately, responsibly and putting players at the center of thinking can we collectively benefit from its true potential.

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