If you've been following the blockchain gaming space in any capacity, you've undoubtedly heard of Brian Fargo's Robot Cache. If you haven't heard of Silicon Valley's new favorite technology, know that it's a decentralized, perpetual digital ledger that doesn't rely on a central authority. Imagine a platform like Steam, but instead of being run by Valve it's run by an invested community with oversight from a small company. When I wrote about Robot Cache, it was the only platform utilizing this tech. That's about to change.
Enter Equiti Games, a blockchain platform "revolutionizing the way that digital games are bought, sold, and resold worldwide." Announced via press release, the platform is being established by Tony Caputo. Tony is a games industry veteran and founder of the online game trading platform, LeapTrade.
Equiti Games is looking to compete with Robot Cache in being the premier decentralized Steam competitor. With a fairer split for developers/publishers and the ability to resell digital games, the new storefront may actually have a chance.
Most blockchains pair with a currency that provides access to the platform. Some digital assets are equivalent to real value, while others represent ownership. Equiti Games' version is the Equiti (EQT) token, and it replaces a traditional, regional form of payment. For used game sales, gamers will receive some money back in EQT, and publishers gain some royalty fees via smart contracts - I'll get into this a bit later. Customers can then use EQT for other games or cash it out into their local currency. Essentially, Equiti Games is creating a digital version of the used games market. They're tapping into a big market as well. GameStop made 2.15 billion from used physical game sales last year, but 79% of all games sold in 2017 were digital. Imagine the opportunity in reselling with digital software.
Also, in keeping up with modern trends, Equiti Games will emphasize influencers. Streamers and content creators will earn currency for interacting and can even track direct statistics through the platform. Regular users can also receive tokens for recommending and reviewing games or creating popular mods. Of course, users can also just convert their local currency into EQT to buy whenever they'd like.
The Equiti token in combination with smart contracts allows for instant payments and a barrier-free way to transfer a game license between publishers and users. A smart contract is an immutable "if-then" statement that the publisher opens when listing their game. Think of a smart contract as an immutable deal between the consumer and the distributor. If Rockstar puts Red Dead Redemption 2 up for 60 EQT, they'll open a smart contract that won't release the license until payment hits. So, "if" the customer provides 60 EQT to Rockstar, "then" the contract will release a game key.
Blockchain tech prevents anyone from tampering with the smart contract or falsifying sales. On Equiti, publishers can list the game name, amount of limited editions, resale commision value, and full-price of the title via a smart contract. Similar to Robot Cache, Equiti also allows developers some control over used game prices to prevent overselling traditional purchases. These binding deals will also apply to microtransactions and monthly passes. Each would have its own open smart contract, transferring rights to the customer upon purchase. These smart contracts enable used game trading as well. All game licenses are transferable by nature, so a user simply opens up a sell contract to the global marketplace. Once fulfilled, the seller instantly receives their funds, and the buyer, the key.
A blockchain platform, while expensive to implement, is much cheaper to maintain. Decentralization utilizes the power of its connected devices to run, mitigating any server costs. This change allows publishers on Equiti a 90% cut of profits over the 70% offered by most other platforms.
“The blockchain allows us to recreate a true secondary market by unshackling gamers and developers from the constraints imposed by legacy distribution licenses in a transparent manner. We’re not vying to become another middleman, but are instead establishing a cross-platform standard that connects game developers directly to their audiences. This model will foster innovation by rewarding the creators and restoring true ownership rights to gamers.” —Tony Caputo, CEO and Founder of Equiti GamesEquiti Games is looking to restore consumer control in a digital world by providing a platform for everyone to benefit. The used games market can exist digitally, and with it, developers will see more profit than ever before. Even users benefit with multiple ways to earn, based on interaction alone. It sounds like the next evolution in digital distribution, but we'll have to wait and see how Equiti pans out.
The platform has a planned public beta in Q4 of this year. A minimum viable product release is aimed for Q1 2019. For more information on Equiti Games, check out my full video interview with Tony up above.