The future of gaming digital distribution is here! At least that’s what new service Robot Cache would have you believe. Founded by Brian Fargo (responsible for Interplay, inXile, and Fig), Robot Cache is the first game distribution platform to run on blockchain technology. Like other companies utilizing the blockchain, Fargo and crew want to innovate on what they believe to be outdated technology.
A big issue developers face with Steam and many other current distribution platforms is the wide revenue split, with Valve’s platform boasting a 70/30 share. Even at a full-price launch, that leaves developers/publishers forfeiting a lot more cash than they’d probably like. While some smaller distributors go away from that, like Itch.io letting developers set how much Itch gets, the standard among the biggest storefronts is a 70/30 split.
Plus, despite all of the benefits digital distribution has brought us, no digital platform has successfully tackled the resale industry that gamers have taken advantage of for decades. Physical games can be sold back to retailers for a return on investment. In the digital scape, games are stuck in your library forever.
"Just a handful of companies dominate the multi-billion-dollar digital download PC video games market. Robot Cache plans to revolutionize the industry by launching the first-ever workable decentralized video game marketplace that benefits both the creators of video games and gamers. All of this is accomplished by expertly leveraging the power, flexibility, safety, and transparency of blockchain technology." - Lee Jacobson, CEORobot Cache aims to fix these issues and introduce some big changes while doing so. Because the blockchain not only streamlines software development but also provides a decentralized network for it to run on, it is much cheaper to keep these services running.
This is the reason Robot Cache is able to give publishers/developers up to 95% percent (!) revenue share of every new game sale made on the platform. On top of this, they’re incorporating a resale function that allows both developers and gamers to benefit. When a user puts a game up for sale, up to 70% of that goes back to the publisher/developer, and 25% goes back to the user, with Robot Cache taking the final percentage.
The user receives that 25% in IRON, which is Robot Cache’s unique form of cryptocurrency. They can then use IRON to buy more games or cash it out for real money. Not only is this a new way for publishers/developers to take advantage of the used game market, but gamers are very likely to spend that money on more games. This raises the amount of money that stays in the ecosystem, increasing the amount that publishers/developers make. A key aspect to this is that the developer/publisher can set the resale rate - making it less but not to degrees that it destroys sales. In an industry as volatile as gaming, this can be a godsend for smaller teams. Also, developers/publishers can maintain how their games are resold, not to mention payment distribution happens in minutes due to the blockchain.
Robot Cache also offers mining tools to gamers with powerful PCs. An entirely optional program, gamers that opt-in will slowly gather IRON over time. Not only are they earning money for themselves, but the act of mining is to verify transactions happening in the Robot Cache blockchain. Essentially, Robot Cache is a self-sufficient loop that not only keeps things cheap but ensures all transactions are 100% secure. There will also be an IRON reward program built into Robot Cache. As users and the community contribute to specific events, they’ll be rewarded with IRON once certain milestones are reached.
All of Robot Cache is built on the Ethereum blockchain network, which houses “smart contracts”. Think of smart contracts as “if-then statements”: when x requirement is met, a pre-determined outcome happens. In Robot Cache’s case, when the price of a game is matched, the rights to that game are transferred. Because smart contracts are programmed into the network, there is no way for purchases to be duplicated.
In summary, being on the blockchain network allows Robot Cache opportunities that no other digital distribution service can have:
- It enables the platform to exist on a decentralized network. Information is always secure and servers can never go down.
- The network is much cheaper to maintain, allowing more money to go to publishers/developers.
- It gives Robot Cache its own cryptocurrency in the form of IRON.
- Allows miners to come and verify transactions while also rewarding them and keeping more money in the ecosystem.
- Publishers/developers can cash out almost instantly.
Quick TakeI don't think I'm alone in saying it would take a lot to pull me away from my Steam library, but Robot Cache might be the platform to do it. The reliability, incentive, and resale ability are massive pluses to me. I've been following blockchain technology for a while now, and I want to support it being used to bring my passion to new heights. If everything works out (and I think it will), this will be a massive change in the industry. This is the first platform that I think has a chance at competing with Steam. There is just so much going for it. Exclusive content and the ability to mine are big steps forward, and I'd argue this platform is the biggest innovation in digital distribution since Steam itself. I want to be a part of that.
What do you think of Robot Cache? Will it be the first platform to truly compete with Steam? Are you planning on jumping in early? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!