Business

Ed Drake

Developer Ubisoft exploring blockchain for gaming: report

French Video games development firm Ubisoft is reported to be exploring ways of integrating blockchain technology into its games, in a bid to gain an edge on competitors.

French media outlet Les Echos reported that the gaming powerhouse has been undertaking extensive research and development work into blockchain for a number of months, with at least one application already being prepared for implementation.

The plans will reportedly see Ubisoft write game assets to a blockchain, which can then be made available for purchase, along similar lines as the business model behind the hugely successful Fortnite franchise, published by rival Epic Games.

The blockchain functionality would allow users to protect their digital property rights over assets acquired through the course of the game. An unnamed source was quoted as saying the technology would help make digital assets more physical for gamers:

“When you buy a costume on Fortnite, your investment is lost, the accessory is locked in the game. If we use the blockchain, we give a physical existence to a digital element.”

The reports suggest development work is already at an advanced stage, though it remains unclear whether Ubisoft is planning to integrate the tech into existing games, or develop a new game based on the blockchain functionality, though the latter is considered a less risky move.

There is no timeframe on the development or a launch date, and sources close to the company say there remains hope that French authorities will clarify the laws around blockchain further in the interim.

There is also the suggestion that Ubisoft remains cautious about an ‘unpredictable’ market reaction to any blockchain launch, at least until the legal position firms up.

In February 2018, Atari saw share price growth of over 60% when it announced it had invested in cryptocurrency, while startup Animoca Brands was given a boost when it secured the licensing rights to the first Formula 1 game to be developed on blockchain.

With major industry players like Ubisoft now reported to be following a similar path, the news confirms the growing shift towards blockchain across the gaming industry.

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