Today, blockchain firm Forte announced partnerships with game developers Hi-Rez Studios, Netmarble, Magmic, nWay, and DECA Games. Each company will use Forte’s blockchain solution with one of the games. The platform aims to add new revenue streams for developers as well as gamers.
While Netmarble may not be a household name in the West, the Korean gaming firm has a market capitalization of $6.5 billion.
Currently, nearly all games have a closed eco-system where gamers pay the publisher or developer for items used in the game. However, players do not truly own these digital assets, which are invariably deleted once the game is wiped off the hard drive. Previously, Valve, the developer of the Steam platform, banned third-party sites that allowed users to sell or trade items from games like CS:GO and DoTA2.
An opportunity for a new economic model for games already exists, and Forte is developing blockchain to build a sustainable eco-system. Fraud is widespread when exchanging in-game items with other players. Currently, gaming companies earn money from selling the game first-hand, advertisements, and by selling in-game items.
“Blockchain technology will unlock new economic opportunities for gamers all over the world to make a living doing what they love,” said Kevin Chou, CEO of Forte in a YouTube video.
By owning a virtual item on the blockchain, gamers can trade them between each other. Additionally, companies can offer rewards to players who complete specific tasks. A few months ago, Forte partnered with game developer Kongregate to enable cryptocurrency payments or rewards for players. The blockchain firm is building developer tools and services to assist companies to integrate blockchain in their games.
Two other partners of Forte include Disruptor Beam and Other Ocean.
Although not mentioned in the announcement, blockchain can be used to verify the provenance of items used by professional gamers who compete in eSports tournaments.
Last year, Ripple’s funding arm Xpring and Forte announced a $100 million fund to promote the use of XRP for in-game economies. Forte provides grants to developers without demanding equity or a revenue share.
On the technology side, Forte uses Ethereum for creating in-game assets and Ripple’s Interledger for enabling cross-chain interoperability to convert in-game tokens to XRP for settlement. Forte was launched last year by veterans from the gaming industry. The founder and CEO, Chou, previously set up the mobile games company Kabam which was acquired by South Korea’s Netmarble Games for over $700 million.
Forte is backed by a16z crypto, Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Canaan Partners, Coinbase Ventures, 1confirmation, and a few others.
Recently, Animoca Brands announced Square Enix was one of the investors in its blockchain version of The Sandbox.