Monday, February 26, 2018

Ubisoft Testing Research with Blockchain

Ubisoft's Strategic Innovation Lab has been using it's resources to look beyond video games for new products. They now want to dabble in blockchain. If you're hearing the term for the first time, you might be surprised to find that more triple-A developers are looking to blockchain as the future of gaming. Blockchain is a continuous growing of digital records that are linked via cryptography. It allows for each item, or game, to be unique and not one of a million reproductions. Bitcoin currently uses it.

So what would the affect be for gamers? The game you purchased, let's see the next Assassin's Creed, would be 100% owned by you. It would make it a unique game and not like any others. It would also make it much more difficult for people to steal games because these are no longer copies of a handful of products - each one is individually coded that they can't be replicated. Another advantage of this would allow developers to create specialized DLC that can be tailored to your game experience. In theory, of course. The chances of this happening are slim until Ubisoft manages to hire a ton more people to customize DLC for every gamer.

But on the other end of the spectrum, blockchain would also make it difficult for people to break into the game to mod it. Modding is a big deal to a number of those in the PC community. So much so that when Fallout 4 was first announced, Bethesda made a promise to it's fans that it would bring that modding environment to the console versions. It's difficult to imagine Bethesda games or The Sims without the modding community backing them up. By going to a blockchain system, modding could be wiped out unless developers make a conscious effort to keep the assets open - which defeats the purpose of blockchain.

This is in the early stages as no developers have completely committed to using blockchain. Though it wouldn't be a surprise if companies like EA start considering it.

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