Tuesday, 10 July 2018 00:26

eSport goes blockchain thanks to Aussie start-up Featured

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Is there any area of life blockchain won't touch? The latest chip off the old blockchain has landed in the eSports industry, with Sydney-based "Fuel Games" raising $2.4 million to "help pioneer the blockchain gaming industry".

Fuel Games has announced the pre-sale launch of its online game, Gods Unchained, billed as "the world’s first blockchain-based eSport".

We're told that "the multiplayer strategy game showcases how blockchain technology can be used to offer gamers absolute, trust-free ownership of the items they purchase or earn in games".

Chief executive James Ferguson, 26, who founded Fuel Games with his 21-year-old brother and Fuel Games chief operating officer Robbie Ferguson, said: "Gamers spend tens of billions of dollars and countless hours each year acquiring in-game items. But game studios barely offer their users a licensing agreement for these items, let alone actual ownership - they’re a central bank with no oversight."

The young duo report being "motivated by their own experiences in gaming, understanding the shortcomings that come with game developers having centralised control over in-game economies".

The younger Ferguson (and COO) said: "Offering players true ownership of in-game items, and the ability to trade those items freely on secondary markets, means gamers can finally be rewarded for their efforts and spending.

"As the games industry switches to asset-driven revenue models, players have a more urgent need than ever for guarantees about the value and tradability of those assets."

The company says the launch of Gods Unchained follows its "$2.4 million seed round, which was led by investors Continue Capital and Nirvana Capital, and soon followed by Sora Ventures and Coinbase".

We're told the funds are "being used to develop games and build their software platform, Apollo, which will allow game developers to integrate their titles with blockchain technology at scale".

In creating Gods Unchained, Fuel Games says it "aims to demonstrate that decentralising in-game economies is an evolution in gaming, and they want to provide consumers with an experience that sets new expectations for game publishers".

COO Ferguson added: "For blockchain-based games to be successfully adopted by the mainstream market, there needs to be a seamless user experience.

"Gods Unchained aims to offer all the benefits of decentralisation while eliminating the friction traditionally encountered when using cryptocurrencies".

In February this year, Fuel Games reminds us that it released "Etherbots", its "first game utilising the Ethereum blockchain, which offered players ownership of digital robots that could be used to battle other players".

"Within two weeks of the game launching, Fuel Games had sold over $1M of in-game items, with individual items won in-game later trading for prices up to $18,000 USD."

Although gaming will benefit from blockchain technology, the brothers feel that "the blockchain industry itself stands to gain just as much".

COO Ferguson concluded: "Decentralised games will allow people to familiarise themselves with blockchain technology in a fun and user-friendly environment.

"I won’t be surprised if gaming ends up being blockchain's first killer application outside the financial space. Gamers have always been early adopters, and this time will be no different".

More on Gods Unchained here, although 30 minutes after midnight as I'm publishing the article, the site isn't loading – leading me to wonder whether we're seeing the revenge of the gods, or the site simply ending up on the temporary chopping block, chained to overwhelming demand, but ready to be resurrected later this morning.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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