Steam, the digital gaming distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation, has enjoyed a near-monopoly level control on the PC gaming market with over 150 million registered accounts and peak traffic of 18.5 million users online.
While Steam has done well to lower the difficulty for buying, downloading and playing games, some have criticized the centralized nature of its platform that generally takes a 30% cut of all sales. While these margins are significantly better than traditional retail distribution channels, some hope the blockchain can be utilized to create a fairer and more efficient system.
Ultra is a new blockchain project that is developing a PC game publishing platform and marketplace that offers the first token-based, decentralized alternative to Steam. In a statement given in a recent article by VentureBeat, Ultra Co-CEO Nicolas Gilot explained that “walled gardens,” a reference to centralized distribution platforms, are taking control and commissions away from game developers.
“This effectively means that developers are having an increasingly difficult time selling their software outside of these walled gardens, which results in large commission fees and loss of control over their own customers.”
Ultra aims to up-end the current system by offering a number of incentives targeting both game developers and end customers, including:
- Developers earn 21% more sales revenue
- Developers get access to a range of business and marketing tools.
- Developers and gamers will have access to a range of new revenue opportunities.
- A rich token-based economy that powers referral bonuses, digital goods, rewards programs and more.
Ultra the PC game distribution platform from the future… Stay tuned for the official announcement. pic.twitter.com/pGlSDeB5Ki
— Ultra (@ultra_io) May 5, 2018
To achieve the low-commission ecosystem, Ultra will leverage a decentralized token-economy that allows for secure peer-to-peer transactions. Additionally, UTA tokens will power all purchases, virtual items, and services on the platform through smart contracts. Ultra is built on content distribution and advertising technology sourced from major companies including Bethesda, Adobe, Riot, Zenimax, 343 Industries and Bandai Namco.
Interestingly, the Ultra platform will also feature a number of secondary elements that further differentiates the project from its competitors, including virtual item tokenization and a dedicated marketplace for these assets. Additionally, developers can utilize a platform software development kit (SDK) that simplifies the game creation process. Finally, in an effort to bring in the broader cryptocurrency community, the Ultra platform will feature a one-click GPU mining system that allows users to mine other blockchains on a single platform.
The Ultra team, which is led by a number of industry professionals, aims to release a closed beta in Q3 2018 and a full-launch by the end of the year.