Ubisoft is one of the largest third-party game publishers in the world, responsible for well-known franchises such as Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six.
But the French gaming giant is hardly monolithic. In fact, Ubisoft puts a premium on innovation, as evidenced by its Entrepreneurs Lab accelerator program.
The Entrepreneurs Lab provides support and studio space to startups that are working on cutting-edge technologies in gaming, such as augmented reality, virtual reality—and, of course, blockchain.
Ubisoft began the fourth season of its Entrepreneurs Lab this week, with 10 companies engaged in the six-month program. Eight of the companies are working with blockchain technology—although not all of them have an obvious gaming connection. And this time around, Ubisoft will host some of the startups in Singapore instead of Paris.
Here are the blockchain-related companies participating in season four of Ubisoft's Entrepreneurs Lab, along with their bright ideas.
Azarus is designed to boost engagement for Twitch video game streamers, letting them insert interactive "smart challenge" questions into broadcasts. Viewers who correctly answer questions earn AZA Credits, which can be exchanged for in-game items and other products. Challenges are notarized on the EOS blockchain. The service currently only works with Ubisoft's tactical shooter hit, Rainbow Six Siege, but with Azarus raised $1.8 million in funding in June, more games are likely to follow.
Paris-based startup CareGame is creating a decentralized cloud distribution model for mobile games, allowing players to access games immediately with a tap without waiting for downloads or worrying about local storage or processing power. The blockchain foundation allows game creators to minimize fraud, plus CareGame sees the decentralized model as a way to minimize the power wielded by third-party game storefronts.
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Singapore-based design studio Mighty Jaxx trades in physical goods—collectable statues, designer toys, and other limited-edition items. However, its storefront and platform is built on the blockchain, which assigns a tamper-proof certificate to every collectible it manufactures and ships out. Mighty Jaxx has worked with such brands as DC Comics and Cartoon Network, and announced a pre-Series A investment round of nearly $1.6 million in July.
Ever had a beloved game close down, shutter its servers, and disappear forever? Planetarium promises to eliminate that grim finale for any game built on its open-source, decentralized blockchain platform—allowing games to "live forever." On top of that, games such as Planetarium's upcoming mobile RPG Nine Chronicles can be freely modded by users and spun onto separate networks. Each game built on the platform gets its own blockchain, too.
Savitar is a digital cryptocurrency exchange that claims to do things differently. The site promises low fees and a transparent listing process, and gives users say in its ongoing development. Savitar currently sells Bitcoin, Ethereum, BitcoinCash, and Litecoin, and offers its own SVT Token as an incentive for frequent users. The token provides discounts on fees, for example, as well as voting rights for proposed token listings.
Think of Sorare like fantasy football crossed with a Panini sticker album—you collect cards of players from 27 different licensed soccer clubs (including West Ham United and Royal Charleroi Sporting Club) and create your starting lineup, earning rewards based on their real-life performance. It's built on the blockchain using non-fungible tokens, meaning that you can trade and sell the cards with other users as you please.
Synaps is a blockchain-powered digital identity management service, letting users securely verify their identity with documents such as a driver's license or passport, or proof of residency. For companies in industries such as gambling, Synaps provides a frictionless way to verify users’ ID. The service gives users full control of their documents, letting them stop sharing any element of their digital identity as they choose.
Wildcards aims to harness interest in crypto to generate a steady flow of funds for conservation of endangered animals. Essentially, the platform sells non-fungible cards that represent gorillas, each of which has a price in ether. When purchased, the buyer must set a sale price and pay a monthly percentage as a Harberger Tax (which goes to conservation). The card can be purchased at any point, thus continuing the cycle with a new owner/seller.