Layer-1 blockchain Zilliqa is preparing to dive into the world of Web3 gaming, with the launch of a hardware console and gaming hub.

A prototype version of the console was unveiled today, showcasing a sleek design with an array of ports including HDMI, Ethernet and USB-C and USB 3.0 connections. Full specifications for the console remain under wraps, though Zilliqa touts its user-friendliness, with Web3 capabilities including a crypto wallet and mining integrated to "hide the complexity of Web3 from the end-user," according to a press release shared with Decrypt.

Zilliqa’s engineers spent six months in the research phase, designing and testing the console with the intent of seamlessly integrating Web3 aspects—crypto wallet, mining software, blockchain tech—into a recognizable gaming experience.

Games console
Exact specs for the console remain under wraps. Image: Zilliqa

Zilliqa “took the approach of hiding the complexity of creating the embedded Web3 wallet”, Valentin Cobelea, Head of Gaming Technology at Zilliqa, told Decrypt. Cobelea pointed to the example of NFT collection NBA Top Shot as a benchmark to emulate.  

Players will be able to to earn Zilliqa (ZIL) tokens through the completion of in-game “skill-to-earn” missions, tasks and quests. In this case, the tokens can be regarded as similar to coins or rewards in traditional games, but with the added functions of blockchain technology.  

Additionally, Zilliqa noted that “players will be able to mine ZIL tokens”, a process that they anticipate will “lead to further decentralization of the Zilliqa blockchain by expanding the number of miners globally.” 

On the subject of exactly how much revenue gamers could earn, both for skilled participation and mining, Cobelea said that their income “depends on how good the gamers are, and the amount they earn will be reflective of that.”

Although Zilliqa has yet to release details of the console's pricing, it states that the console "can eventually pay for itself."


What is Zilliqa?

Zilliqa, which was founded in 2017 and launched two years later on mainnet, is a layer-1 smart contract blockchain. In recent months it's aggressively pursued efforts to expand its influence in the gaming sphere, joining the Blockchain Gaming Alliance (BGA) in April this year, and forging partnerships with esports teams MAD Lions, RRQ, and more recently Alien Worlds and XBorg. 

Games console
Image: Zilliqa

Zilliqa's partnership with Web3 esports organization XBorg will see XBorg's community assist with the creation of gaming tournaments, and marketing endeavours, as well as receiving beta access to test Zilliqa’s gaming hub in October. 

Following this testing phase, the gaming console is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2023, with the joint release of two Zilliqa-native titles including the first-person shooter (FPS) game WEB3WAR. 

The growth of Web3 gaming

Web3 gaming revolves around the principle that players should have full autonomy and ownership over their acquired assets, using blockchain technology such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

With cryptographically unique NFTs representing in-game assets such as weaponry, skins and badges, the idea is that the player can own their digital property, sell it on or even migrate it between virtual worlds in the nascent metaverse.   

But early adopters of blockchain gaming technology have faced a backlash from skeptics in the traditional gaming community, who've raised concerns over the consequences of financialization for the gameplay experience, the environmental impact of blockchain and the effects of "play-to-earn" gaming on consumers in emerging markets.

Cobelea told Decrypt that Zilliqa is not planning to replicate the "play-to-earn" model of games such as Axie Infinity, which—for a time at least—enabled players in some Asian countries to earn a living wage.


“We don’t want to compare ourselves to the Axie approach but instead compare ourselves to the Counter-Strikes of the world, where the focus is on the gaming experience and not the earning part," he said. "If you have fun, you enjoy the game, and then you are rewarded.” 

GG Newsletter

Get the latest web3 gaming news, hear directly from gaming studios and influencers covering the space, and receive power-ups from our partners.