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Gala Games’ newly inaugurated proprietary blockchain GalaChain has ambitions beyond the gaming space—with the launch of social media platform Rep showcasing the potential of the decentralized protocol.
“People look at us as a metaverse or gaming project primarily,” Gala’s President of Blockchain Jason Brink told Decrypt. “But the reality is that all of the gaming content is the ‘window dressing’ for what's going on behind the scenes—which is the creation of a massive decentralized protocol that anything can be built on.”
Earlier this month Web3 gaming platform Gala Games took the significant step of migrating from the network to its proprietary blockchain, GalaChain. On GalaChain, gamers no longer have to worry about Ethereum gas fees when using game items, aligning with Gala Games’ user-first ethos. As well as underpinning popular games such as Dragon Strike and Spider Tanks, this move also points towards Gala’s future as a wider blockchain platform.
Rep, the first external application to be built on GalaChain, hopes to navigate the current mire of social media networks, offering a decentralized space for users to interact, communicate and play together, on their own terms. “There really has never been a better time to have a new social media network than right now,” Brink argues.
Rep enables users to publish short-form messages like Twitter, Bluesky and Threads, and long-form articles like Medium. Its secret sauce is its deep integration of geolocation features, which allows users to create Treasure Hunts in real-life locations (think Pokémon Go). Treasure chests can be filled with anything the users want; from loot boxes to NFTs or passwords to additional content. And they can be posted as easily as a tweet. “The main differentiating factor in how we're approaching this social platform in the first place is gamification,” Rep CEO Neil Haran told Decrypt.
Although it’s a social network first and foremost, Rep was born out of the gaming sphere; Haran is also chief executive of open-world sandbox game Rawbots and was building the platform out before collaborating with Gala Games to host it on GalaChain.
For a while now, Gala Games users have been eagerly anticipating a community element to their games. One of the first social networks within the Rep ecosystem will be Gala Friends, where they can invite friends to come and play with them, share their accomplishments and scale the impact of their gaming experience.
The first version of Rep is set to go live by year-end and will be integrated across the whole Gala ecosystem.
The UX Challenge
A crucial element of Gala Games and Rep’s partnership is their mutual understanding of the importance of appealing to casual users. As the Gala Games website reads: “We believe the blockchain should be invisible in our games.”
“The problem lies in that the user experience is completely broken and we haven't made it a priority to fix those things. And indirectly, we end up alienating people,” argued Haran, “So we're utilizing Web3 in a way that the user experience is super simple.”
While Rep V1 will feature messaging and geolocation applications, future versions have a keen eye on user personalisation. Think back to the heyday of MySpace; Haran envisages modular widgets, where users can add the functionality they want, reflecting how they choose to use social media. “This puts the user base in charge of growing the functionality of the application,” Brink added.
Rep’s IRL treasure hunt feature raises the possibility of similar in-game quests. Both Brink and Haran enthused about the possibility; if Gala Games users can search for Treasure chests in the real world, why not in-game, across games? That way, gamers can be introduced to new play serendipitously, bringing back an element of intrigue and discovery to the playscape while adding value across Gala’s growing line-up of games. Cross-game interoperability, said Haran, would “let players naturally, organically, learn about all these other games.”
The prospect becomes even more exciting when applied across Gala’s other branches; GalaMusic and GalaFilm. Users could unlock discounts for live events or streamed experiences with Rep’s treasure hunt feature, or discover new places, artists and people via their gaming community. “It's simple. It's natural. It's organic. And that's the vision; this social network brings the entire ecosystem together,” says Haran.
The future of GalaChain and the Gala Node Ecosystem
As the main requirement for the deployment of a social network system is the storage of user information, Rep is also utilizing Gala’s node ecosystem framework to deploy their own node system, which will utilize processing, bandwidth, and storage assets provided by the community of node operators which have purchased licenses, which are available on the Gala Games site.
With Rep as a proof-of-function, the future of GalaChain and the Gala Node Ecosystem offers up exciting possibilities for industries beyond gaming. “Our main focus is building something that is powerful enough to handle the mass influx of users that is horizontally scalable to handle whatever is needed,” said Brink, “Once you solve for that, you can handle anything else—it's a great foundation to build on for the future.”