In brief

  • Blockchain-based video games marketplace Robot Cache has entered open beta.
  • The platform allows users to buy digital copies of games with IRON—an internal digital currency they can mine.
  • Robot Cache was founded by well-known game developer Brian Fargo and is powered by AMD.

Robot Cache, a blockchain-based digital games distribution platform, supported by tech giant AMD, launched its public open beta on Wednesday.

With game marketplace Steam as its biggest competitor in the field, the platform aims to lure players in with the ability to resell digital copies of their games and even get new ones for free by mining IRON—Robot Cache’s internal digital currency.

The marketplace is built on a blockchain to “ensure the security of the games being bought and sold and to allow Cachers to mine and be rewarded with IRON when they are not using their machine,” the website stated.

While IRON looks and sounds a lot like cryptocurrency, it is totally, definitely not a cryptocurrency, according to the official FAQ.

“Nor is Robot Cache built on a cryptocurrency foundation,” the document further clarified.

Robot Cache offers gamers “mining on an opt-in basis,” although this currency can only be used to purchase games on the platform itself.

“As Cachers opt-in with just the click of a button, we direct them towards optimized mining pools and they in turn are rewarded in IRON, which is our site's virtual currency. These IRON can then be used to purchase games; it’s a great way to pay for your gaming habit,” the FAQ explained, highlighting that “IRON can only be used on Robot Cache towards the purchase of games.”

The company also believes that “it’s very possible” that it will “have one of the largest mining pools in the world” at some point in the future. Besides using this potentially massive computing power to operate its business and allow users to earn games, Robot Cache plans “to point it at large computational problems the world is trying to solve.”

Last December, AMD announced that it joined the Blockchain Game Alliance and teamed up with Robot Cache. Thus the latter will “use secure, high-performance AMD EPYC processors in the back-end servers powering its platform.”

Developer and user-friendly

Like Steam, Robot Cache has its own desktop client and games on the platform can also be bought with traditional fiat currencies.

The company has previously touted its platform as extremely developer-friendly, with partner studios receiving a 95% cut of their sales while resellers get 70%. It claims these savings are made because the platform is on the blockchain, allowing direct distribution.

The platform's partner studios receive up to 95% of their games' sales. Image: Robot Cache

For comparison, Steam takes a 30% cut of game sales in general. Even though big publishers can increase their cut as the number of sales grows, the conditions are still rough for small studios—making better revenue split one of the most popular “selling points” for many competing platforms such as Epic Games Store (which takes 12%) and now—Robot Cache.

This is not surprising, considering that the platform was founded in January 2018 by Brian Fargo—a well-known game developer and founder of Interplay Interactive and inExile Interactive. In the past, Fargo was an executive producer of such cult classics as Fallout, Wasteland, The Lost Vikings, The Bard’s Tale and other projects.

However, Robot Cache’s current library consists mostly of lower-budget games and niche independent projects that can hardly be considered “new.” Still, perhaps a more democratic revenue split and the ability to resell games and “mine” free IRON can give the platform a fighting chance in the market dominated by Steam.