In brief

  • Blockchain real estate game Upland has launched in New York City.
  • It has added the Lower East Side of Manhattan for now, with more to be added.
  • Real-world properties are minted as NFTs for players to buy and add to collections.

Upland, an EOS blockchain-driven real estate game that lets players buy digital versions of real-world properties, launched initially in San Francisco with grand plans to expand out in time.

Today, Uplandme’s mobile and web game began that expansion process by adding a chunk of Manhattan real estate, specifically the Lower East Side. The developer categorizes the addition as a “bubble” of the New York City borough, with further parts of Manhattan to be added before the game expands outward to other boroughs.

“We have been so encouraged by the success of the San Francisco launch and we are now ready to launch NYC, one of the most famous cities in the world,” said Upland co-founder Dirk Lueth, in a release. “So many people have visited and are fascinated by New York City’s beautiful skylines and rich culture; and we are excited to bring ‘the city that never sleeps’ to life in Upland.”

Upland takes place on a digital version of the real-world map in each enabled city, almost like Pokémon Go—but instead of catching cartoonish monsters here, the goal is to purchase and amass collections of properties.

Each property added to the game is minted as a non-fungible token (NFT), which proves ownership, and owners are able to trade and sell properties as they please. Additionally, through a partnership with Second Life creator Linden Labs announced in May, Upland users can even sell their properties for fiat currency.

The gameplay element comes in with putting together themed collections of properties, whether they’re linked by geography or other aspects. It adds another layer to the experience beyond simply buying and flipping digital properties.

According to a blog post, Upland has minted more than 50,000 properties since launching in beta near the start of the year. The developer recently announced plans to implement cross-city collections as the game grows, with specific challenges designed to encourage players to look outside of a single metropolis.

Uplandme also recently announced the Fair Start Act, an initiative to ensure that newcomers have a viable chance at buying properties and that longtime players cannot monopolize the map. Some properties will be earmarked as low-cost options specifically for new and less-veteran players, and certain neighborhoods or cities will likewise be designated as such.

For example, Brooklyn will be a “Middle Tier” borough, as will the San Francisco area cities of Brisbane and Daly City. Even more affordable areas, such as Central Valley in California, are also on the longer-term agenda.