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Gaming is widely viewed as the gateway to broader blockchain adoption.
But how do developers get blockchain gaming to the masses?
A group of entrepreneurs in the City of Angels are working on just that. Lucid Sight, an LA-based gaming startup, announced earlier this week that the company has secured $6 million in a funding round led by Salem Partners, the Galaxy EOS VC Fund, and the Digital Currency Group.
This fresh haul of VC cash brings their total capital raise to $11 million, and every one of those dollars will be spent on developing blockchain games, says Lucid Sight COO Octavio Herrera.
The goal is to get those games onto traditional gaming platforms and consoles, and the company now has the money it needs to build out its secret weapon: a software developer toolset called Scarcity Engine that Lucid Sight says will “bridge the gap between blockchain and traditional gaming platforms.”
“Blockchain gaming is our business,” says Herrera. “We make games with digital scarcity/ownership and free-market economies […] as leading principles, and we believe that blockchain is an essential part of creating provably scarce game items and free-market game economies.” This means players are free to do whatever their hearts desire with their own gaming assets, he explains: “Play them in the game, sell them, leave them to their kids when they die,” whatever.
Lucid Sight rose to prominence last year when it secured a deal with Major League Baseball to develop the blockchain game MLB Champions. The game quickly sold more than $650,000 worth of tokenized collectibles and has a market cap of around $3.5 million, according to the industry publication Blockchain Gamer. It even got crypto luminaries like Erik Voorhees calling it the next "crypto craze":
Calling this one now... the crypto craze of 2019 will be game assets and collectibles. Check this out https://t.co/6iNSf1rXDd
— Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees) August 23, 2018
The game is essentially a mashup of CryptoKitties and Fantasy Baseball—players buy and collect tokenized versions of their favorite players and teams, and those digital items go up and down in value depending on the outcomes of real-life baseball games.
A beta version of the game was released during the 2018 MLB season, and another is set to debut as the 2019 season gets underway. At the moment, however, players must still go through the onerous process of buying ETH from an exchange and setting up a MetaMask wallet to play MLB Champions, as well as Lucid Sight’s other title, Crypto Space Commander.
Lucid Sight wants to change that by getting these games to where the gamers already play.
“We have found that game players enjoy digital ownership in our games, but users want to be able to game where they traditionally game: mobile, PC, and console,” Lucid Sight CEO Randy Saaf said in a statement.
And that’s where Scarcity Engine comes in.
The details, however, on Scarcity Engine remain, well, scarce—it’s still in development and won’t be launched until later this year.
Herrera did confirm, though, that the dev toolkit could be something that bridges the blockchain and gaming worlds in both directions—blockchain games eventually landing on legacy consoles, as well as traditional games being ported to blockchains like Ethereum.
Lucid Sight’s COO isn’t one to call for the demise of the traditional gaming industry or the death of the video game console, either. “The game industry is not broken,” he says. “It is healthy and growing with a tailwind. But this is how disruption happens.”
While the big players in the gaming world may not need blockchain right now, he says, “the current generation of blockchain game companies are on-boarding consumers to the value of digital scarcity and digital ownership.”
It’s only a matter of time, says Herrera, before gamers—accustomed to being the first adopters of new technology—begin to demand true ownership of their games.