The Blockchain Game Alliance is on a mission to spur blockchain adoption across the gaming industry, and, in turn, help create an interconnected gaming multiverse for players—a real-life Ready Player One, but without any of the stifling corporate greed.
The Alliance, which includes French gaming titan Ubisoft as a founding member, launched last September, and is now opening its doors to new members. The hope is for the BGA to provide gaming and blockchain companies, as well as indie developers, a safe space to collaborate and—in time—establish industry-wide standards that take blockchain gaming to the next level.
In this vein, the BGA is holding its first “technical working group” today, gathering some of the brightest minds in the blockchain gaming space, to begin tackling critical issues that are impeding the nascent industry from reaching a wider market.
“The Blockchain Game Alliance is ‘neutral ground,’” Manon Burgel, BGA president and CEO of blockchain game development studio B2Expand, tells Decrypt. “We can share ideas that maybe aren’t normally shared between companies. In this space, it makes sense because there are a lot of ideas—there are enough ideas [to go around] for everyone.”
The only agenda that the Blockchain Game Alliance is concerned with is “decentralization in video games,” regardless of which particular blockchain is being used, says Burgel. The promise of blockchain gaming, after all, is the ability to put gamers back in control of their gaming experiences—to provide players ownership of their unique digital assets that travel with them, from game to game, regardless of which studio developed the item.
The blockchain gaming industry is still too small and too young to be bogged down by any posturing between blockchains, says Burgel. In fact, from her perspective, this sort of friction doesn’t really exist within the developer community, which isn’t concerned about the fluctuating price of any token.
“I remember two years ago, when we launched B2Expand, everybody was talking about tokens and ICOs and which token to use or should we do our own token and all that stuff,” she says. “But, now, it seems to be more about the technology, and especially the assets. The assets are the new tokens.”
While the frontmen behind public blockchain projects, such as TRON and IOST, have been explicit about their plans to use blockchain gaming to overtake Ethereum or EOS as the dominant blockchain development platform on the planet, Burgel says there’s none of that kind of talk among builders.
For the developers on the frontlines of blockchain gaming, what matters is to find ways to move digital assets across chains: “Today, nobody’s talking about tokens anymore. They talk about assets. They talk about non-fungible assets, NFTs, but also about [finding a] way to share assets. People are trying to find a way to work together,” she says.
And the BGA’s message of inclusion and unity is already resonating.
Since announcing its plan to begin accepting new members at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, in late March, Burgel says the Alliance has received more than 80 applications from prospective members—the vast majority from companies interested in collaborating.
The idea is to unite as many of these companies under the same banner, and begin developing shared standards for the integration of blockchain technology in gaming, with the end goal of creating more appealing experiences for consumers—and enticing more big-league game developers such as Ubisoft to jump into blockchain.
“We know that the blockchain gaming industry needs standards for mass adoption from the gaming industry,” says Burgel. “Right now, when traditional game studios turn their heads to blockchain, they see a lot of stuff, but maybe they get a little bit lost between all of the blockchains—all the [different] standards—ERC20, EOS, and there are a lot of others.”
The BGA’s first technical working group, set to gather today, will begin laboring on this very task. The goal of the first group, says Burgel, is to tackle the issue of storage and digital-rights management of gaming asset metadata. It might sound mundane, but it’s the “biggest problem most blockchain gaming companies face today,” says B2Expand’s CEO.
If companies can find a way to standardize “how to store the metadata, [figure out] which rights to give to their users, and how to manage the checking of these rights,” it would be a tremendous advancement for the entire blockchain gaming industry, she says.
It’s these types of developments, along with multi-chain wallets and other multi-chain services, that Burgel says can begin to free players of “technical considerations.”
“And if we can find a way for all blockchains to collaborate, and ways to communicate with each other, that is the goal.”
Peace among blockchains? It brings a whole new meaning to the word “interoperability.”