Minecraft gets the Bitcoin treatment
It seems like Minecraft has been around since the invention of computers, and there is a reason for that. Along with its official free updates, which provide extra content, the Minecraft ecosystem has an incredibly active community, helping it stay up to date. Thanks to the game’s open-ended gameplay, there is tons of community-built content available to enjoy.
Have you finished the standard content of the game? Then why not relive the industrial revolution with custom-built mods? Or enter a competition to see who can build a construction first against hundreds of others? There is a server for that. Pokemon in Minecraft? Pixelmon!
And if you want to earn Bitcoin in Minecraft? Welp, you can even do that now.
A community-operated Minecraft server by the name of “Satlantis” has integrated Zebedee’s gaming tech that lets players earn Bitcoin by completing in-game quests inspired by real-life BTC mining. Players in the server can join in-game mining pools, collect ASICs (popular hardware tailored for Bitcoin mining) and increase their hash rate to win block rewards. What a cool way to educate traditional gamers on the basics of Bitcoin!
Players can withdraw their earnings to Zebedee’s app, where they can spend their gains on other games made by the company or move them to exchanges that support Bitcoin’s layer-2 Lightning Network.
Don’t get your hopes up for buying a Lambo with your earnings from building pixelated wonders. The server will give out a total of 1 million satoshis — equal to one hundred millionth of a BTC — per week. That’s around $300 per week divided by God-only-knows how many people. While it isn’t much, it’s a start that could become a trend.
The Bitcoin-friendly integration is an unofficial one, and neither Satlantis nor Zebedee is affiliated with the Minecraft developer Mojang Studios. The studio itself is pretty down on Web3, having previously banned Minecraft NFT integrations. Time will show how this integration fairs against the ban.
Blockchain Game Alliance ramps up diversity efforts
Diversity is a surprisingly new topic in the world of video games. Most major publishers had not even released a diversity report as recently as 2021. In 2022 Activision Blizzard gave itself five long years to meet its goal of 50% women and non-binary employees.
Members of the Blockchain Game Alliance, a key organization promoting Web3 and blockchain gaming, voted to install a gender-balanced board, with three men and three women. And the newly elected BGA board of 2023 is made up of all new faces.
They are Leah Callon-Butler, director of consulting firm Emfarsis; Yasmina Kazitani, chief marketing and partnerships officer at Interverse; Christina Macedo, co-founder and chief operating officer at Ready gg; Hideaki Uehara, director of business development at Square Enix; Mariano Rubinstein, CEO and co-founder at Sura Gaming; and Alex Kosloff, head of business development at Altura.
As an avid gamer, I will be watching with interest to see if the make-up of the new board can help progress and innovation across the Web3 gaming space.
Sega not a fan of P2E but developing a blockchain game
The makers of all-time favorite franchises Sonic and Yakuza have had an on-again, off-again relationship with blockchain technology. Sega announced plans for NFTs as play-to-earn (P2E) rewards last year. Later, they stepped off the gas after a backlash from fans, who considered the initiative a money grab.
This year, Sega is also walking both sides of the street. Shuji Utsumi, co-chief operating officer at Sega, called blockchain games “boring” and said the Japanese gaming giant wouldn’t be using its biggest titles in blockchain gaming projects.
However, Sega has announced a partnership with Line Next to bring its classic games to GAME DOSI, a Web3-friendly blockchain gaming platform. In light of this announcement, Utsumi clarified that investing in Web3 projects is within the company’s strategy but that they don’t intend to be a Web3 company but rather a “Web 2.5” one.
As everyone’s aware, the mainstream gaming community is unenthusiastic about blockchain games and sees them as a temporary trend fueled by hype and speculation. Players are concerned about money grabs and the short lifespans of Web3 games, so it’s understandable Sega doesn’t want to put its big titles in an area where it has little-to-no experience.
While some skepticism is warranted, it doesn’t mean blockchain technology won’t ever find its footing in the gaming industry. Multi-billion-dollar tech companies are aware of the possibilities Web3 gaming brings and know the importance of getting in on the ground floor.
Sega’s decision to test the water with its smaller IPs is a thoughtful and measured approach that respects its legacy while navigating the uncharted terrain of Web3 gaming.
Studio’s $15M funding from Binance Labs for Web3 dino game
Binance’s venture capital and incubator arm Binance Labs has invested $15 million in Web3 gaming startup Xterio. The company labels itself as a “free-to-play-and-own” game developer and publisher, meaning the games are free to play, and players are able to earn and keep NFTs. In August last year, it raised $40 million in funding from investors, including FunPlus, XPLA and now-extinct FTX Ventures.
Xterio seems to have a lot of experience on the gaming front, with Web2 gaming industry veterans on its founding executive team from companies including Ubisoft, Krafton and NetEase. There are 11 games in its repertoire, ranging from Age of Dino — a massively multiplayer online 4X (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) strategy game that features dinosaurs — to Overworld, a cross-platform sandbox RPG with anime-inspired graphics.
Xterio is developing an “emotion engine for AI,” with an aim to enhance player immersion by equipping game characters with realistic and dynamic emotional responses — The Matrix and the whole AI takes-control scenario were way ahead of their time.
The company uses AI very actively as they host an AI toolkit for developers and are creating a digital companion game called AIpal which is entering its beta phase later this year.
Hot take — Oath of Peak
The undeniable success of Genshin Impact — a Chinese MMORPG with cute graphics and fast-paced action that was released on virtually every platform except Casio Scientific Calculator — sparked off a trend of introducing every possible bit of Chinese mythology to Western audiences among developers.
Oath of Peak, an action MMORPG game that diversifies with its Web3 elements, seems to capitalize on that itch. Available on iOS and Android platforms as a free download, the game offers an epic world that’s easy to get familiar with, thanks to its cute graphics.
Similar to other massively multiplayer games, players can pick from five different classes with fully customizable avatars. The game offers melee, assassin, ranger, mage and support characters — nothing groundbreaking.
With the recently-added English language support, it wasn’t hard to find my way around the colorful island. After completing some quests, I realized one cool thing about the game: it doesn’t shove its Web3 features at the player. Sure, the game has NFT monsters and a utility token that’s exchangeable with in-game currency, but it doesn’t become prominent until after players are invested in the game in terms of time and effort.
If you are in the market to check some new games with familiar mechanics, it’s worth taking a look at Oath of Peak, now available globally via app stores or its APK. It’ll only take 15-20 minutes for you to understand whether it’s a game for you or not anyway.
More from Web3 gaming space:
— Eyeball Games, led by the team behind Miniclip’s 8 Ball Pool, has announced the launch of their blockchain-based mobile game, Eyeball Pool, on the Immutable platform in early 2024.
— Polygon Labs’ president, Ryan Wyatt, is transitioning to an advisory role after over a year with the company. Polygon’s chief legal officer, Marc Boiron, will succeed Wyatt as the new CEO.
— MetaGalaxy Land introduced the pre-alpha version of its metaverse platform, which utilizes Unreal Engine 5.
— Major League Baseball became one of the first professional sports leagues to own a virtual world. Improbable, a metaverse tech firm, announced the new virtual space called “MLB virtual ballpark.”
— Immutable has introduced OBS, its first Web3 racing game, as the latest addition to its game lineup.
— Telescope Labs launched a comprehensive range of AI-driven solutions tailored for Web3 gaming, empowering gaming enterprises with the necessary resources to construct robust virtual economies.
— Sweat Economy, a move-to-earn initiative, has revealed the introduction of Sweat Hero, an in-app game and NFT experience within their platform.
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