Ultra.io has a vision to disrupt the game distribution market. Blockchain technology brings several interesting paradigms that can address some of the challenges we’ve seen so far in platforms like Steam. For example, blockchain enables true ownership of game licenses which allows players to buy and sell their games safely, and securely. This means more money for the developers, and for the players. Blockchain can also cut out all the middlemen involved in getting a game to market. This means, more money goes back to the developers making game development far more accessible.
The Ultra team is working towards a closed Beta in Q3. We had the privilege of connecting with them to learn more about their vision, their platform, and their plans.
Can you tell me a bit of background about your team? What inspired you guys to pursue Ultra?
Nicolas, my Co-CEO, and I started mining bitcoin back when it was less than 10$/BTC. After leading gaming companies for the past 10 years, we recognized that incorporating blockchain technology into the games industry would entirely change game distribution. In addition to owning a games studio together and other video game related endeavors, we previously spearheaded the creation of a video game console for the Chinese market. In many ways, if you remove the hardware R&D parts, building a video game console is very similar to building a PC game distribution platform. We researched, planned and engaged in the development of the very same building blocks required for Ultra. The only difference is our deep dive into crypto technology to leverage its unique qualities that fit so well with today’s gaming industry needs.
Our Ultra team includes industry heavyweights with extensive experience in the gaming sector. These highly accomplished and passionate individuals are formerly from Unity, Xbox, Atari, SEGA, Uber and Time Warner. With vast expertise in the games industry, we know we have the ability to disrupt games distribution in a meaningful way.
Crypto games market is a new one, where do you see this all going in the next 5 – 10 years? And where do you see Ultra?
Crypto games will change the games industry forever because of the many benefits it provides to every actor associated with it. Blockchain technology is what everyone in the industry has been waiting for. Perhaps not everyone sees it yet, but it is going to enable next renaissance of games and is here to stay simply because it’s capable of providing positive advantages for everyone. It’s only a matter of time before we discover more cool ways which people will benefit from using crypto in games.
The future is exciting! We can imagine a DMMORPG entirely owned by its community, voting and allocating budgets to devs for maintaining the game and creating new content. I’m using the MMORPG example because it blows my mind when I think about it. We could have the Political/Economical consensus layer about the game itself IN the game. The possibilities are endless. This revolution will be as big as or bigger than what we witnessed when internet gaming became possible. Crypto will allow new types of experiences and interactions where players will be much more involved. Of course, we are not there yet, but pure crypto games have successfully passed the cap of Proof of Concept, and it’s becoming clear that traditional games will tokenize their in-game economies in the near future.
Right now, crypto game devs are limited by existing blockchains that are not designed for performance. Soon, innovations in the tech will allow them to build amazing things. We’ve met a lot of these devs already, and they are sharing really cool ideas. It’s just a matter of time until those ideas become reality. To the crypto game dev reading this, I want to say that we will have a specific program and a dedicated team to support your games. I encourage you to contact us! Ultra will always be here to listen.
Ultra is much bigger than what we are talking about now. This is the tip of the iceberg. Over time, we will unveil the whole picture and I’m positive that will shake up the whole industry. Within 10 years the whole game industry will be impacted. Distribution, marketing, economics, communities; it will all be affected by blockchain.
I think this sector is always ready for profound changes. Gaming and gamers are always ahead when it comes to adopting new technologies, always in search of new and improved experiences. It took less than a decade between my first game online on Duke Nukem without TCP/IP (with Kali!) to Counter-strike 1.6 on Steam. 5-10 years is a long time in the world of games with blockchain quickly speeding up innovation.
Tell me about what your platform offers? And what are the features you are most excited about?
Utilizing blockchain technology, we are dedicated to giving back more control over the game distribution process to players, developers and influencers such as streamers while also increasing their revenue streams. The Ultra ecosystem will allow gaming communities increased direct interaction through marketing tools, resulting in higher sales, retention rates, and overall community engagement.
Also, with an increasing number of games released on Steam, a large number of these naturally slip under the radar and fail to gain traction with audiences. With Ultra, both gamers and influencers are incentivized to promote developers’ and publishers’ work. Profits from sales are improved because of our low commision fee and by reducing marketing expenses, all while addressing the discoverability issues faced by the industry.
A new deal between game devs and players is possible, we are building Ultra for it.
What is your perspective on blockchain technology as it relates to games? Why is this new evolution in games important? Why should game developers put games out in this space?
With blockchain technology, we are capable of driving actors to contribute to the platform by incentivising them with monetary compensation, without subjecting them to middlemen who further deplete their earnings. Our blockchain allows us to not only handle micro payments, but also nano payments and we are working on a solution for it to be feeless.
We are able to help promote the platform, the games, and contribute to the ecosystem in diverse ways by redistributing the wealth generated by the business to anyone helping out, whether they know they’re helping or not. This is very profound, and will have major impact on the industry.
The capability for instant payment with Ultra tokens (UTA) is also hugely beneficial to developers. The constraints of the standard 60-day window for payments will be a thing of the past with the Ultra platform, meaning developers can immediately reinvest their profits in their marketing efforts.
Overall, I think everyone will agree that an open system which allows anyone to hop in and contribute to its growth and dynamics with minimal friction is always going to be better than a closed system that requires tons of paperwork as soon as it involves getting paid or doing something related to money. This is where Ultra will shine!
These are only a few examples of what Blockchain can do for gaming. I’m mainly talking from the point of view of distribution, but all aspects of this industry will be transformed. As a gamer I’m excited. Lately, besides VR games, nothing has really evolved.
What are some of the barriers you see ahead for Ultra and Crypto Games in general?
First of all, there are a lot of misconceptions about blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. They’re often linked to scams or speculative products. We’re prepared to face initial skepticism from mainstream gamer communities, and probably some media outlets, but we believe this skepticism will fade away once they see that our platform offers real value for players, developers and 3rd party contributors.
Our plan is to have a seamless experience and we are very proud of our UI and UX team working hard to create this. Ultra is powered by Blockchain but it will be hardly noticeable on the UX side. We are a gaming platform first and using blockchain shouldn’t be at the forefront. It’s required to make all those great features but players and developers want to experiencing those features not focus on how the back end works. Blockchain will be mainstream when people will start using it without noticing it. And I don’t think anyone will complain when UTA appears in their wallet… 😉
We have a strong strategy around content acquisition, and mainstream players will join because they want to play games we have on our platform, not because we are something new or because they’re curious about blockchain.
Crypto games or are going to face security issues, although this happens already with normal games, where people get hacked and their virtual items gets stolen, with crypto technology reverting those illegal item trades is very complicated or impossible because blockchain technologies are designed to prevent exactly that. They are designed to give virtual goods properties of physical goods; immutability. If you don’t have it, someone else has it and nobody can do anything about it. The good news is that there are new solutions showing up and they make a lot of sense to me.
Another problem is Scalability, I’m not worried about this one, the next generation blockchain tech is showing up as we speak, Ultra will use and improve latest technologies to make it a better fit for video game industry.
What plans do you have for the future for your team and your project?
From day one, we never intended to make a Steam copy, we plan to be something very different and very new. We intend to be in the top 3 largest game distribution platforms. We have big plans and a very unique vision we believe will make this happen. This secret sauce hasn’t been announced yet and we’ll keep it under wraps for a while, but we believe we are redefining what a games distribution platform will be. It is perhaps one of the reasons why industry heavyweights are joining our team regularly; when we show our concept, everyone believes we’re going to cause a major shift.
Overall, we are really excited about the future, and to announce some great partnerships which are currently being finalized. With the strategic presale starting we are receiving even more proposals! These partnerships will be extremely instrumental in bringing blockchain gaming to the mainstream gaming industry.
Any key dates or milestones coming up that you would like to share?
We are planning to release the Ultra Closed Beta in Q3, with our token generation event taking place upon completion of our private investment round. Connect with us and be part of Ultracommunity. We promise you an amazing journey!
Oh and, we are hiring ^^ feel free to reach out if you think you can help build Ultra at [email protected]ultra.io!
Got any comments, corrections, or new info? Get in touch!