With many countries seeking to integrate the blockchain technology into actual service models, expectations are growing that an advanced model will first appear in the gaming industry.
According to industry sources on April 9, HanbitSoft Inc. has announced a global game asset trading blockchain platform dubbed “Bryllite” and has been pushing ahead with an initial coin offering (ICO), a controversial means of crowdfunding by issuing cryptocurrency.
This platform stores users’ assets, such as game money and items, on an external blockchain of game services, instead of storing them on an internal database. For instance, users can exchange their assets earned by playing HanbitSoft’s flagship game “Audition” with assets of “DC Unchained,” a game developed by 4:33 Creative Lab.
Until now, users have been buying and selling game money or items for cash through websites, such as itemBay or Itemmania, that offer trading of in-game virtual items for real money. These sites arrange item trading on a small amount of commission. However, gamers will now be able to trade in-game money or items at no extra charge through the Bryllite platform, which is based on blockchain technology.
Many leading game developers have already expressed an intention to participate in HanbitSoft’s Bryllite project. They include domestic game companies, such as 4:33 Creative Lab, Action Square Co., IMC Games Co. and Metaps Plus Inc., and Chinese developers, including Shanghai Nine you Interactive Community and Media Co.
Neptune Co., which was founded by former NHN Hangame CEO Jung Wook, also stresses that the convergence between games and blockchain technology can create a new value.
“We are paying attention to the possibility that the economy in the virtual world of games can become the economy that has an actual value. A considerable number of game firms at home and abroad have been already developing blockchain-based games,” Jung said.
Neptune and Dunamu & Partners, a subsidiary of Dunamu Inc. which operates South Korea's largest cryptocurrency exchange Upbit, have each raised 5 billion won (US$4.68 million) of funds from investors, with an aim to seek out promising blackchain-based game developers.
Gaming giants are also showing an interest in blockchain technology. Netmarble Games Corp. recently added blockchain-related business and research development in its business purpose at a shareholders' general meeting. The company is planning to internally form a task force to pursue the convergence of games and blockchain technology.
In addition, NXC Corp., the parent company of Nexon Co., acquired South Korea's second largest cryptocurrency exchange Korbit last year, with its eye set on the blockchain business. Nexon operates “Nexon Cash” and “NexonPlay Point” that can be used in numerous Nexon games. The company is likely to integrate blockchain with these services in the future.
Kim Seung-yeon, CEO of Metaps Plus that is going to participate in HanbitSoft’s ICO, said, “Websites that let gamers trade in-game virtual items for real money have made a lot of money thanks to excellent games. However, game companies and gamers have not benefited from the service. We can build a win-win structure for game developers and gamers through the blockchain-based game asset platform.”