Arcade Distillery — the New York-based game development company for platforms like PS4 and Xbox — is developing a new blockchain turn-based strategy RPG game called Plague Hunters with in-game assets pegged as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to the Ethereum blockchain.
Plague Hunters has passed the official Sony review process for PlayStation games even with numerous blockchain technology components integrated. As such, Plague Hunters will become the first major gaming platform game to integrate blockchain technology and is slated to be released in Q1 2019.
Blockchain on PlayStation
Plague Hunters will have a built-in P2P marketplace on Ethereum for exchanging in-game assets, which will be NFTs. The gameplay itself will not be built on Ethereum and instead designed for the PS4 and Nintendo Switch at first, with Arcade Distillery exploring Xbox One and mobile gaming as further options.
The Plague Hunters approach is similar to the hybrid on-chain/off-chain model adopted by Gods Unchained. Plague Hunters will have familiar gameplay as any other game on a major platform while retaining the full ownership, provable scarcity, and P2P marketplace of assets pegged to a blockchain. Additionally, the game will be free to play for all users.
Plague Hunters is the sequel to Arcade Distillery’s successful original title Plague Road. Its established universe may prove an interesting method for onboarding new cryptocurrency users and helping to familiarize them with the concept of Ethereum and NFTs.
Blockchain Gaming Growing
Plague Hunters is among a wave of new developments in blockchain gaming. Gods Unchained recently released their gameplay trailer, and their Beta phase is set to begin shortly. With scalability problems prohibiting gameplay from functioning well directly on a blockchain, many development companies are taking the hybrid approach.
Hash Rush is another game built on Ethereum that uses the on-chain transaction and NFT model for exchanging in-game assets while gameplay is processed off-chain. Mythical Games also just closed a $16 million series A funding round to build a user-generated content game on the EOS blockchain.
The gaming industry is growing at an unprecedented scale too. The global video games market is valued at $115 billion this year and is projected to reach $138 billion by 2021. Moreover, games like Fortnite and Red Dead Redemption 2 have skyrocketed in value to absurd sales numbers. Epic Games — the company behind the smash hit Fortnite — recently raised $1.25 billion in financing following the success of the game, and Red Dead Redemption 2 reached $750 million in sales in its first 3 days.
Integrating blockchain tech and pegged in-game assets to these games has a lucrative potential to create flourishing in-game economies. Many developers will likely view this as an opportunity to monetize the gaming model further and offer a new dynamic to players. The approval of Plague Hunters by Sony for PS4 is another step towards that future.