Blankos Block Party is a blockchain game focused on user generated content, and it introduces a frictionless NFT economy. Play to Earn sat down with Rudy Koch and Cameron Thacker from Mythical Games to talk about game economies and the use of blockchain technology. According to them an NFT-based economy is the ‘next evolutionary step for the games industry’.
Free-to-play has been a dominant monetization model in the industry for the last ten years. Koch believes that the monetization strategy of selling emotes and cosmetics is paving the way for an open blockchain economy. “Let’s give players true ownership over the digital assets they acquire”, the Vice President of Blockchain and Marketplace Services said.
“This is ushering in a far more universal economy where players, content creators, game developers, and brands can participate in new and inclusive revenue opportunities. Blockchain has introduced some fascinating economic paradigms that have made us think deeply about the way game economies actually work”, Koch told us.
Thanks to blockchain technology gamers gain ownership over in-game items, often referred to as non-fungible tokens. These items can be given to friends or sold on an open market. Koch emphasized that every participant in this universal economy gets more inclusive revenue opportunities. This applies to the players and content creators, to developers and brands. “But it has to be fun first, and have real gameplay”, Cameron Thacker added. He’s Technical Director Machine Learning. It’s his job to make sure that automated processes like safety guarantees and creator fees work properly inside the economy.
Scaling up for millions
Blankos Block Party isn’t made to entertain a couple of thousand players. Mythical is aiming for a mainstream audience. They’ve build their own private blockchain using the EOSIO protocol, and they’ve developed a system for non-fungible tokens called dGoods. “We are scaling from thousands of players, like most current blockchain games, to millions. That presents unique challenges”, according to Thacker.
Blankos Block Party runs like any other game on the market, but in-game items are all tokenized on the blockchain. Mythical is using their own dGoods standard for this. “We keep the most important and minimal amount of data on chain”, Thacker explained. An dGoods NFT stores information about the item’s category, name, the number of existing tokens and settings in regards to trading. “In addition we store the address of the heavy metadata. This is where the 3D asset, 2D image and some mutable in-game properties exist.”
“Ultimately we imagine a world where players are making money playing their favorite games”Rudy Koch – Vice President of Blockchain and Marketplace Services at Mythical
This means that certain items can also sell out. Really, sell out. Forever. “The only way to get them is to buy them from another player”, Rudy Koch said about the NFT economy in Blankos Block Party. However, he sees it as his job to create a fun experience, while players get to decide on the value of game assets. “Ultimately we imagine a world where players are making money playing their favorite games, and people are building businesses around NFT game economies”, the VP of blockchain added.
Scarcity in Blankos Block Party
Over the years we’ve seen a variety of games with a focus on user generated content. Super Mario Maker, Little Big Planet and of course Minecraft are names that come to mind. According to the developers their games stands out because they provide gamers with easy-to-use tools that allow them to create great content. “All this without the need to own a server or learn any coding, and we’re rewarding them for doing so”, Rudy Koch said.
These rewards have real world value, however regular game items only have value inside the story of the game world. Blankos Block Party and other blockchain games reward players with digital goods that can be traded and sold in the NFT economy. “Gamers often don’t realize that when they ‘buy’ something in games, they don’t really own it. They are essentially licensing an item from a company”, added Thacker.
Through blockchain technology players get real ownership over the content they buy and create. These Blankos NFT can for example be traded with any participant in the economy. As a result this creates legitimate secondary markets from players to trade. Soon Blankos Block Party will go into beta, and the team will slowly be scaling up. Before that will happen, they have plans to sell Founder’s Packs. “These items will be some of the rarest we will ever release”, Koch explained. “Based on our user projections for the full launch, we estimate about 1% of our users will own the Founder’s Pack items.”
Not all content is available in limited supplies. Some of the available assets in Blankos Block Party will be seasonal. When smart contracts ends at a certain date, no items will ever be minted. “Scarcity can definitely drive value, but we also think the community will decide what is valuable in ways we probably didn’t imagine”, Thacker added.
Cross-blockchain and the metaverse
Making a game is one thing, but adding value to an entire metaverse is something completely different. For now Blankos Block Party has not using assets from other games, even though there could be some partnerships coming. Both Koch and Thacker didn’t want to comment on any potential partnerships.
“The first big step is creating a frictionless NFT economy where digital assets can flow freely across multiple ecosystems, platforms, and blockchains.”Cameron Thacker – Technical Director Machine Learning at Mythical
That being said, they are excited about the concept of the metaverse. “The first big step is creating a frictionless NFT economy where digital assets can flow freely across multiple ecosystems, platforms, and blockchains. This is one of the core goals of Blankos Block Party from an NFT perspective”, he said. Thacker added that it’s very beneficial for users to be able to move value from one game to another.
The team at Mythical has build their dGoods system in such a way that NFTs can move across different chains. Because this way they want to make sure that the technology doesn’t limit the liquidity for players. “In my opinion this is the most important thing that blockchain brings: The ability to create a borderless, frictionless, global, player-owned game economies”, Rudy Koch explained.
“We’ve also been following decentralized finance closely and think some of these concepts would be very interesting to see in a player owned economy like ours”, Thacker added. However, they didn’t confirm any decentralized finance mechanics in their game.
Blankos Block Party is launching on PC and console. However, details regarding the console launch will be revealed soon. Gamers can register now to hopefully get access to the beta.
Robert Hoogendoorn is a gamer and blockchain enthusiast. He got in touch with crypto in 2014, but the fire really lit in 2017. Professionally he’s a content optimization expert and worked for press agencies and video production companies, always with a focus on the video games & tech industry. He’s a content manager and creator at heart, working on Play to Earn and for a variety of third party magazines and websites.