Ultra, a long-standing Web3 gaming start-up, is set to launch its Ultra Games marketplace in April 2023, which will allow users to resell digital games via a secondary marketplace. The platform is built on top of Ultra’s own Ultra layer-1 network, a fork of the EOS blockchain, which has been under development since 2018. The Ultra gaming ecosystem has expanded gradually over time, including with the addition of products such as the Ultra Wallet, the upcoming Ultra Arena esports platform, and Uniq Marketplace for NFTs.
The new digital PC gaming store will launch with around 60 or 70 titles, including Web3 games like Cards of Ethernity, Cross the Ages, and MARS4. It will also feature traditional “Web2” games without NFT or token elements, including Lords of the Fallen, The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series, and the Syberia game series.
Interestingly, Ultra Games will allow players to resell purchased games via the Uniq Marketplace using tokenized license rights. While game publishers can opt out of this program, Ultra Co-CEO Nicolas Gilot believes there is a compelling reason for game studios to enable the secondary sale of games. Gilot said that game publishers can leverage the secondary marketplace by setting an initial no-resale period, determining a minimum resale price point, and choosing the royalty percentage they automatically receive.
Robot Cache, a blockchain startup co-founded by veteran game developer Brian Fargo, has also experimented with a digital games resale model via its own IRON token. The Robot Cache marketplace lists some of the same games that Ultra Games will offer players.
However, there is one notable limitation to the publisher’s royalty fee: it cannot be over 70% of the resale price. Gilot explained that if the gamer doesn’t receive much for selling a game, then they won’t care. He said that game developers and publishers will have more freedom to experiment with their business models compared to traditional digital game stores, such as Steam, which prohibits Web3 games. With games being tokenized, the proof-of-ownership feature could be used by publishers or partners to give out discounts, unique in-game items, and more.
Ultra Games will be accessible to non-Web3 natives, meaning users can sign up with an email and phone number. Crypto elements, such as wallet addresses, are hidden beneath a Web2-friendly interface, but this information is accessible to users if desired. Ultra Games also doesn’t charge users network gas fees for transactions.
Gilot said that Ultra Games is designed to support NFT initiatives from publishers and developers. They’ll be able to launch digital collectibles called “Uniqs” that can be traded in a similar manner to tokenized game licenses. Digital collectibles and assets are already firmly established in popular Web2 games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), which has seen individual item sales for over $100,000 each.
The possibility of cross-game interoperability for user-owned NFT assets is an interesting prospect. Although Gilot said that technology-wise, cross-game compatibility is feasible, it will be challenging to navigate between multiple game makers.
Ultra Games is set to launch this month, and the true measure of success will be whether game developers embrace these features and capabilities and if players take an interest. Gilot believes that Ultra’s game industry partners, which include gaming giant Ubisoft, the crypto-focused Atari, and Web3 metaverse game The Sandbox, plus the unique monetization options, will entice studios to take part.