Gaming startup Ultra is set to launch Ultra Games, a Web3 platform that allows users to resell purchased digital games through a secondary marketplace called the Uniq Marketplace, on April 25.
Ultra Games will be the first entertainment platform that brings games, digital assets, tournaments and live streams to one place, all easily accessible through a single login. It will go online with the support of industry partners such as Ubisoft, Atari and The Sandbox.
According to a Decrypt report, the upcoming marketplace will feature approximately 60 to 70 titles, including Web3 games such as Cards of Ethernity, Cross the Ages and MARS4.
The platform will also offer traditional Web2 games that lack NFT or token elements, such as the Syberia game series, Lords of the Fallen and The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series.
Hence, Ultra Games will also be accessible to non-Web3 users, who can sign up using their email and phone numbers. The platform will not charge users any network gas fees for their transactions. The marketplace’s crypto elements, such as wallet addresses, are hidden behind a Web2-friendly interface. Users can access this information if desired.
Another blockchain-based startup, Robot Cache, co-founded by game developer Brian Fargo, has also explored a similar resale model using its IRON token. Interestingly, Robot Cache’s marketplace features some of the same games that Ultra Games will offer.
Founded in 2017 by David Hanson and Nicolas Gilot, Ultra is built on top of its own EOS blockchain-based Ultra layer-1 network, which has been in development since 2018.
Hanson and Gilot have over 20 years of experience in the gaming industry and have built several successful companies after meeting at an Esports competition.
They have collaborated with AMD to create a gaming console in China that grew into a $100 million company. Ultra’s ecosystem has expanded gradually with products such as the Ultra Wallet and Ultra Arena esports platform, as well as the Uniq Marketplace, whose most noteworthy feature is that it allows players to resell purchased games, thanks to tokenized license rights.
— Ultra (@ultra_io) April 4, 2023
Gilot emphasized that Ultra Games is designed to support NFT initiatives from developers and publishers. They will be able to introduce digital collectibles, referred to as “Uniqs,” that can be traded similarly to tokenized game licenses.
With games being tokenized, publishers or partners can utilize the proof-of-ownership feature to provide discounts, unique in-game items, and other rewards.
More freedom for studios and publishers
According to Gilot, game developers and publishers will have more freedom to experiment with their business models on Ultra Games compared to traditional digital game stores like Steam, which bans Web3 games.
With the platform, game studios can establish an initial no-resale period, such as for the first three months after launch. They can also set a minimum resale price and specify the royalty percentage they will automatically receive.
While Ultra Games grants publishers the freedom to test this innovative model, there is a key limitation — the publisher’s royalty fee cannot exceed 70 percent of the resale price. While game publishers can choose to opt out of this program, Gilot believes there are compelling reasons for studios to allow the secondary sale of their games.
“You can really tweak the entire lifecycle of your games,” he said.
Unlike Web2 games, where digital assets are confined to a particular platform, NFT assets are user-owned and allow cross-game interoperability. Gilot believes that cross-game compatibility between multiple game makers will be tricky but is more feasible for the same game developer in multiple games.