The current hype cycle surrounding NFTs, and in particular the success of Axie Infinity, has begun to shine some light on the potential synergism between a giant, well-established sector and a growing one — gaming and blockchain.
Through years of diligent progress on the technical side combined with deep running connections in the gaming space — Ultra is now in pole position to lead a paradigm shift and take NFTs mainstream.
To understand how Ultra’s NFTs will be different, it is essential to understand exactly what Ultra is. This is a large topic, but put basically — the Ultra platform is an app ecosystem — built to house many different apps, with interoperability at the core of the ecosystem. For simplicity, I will confine this discussion to gaming use cases.
Imagine multiple gaming-related apps (from Ultra and 3rd parties), all with varying use cases but with a single sign-on: Games distribution (Ultra games — similar to Steam), streaming (eg. Theta, Twitch), tournament apps, auction houses — to name a few. These are all interconnected, and the user has them all at their fingertips when they launch Ultra.
To begin, let’s examine one of Ultra’s more well known features. Every game published on Ultra Games is an NFT — meaning the game licence is an NFT. Developers will publish their games using an app called the Ultra Games Dev Centre, in which they will be able to create the game’s homepage, send images, videos, upload DLC, but ALSO tokenize their games in multiple versions (standard, premium editions etc) — essentially able to make different products.
Devs will then be able to choose if the NFTs of those games are tradable— and when this can occur. For example, a dev can decide that they will only allow resells after a 6 month period, name their minimum resale price, and the percentage commission they receive on all resales.
Devs really have the freedom to set these parameters as they want, and gamers will be able to see these parameters when hovering over specific versions of a game when they go to purchase.
Ultra has been purposefully quiet about some of the specific and unique features of their NFT-standard to date. Though we know their NFT-standard will bring extra layers of functionality to both creators and users. The details that have been shared paint an incredibly exciting picture of the potential on this platform.
Let’s look at some example use cases and how they may benefit multiple different users of the platform:
- In-game items: Devs, when publishing their games on Ultra — will be able to create in-game items as NFTs. This is huge. Imagine playing a dungeon crawler or MMORPG and that ‘rare’ or ‘unique’ axe you find is ACTUALLY only one of 5 ever crafted. You then own it, use it, stash it away as a collectors item, or sell it on Ultra’s NFT marketplace.
2. A rare in-game item created as an NFT could be used on a tournament platform as a prize for the winner(s). A cash prize AND win one of only 5 Gabe Newell-signed crowbars (as NFTs) from Half-life 1? Hell I’d enter that tournament. Okay it may be a little late for HL1, but the same principle can be applied to future games.
3. Rare NFTs could be bundled with a game for sale on the distribution platform (Ultra Games), creating multiple potential sales options for the dev. Perhaps the dev decides that a limited edition in-game item NFT will come with every copy sold inside the first 24 hours only (we’ve already seen Gary V use a similar tactic utilising NFTs to enhance his book sales recently). Or, imagine Ubisoft decides to make an NFT that is digitally signed by the producer of your favourite Assassins Creed game — but only when you buy the specific game bundle online. Do you pay more? And more interestingly, once they’re sold out, what is the resale value?
4. An NFT could be used on a streaming platform (eg. Theta) as a give-away to reward viewers. A popular streamer decides to give away a limited supply of digitally signed NFTs to viewers. Or maybe only to viewers who watch the entire stream. Or maybe only viewers who are sharing the stream feed. You get the picture.
5. NFTs are a powerful marketing tool. An influencer could give away NFTs created by devs to promote their game(s). The influencer’s followers would then become aware of the game while also getting their hands on some ‘free stuff’. Both parties also potentially grow their followings and communities on multiple platforms — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch. The power in this sort of marketing is immense.
6. On Ultra, NFTs can be created that can ONLY be owned by members of a specific community/club/group. These NFTs can also be built so they cannot be bought, traded or even just dropped in the inventory of anyone who is not part of that community. Now if you think about it, this creates some real possibilities for influencers. They could offer NFTs only available to people who follow them.
The above are just some of the use cases we’re aware of —many of which were developed after consultation with various studios and developers. In addition, Ultra has many more features yet to be revealed. The imagination and creativeness of devs, gamers, streamers, influencers and other players in this space never ceases to amaze.
There will undoubtedly be markets created we haven’t even considered yet, with an abundance of interoperability potential between multiple different actors. The word ‘metaverse’ begins to take some shape here, with the potential for items/NFTs able to be used across different games or franchises.
One of the other questions I often see asked is: “This sounds great for gamers, but what’s in it for the devs?” It’s a reasonable question. First, there isn’t actually a huge amount of extra work involved using Ultra’s Dev centre and SDK— tokenising games, items, skins (sky is the limit here) is actually done when the devs upload their files — the same way they would on any other digital platform. No annoying or 3rd party plugins — Ultra provides it all.
We’ve already explored the benefits of NFTs in games promotion (people love collectibles), but on Ultra, devs can set a resale percentage commission on everything they tokenise. That means that if that rare sword is re-sold 100 times, they would receive 1, 5, 15, 20% (whatever % they set on creation) — on every resale.
Devs can even allow user generated content (think fan-made skins) to become NFTs, and receive commission on these too — now both the dev and their user base can profit at the same time. They are no longer excluded from secondary markets.
Ultra is aware of the immense popularity of the NFT market at present — hence NFTs on Ethereum will be able to be sent to Ultra. Owners can then take full advantage of Ultra’s ecosystem: all the example use cases listed above, and sell on Ultra’s marketplace — not to mention 0 transaction fees and near-instant transfers.
Ultra’s NFT marketplace will be decentralized and non-custodial. I.e. Unlike NFTs on Ethereum, on Ultra you do not have to send your NFT onto a platform that will hold it until it is sold. Here, your NFT stays in your inventory, and Ultra’s tech will allow you to show everyone when it’s on sale.
When someone decides they want to buy your NFT, a built-in mechanism will take the item from you ONLY when payment is made — this happens at the exact same time. This solution essentially removes the risk of a hack of the marketplace that holds your NFT. It also bypasses some of the other more annoying downsides — such as seeing the marketplace raising its fees.
The marketplace is built in such a way — you don’t even have to trust Ultra to sell your NFTs in an auction. In fact, the auction feature is built directly into the NFT, Ultra’s platform will only be used as an interface here. This will work with normal sales as well as auctions — you and only you keep total control of your assets until they are sold.
Gaming remains one of the most obvious potential use cases for NFTs. We’ve seen Axie Infinity provide a great proof-of-concept, though this is just the beginning. Seemingly small barriers in this space often become very large ones, and whilst there are some other existing solutions available, none of them truly have all avenues covered to take NFTs mainstream in the gaming world.
First mover advantage, with a complete and precise set of tools, will be crucial. Unparalleled infrastructure, interoperability and ease-of-use are central to everything Ultra does — which is why they will be the first platform to truly realise the potential synergism between blockchain and gaming at scale. We are on the brink of a new paradigm.
Disclaimer: This article was written by enthusiastic members of Ultra’s community. We are veteran gamers and current testers of the Ultra platform which is still in a closed beta stage of development, though with many exciting milestones forecast towards the back end of this year. We also own some UOS.
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