ShardTalk is a gaming interview segment with the objective of connecting readers to the future of blockchain gaming. Ultra is a web3 game distribution platform boasting a roster of partners like AMD and Ubisoft. It is gearing up for the release of its public testnet. Co-CEO of Ultra, Nicolas Gilot shares insights and plans for the future of Ultra with ShardTalk.
Q1. How does Ultra stand out from other gaming platforms such as Steam?
Ultra can be viewed as the next generation of game distribution platforms. Steam has been around for more than 15 years and has done nothing to empower players. As a player, you cannot resell your games like you could with physical copies. You give them up to 30% of your revenue to list your game. Indies are disadvantaged by their discovery algorithm, which largely favors big studios.
Furthermore, Steam’s technologies are outdated. NFTs are the way to go for digital assets, and that’s no fantasy. Many in the gaming industry have already acknowledged this. Chris Clay, a former top executive at Wizards of the Coast, joined God’s Unchained because he believes “blockchain represents a new frontier for game developers“. In addition to VR and Blockchain, Ubisoft is heavily involved with new technologies. That’s Ultra’s vision and Steam, as well as their historical competitors (Epic, Discord, Wegame, etc.) don’t get it at all.
Q2. Could you explain on the blockchain you are building on and what makes it more suitable than other blockchains out there?
The two main reasons why Ultra blockchain is different from other blockchains are its technology and its accessibility. There is no existing technology that allows a normal person to interact with a blockchain-based solution. To appeal to a large audience, such as the gaming industry, you need to make blockchain features easy to understand. As a gamer, you want to interact with your game just as you do now, and also deal with blockchain-powered features like selling items, monetizing your game time, and so on. Ultra is not only a factory for NFTs, but also a full-featured environment that interacts forever with Ultra’s blockchain.
The blockchain we built is based on EOSIO, but we adapted it for mass adoption. In addition to adding the ability to transact for free, we also added many other features to improve performance and usability. Accessibility plays a huge role here. With Ultra games, anyone can access the platform without needing to register or pay transaction fees. We offer non-custodial recovery in case of an accident and a highly secure and simple wallet for anyone to use. Think of it as a multi-layered sandbox, all driven by smart contracts. On top of this, our network is composed by Block Producers, such as Ubisoft and Bitfinex, that are chosen for their technical reliability and worldwide reputation.
Q3. Could you share with us a little about the partnership you have with Ubisoft and AMD?
Currently, AMD provides significant help for everything that pertains to the processing power of our network. In the blockchain industry, many actors rely on their technology to reach peak performance. AMD will also support the marketing of Ultra to gamers. They will notably recommend installing Ultra along with driver updates and providing free games redeemable on Ultra instead of Steam when you buy a new graphics card.
Ubisoft is also a big partner. By validating transactions, they play a crucial role in the Ultra ecosystem and provide us with valuable insights into the gaming industry. It’s a pleasure to work with them, and their vision allows us to better tailor our solution for gamers and game developers.
Q4. Can you elaborate on how players/gamers will not only be able to enjoy games on Ultra but also earn money?
Various features on the Ultra platform allow players to monetize their activity. For example, we will reward people who take additional steps to secure their accounts (“Activate 2FA and receive x UOS! “), or reward people who use a new application we have partnered with. Many other opportunities that are still in development (being paid for watching ads, being paid for recommending friends, etc.) will be available soon after the release.
Thanks to our dedicated smart contracts, game developers will be able to incentivize their communities to participate by encouraging them to promote their games and sharing with them a percentage of the generated revenue. In Ultra, they will also be able to host tournaments to promote their latest games and reward players instantly in UOS or NFTs. A lot of casual and competitive players are looking forward to the latter feature.
NFTs are not platform-dependent, but are a great way for users to earn money while being rewarded. A NFT is most commonly a game or in-game item that can be bought, looted, won, and resold at will. If they choose, game developers can get a cut on resales, something you cannot do in the traditional games distribution market.
Q5. What are some of the key features Ultra has that will attract developers to build on Ultra?
Our SDK allows developers to port their games from basically any platform to Ultra, which is the main incentive for regular games. In addition to a 1/1 port, they might add blockchain-powered features to their games. Among these features are tradable in-game items or a link to any of our 3rd party dApps.
Games that are designed with Blockchain in mind need to access all Ultra’s features. Platform-specific features are available, such as the tournament feature, which automatically connects games to a whole competition economy. When your core game is based on competitive mechanisms, this is an efficient way to grow your audience, but there are other tools that will help game developers create new worlds and concepts.
An example of such a tool is the ability to create NFTs from scratch with all parameters defined in the platform’s interface. With our SDK, you can integrate those NFTs into your game while making them publicly available.
Q6. What can we expect from the public testnet that is upcoming?
We are currently launching a campaign to raise awareness about our solution. We’ll launch a public testnet in the near future so that some of the previously subscribed users can test the platform. If it goes well, we’ll include more people, and so forth.