Late last year, our team at Altitude Games started an open-ended research project by asking the question, “What impact will the blockchain have on the game industry?”
We had been tangentially aware of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin and its underlying technology, blockchain, for a while now. But it seemed to be more of a fintech play and was in infrastructure-building mode for the last few years. It wasn’t until we learned about Ethereum and its potential for creating dapps (decentralized applications) that we decided to look further and really understand what the blockchain can do for the game industry.
Led by our Technical Director Paul Gadi, we did a deep dive into use cases of blockchain in games. You can see some of our initial published research here and here. Paul also published a widely shared article on why crypto needs game designers and better UX in general. Our game designers contributed by publishing a research paper on the state of cryptogames as of early 2018.
At the same time, we realized that game developers who are going into the nascent industry of cryptogames will have some common problems. We looked at several possible uses cases — the use of cryptocurrency in game economies, using micropayments to pay for in-game items, and putting game items on the blockchain (cryptoitems). We decided that cryptoitems would have the greatest impact, not only in terms of game design but in monetization as well.
Our research on the blockchain told us: “Always start with the assets”. We quickly realized that cryptoitems can fundamentally change the game industry. The items are now separate from the game itself, which can lead to some wonderful combinations that have never been possible before. Now, different games can make use of the same items, or combine the use of its own items with another game’s assets. There can be item creators that never make their own game, and do nothing but create cryptoitems for other game developers to use. The possibilities are endless, and we’ve only just begun to see what’s possible with games like CryptoKitties and the like.
We are calling this phenomenon the “item-first economy”, and we realized that it takes more than a single game to usher in this revolution in the game industry. That is why today, we’re announcing a new company, Alto.io — a platform that connects games to the blockchain. Alto makes it easy for game developers to mint, sell, and trade cryptoitems and earn income from these items. We want game developers to benefit from the item-first economy, and make money whenever an item they made is sold or traded in any game.
Our mission at Alto is to help game developers create games sustainably by giving them the tools needed to connect their games to the blockchain. The game industry will not exist if not for the creativity of the game developers, and decentralizing monetization and giving it back in the hands of independent developers allows them to choose how to make money from their games. Being game developers ourselves, we understand the pain points of developers trying to make money from their content. We’re here to help them bridge their games into the blockchain, and create a sustainable income from it.
Leading Alto is our CEO Chase Freo, who was previously CMO of mobile publisher Reality Squared Games (R2Games) and led the successful worldwide marketing of its MOBA, Heroes Evolved. Paul Gadi joins Alto as CTO, and I round up the founding team as its Chairman. While Alto creates a platform for game developers to connect their games to the blockchain, Altitude Games will continue to make games — making use of Alto’s tools and leading the way in blockchain game development.
We’re just getting started, but we’d love for game developers to join us in this revolution to connect their games to the blockchain. E-mail us if you’d like to learn more about our platform, or let’s meet up at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this March. We’ll have more announcements about Alto in the near future, so stay tuned!