Meet Lotus Core, the decentralized platform for digital games
The games industry has shown tremendous growth in global adoption and revenue during the last two decades, and still is in constant grow year-by-year. In 2016 the game industry made US$ 104.4 billion in revenue. In November 2017, market intelligence company Newzoo had to change its revenue estimate for the same year from US$ 108.9 billion to US$ 116 billion, representing a 10.7% growth compared to 2016.
According to Newzoo, calculated revenue in 2017 from the games industry was three times the movie tickets sales across the globe in 2016 as reported by the Motion Picture Association of America (US$ 38.6 billion). Also, games are as big a business as professional sports and will surpass it in 3 years from now as it continues to grow.
A major factor impacting the growth of the games industry is the adoption and development of technology, particularly in the video games market because there the experience is delivered to the player through an electronic medium. Thus, technology helped to create new business models around the digital distribution of games, such as mobile games in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, downloadable content from digital stores in home and handheld consoles like Nintendo Switch and PS4, “boxed” or downloaded games available on digital marketplaces like Valve’s Steam or Activision-Blizzard’s BattleNet to play on Personal Computers, and several others.
Whereas Mobile games showed the highest growth rate in the global market of video games in 2017, “boxed” or downloaded PC games obtained a solid US$ 27.1 billion or 23% of the total industry revenue.
Because of these numbers, some argue Mobile games will replace PC gaming eventually, but that is more a misinformed speculation than a reality-based prediction.
Opportunity at the workbench
One of the strongest arguments against that belief comes from Jesse Schell’s The Art of Game Design when he talks about the experience taking place in a venue instead of a device.
Mobile games live on platforms that excel at venues like the reading nook (a bedroom or a quiet place with a couch away from the TV), the playground (a street, a park, the bench outside a basketball court) or anywhere else where there are prolonged waiting times involved. Moreover, Mobile games are designed very differently from other games because their context of use encourage it. For example, a good Mobile game allows for small bits of play sessions without being negatively affected by constant interruptions.
On the other hand, PC games live on a platform that serves both work and play functions and usually sits at the workbench venue, a quiet and solitary space matching the messy nature of work. Games designed for this venue tend to be more difficult, time consuming and demanding than other types of games.
That is to say, PC games will not be outplaced by Mobile games anytime soon as they occupy different contexts of use and different types of gameplay.
Steam, the most popular distribution software for games on the PC, managed to dominate between 50% and 70% of the market on this platform. They currently have 67 million monthly active players and a catalog of more than 10,000 games.
Valve has helped the PC games market to expand by connecting players to content they want. Tom Giardino (who works in business development at Valve) said on a recent presentation from last year “the PC space thrives on openness and innovation”. And they’ve certainly attempted to live by that phrase with features like the Steam Workshop, a centralized web that allows users to create content for games they like and developers to approve or reject those creations, or with the more recent SteamDirect program that arose as a substitute of the previous Steam Greenlight to automate game submissions on the platform, swelling up their catalog and loosening their bottle neck issues.
But it’s not all fun ‘n games.
In some way Steam’s market domination has also slowed down innovation in the distribution of digital games, as it leaves behind great opportunities for improvement on how games are treated as assets, how developers are treated as creators and overlooking chances for investors of all sizes.
Problems in the centralized distribution of digital games
Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Nintendo eShop, Playstation Store, Xbox Store, Steam, BattleNet, Origin. All these digital distribution market spaces take place in different platforms and venues, but they all share one thing in common: they were conceived as closed environments. A closed environment means there is a central distribution system restricting the use of games (e.g. you can hardly exchange digital assets with a friend), taking a percentage in sales revenue away from developers (30% in most cases), and lacking opportunities for investors to fund game projects within the same platform.
At Lotus Core, we acknowledged the existence of these problems and attempted to create a solution for the workbench venue (PCs territory), which we think has a great opportunity for improvement thanks to the openness of Personal Computers and a particular technology gaining popularity on this platform.
The decentralized platform for games built on top of the blockchain
We created Lotus Core as the decentralized platform for gamers, developers and investors built on top of Ethereum (a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts on the blockchain).
For those unfamiliar with the crypto-jargon:
A smart contract is an application that runs exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.
The blockchain is a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly.
In Lotus Core, players will be able to trade games with friends, developers will earn 100% of the revenue derived from selling their digital assets, and investors will be able to fund game projects. All within the same platform.
Thanks to the Lotus Protocol, players will have a direct relation with developers by being able to prove ownership of software without third parties, as the ownership proof will reside in the blockchain and not in the servers of a company. Players will be able to use this software like if it was a physical copy, meaning they’ll be able to exchange it with or sell it to other players. These trades and exchanges will be made up by smart contract rules to protect them from piracy while also giving benefits to developers.
Taking advantage of the Lotus Ecosystem, developers can receive funds to build their games following their roadmaps and meeting our guidelines. We believe this will be a great platform to develop new projects for, as it encourages honest relationships between developers and investors to create win-win scenarios by taking advantages of the blockchain’s transparency in every step of the process.
We also created the Lotus Investment Program [LIP] to allow investors to fund game projects by selecting which crowdfunding campaigns created by game developers are the most appealing to them. The LIP will have smart contracts written to define the terms of funding by setting up a percentage per sale to be returned to the investor(s), as well as defining the terms of an eventual refund in case of a campaign that does not meet its funding goal.
Why the blockchain is a great opportunity to solve problems in the digital distribution of games
The blockchain gives us the oportunity to create unique digital assets that can be used like physical cartridges or CDs, allowing you to lend or exchange your game with a friend in a secure transaction that also invalidates the posibility of multiple copies running at same time or uncontrolled distribution.
Current systems for games distribution hold a centralized model, meaning they could not (and maybe would not) create a decentralized payment and distribution channel for developers and players util the blockchain was created. This is a very basic use scenario for the blockchain technology, allowing developers to assume control over the distribution of their games in direct transactions with gamers.
In bullet points, here’s why the blockchain is a great tool to solve problems in the distribution of digital games:
- Concept of digital scarcity: it’s the only technology that allows to create unique cartridges.
- Unique cartridges can be exchanged without permits nor controls from a centralized distributor, and both ends can be sure it is a fair deal.
- The blockchain allows to create a decentralized system of digital games distribution. Before this technology there necessarily had to be a regulatory entity, similar to the case of banks and cryptocurrencies.
- As a decentralized system dismisses any regulatory entity, it will:
— Work faster than a centralized system in every aspect
— Reduce bureocratic barriers to funding projects
— Enable smart contracts to create fair deals for developers and investors alike, such as releasing funds as goals are met or returning funds to owners otherwise, which does not happen in traditional crowdfunding sites.
These and many other reasons are why we believe Lotus Core is a game changer for the digital games industry on PCs.
Supporting Lotus Core
Who we are?, you may ask. Our team comes from several places and companies in the world, mostly from a software development company called Talpor. We are proud and confident in our skills and knowledge to bring this project to life, but also humble and open to bring new talent on-board as needs rise. We’ll write about our team in detail in the next text piece.
If you want to help this project come to life, you are awesome. We invite awesome people like you to participate in the upcoming tokens pre-sale from March 21st to April 21st, 2018. Buying Lotus Tokens [LTS] during the pre-sale will give you a 50% stage bonus, meaning that if you buy 10,000 LTS you will receive 15,000 LTS in your Ethereum address.
There is a limited amount of LTS available for purchase during the pre-sale, though, so we encourage you to get yours early on.
Also if you don’t have funds to get some LTS but you would like to support Lotus Core, you are awesome too. You can support the project by following us in our social channels and inviting your peers, family and friends to do so:
— Lotus Core pre-sale video
— Twitter account: @lotus_core
— Facebook page: @LotusCoreGaming
— Telegram group: [Lotus Core]
After the pre-sale event ends we will assess our options to start the crowd sale event or Initial Coin Offering [ICO] on May, which includes stage bonuses of 10% and 30% depending on how many tokens you buy. If you don’t know what in the world an ICO is or how it works, here is a short educational video with Miko Matsumura (co-founder of the Evercoin Cryptocurrency Exchange).
For more info about Lotus Core’s roadmap and other details, please visit https://lotuscore.io/
Special thanks to co-founder Mauricio Reyes for helping me write this piece.