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Ubisoft’s Upcoming Web3 Game Is A Defining Moment For The Future Of Video Games

Last updated: | 6 min read
Disclaimer: The text above is an advertorial article that is not part of editorial content.
Web3 gaming

Web3 gaming has often been hailed as a “game-changer” for the video games industry, yet to date very few blockchain games have made their presence felt. But that could be about to change, as the legendary developer Ubisoft – creator of Ghost Recon, Assassin’s Creed and other hit titles – has just released a gameplay trailer of its first-ever blockchain-based game, Champion Tactics: Grimoria

Will the announcement at Paris Blockchain Week sets the stage for a potential breakthrough that leads to the first generation of true AAA games making their way to the blockchain? In the video games industry, the “AAA” designation is an informal tag for the biggest, best-known hit games, created and distributed by top studios. There might be hundreds of blockchain games available to play today, but none of them have secured that coveted AAA game label. 

Web3 Gaming Challenges

Until AAA games with Web3 characteristics such as NFTs and tokenized economies become more commonplace, it’s hard to argue that blockchain is the future of gaming. Indeed, the vast majority of Web3 games tend to be derided by hardcore gamers, who proudly play for enjoyment rather than money. Most Web3 games are plagued by low-quality gameplay experiences far below what the most devoted gamers are accustomed to. The quality of the graphics in most Web3 games is well below the standards of top AAA games like Grand Theft Auto and Fortnite.

Another problem in the way of Web3 games achieving that AAA label is that blockchains need to be able to scale to support potentially millions of players all logging into a game at once. The best AAA games attract over 100 million players daily, posing questions about whether blockchains are going to be up to the job of handling that kind of traffic. Ethereum, for example, is one of the most popular chains for blockchain games, but it’s also notorious for its network congestion, causing gas fees to cost anything from $10 to several hundred dollars when it’s overloaded.

The lack of interoperability across blockchains is another concern, as it prevents players from transferring their assets and profiles from one platform to another. Due to this, the assets that players acquire in one game might well be player-owned, but they’re still stuck within a very small gaming universe, which is a major hindrance to the benefits that decentralized digital assets are supposed to provide gamers. 

Ubisoft Rises To The Challenge

Ubisoft’s renewed push into blockchain is the latest sign that Web3 gaming is rising to the challenge of solving these problems. The company’s first gameplay trailer for Champion Tactics: Grimoria suggests that the game may have what it takes to satisfy hardcore gamers, with its high-end graphics and realistic animations giving it the polished look and feel that’s associated with AAA games. 

The superior graphics will add depth to a gameplay experience that looks like it might be able to attract a reasonable amount of fans. Champion Tactics: Grimoria is being marketed as a player-versus-player tactical RPG game, with a gothic-dark fantasy aesthetic that has already proven to be a success in hundreds of earlier games. 

The gameplay is centered on its figurine-like characters, which are blockchain-based assets that players can own. In the game, players will have to choose three figurine “Champions” to do battle against other players, with each one having unique characteristics and abilities. The challenge is to match three Champions with different combat skills in order to create the right balance needed to beat your opponents in the turn-based battles. 

The figurines themselves are somewhat akin to tabletop game characters, and Ubisoft insists the gameplay is more skills-based rather than chance-based, unlike traditional turn-based battle games. If there’s enough depth to this strategic element, the gameplay, combined with the possibility of digital ownership, could be enough to entice gamers to keep coming back for more. 

Strong Foundations

Ubisoft’s unquestionable pedigree in delivering AAA games gives us reason to be optimistic that its first Web3 game will elevate the gameplay experience, but what about the scalability concerns? 

With any luck, this won’t be a problem as Ubisoft has made the sensible choice of launching Champion Tactics: Grimoria on a dedicated gaming blockchain called Oasys, which has previously found favor with other notable developers such as Bandai Namco, Com2uS and Sega. Oasys employs a novel blockchain architecture consisting of a Layer-1 network known as the Hub Layer, and an EVM-compatible Layer-2 network known as the Verse Layer. The Hub Layer is the base layer, designed for settling transactions and security, whereas the Verse Layer is the scaling layer, where individual games can use a faster kind of Optimistic Rollup to bundle their transactions into one, dramatically boosting its scalability. 

Oasys’ Optimistic Rollups deliver enhanced scale because, while the L1 is a public, permissioned blockchain, the L2 is not. This allows it to verify transactions via trusted validators, making it possible for gamers to buy and sell in-game items in something close to real time. 

Oasys is also attempting to solve the challenge of interoperability thanks to its new partnership with LayerZero, announced at the same time as Ubisoft revealed Champion Tactics: Grimoria’s trailer. 

LayerZero is a special kind of protocol that enables different blockchains to talk to each other, so users can transfer game data and assets from one platform to another without any hassles. For gamers, this translates to much more flexibility and choice. They’ll be able to move assets such as in-game currency, items, weapons and skins across multiple gaming worlds, increasing the value and utility of those assets and making gaming experiences much more rewarding. 

Ubisoft Sticks To Its Guns

Ubisoft isn’t the only well known video games publisher that has publicly expressed an interest in blockchain. Epic Games, creator of the hit game Fortnite, has already launched a number of Web3 games on its Epic Games Store marketplace, while names such as Bandai Namco and Square Enix have also talked about the prospects of Web3. 

However, not every video games publisher shares this enthusiasm for Web3. Indeed, companies such as Square Enix and Sega actually took a big step back, seemingly abandoning the idea of creating blockchain games. Given these setbacks, Ubisoft deserves a lot of credit for sticking to its guns and proceeding with the imminent launch of its first-ever Web3 game. When it makes its debut sometime later this year, it could well be the biggest litmus test for blockchain gaming yet, as the first high-quality, Web3-native video game title made by a respected developer and publisher of globally recognized AAA games. 

Fans of AAA games have been among the staunchest opponents to the idea of blockchain games, and the test for Ubisoft is whether or not its focus on both the gameplay aspects (with its high-end graphics and well thought-out gameplay) and performance (with Oasys and LayerZero) will be enough to win over that audience. 

Will Blockchain Have A Future In Gaming?

If Ubisoft is successful and wins over its critics, it could well open the floodgates for more top-tier video games publishers to dip their toes into a Web3 world where ownership of in-game assets becomes normal. 

Ubisoft claims that it’s merely testing the waters with Champions Tactics: Grimoria. Its strategic innovation lab vice president Nicola Pouard said the new game isn’t a true AAA title at all. It’s a cautious statement that suggests that, despite its impressive graphics, it may not match the experience of the most recognizable top-tier games. But the project still intends to prove that Ubisoft can create a quality Web3 game that enables players to experience the benefits of asset ownership. 

“We must understand the market and how we launch this kind of game,” Pouard told Cointelegraph in an interview. “We want to give the players the power to populate the game with figurines and understand what it means to own your gaming assets.”

Digital ownership is a new concept for the video games industry, and Ubisoft simply wants to show users how it can benefit their gaming experiences. If this initiative works, and if fans come to appreciate those benefits, Ubisoft and its peers will find it hard to resist the temptation to follow up with an entire new generation of blockchain-based AAA games.

Disclaimer: The text above is an advertorial article that is not part of editorial content.