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Ubisoft Eyes Digital Collectibles On Blockchain




While some gamers rue blockchain technology for causing a relative shortage of GPUs, one big gaming company has revealed that it’s exploring the provenance capabilities of the tech to issue digital collectibles.

The Design Innovate Communicate Entertain Summit, a gaming convention attended by industry leaders, is wrapping up today, February 22, 2018.

Yesterday at the event, the director of insights and trends at Ubisoft's Strategic Innovation Lab, Lidwine Sauer, said we now live in a golden era which has seen augmented reality and artificial intelligence rise to prominence. She also noted that "in the last months, the world became fascinated by cryptocurrencies which are digital currencies governed by algorithms and not by governments or central banks."

The fascination shared by the public is motivating Ubisoft's Strategic Innovation Lab to investigate possible applications for blockchain-based assets in games. Sauer said that with such assets:

"[Gamers can] finally have real digital collectibles that cannot be replicated by anyone and can be 100 percent owned by you. Thanks to the blockchain, we can now have the equivalent of a digital Picasso, with the advantage that it's a lot more difficult to steal something on the blockchain than to steal a Picasso."

Digital collectibles aren't anything new to the blockchain ecosystem; non-fungible assets like CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties have gained a lot of momentum, the latter of which initially bogged down the Ethereum blockchain with high transaction volume. Since the popularity of the digital cats, many similar projects have cropped up.

The rising value of digital assets has been a focus of the Digital Innovation Lab's Paris-based Station F. The program allows Ubisoft teams to advise startups on technical issues, business development, game design, and more, while the advisors from Ubisoft gain new skillsets from working with innovative newcomers to the field. "In 2017 the focus of the program was augmented reality and blockchain and it will continue to be for 2018," said Sauer.

Having recognized the potential market for the digital goods, Sauer acknowledged, "It's one of the use cases of the blockchain, and we want to go further than that." She went on to say, "We feel there's something even more interesting to find [through the blockchain], and we're in the process of trying to find that interesting thing."

Ubisoft declined to comment regarding whether big titles like "Assassin's Creed" or "Far Cry" stand to receive blockchain-backed digital collectibles anytime soon. Still, this kind of interest by a major gaming studio like Ubisoft is significant; it substantiates the capability of such a system to deliver unique tokenized digital goods.

Jeremy Nation

Jeremy Nation is a writer living in Los Angeles with interests in technology, human rights, and cuisine.

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