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Game studios quietly integrate blockchain without the buzzword


Cointelegraph was on the ground during the second edition of the Madeira Blockchain 2023, held between Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. The event explored regional Web3 developments, as well as how the Portuguese islands are looking for startups and tech talent to grow their economy in the digital age.

During a roundtable discussion at the conference, gaming studios working on blockchain features discussed the challenges associated with integrating the technology into games, including getting acceptance from developers, players and publishers.

Redcatpig is a Web3 game development studio, but the firm has run into obstacles in integrating the technology into its pipeline. “One of the toughest challenges I faced was communicating with my internal team to help them understand that this [blockchain] technology can greatly benefit gamers and enhance games,” noted Marco Bettencourt, the company’s CEO.

Developers at Redcatpig have been collaborating on blockchain gaming solutions. The company’s first blockchain-based game, HoverShock, will be released in 2024 and feature nonfungible token-based skins and drones that can be traded on a marketplace within the game and purchased with fiat or cryptocurrencies.

Despite the studio’s extensive work on integrating blockchain, it has avoided buzzwords associated with the technology. “We all know there is new technology. We all know about NFTs and proprietary technology. And you won’t sell games using the buzzwords. […] Players don’t need to know that it is Web3 or blockchain. The only thing they need to know is that if they buy a skin, they own it, and they can sell it tomorrow if they want,” Bettencourt added.

Gaming roundtable at Madeira Blockchain 2023. Source: Ana Paula Pereira/Cointelegraph

Another company that has seen backlash for integrating blockchain into its development is VEU. Founded in Los Angeles, the firm specializes in AI-powered solutions for navigating virtual worlds, but its community was not supportive of the introduction of blockchain technology.

”Players don’t even need to know what we do; they just need to perceive the product. […] I don’t need to know about a technology to use it. […] So I think that’s the pivot, that’s the switch that the industry needs to face. Just like before, other types of technologies weren’t accepted until people stopped talking about them,” said Nuno Rivotti, chief product officer at VEU.

Despite the backlash, game developers haven’t slowed down in integrating blockchain. In Portugal, the technology has become one of the most important innovations incorporated into gaming product pipelines and government investment strategies through the eGames Lab, a consortium of 22 public and private entities aiming to support the video game industry in the country toward internationalization.

“As part of the Recovery and Resilience Plan, there is a specific agenda for blockchain, incorporating training components, in addition to research and development, software production, and marketing,” said Pedro Dominguinhos, president of the National Monitoring Commission for the Recovery and Resilience Plan in Portugal, told Cointelegraph.

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