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Ultra developing entirely new gaming ecosystem

Tony Zerucha

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Nicolas Gilot understands the video game market and the issues restricting developers and impacting players. He also believes blockchain technology can solve those issues and create a new games distribution platform providing new opportunities to developers and players alike.

Mr. Gilot is the co-CEO of Ultra, developers of a blockchain foundation supported by a staged software download technology which has facilitated more than 100 million downloads. The blockchain-based functionality fosters innovative business customizations which produce new opportunities for developers.

In 2009 Mr. Gilot founded Colorstone, a China-based mobile game studio which developed iOS, Android and Windows games. Then in 2016 he founded and served as CSO for a gaming hardware and software platform which has raised $120 million to create a gaming console for the Chinese market in conjunction with American and Chinese partners

Gaming consoles lend themselves well to blockchain technology, Mr. Gilot explained. You need both hardware and software as players send payments, chat and complete other functions.

“In a sense it’s a distribution platform,” Mr. Gilot said.

Nicolas Gilot

But the current system has its problems, Mr. Gilot said. Fees are high and players have trouble finding new games. Creators of quality content struggle to be seen.

Ultra is different than those older systems and even other new competitors, Mr. Gilot said. Creators’ revenue share is double that paid out by other companies. That revenue is paid out instantly, so it can quickly be deployed into the area of highest need instead of waiting for a standard 60 days. New revenue streams include in-game advertisements, secondhand markets, item trading and referrals.

And Ultra gives half of their revenue back to the community, as people referring friends receive a percentage of revenue they generate.

Blockchain technology enables a level of transparency previously unseen in the industry, Mr. Gilot said. Like other areas of entertainment, traditional bookkeeping is an opaque process. How many people have bought your content? How long did it take you to get paid for those purchases? Why is it earning the distributors interest and not you?

“The blockchain aspect actually provides transparency to all of those transactions so people can do their jobs and get paid in a legitimate way,” Mr. Gilot said. That is especially important for startups, who need every dime they earn as soon as possible.

And don’t think of Ultra as just a venue for selling games, for it is so much more, Mr. Gilot said. Compare it to the iPhone, which delivered the capacity for others to generate revenue from the phone by leveraging the user base to sell apps.

“The mindset of Ultra isn’t that we’re better than Steam,” Mr. Gilot said. “We are something else entirely.”

Those differences go deep down in the bones. Ethereum smart contracts, which many platforms use, cannot be properly monitored, Mr. Gilot said. Transaction fees, for example, cannot be altered. Once private keys are lost they are gone.

Ultra took a different approach. They employed the EOSIO suite to develop their contracts. Benefits include account recovery and the ability to update smart contracts. Players can view videos and receive nanopayments immediately to their account.

“The time before confirmation is annoying,” Mr. Gilot said. “These are close to instant transactions.”

Developers can also concentrate on development and leave the rest to Ultra, Mr. Gilot said. The platform targets people with a proven history of liking the type of game the developer has just completed. As it is accurately matched, the players doesn’t see it as an intrusion but a successful recommendation of additional entertainment. And the developer does not have to pay up front for marketing which may or may not work, they only part with a percentage of actual sales.

Overall revenue is healthier under Ultra’s model than Steem, Mr. Gilot added. On Steem, players see a handful of suggestions based on overall popularity, not necessarily what they like. Maybe they purchase a game, maybe they don’t. Get suggestions which you are more likely to enjoy, and on average you’ll happily spend more.

Ultra’s staged software downloading, involving technology made possible through distributed ledger technology, allows people to start playing before the entire game is downloaded, Mr. Gilot said. That reduces player abandonment rates because they get to play whilst “in the zone”.

Users can also universally port games from other platforms like Steam, Xbox and PlayStation onto Ultra via a universal SDK, Mr. Gilot said. That feature and its simplicity has helped attract developers.

The ability to earn tokens in multiple ways is one way to attract players, Mr. Gilot said.

“Most players are happy to earn tokens which allows them to play games more cheaply. Some of the players do not participate but if they do watch ads, they earn tokens.

“They are tailor made to the right audience, as we have the capacity to analyze players behavior so we can offer suitable choices.”

Tony Zerucha

Tony Zerucha is an alternative finance journalist with more than seven years experience in the space. The author of more than 1,000 articles, Tony was named LendIt's 2018 Journalist of the Year.

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