Enthusiasts have long suspected that online games would be a booming application of blockchain technology. Players of Minecraft, for instance, have had the option of using Bitcoin to purchase store credit for years thanks to Bitpay. But this isn’t really what we mean when we say integrated blockchain technology in games – rather, we mean something that makes use of the technology inside the game.
Some efforts have come and gone, like Gambit, which used to allow players to make Bitcoin bets on board games. Some are still in development, after years, like Bitfantasy. The advent of colored coins through systems like Counterparty and Ethereum should make the implementation of game-specific tokens all the easier, and finally we are seeing that come about, specifically with today’s subject, Back to Earth.
The Back to Earth whitepaper starts by noting that the entertainment industry as a whole, worldwide, is worth about 1.6 trillion dollars. However, the value of gaming in particular is around $80 billion. Still massive and worth entering. Mobile gaming, subscription services, and the like have increased this number steadily as game publishers find more and more ways to extract revenue from players.
[Cryptocurrencies] are a secure way to give value to a digital asset that can be used to incentivize competition, discussion, and game play. […] Transferring value online can be easy, and Back to Earth is packaging the simplicity of blockchain technology with a mainstream vehicle for its success: entertainment.
Back to Earth is not your traditional game by any means. It is more like an alternate reality version of Final Fantasy. Players will spend a lot of time immersed in the story, rather than trying to win points or goals. Basically every possible medium will be used, including “film, mobile apps, social media, books, [and] physical memorabilia.” But how will it make money?
Underpinning the whole production will be an engaging mystery that can only be solved by interacting with our cryptographic token StarCredits.
StarCredits will be used in the online store, and then the firm will be able to exchange them for Bitcoin at an exchange. They say that all credits used to interact with the story will be destroyed, which would presumably over time lessen the supply, thereby potentially increasing the value. Total coin supply will be limited to 20 million SRC. The token is to be issued on the Ethereum platform.
Back to Earth aims to be a way to revive the Alternate Reality Game model by bringing to it a profitable model. It notes that cryptocurrency solves some of the problems such games have with traditional models, including near-instant settlement, highly divisible tokens, and transparency which generates trust among players.
Who Is Behind Back to Earth
Clay Space is an actor and script writer. His career is rather nascent but likely promising. He appeared in Season 1 of Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad spin-off. He is the founder and creative director of Back to Earth productions, the company that is going to create the game.
Shad Adair is also an actor and film producer who has appeared in such films as Independence Day: Resurgence. His role in the company is as a producer, which can mean a lot of things. He is also an investor in software companies, according to his profile. One of these companies is apparently Talentura, a mobile app development company working on solutions for talent recruitment. Previously he worked with Spinifex IT, a company which creates SAP solutions for large enterprise and employs over 50,000 people.
Award-winning photographer Josh Lane will be acting as the firm’s lead cinematographer. He is likely responsible for the following:
The game itself will largely be developed by a firm with experience in the field called No Mimes Media. They have an extensive repertoire and are based in Manhattan Beach, California. They appear to work in every medium, making them a great fit for this project. Hiring them is dependent on a successful crowdfund.
Having people from Hollywood on your team is a big plus in our society. Brock Pierce, who was a child actor, has successfully worked in several areas of the cryptocurrency industry. He recently had a $10,000,000 funding round for Blockchain Capital, which was the first fund devoted to the blockchain industry. The contacts that Hollywood people can be invaluable – the chances are high this project will get a lot of exposure, which drastically increases its chances of success. Exposure, however, is only one part of the project.
We must ask ourselves – who else is trying to do something similar? How big of a market is there for alternate reality games?
Back to Earth notes that there are three types of players, and that the smallest portion of these will be their most dedicated players. It’s hard to tell how big of a market there will be for a game like this, but the ability for users to cash out their tokens via Ethereum exchanges will make it novel among online games. People who currently invest a lot of their time in games where this is not possible may become interested in a game where it is.
As to competing ventures, there are not many. The market for well-polished, crypto-token integrated gaming platforms is virtually wide open. The author does not believe this will always be the case, but the status quo amounts to a first mover advantage for Back to Earth.
Their goal is to raise 750 BTC ($900,000+) with the sale of 4 million tokens. This makes the tokens, at the outset, worth somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 cents each. Being that the coins are also divisible, it should be affordable enough for people to try it out without spending more than they are comfortable with.
Based on all of the aforementioned knowledge, the author feels comfortable giving Back to Earth a 6.0 on the 1-10 safety scale. Your chances of recovering your investment with some level of profit, if it is a pure investment without the intention of playing the game itself, is probably around 60%. If your interest is purely in playing the game, then investing in the crowdsale is a way to get coins before the market has its way and drives their price up. It could go the opposite way, of course, and waiting until the price drops, holding some coins, and then waiting for the firm to have some successes could be a better strategy.
- On April 26th, the crowdfund will open. Information on how to invest will be posted at backto.earth.
- A referral program is in place to gain extra SRC. Every referral of yours that spends at least .05 will earn you an extra 50 SRC, although there will only be 500,000 issued in this way.
- A total of 4 million SRC are being sold directly in the first crowdfund.
- A second crowdfund will be conducted later. Coins will not be introduced outside of these two crowdfunds until at least one year following the conclusion of the first fund.
- So as to reward early investors, a “golden ticket” system is being implemented via the Ethereum blockchain. (More in a moment.)
- The company seems intent on stabilizing price through having a slow-drip supply in order to limit overvaluation. They appear to sincerely want to have a long-term success with the project.
- If coins are left over in the first crowdfund, 25% will be destroyed. Another 25% will go to the golden ticket system for the second crowdfund. 50% will be retained by the production company and presumably be injected into the game economy a year later.