As many observers question what real value blockchain can bring to video games, a conglomerate is vouching for the space. SoftBank Corp., the telecom operator arm of SoftBank Group, has joined Oasys, a blockchain designed for video games, as a validator.
A validator is a node or computer that helps to verify transactions being added to a blockchain, keeping the decentralized network stable and secure. In return, it receives tokens for its work. It also gets to participate in governance decisions of the network.
Like the popular network Ethereum, Oasys uses the proof-of-stake method to validate transactions, which requires network participants to “stake” their tokens. It’s a contrast to Bitcoin’s proof-of-work mechanism, which consumes computing power and is criticized for its environmental impact.
To date, over a dozen games are available on Oasys. A blockchain game could incorporate elements of blockchain technologies such as cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens that allow users to own and trade in-game assets on the blockchain, which is often the point of contention in the gaming world: Why does one need to have their in-game assets on the blockchain?
The announcement of the collaboration is vaguely phrased, saying only that SoftBank and Oasys “will work together to explore the development of blockchain-based services for the gaming industry.” Keiichi Makizono, senior vice president and CIO of SoftBank, adds that the company “look[s] forward to working with Oasys to promote Web3’s social implementation and resolve social issues.”
Nonetheless, it’s a vote of confidence by the Japanese telecom giant in an industry that has been roiled by market turbulence in the past year.
SoftBank is joining a pool of 21 validators for Oasys, including Square Enix, developer of the Final Fantasy series; Bandai Namco Research, a research arm under the Japanese entertainment conglomerate; SEGA, a Japanese console giant; French games group Ubisoft; and Yield Guild Games, an a16z-backed play-to-earn games studio.
In the long term, Oasys plans to make its network more decentralized by “enabling public participation through a council and removing the limit on the number of validator slots as long as the necessary requirements are being met,” the announcement says.