Gaming startup B2Expand has launched the beta version of its game store. The shop is the first in the video gaming space to leverage blockchain — best known as the underlying technology of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
The shop’s launch comes three months after B2Expand published its first game, Beyond the Void (BTV) — a space Multiplayer (1v1 initially) Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game. At the time of the shop launch, over 10,000 gamers had played BTV’s beta release.
B2Expand’s head of communication and marketing, Manon Burgel, explains that players can buy newly created game assets through the store, such as skins and avatars. They will also be able to use it as an exchange platform where they trade assets among themselves. Manon:
“The store is one of the critical features we are building in our wider blockchain-based gaming ecosystem, which will foster true ownership of players’ gaming assets.”
B2Expand has christened their ecosystem Nexarium. They have indicated that it will include the store, native games like Beyond the Void, partner games that use the Nexium token, and game assets.
The blockchain technology behind Nexium
The Nexarium ecosystem uses the blockchain at two levels. In November 2016, B2Expand raised over US$300,000 through an ICO to support the development of Beyond the Void and the necessary infrastructure for Nexarium. An ICO – Initial Coin Offering – is a capital-raising event where a startup creates tokens and sells them to the public.
In its ICO, B2Expand created 100 million Nexium tokens on the Ethereum blockchain and sold over 28 million to the public. Those that were not sold were burned (destroyed).
The Nexium is an ERC20 token, which means it complies with Ethereum’s blockchain standard and can be managed using Ethereum’s infrastructure. Manon:
“While you can create a Nexium wallet with tools built-in on the Beyond the Void platform and link it to the game store account, you have the option of using Ethereum wallets. In particular, Nexiums can be received, stored and sent using the Metamask, Mist and Toshi wallets.”
With the launch of the store, the token takes on the critical role of currency for players to trade game assets. The token makes micropayments across international borders easier and gives users a single coin to use, instead of working with multiple fiat currencies and payment providers.
Gamers and investors who didn’t get an opportunity to acquire tokens during the ICO can purchase them on exchanges such as Bittrex, Poloniex, HitBTC, Openledger and Etherdelta.
Game assets on the blockchain
The second way B2Expand uses the blockchain is in making true asset ownership possible. In the Nexarium ecosystem, cosmetic assets like skins and avatars will reside and be managed on the blockchain, making them 100% portable and independent of the gaming platform.
Players can gather assets in-game and opt to keep and use them, or sell them to other players as Ethereum-based entities, through Nexarium or independent second-hand shops.
B2Expand Game Designer Remi Burgel believes that, once more gaming platforms adopt blockchain, cross-gaming trading will become part of the player experience, with gamers moving common assets across platforms. Remi:
“For example, a player could move their unique mothership from Beyond the Void to any other space-based game.”
Remi does warn that, being in beta, the shop could still have glitches. The development team expects to have all significant bugs fixed before general release and Remi anticipates that any remaining issues will not significantly affect the overall player experience.
In November 2017, B2Expand was included in a startup accelerator program organized by video game publisher Ubisoft in conjunction with Station F, one of world’s largest business incubators. B2Expand gained access to 15 experts to help implement their business plan, observe regulatory requirements, create appropriate designs and proceed with technical development