What Is the Ultra (UOS) Gaming Platform?
Ultra is a blockchain-based publishing platform for video games and video-game content. It provides gaming services such as selling and promoting games, live streams, tournament participation, a marketplace for digital goods, and community forums.
Ultra combines traditional gaming services with blockchain technology that allows it to offer both gamers and developers a higher degree of autonomy. Its mission is to break up the monopoly in PC-game distribution, which today is largely dominated by Steam, by providing new (monetization) possibilities to gamers, influencers, and game developers. The company promises a more equitable platform for developers and gamers alike.
To reach this goal, Ultra has put together a diverse team of tech experts and video-game industry veterans from renowned companies like Google, AMD, Wargaming, Dell, Uber, and Microsoft, among others.
Who created UOS?
The company Ultra was co-founded by Nicolas Gilot and David Hanson in 2017. Prior to launching Ultra, both founders have been involved in several successful gaming projects, making them well-connected within the gaming industry. The duo met for the first time when sharing a ride to a video-game competition and immediately became friends. Recognizing their complementary talents, they soon started to work on several projects together.
Their first successful collaboration was a company named Youcall. Youcall specialized in search engine optimization (SEO) and helped customers list their websites on the first page of a Google search. Their approach was so successful that they were able to provide first-page Google placement for all of their clients at some point in time.
Youcall’s financial success allowed the duo to pursue their passion for creating games. They started a gaming studio specializing in mobile games and released two games with over 100,000 units sold. Reassured by the previous success, they founded PixelBeam to create a first-person shooter for PCs. PixelBeam was later acquired by Kingsoft, also known as China’s Microsoft.
Also, David Hanson was an early adopter of Bitcoin and soon understood that blockchain technology had the potential to revolutionize the internet. With the advent of smart contract blockchains in 2015, blockchain technology was finally ready to not only disrupt FinTech but the gaming industry as well. The two founders quickly caught up to the idea and decided that a blockchain-based gaming platform would be the next company they wanted to build together.
While working on a $100-million-dollar console project in cooperation with AMD at the time, the founder duo studied everything they could about blockchain and cryptocurrencies. This newly learned knowledge paired with their prior work experience in the gaming industry cleared the path for Ultra, a game-distribution platform for PC users that would heavily leverage blockchain technology.
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How does the UOS platform work?
The PC gaming industry as it is run today is dominated by a handful of large publishing platforms that promote and sell games for developer studios. Similar to how Apple and Google control the distribution of apps through their stores, so do Steam, Epic Games, and Origin control the market for PC games through their distribution platforms.
This near-monopoly position allows these platform operators to take a 30% revenue cut from the games sold on their platforms. In practice, this leads to a situation where most money made goes to the middleman and to social networks (YouTube, Twitch), while a majority of game developers struggle to get coverage and make a decent living. Developers who don’t agree with this revenue model and desire more control over their user base have to self-publish their creations. However, their custom platforms fall short in delivering a fully-fledged user experience, leaving them at a disadvantage.
Gamers on the other hand are getting locked into these distribution platforms, as they can neither take the purchased games to other platforms nor resell them. Currently, their only options are to either resell their entire account with all the games or keep all the games, regardless if most of them are still actively played or not.
Ultra aims to mitigate these challenges by building a publishing platform and marketplace for PC games that charge a significantly lower distribution fee, while at the same time granting developers access to new revenue streams and providing marketing tools to effectively reach a target audience. As many of their services are built on blockchain technology, developers and gamers alike have more control and autonomy over their products and purchases.
What are the main features of the Ultra gaming platform?
To provide developers and gamers with a superior experience when compared to traditional publishing platforms, Ultra is introducing a range of tools and features.
- Marketplace: Ultra lets players own games as NFTs on a blockchain. Players can purchase and resell games and in-game items on a marketplace.
- Earn Money: Ultra allows players to earn crypto by participating in beta tests, curating games, watching ads, and more.
- Open Platform: Players can access third-party game services such as tournaments, trading platforms, and competitions directly within Ultra.
- Community: Ultra provides game-specific community tools such as forums, chats, and clubs, fostering active and vibrant gaming communities.
- More Revenue: Ultra charges a distribution fee of 12%-15%, while the largest competitors charge up to 30%.
- Marketing Toolbox: To allow independent developers to better promote their games, Ultra provides access to a marketing toolbox and an influencer program.
- Community Building: Ultra offers community-building tools such as forums, newsletters, chats, and clubs that can be used and managed by the respective game developers as they think best.
- New Revenue Streams: Developers can tap new revenue streams through in-game advertising, item-trading, referrals, and secondhand sales.
Ultra’s ambition is to accommodate all types of developers, ranging from small, independent individuals or studios to industry giants. The platform hosts top-selling and free-to-play games, eSports, or single-play games. At the same time, it also caters side markets such as tournaments, competitions, and item trading.
What is the Ultra blockchain?
To run this gaming ecosystem, Ultra has built its own blockchain. The blockchain is based on EOS technology and architecture and has been modified to fit Ultra’s needs. Ultra states that its blockchain’s core features include:
- Up to 100,000 transactions per second
- No transaction fees
- Freezing and fixing broken smart contracts
- User account-recovery mechanism
What is the Ultra Coin (UOS)?
The Ultra platform is built around blockchain technology, specifically the Ultra blockchain. All purchases of games, virtual items, and services operate through smart contracts. Interacting with these smart contracts requires Ultra Coins, short for UOS. Consequently, every purchase on the platform has to be paid in UOS. Additionally, all features such as bug reporting, loyalty programs, beta-testing rewards, advertisements, etc. work exclusively with UOS.
To tackle the UOS’s price fluctuation, games and services on the platform will be priced in USD, and prices will be converted to UOS automatically at the current market rate at purchase time. This provides price stability and allows developers and users to opt-out of the price risk of UOS by holding their assets and pricing their products in fiat currencies. UOS can be purchased on the Ultra platform or on centralized exchanges such as KuCoin or Bitfinex.
Putting it all together
The Ultra game publishing platform is tackling the most urgent challenges the gaming industry is facing. Its goal is to break the monopoly large gaming-distribution platforms like Steam currently have in the market. It does so by offering feature parity to the big players, while additionally providing developers with new revenue streams and marketing possibilities. The use of blockchain technology removes the need for trust from developers and players towards the platform and allows for faster payouts thanks to the platform’s native currency, UOS.