South Korean ICO Yumerium believes that it can revolutionise the world of computer games – by paying you to play them.
By building an ecosystem around its YUM token, it is hoping that incentives can be aligned to solve many of the problems currently facing the game industry.
For Yumerium founder and game industry veteran Jikhan Jung, the most influential figures in the gaming industry are gamers, yet they remain the least rewarded. From his experience of developing VR games for the South Korean market, “we are finding out the players’ opinion is the most important asset in the business, since they are the first movers in this industry and they know what works and what not.”
Using smart contracts run on a blockchain “seems the best technology for gauging player influence and ownership” and to allow for the ecosystem to be “driven by players and not just by the company who is providing service.”
YUM will be earned by playing games, sharing games or reviewing them. YUM may also be used by developers to market their own products through referral bonuses and airdrops. Yumerium refer to this model as “play-to-earn”, as opposed to the more traditional “pay-to-play” and “free-to-play” models.
The video game industry is currently dominated by the Steam platform, which according to Jung is “a very centralized marketplace” where the “developer has to provide big chunks of his revenue to the platform.” Players may be able to provide feedback on games, but these contributions are unrewarded.
It is, ironically, a cognate platform – Steem – which may have inspired the Yumerium team proposition. Steem is a blockchain that creates value from thin air which it then distributes to content creators and consumers for their own activities on its platform, the latter being rewarded for curation. Whilst it defies the laws of classical economics, the model works – and it is this concept which Yumerium are now hoping to exploit.
As the blockchain revolution advances, wherever there are centralised middlemen, decentralising ICOs will not be far behind and it may yet be that a whole range of industries could be impacted by the new play-to-earn model.