Ubisoft keeps enlisting crypto allies as it now turns to The HBAR Foundation and explores the Hedera ecosystem.
Ubisoft’s recent move to launch Tezos-powered in-game NFT items to its games might have been met with pushback from gamers—like many recent gaming-centric NFT projects—but that isn’t stopping the publisher from making more moves in the crypto industry.
Today, the firm announced that it has entered into an agreement with The HBAR Foundation to support the growth of the Hedera network. Ubisoft will join the Hedera Governing Council and have a say in the future of the network, as well as operate a node as it explores Hedera’s distributed ledger technology.
Ubisoft will also implement a Hedera track into its Entrepreneurs Lab initiative, which sees the publisher work with an array of startups—primarily in the crypto and blockchain space—via resources and mentorship. Past participants include eventual NFT gaming successes like Axie Infinity and Sorare.
While Ubisoft’s entry into the Hedera ecosystem doesn’t have an immediate, tangible result in terms of a game or project, it’s worth noting that the publisher became a Tezos network validator in April 2021. Eight months later, Ubisoft revealed plans to release in-game items for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint as Tezos-based NFTs.
Didier Genevois, blockchain technical director at the Ubisoft Strategic Innovation Lab, told Decrypt that the publisher is “just starting our exploration” of the Hedera ecosystem. Still, he sees potential benefits for players as the Hedera network—which today launched its second-generation smart contracts—evolves and expands.
“The Hedera network’s scalability, energy efficiency, and innovative consensus mechanism—coupled with a Governing Council made up of so many successful companies—could really open up opportunities for the gaming industry to start building games at scale with the proper use cases and in a safe and compliant environment,” said Genevois.
Hedera is a distributed network that uses a hashgraph consensus mechanism, which is different from a blockchain, to secure and maintain its network. Still, it employs a native cryptocurrency, HBAR, and is part of the larger ecosystem of decentralized Web3 technologies that some proponents believe will significantly impact the video game industry via true asset ownership, potential NFT interoperability, and more.
“At Ubisoft, we believe that distributed ledger technology holds a key to the future of gaming by opening new opportunities for players to become true stakeholders of our games,” Genevois said.
Ubisoft explored the blockchain space for years before announcing its Ubisoft Quartz in-game item platform with Tezos. It was the first traditional game publisher to experiment with NFT games and publicly support crypto industry startups and projects.
The publisher first developed a Minecraft-inspired prototype called HashCraft in 2018, and later launched a Rabbids-based NFT project in 2020, plus a Sorare spinoff called One Shot League in early 2021. Ubisoft also supported projects such as Axie Infinity’s Ronin sidechain for Ethereum, Planetarium’s Nine Chronicles game, and the EOS-based Ultra game marketplace.
In October 2021, Ubisoft was announced as an investor in Animoca Brands, an NFT game publisher and investor in metaverse startups. Ubisoft and Animoca plan to co-develop NFT game projects, as well. An NFT acts like a deed of ownership to a digital item, whether it’s artwork, video files, or an interactive object within a video game.
Now Hedera has joined Ubisoft’s long list of crypto industry endeavors. Alex Russman, The HBAR Foundation’s director of its Consumer Engagement Fund, pointed to the game publisher’s experience in the space as evidence of the impact it could bring as Hedera tries to make its platform a compelling choice for game developers.
“Ubisoft has established itself as a pioneer in distributed ledger technology gaming, and an industry leader in identifying innovative projects and startups,” Russman told Decrypt. “It is this strategic insight that The HBAR Foundation is now empowered to deploy in aid of enhancing the Hedera ecosystem.”