Brian Fargo, known for his work on Fallout, Wasteland, The Bard’s Tale, and, er, Clay Fighter, has helped co-found Robot Cache, a decentralised PC game store that will allow gamers to resell their digital games. It will also reduce the fees that publishers and developers typically incur to sell their games by 80%. The current industry standard is a 30% cut on the likes of Steam, all of which gets siphoned off to Valve. Using Robot Cache, they claim this figure will drop all the way down to just 5%.
Naturally, this comes with a handful of caveats. Robot Cache uses the blockchain for distribution, allowing users to mine for its IRON cryptocurrency, and paying out in IRON for any digital games resold. Cryptocurrency truly does continue to get more bizarre by the day.
“Just a handful of companies dominate the multi-billion dollar digital download PC video games market. Robot Cache plans to revolutionize the industry by launching the first-ever workable decentralized video game marketplace that benefits both the creators of video games and gamers. All of this is accomplished by expertly leveraging the power, flexibility, safety, and transparency of blockchain technology,” said Lee Jacobson, CEO of Robot Cache.
The idea that gamers could resell their digital games is fantastic. It’s something that’s been mooted for years but never been acted upon. Also fantastic is the additional cut for games publishers, placing less strain on pricing structures.
However, saying this is and doing this is a different matter entirely. Publishers will need to be onboard with the idea that their digital games can be resold, flying in the face of the current games as a service initiative that aims to keep gamers paying and playing for longer, rather than just trading a game in. Secondly, there’s the issue of who’s profiting from these resales? Shedding a little more light on this situation, 70% of the resale proceeds will go back to the publisher, matching Steam’s payout for a brand new game, while 25% will go back to the seller in the form of the IRON cryptocurrency. The final 5% will go back to Robot Cache itself, as per a normal sale. The resale price will also be set by the publisher, so they’re free to offer only a minor discount if necessary.
“Earning any money on the video game resale market is unheard of for game publishers, and earning up to 70%, which is equivalent to the best margins publishers and developers currently receive on today’s most popular digital distributions platforms is crazy. Allowing creators to keep 95% of new game sales, and 70% on game resales, provides developers, like us at inXile, with a strong financial stream. This gives us more resources to create new content and new IPs for fans,” said Brian Fargo, CEO of inXile Entertainment and founder of Robot Cache.
In order to generate extra cash to fund the games, users can also dedicate their hardware for token mining, unlocking Robot Cache’s IRON cryptocurrency. This, in turn, means money from sales and mining stays within the ecosystem, which Robot Cache believes likely leads to more game sales.
It’s a very strange turn of events but who knows, maybe Robot Cache has the legs to work. I’m sure plenty will be none too please about yet another currency to mine though, particularly in the current hardware climate where we’re already paying well over the odds for GPUs due to cryptocurrency mining.
Robot Cache will debut in Q2 2018 after the first round of funding. It's clearly got some big backing but can it be a success? Would you be prepared to sell your digital games for IRON? Let us know below!