Crucible — Musings by Cryp2Gem
Crucible’s technology is enabling end-users (gamers) to manage their digital identities and assets across different gaming ecosystems through a single, universal interface.
Over the next few years, siloed gaming universes are expected to converge to form what is being termed the ‘open metaverse’. Crucible’s long-term ambition is to provide a foundational piece of technical infrastructure critical to facilitating its emergence.
Emergence SDK provides an easy on-ramp for game engine developers to access new web3 technologies and networks of players and marketplaces where users are spending billions.
Crucible SDK will allow developers to:
Crucible will allow gamers to:
Similar to aggregation tools seen in DeFi (e.g. Zerion), Crucible is offering gamers a way to consolidate all their digital assets (including in-game assets) under a single user interface. The stack will be embedded within the major game engines enabling native access.
The technology integrates with self-sovereign (blockchain-based) identity solutions that aim to securely manage user identity verification in a privacy-preserving manner. This will mean gaming development companies will no longer be burdened with the task of verifying user identity or storing sensitive user data in centralised repositories.
The grand vision at Crucible is to allow gamers to verify their existence to video game operators without revealing sensitive information about their personal identity (termed proof-of-humanity). Under these new circumstances, gamers will, therefore, be free to publicly identify themselves as their chosen avatar.
Untethering the gamer’s identity from a particular game, Crucible will also enable third-party brands to engage directly with the avatars without seeking approval from middlemen. By doing so, Crucible aims to unlock new markets and revenue opportunities. The Crucible team calls this ‘Direct-to-Avatar’, turning the player into the platform.
- Portable Identity: Identity verification is required only once, which in turn streamlines UX (ID verifier registered on the Sovrin blockchain, more details below).
- Privacy: Enabling zero-knowledge proof of identity.
- Operational efficiency (cost savings): No longer required to manage identity verification, management, and AML monitoring internally.
- User expansion (revenue optimisation): Reduced friction streamlines gamer onboarding and minimises the drop off rate.
- Gamer retention (revenue optimisation): significantly reducing the risk of cyberattacks, resulting in a higher likelihood of gamer-loyalty.
- New markets/revenue opportunities: third party brands will be able to engage with the gaming community freely, assess commercial opportunities and execute on them with far less friction and expenses.
How does it work?
Gaming Development Companies
Most games today are developed on one of two possible gaming engines: Unreal Engine or Unity. Crucible is developing an API and SDK compatible with both engines. The SDK and API aim to streamline integration and ultimately allow Crucible to collect real-time data from the gaming publisher’s repositories when end-users make a request. Crucible does not custody any data or digital assets on behalf of the gamer. It serves only as a game-agnostic access point.
Crucible is not building its own blockchain purpose-built for identity. Instead, it aims to be compatible with emerging standards. For now, Crucible believes the Sovrin blockchain offers the most compelling solution tackling this use case. Identity credentials are issued and verified via ‘Evernym Verity’, a layer 2 protocol on the Sovrin blockchain.
In order to stay compliant with the law, the zero-knowledge verifiers associated with each gamer can always be traced back to their real-world identity if necessary. However, this type of action will be restricted to certain authorities under extreme circumstances.
Ryan Gill (Co-founder & CEO)
Ryan is a neo-Polymath, with interests and 10 years experience ranging across technology, business, and impact at the bleeding edge. He is exceptionally knowledgeable about all facets of capital raising and his understanding of the blockchain technology space and crypto-economic design comes from being a part of designing and driving a nine-figure token sale in 2017.
He was formerly acting Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) for Peter H. Diamandis, the founder and executive chairman of companies like XPRIZE and Singularity University.
Prior to starting Crucible, Ryan was in the Los Angeles Venture Capital and Startup world, where he built companies with high-profile partners and made a living translating between founders and investors. Ryan is an operator, he can talk to anyone, and builds real relationships.
Constantly self-educating, Ryan spans many fields and disciplines, and applies them all as co-founder and CEO of Crucible, where he is responsible for driving vision and business strategy. He uses an alignment of relationships and technology to support and grow his team in high impact ways, toward the vision of forging the Open Metaverse.
Toby Tremayne (Co-founder & CTO)
Toby is a Technical Futurist. A Hacker, Coder Writer and Troublemaker he has been trying to climb into the computer since he was a child, with 22 years experience in enterprise software and game development. A cross disciplinarian, big picture architect and solution designer, Toby has worked on future looking enterprise solutions for companies as diverse as Pricewaterhousecoopers and Disney.
Toby’s real passion is the Metaverse, or the Spatial Web. From falling in love at age 7 with Industrial Light & Magic’s philosophy of inventing technology to achieve their storytelling aims, to dabbling with early attempts at VR and virtual worlds, he is a hands on technical futurist whose obsession is the bringing together of disparate technologies and disciplines to enable new ways of doing things in a manner that brings all people along for the ride.
Toby drinks constantly from the firehose of the bleeding edge, and through his CTO & development consultancy he has worked to distill this knowledge and his industry experience and use it to help companies develop advanced solutions using VR/AR/MR, Blockchain Technology and Artificial Intelligence.
At Crucible, Toby is the Co-founder and CTO, ultimately responsible for the research, design and architecture behind the technology.
Business Model Validation
A variety of revenue streams and price points have been hypothesised following close engagements with target user groups as well as thorough market research and price comparison of substitute offerings.
Two models are being explored; however, neither has been validated in the form of explicit commitment from target customers:
- B2B (game developers): Monthly subscription.
- B2B (game developers): Fee per instance.
- Functional prototype.
- Successfully integrated with Evernym Verity and Sovrin.
- Expected to finalise completion of the SDK and API by September 2020 and commence alpha testing shortly after.
Abertay University: www.abertay.ac.uk
Outlier Ventures: https://outlierventures.io/
UK Government: https://www.gov.uk/
The Current State of The Video Games Industry
The video games industry is thriving. Video games were projected to have made 152.1 billion in 2019 which was 9.6% growth on the previous year (https://www.vg247.com/2019/11/24/video-game-sales-150-billion-2019/#:~:text=Earlier%20this%20year%20it%20was,by%20the%20end%20of%202019).
It is predicted that in 2020, sales will be even higher and if you add to that the covid pandemic, we are going to see extraordinary numbers!
The industry is made up of a range of triple A developers (AAA) and indie developers. The most renowned AAA developers are: Electronic Arts (EA), Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, Valve, Nintendo, Sony and Rockstar. These developers take up the major market share of sales.
It might be surprising to know that not all the revenue is made from game sales. The video game industry now makes massive amounts of revenue from downloadable-content (DLC), loot-boxes and skins.
Downloadable content is exclusive add-ons for the game such as new spacecraft, characters or game maps. A loot-box is something you can purchase which gives a random prize or prizes related to the game, such prizes could be a rare weapon, skin or coins to purchase more items.
It’s worthwhile to note that the odds of winning an epic or rare item are extremely low, such that the practice has been investigated and are considered gambling in Belgium and The Netherlands. The UK government is also looking into it. https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/327688/FIFA_19_discloses_loot_box_odds_ingame.php
A skin is an outfit or costume for your game avatar. It is worth noting that some rare items for games are worth thousands of dollars!
CS:GO Karambit https://csgostash.com/weapon/Karambit
The Walled Garden
Once upon a time, you could purchase any PC video game of your choosing from an online marketplace called Steam (https://store.steampowered.com). Steam is developed and run by a company called Valve who are behind the hit games of the Half-Life series. It is rumoured that Steam would take 30% of any video game sale and depending on how many units are sold that percentage will go down. https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/30/18120577/valve-steam-game-marketplace-revenue-split-new-rules-competition#:~:text=Normally%2C%20Valve%20takes%20around%2030,game%20maker%20or%20publisher%20earns.
The Steam marketplace was indeed a centralised store in which you could purchase all PC games. That is now different. Major developers have broken away and decided to run their own versions of Steam but they exclusively list and sell their own games. It can be argued that the major developers didn’t like Steam taking so much of their profit and decided to go it alone. Currently we have the following stores, where only games from those developers can be played.
- Microsoft Games for Windows Marketplace (https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/store/games/windows)
- Nintendo eShop (https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Official-UK-Store/Nintendo-eShop/Nintendo-eShop-1806894.html)
- EA Origin (https://www.origin.com/gbr/en-us/store)
- Ubisoft Connect (https://ubisoftconnect.com)
- Activision Blizzard Battle.net (https://www.blizzard.com/en-gb/?ref=battle.net)
The walled garden, or as crucible coined it ‘siloed gaming universes’.
All items purchased on each particular marketplace will stay on that marketplace, this includes DLC, loot-box items and skins. However, it is worth noting that items purchased in the stores can be accessed if you choose to purchase the same game/games on console. One login for each store will work on both PC, console and mobile devices.
Exceptions to this are Steam and Unreal Game Store (https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/), where you can play all games that are listed in one place.
You are able to access each individual store with a username and password. It is also possible to add two-factor authentication to your login with either a bespoke app for a particular store or via google authenticator.
The Crucible Solution
Crucible is aiming to connect all of the siloed gaming universes into one interface which will allow gamers to consolidate all of their digital assets. Their tech will be embedded into major game engines enabling native access.
Can they pull it off?
This is a tough question to answer. I will start with the fact that Crucible have been in contact with Epic Games (Unreal Engine) and they have almost secured a grant. Epic Games are very generous and they actively give out grants to members of the games development community. Crucible are in line for a 150k grant to develop their tools. After some research I identified that Crucible is linked to Mike Gamble on Linkedin.
Mike Gamble, Head of Games Licensing EMEA, Epic Games
So what can we take away from this. Well Epic Games follows innovation. They source and adopt high quality tools and in most cases they buy the company. Epic are very interested in what Crucible is attempting to achieve. It will be very worthwhile following how this relationship builds.
Unreal Engine is the most popular game engine used to develop video games, it is also used in the production of movies and tv shows, such as The Mandalorian. Unity is possibly the second most popular game engine and it is interesting to note that Crucible have aimed themselves at both Unreal Engine and Unity. It’s a great start as both engines will freely list any game that wants to be listed, given certain criteria is met, of course.
The big question is ‘how are Crucible going to get access to the bespoke games engines used by other triple A studios?’. My opinion is they won’t. These bespoke game engines used by Ubisoft, Nintendo and EA games are closely guarded secrets. Only developers working at the company have access to them.
I would also be interested in what plans Crucible has for Valves Steam marketplace. This is something they would also be keen to crack. My opinion is that Valve would be unwilling to collaborate on this as Steam already allows gamer’s to login just once to access their whole library of games and see their whole collection of digital items in one place.
So where does this leave Crucible? Well, access to both Unreal and Unity game engines is huge. There are thousands of games developed with both engines and Unreal Game Store hosts an impressive amount of games from many different developers. I feel that Crucible will start with access to the Unreal Games Store and build momentum from there. It is worth noting at this point that both Outlier Ventures and Epic Games will guide Crucible throughout the development of their SDK.
Adoption is going to be slow. Gamer’s are territorial animals, they don’t like change and they stick to what they know. Some gamer’s refuse outright to use Unreal Game Store because they have been using Steam their whole gaming life, even though they could buy the game cheaper on the Unreal Store. Its funny business.
It has been an absolute pleasure presenting my musing here for Crucible. I have done this with very little documentation and I anticipate the release of their whitepaper so I can did a little deeper. I leave with the following questions.
- What will be the use of the crucible token and is it really needed?
- How will Crucible gain access to the EA, Nintendo and Ubisofts game engines and video games?