Shantou is still pragmatic? Where is the blockchain element of Tencent's "Catch the Demon Together"?

Tencent's first AR exploration + blockchain mobile game "to catch the demon" was officially launched on April 11th . It not only won the App Store free list within a few hours of the launch, but also succeeded in the next few days. Appearing on the list of major mobile games in China, it has become a trend of a new generation of phenomena-level mobile games.

The author also took advantage of this heat, with "Let's catch the demon" as a clue, talk to you about the ecological status and prospects of the blockchain + game.

– 01 –

The game makes the blockchain more "close to the people"!

"The blockchain has not yet reached any application or hundreds of millions of users. This should be a basic standard for the realization of the value of the blockchain. In this sense, we are definitely still in the pre-blockchain business period today. " Alibaba Chairman of the Academic Committee Zeng Ming has been frank in public.

As it is said, although the blockchain has been around for a few years, for most people, the concept of blockchain is still in the air, so beautiful and not grounded. Talking about the commercial application of the blockchain and the long-term profit model, it seems to be more clouded.  

For the application chain, the user base is huge and the participation threshold is very low. The once smashing Crypto Kitties proved to us that when engineers put binary data into the game in a way that is not freely reproducible, the blockchain has found the most widely used application.  

Although many blockchain games represented by "Encrypted Cats" have disappeared, the hot scene of "Catch the Demon Together" has once again brought the blockchain + game model back to people's attention. For the blockchain industry insiders, Tencent's move may set off a blockchain game, making the blockchain more "close to the people."  

From the point of view of the general public, it is difficult to have digital assets – the most basic thing before the chain is high. Whether it is to obtain virtual currency by providing computing power or to use virtual currency assets to trade virtual currency, there is a certain learning cost and economic cost. Even if it relies on the exchange to drop the wool, it will consume a lot of energy. Go to finish. Moreover, there are many types of digital currencies, and there are countless e-wallets and exchanges. How to conduct pre-investment screening and selection and post-investment security management has further raised the threshold for participation.  

But the combination of blockchain and games has solved many of these problems. In "Catch the Demon Together", when the player raises the character level to 22, the exclusive cat will be turned on. The blockchain is built into the "exclusive cat" as a technical support and trading mode. among.  

Players don't have to pay for learning and economic costs. They only need to spend a small amount of time and energy (many people are even happy) to play this game, and they will be able to get the exclusive cats given by the system, and this exclusive cat is It is the digital asset of the in-game public chain. In other words, this cat is equivalent to the virtual currency that the system rewards to the player, and the game itself can be used as a public chain carrier for the player to complete the currency circulation, that is, the payment and transfer of the exclusive cat.  

BitGuild's co-founder Chen Hao has had more than 10 years of experience in game planning and development (the famous MOBA game " 300 Heroes" and ATM mobile game "Meng Wang EX " are from his hand), after switching to the blockchain industry Still engaged in the investment and development of blockchain games.  

For the blockchain + game model, Chen Hao bluntly said: "At present, blockchain technology is not enough to support the evolution of blockchain games."  

But Chen Hao is obviously not the most concerned at this stage. "However, this is not important. What is important is that the game creates a grounded path for the block garden, which is also a gateway to wealth. The door."

In short, it is unclear whether the blockchain can bring better gameplay and better experience to the game, but the game can make more people contact the blockchain without the blockchain bringing more wealth. This is beyond doubt.

Figure 1 "Getting together to catch the demon" official website public white paper

– 02 –

Playing games or playing coins?

Many people who have been actively paying attention to blockchain games will have a question about why there are a lot of blockchain games, but they can't get a "Glory of the King" or "Jesus Survival" (that is, games with continuous high fever). )?  

The answer to this question is actually very simple. The game can't be fired, nothing more than a reason – not fun!  

Bitcoin COO Zhang Yifeng said, "The so-called blockchain games and DApp games are mostly spinach and skinning. To be frank, these are not playing games, but playing coins!"

The author believes that the development of blockchain games should be divided into three stages. In the first stage of the blockchain game, the concept budding stage, blockchain games mainly serve the people in the currency circle. The characteristics of this group and the low TPS restrictions of the blockchain make the game have strong investment attributes. A series of gameplay and marketing must be used to compact the price of digital assets.  

However, with the development of the blockchain industry, the characteristics of the blockchain transformation of business logic should become the main line. At this stage, the second stage, the breakthrough in game business model and the innovation in gameplay should make the blockchain and the game truly combine, so that the blockchain technology can effectively serve the game to improve its quality and attractiveness. This stage can be called the commercial integration stage.  

The third stage occurs in the logic of the blockchain game, the whole process of the data chain, and has a large number of gamers and developers migrated to the blockchain platform, the real blockchain-based data and logical transparency and decentralization The characteristics of the birth of a new game category, which is the full body stage.  

The form that Zhang Xiaofeng mentioned as "not playing games, but playing with coins" is in the first stage mentioned above. This stage of blockchain games has strong financial attributes. Correspondingly, its gameplay and fun are very poor. Therefore, strictly speaking, these "games" are just financial applications that are draped in game outerwear. In fact, the game is not fun.  

The bleak end of the spinach game represented by 888TRON and TronCrush has conclusively judged the inevitable ending of the blockchain "game", which has a single gameplay and lack of stability in financial management.  

Nowadays, the holders are looking for application-level breakouts, and the fast-changing content is also trying to make gameplay innovations. The demand for the two is coincident, that is, the blockchain game goes to the second stage. The trend is already undercurrent. The appearance of "Catch the Demon Together" just blew the horn for this trend.  

"Catch the demon together" as Tencent's first AR pet-developed casual mobile game, the gameplay is similar to the mobile game " Pokemon Go !" released by Nintendo in 2016 . ", in terms of game quality and playability, there is naturally a guarantee.  

At present, "Catch the demon together" ranks first in the IOS App Store free list; the pea pod new tour list ranks first, and has been in the list for many days; the mobile game platform Tap Tap hot list ranked first, the download list ranked first Second; Xiaomi App Store is ranked fifth in the game category. Such outstanding achievements and enthusiasm are all indicative of a successful blockchain game. While maintaining the interaction between the two, the game must be the main carrier to ensure its characteristics, and the blockchain plays a role in icing on the cake.

Figure 2 888TRON crash

– 03

Alliance chain accelerates the completion of the transaction

The blockchain game has transitioned from the first stage to the second stage. In addition to improving the playability to get rid of the shackles of “the financial application of the game skin”, another important one is TPS .

As we all know, the poor performance of the blockchain in terms of scalability has kept its public chain transaction throughput at a low level. In the face of the huge user base and transaction volume of the game and the rich transaction types and methods, the transaction processing capability of the public chain is obviously embarrassing.  

In response to this problem, "to catch the demon together" chose to use the alliance chain to deal with. The consensus process of the federated chain is controlled by pre-selected nodes, and the federated chain itself is run directly by the game server.  

In this regard, Tencent cloud blockchain architect Shi Meng explained that "the public chain is the general ledger, the alliance chain is the bus. The alliance chain is equivalent to an information bus between projects, and is an information bus that spans time and space. When it needs to be transmitted When you get the information, you can throw the information on the bus, and it can be stable and not tampering."  

Therefore, the transaction processing speed of the game "Catch the demon together" is completely unmatched by the general public chain. In addition, the operations such as pairing and transfer can also be handled by the internal chain.

Figure 3 Comparison of alliance chain patterns

– 04 –

The existence of the blockchain is still weak

After the end of the positive meaning of "Catch the demon together", the author also analyzes from the objective point of view the "defective to catch the demon" and the blockchain in this combination of defects.  

As mentioned in the previous article, "Catch the Demon Together" is an AR pet development game. The main game is AR to catch the demon and to develop the long-term to the captured demon. The "exclusive cat" is just a small piece of content attached, so the blockchain technology is very weak in the whole game.  

Such a meager content ratio, the deep goal of the game's entire data and the internal assets of the chain is still very far away, as the ultimate vision of the player's opinions and asset scheduling affecting the online patch, it is even more distant.  

In fact, many domestic game projects have introduced the logic and technical support of blockchain in some game content. One of the most famous ones is the asset item "Fuxi Tongbao" launched by Netease's massively multiplayer online game "Reverse Water Cold". However, similar to "Catch the demon" together, in the "Reverse Water Cold", the application range of "Fuxi Tongbao" is very limited, and the existence of blockchain technology is also very low.  

Of course, everything is not a glimpse, Netease's "Reverse Water Cold" technology & audio project leader Yi Yuanyuan revealed, "The risk of giving long-term value to the player's in-game assets is extremely high, increasing the player's intervention and even allowing them to participate in game construction and The right to patch the patch is even more of an adventure. Right now we can only try to combine with the blockchain from the bit of content. When these tiny combinations gain two-way value, we will consider the combination of larger scale and longer term. ""  

Compared with the cautious "Reverse Water Cold", "Catch the Demon Together" is more bold to open source the game content related to the blockchain. Although this approach is in line with the requirements of blockchain data and logically transparent design, this kind of attempt to look at the entire domestic game history is the first one, so it can be said that it is for the next domestic game industry and district. The integration of the blockchain industry has opened a good start.  

In addition to combining blockchain technology with game assets, the combination of gameplay systems and blockchain has also been given expectations by industry insiders. However, at present, almost all of the domestic and foreign fields in this field are still blank, with few achievements and breakthroughs. In this regard, Wu Xiao, the founder of the pure white matrix, also admitted that "in fact, the playability of the game is not necessarily the perfect match with the blockchain, because the blockchain is a technology, not a type."

Figure 4 exclusive cat reward

– 05 –

Central hosting: "Centralization" without changing the soup

The practice of "joining the demon" with the alliance chain is undoubtedly an optimization in dealing with the transaction processing, but the consensus control of the alliance chain preset node undoubtedly makes the centralization degree too high.  

Not only that, in the current "to catch the demon", the user's private key is entrusted in the game operation platform system, which means that the game assets in the player's hands are not owned by the player, but are managed by the central organization. This model undoubtedly turned the centralization into a central custody, and the management of digital assets still fell to the hands of the game operators.  

Although Tencent has promised to allow users to self-save private keys to achieve full control of their personal digital assets after the relative popularity of personal digital wallets in the future, this act of issuing a blank check for players will undoubtedly Players are disappointed and disgusted.  

– 06 –

Game virtual assets still have room for subjective value

In addition, since the exclusive cat will be automatically issued by the system after the player level is raised to 22 , the scarcity of the exclusive cat is very low, and according to the game design, although the cat's breeding time will be longer and longer, the new cat will also be produced. Less and less, but the total number of cats in the hands of players is increasing due to the increase in the number of registered users, which further reduces the value of exclusive cats . In addition, the content of the game for the exclusive cat is very small, so the game resources invested by the developer and the operator are not enough.  

These will directly lead to the subjective value of many players, the subjective value of the exclusive cat digital asset is very low. The low subjective value means that the player's desire to use the currency to exchange such assets is low (we can simply understand the subjective value as the consumer attraction), which in turn makes it difficult for the operator to extract the revenue model from this content. If the integration of blockchain technology does not increase the appeal of the game and generate revenue for the game, then such a combination is undoubtedly a failure.  

In fact, it is not difficult to give subjective values ​​to the elements of the game. The success of the fleet collection (the famous Japanese military martial arts page tour) tells us that it is just creativity, vertical painting and collectability. Simple elements can bring rich subjective value to game elements. The increasingly deep, design, and technical elements of the plot, gameplay, and system are even more powerful.  

Therefore, from this point of view, the introduction of blockchain technology to "catch the demon together" has limited the planning ideas, and it seems to be somewhat self-sufficient. But in the long run, this pioneering attempt is undoubtedly worth encouraging. The author also hopes that major game manufacturers can invest more resources and boldly try to develop and innovate blockchain games.