Zilliqa is a layer-1 smart contract blockchain, founded in 2017 and was launched two years later on mainnet. Recently it has been actively expanding its influence in the gaming sphere by joining the Blockchain Gaming Alliance (BGA) earlier this year, and forging partnerships with esports teams, like MAD Lions, RRQ, Alien Worlds and XBorg.
Earlier in September the company unveiled a prototype version of the console: it has a sleek design and an array of ports including HDMI, Ethernet and USB-C and USB 3.0 connections. Full description and specifications remain undisclosed but Zilliqa points out that it will hide the complexity of Web3 from the end-users.
The console’s core feature will be the gaming hub. In addition to this feature, the gaming console will provide users with access to a native Web3 wallet. Players will be able to earn Zilliqa (ZIL) tokens through the completion of in-game “skill-to-earn” missions, tasks and quests. In this case, the tokens can be regarded as similar to coins or rewards in traditional games, but with the added functions of blockchain technology. The ability to mine ZIL tokens will help to onboard non-crypto users to the ecosystem while increasing network decentralisation. The pricing of the console is to be announced but Zilliqa states that it will eventually be able to pay for itself.
Web3 gaming revolves around the idea that players earn in-game assets such as weaponry, skins and badges in the form of NFTs and have full ownership over these assets, they can sell them on or even migrate it between virtual worlds in the metaverse.
However, these principles face a backlash from sceptics in the traditional gaming community: they have been expressing concerns about the environmental impact of blockchain, the consequences of the financialization of the gaming experience and the effect of P2E games on consumers in emerging markets. Zilliqa is not planning to replicate the "play-to-earn" model of games such as Axie Infinity, they want to focus on the gaming experience and not the earning part.
The competition in Web3 gaming is definitely there, and Zilliqa is not the first to launch a physical gaming console. In July, Web3 gaming product and infrastructure startup, Polium, announced its Web3 gaming console, Polium One. However, the announcement of the console drew criticism and mixed reviews. Twitter users noticed the similarity between Polium’s logo and Nintendo’s GameCube logo as well as other copyright infringements and unrealistic specs.
When Zilliqa launches its game console it will be up against major industry giants such as Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. Sony, for instance is building a metaverse together with Epic Games, as they announced in April. Nintendo’s stand on Web3 is that it does have an interest in the area and wants to explore its potential, but no real action yet. Microsoft, in its turn, has decided to invest in blockchain gaming and to do so it has subsidised Share Heroes, a shooter game set in space. We continue to observe the changes regarding Web3 consoles, and will keep you posted.