A new company, Bloc.Party launched the first video game console and collectible game pieces powered by blockchain, the identification system used in cryptocurrency. Controlled by a 24-inch touchscreen tabletop console that reacts differently to objects placed on the surface, it lets you play games your way. For instance, you can bring to life the game Plants versus Zombies by playing with real objects and action figures. The possibilities are endless on this toys-to-life console leveraging on the power of blockchain.
Mash-up your favorite characters from Pokemon or Disney (or any toy) by putting data on it with an RFID (radio frequency tags) sticker and watch it assume characteristics and distinct sounds on the PlayTable. Its attributes of sound, touch, and feel can be changed.
The PlayTable is designed for 1-8 players interacting with it using cards, figures, dice, and smartphones. You can even trade digitized and physical toys on the table using your own rules. It’s an engaging and social experience that brings the fun of childhood into a game that can be played by adults. BYOT or bring your own toy levels up as adults channel their inner child in games of fun and strategy.
Game nights take a different turn for players in the 21st century. This giant laptop-like screen feels like that as players tap, poke, and swipe the screen while moving physical pieces and synching the console on their smartphones.
PlayTable was developed by gamers, engineers, and blockchain experts predominantly from Berkeley, Purdue, and Harvard who wanted to break traditional game boundaries with an extreme level of physical-digital interaction.
Although you can create your own game and customize characters, you can also play using PlayTable developed games. Its first game Battlegrid is like a smart Clash of Clans mashed-up with Harry Potter on steroids. It is a turn-based card game played by 2-4 players who transform the console into a Battlegrid arena where they take turns casting spells and moving pieces.
Initially, there are six characters – all potential heroes with their own skills and abilities. As the game gains momentum among users, more characters are in the works from the company. Cards can be customized with their own effects, spells, weapons, and even minions.
“Upgrade your characters with experience points, weapons, and armor …try out different strategies and Combos and fight for glory.” — PlayTable
However, unlike in other games, trading of pieces can be safely and securely done. Transactions and data are recorded using the Etherium blockchain and the distributed ledger is maintained across the network. Players can play anywhere and bring data, experiences, and abilities. With the development team that includes gaming and video fanatics as well as hardware, software, and blockchain experts from the academe and industry, more innovation is expected.
In the works are PlayTable versions of Settlers of Catan, Codenames, Ticket to Ride, and even Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. Already, there are over 100,000 reservations for the PlayTable that will be released late 2018 for $599. Early buyers can reserve their toy for an early-bird price of $349. Blok.Party CEO and Founder Jimmy Chen knows that his company is going to compete head-on with big players like Sony and Microsoft but he wants his innovative product to be within reach of those who find other game consoles too expensive – and with blockchain allow them to collaborate, grow, profit, and be creative.
Photos from: Bloc Party