Blockchain platform TRON announced today its plans to establish a $100 million fund known as “TRON Arcade.” The fund is the fast-rising network’s newest effort to drive higher adoption of its platform and to finally unlock the gaming sector, which is worth billions, for blockchain technology. Until this point, the blockchain-based gaming field has experienced mixed results in terms of market penetration. Several projects have emerged, each of which seek to disrupt the nearly $138 billion industry, although adoption and retention have posed major challenges for early entrants.
Unlike the first-movers in the blockchain gaming arena, TRON’s gaming endeavor is being launched from a platform that already counts on an established community along with a robust technological infrastructure. These factors could boost TRON’s ability to attract new communities to blockchain. Even so, the company enters murky waters that have until now been unfriendly to the concept of gaming. TRON will have to prove its commitment to the challenge, and show that it can sign companies that will push the sector forward.
The gaming industry has become one of the fastest-growing sectors in tech, and though blockchain has followed the same trajectory, it has yet to crack the gaming puzzle. Blockchain’s technology, while revolutionary, has been unable to break free of the shackles its technical constraints place on it. Scalability, speed, and the cost of maintaining larger games on leading platforms like Ethereum’s have resulted in failed efforts, forcing companies to abandon blockchain initiatives in droves.
CEO Justin Sun believes that TRON’s infrastructure could readily address these issues, noting that “Product-wise we have super-fast blockchain technology with almost free cost.” Pursuant to this point, TRON recently surpassed 1.3 million transactions per second, breaking Ethereum’s record. However, the company will have to demonstrate that its network can handle not just peaks of that magnitude, but rather a steady flow of millions of transactions (something others have promised but failed to deliver).
Aside from the technical barriers, blockchain has also failed to attract the number of developers truly needed to drive adoption toward critical mass. While some projects have experienced success, emboldened further by some significant partnerships announced across the sector, big wins for blockchain-based deliverables remain limited. TRON’s approach eschews the profit perspective, judging much more to be at stake. As Sun observes, “Gaming has been always the leading use case for any merging technology, as it was for mobile, and we think same applies to blockchain where we’ve already seen some proven business cases.”
TRON is not the first to recognize the sector’s potential. Blockchain-based VR ecosystem Decentraland announced a similar fund earlier this year. The company pledged $5 million to support gaming projects built directly on its platform, offering a real incentive to start working full-time on blockchain gaming innovation. TRON Arcade overshadows the former’s efforts in terms of scale and scope but follows in the same spirit of disruption. The platform already hosts a working content distribution system and infrastructure capable of supporting the scores of transactions that accompany the modern gaming landscape. Moreover, TRON has announced that it already has agreements with 10 companies to kick off the project.
For developers, TRON also represents a unique value proposition—instant access to a market that has already surpassed 600,000 users. Having cultivated an audience, TRON is aiming to help projects that struggled with the costs of maintaining low-traffic games on other networks.
Even in its uncertain state, gaming on blockchain already has proponents thanks to promising projects and recognized games. Nevertheless, the sector must still prove it can respond to the challenges that have hindered wider acceptance and accessibility. For TRON, delivering these solutions could conceivably help unlock the platform’s potential. Speaking of his vision for blockchain gaming, Sun adds that “TRON is dedicated to bring blockchain technology to mass market. To do that, we are focusing on the consumer internet vertical, so as to introduce more people to blockchain technology.”
Much like the rest of blockchain, the rules on gaming have yet to be written. With the inception of the TRON Arcade fund, TRON is seeking to dominate the conversation by helping redefine the gaming market’s future. Even so, this is not the first time a major player has made a gamble on blockchain gaming, and it would not be the last time it proved unsuccessful.
It is still too early to determine which platform will ultimately be victorious in this pursuit, especially when considering several failed starts have repeatedly impeded blockchain gaming’s reach. Should TRON prove its model works as intended, it could very well present a more accessible on ramp for greater mainstream blockchain adoption and eventually drive longer-term sustainability.
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Last modified (UTC): December 20, 2018 01:30