Robot Cache is no ordinary game retailer. You can buy games on the platform, but you can also sell them or use mined cryptocurrency instead of cash.
As a competitor to Steam, the platform hopes to provide a new way for developers and gamers to enjoy games in a way that everyone wins.
“We had two major initiatives when we launched Robot Cache, we wanted to make sure that a player could resell their games when they finished playing and we estimated that the distribution fees for 30% of digital platforms were higher than necessary, ”Lee Jacobson, CEO of Robot Cache, told Kotaku Australia via email.
“The owners of the platform often made more profit than the developer who took 100% of the financial risk and it never felt right. “
According to Jacobson, the team behind Robot Cache knew they could make a difference by reducing infrastructure costs to the point where the distribution fee on the platform is only 5%. It’s an attractive price that has drawn several major publishers to the retailer, including Paradox Interactive, THQ Nordic, Deep Silver, Atari, Daedalic Entertainment and Devolver Digital.
But it’s not just publishers that Robot Cache hopes to attract – resale is an important focus, too.
“Unlike physical sales, there was no secondary market or way to sell a game when you were done playing,” Jacobson said of the website creation process. “We kept hearing people say that they wanted to be able to sell games from their catalog to buy new games, but there was no mechanism or margin to allow that.”
This is where the idea of using blockchain to sell games came about. According to Jacobson, switching to a blockchain model for Robot Cache meant not only that digital resale was possible, but that it was safe, secure and inexpensive.
“We decided to use blockchain because it gave developers and publishers confidence that the technology would protect their digital games and allayed any concerns about its ability to prevent their games from being copied and sold. illegally, ”Jacobson said. “Since we only earn 5% on a game sale, we have a margin available to give back to the player and the developers always earn better than the standard 70% royalty. “
Here’s how the process works: Once you’ve completed a game, you can then sell it on Robot Cache.
Your copy will go into an alternate queue that spins with each copy of a game sold. Games sold for the first time earn 95% for the publisher and 5% for Robot Cache. Games sold for the second time (by a customer) earn 70% of the resale value to the publisher, 25% to the player and 5% to Robot Cache.
This process continues, with buyers and sellers recycling games as they play them or when they no longer want them in their library.
The only downside is that the website depends on the blockchain to function.
Blockchain technologies have been the subject of frequent and passionate debate over the past few years, largely due to environmental concerns. Bitcoin currently consumes around 110 terawatt hours per year, according to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance. This is roughly the equivalent of the energy production of a single small country. But as Jacobson explains, Robot Cache users won’t be contributing to this heavy environmental toll.
Indeed, the website is in negotiations to move to a ‘proof of stake’ blockchain model that ‘will eliminate the need for [it] to use the Ethereum blockchain to prove ownership. According to Jacobson, “proof of stake” will also help Robot Cache become more efficient.
“Proof of Stake” differs from standard “proof of work” blockchain systems in that rather than requiring significant computing power for mining, the system chooses miners through a random election process. Instead of having a high powered machine supporting an individual’s mining capabilities, their output is determined by their ability to “lock a certain amount of coins into the network as a stake”. The individual “nodes” chosen to mine the next “block” of data will receive transaction fees for their service and will not create new “blocks” until they are chosen, meaning miners will not constantly waste time. ‘energy.
This is the model that Robot Cache will use to reduce the environmental impact of the service. The move will also bypass Nvidia’s efforts to curb cryptocurrency mining on its hardware, which currently only targets the power-hungry ‘proof of work’ blockchain model.
“We recognize this is a great experience,” Jacobson told Kotaku Australia.
After two years in alpha and another in beta, Robot Cache is gearing up for a “soon” global launch. Visual changes and new features are expected ahead of Robot Cache’s official release, as is a move to proof of stake (Jacobson expects this change to take place before the platform officially launches). There’s a lot of work going on, and it’s likely the platform will change further before it’s ready for widespread deployment.
If you’re the type of person who bemoans the state of your Steam library and wishes there was another option to buy and sell on your games, this is certainly an intriguing new platform. Those who are still wary of crypto and blockchain mining should be aware of the potential impact of the platform, but it is an experience worth following.
Robot Cache does not have an “official” launch window, but at the time of writing the website is now live and up and running.