Video games now dominate the entertainment landscape. Supported by increasingly sophisticated hardware and software, it has brought to life some of the most intricate worlds, richest stories, and iconic characters that have shaped our culture. Translating its popularity into numbers, the Entertainment Software Association showed that U.S. consumers spent $56.6 billion on video games in 2022 alone. Nevertheless, its success is no exception to change, and the emergence of Web3 has ignited new sparks of creativity in established game developers.
The trend has enticed established video game developers to grow new branches. Take ZTimes, a new video game brand that debuted at GDC 2023, a premier game developer conference. The company hails from Giant Network, a leading video game company with nearly two decades of history. Aside from ZhengTu, a proliferating MMO in China, Giant Network has also created titles such as Night of the Full Moon and Pascal’s Wager. Now, the company is breaking into North America under ZTimes.
Web3 fundamentally redefines the relationship between assets and owners. In contrast to centralized, external control of assets, Web3 champions individualistic, decentralized asset ownership. This means that in an ideal world, everyone would gain total transparency to their properties using technologies like blockchain.
So how does this idea apply to gaming? Most gamers today aren’t privy to fully owning their in-game assets. Although they’ve unlocked sets of coveted items, the value and use of the items are locked within the game. Outside of that constrained arena, the assets often have limited utility and are difficult to monetize. This is a problem ZTimes wants to change, as described by Aiden Adams, ZTimes co-founder:
“We hope to create games with fresh concepts and explore new business models through using cutting-edge, emerging technologies in our development process,” said Aiden Adams. “We also hope to establish a complete gaming ecosystem where we give back game asset ownership to players, and where in-game items can be freely traded.”
At GDC 2023, ZTimes detailed its strategy. It wants to explore new business models and create games with fresh concepts by leveraging emerging technologies, such as Web3, in its development process and gameplay. Its new titles will revolve around offering NFTs of in-game assets.
More importantly, the company wants to create a new generation of games that protects players’ digital ownership and creates a player-driven economy, complete with a totally free marketplace. Players will be not only able to purchase and sell in-game resources on the games’ internal marketplace, but also on external trading platforms, granting players true ownership of their earned assets and experience.
These concepts bring a wave of change, which can sound daunting. Does this mean players must set up a mysterious cryptocurrency wallet, like a crypto investor? Is the setup process complex? To answer these questions, ZTimes will provide ample learning resources, both in-game and external, to guide the players to smoothly transition into this new structure.
Additionally, the games can be enjoyed without dabbling in Web3 technologies; ZTimes has promised that gamers will only need to learn about Web3 content after experiencing about 20% of advanced gameplay. Furthermore, the games will accept traditional payment methods such as PayPal and credit cards as well.
To achieve its ambition, ZTimes defined its three core business aspects at GDC 2023: technology direction, product direction, and investment direction. The company has announced two titles in its pipeline that are aligned with its ideals. No names have been given and details are scarce, but the company is promising updates soon.
Or now, ZTimes is continuing to chart out its course on becoming an international premier game developer.