At ETH Denver, HyperPlay announced the launch of the alpha client for their Web3-native game aggregator and launcher. So, what is HyperPlay and how does it work?
What Is HyperPlay?
HyperPlay is a Web3-centric game launcher and an aggregator of game stores, currently only Epic Games Store and GOG, as well as HyperPlay’s own store. The project is developed by the pseudonymous ex-Operations Lead of MetaMask, JacobC.eth, in conjunction with Game7 DAO. The launcher has been built with MetaMask, presumably to ensure seamless MetaMask wallet integration. Interestingly, one of the co-founders, Flavio Lima, also created Heroic Games Launcher to allow gamers to play Epic Games Store titles on their SteamDeck.
Until now, Web3 game developers have been forced to sacrifice usability for function, with no viable solution to add interoperability to native games. If game developers wanted great wallet interactions, they had to build a browser game with poor performance. If they wanted great performance, they could build a native game, but then they had to push all transactions into a separate web application. Or worse, they had to embed a single-game wallet into their game, where web3 assets become siloed and little more than a gimmick.
With HyperPlay, developers can build the permissionless game economies they dream of. Players can take assets between games, swap them or lend them in DeFi, and follow their friends’ wallets.
The premise of this launcher and store is that it aims to overcome the monopoly of platforms like Steam and aggressive cut-taking from the likes of Apple (and Steam) that charge 30%. HyperPlay appears to be lightweight, adding a Web3 overlay to games that threads together your MetaMask wallet with your games.
Today, we’re excited to celebrate the early access alpha launch of https://t.co/tXbk7iBEWb, a game launcher that brings Web3 wallets into native games.
— HyperPlay @ ETH Denver 2023 (@HyperPlayGaming) March 1, 2023
There are a few familiar games available right off the bat, including The Sandbox, Phantom Galaxies, and allegedly Undead Blocks, though I couldn’t find it. At present, all EVM chains are supported including Avalanche, Polygon, and BSC, with non-EVM chains to be added down the line.
To try the alpha of HyperPlay for yourself, click here.
There are a few obviously beneficial areas to HyperPlay. Firstly, working out a way to not slice off 30% of the developer’s income is desirable, particularly in Web3 where the distribution of funds isn’t meant to flow so aggressively in a single stream. Secondly, aggregating multiple locations for games is convenient; like many gamers, I loathe how many applications I have for various gaming ecosystems.
I only have two initial reservations. Number one is the focus on the interoperability of game items. While having a central wallet for all your gaming items makes good sense, being able to use these items in various games is idealistic. It is a concept that blockchain could partially facilitate, but it isn’t overly realistic without a universal standard for items across different engines and platforms.
The second reservation is financial. While I fully support any platform that aims to get more of the kitty to the developers and perhaps the players too, HyperPlay isn’t presently monetized; that worries me. There will come a stage when HyperPlay needs to monetize and without knowing what that will look like, I’d be cautious as a game developer. You could find yourself jumping from the frying pan to the fire as you exchange the 30% toll for the unknown.
That being said, both reservations are far from insurmountable. With the former, HyperPlay isn’t reliant on interoperability of game items, and with the latter, they would be hard pushed to out-greed the 30% cut. So, on balance, I’m positive about HyperPlay and will be tracking the platform’s progress with interest.