The race for the metaverse isn’t the only event in town, with a quieter battle happening in the background: which blockchain will be the first through the “mainstream” door in the gaming industry. There are many contenders, and now a brand new chain launched this month, Oasys, wants to lead the charge.
What Is the Oasys Blockchain?
On 8th February 2022, Oasys blockchain was launched with the express intention of taking on play-to-earn (P2E) gaming and bringing it into the mainstream. It’s a lofty ambition, but the company has a strong team behind it. From the co-founder of Yield Guild Games, to CEO of BANDAI NAMCO Research, to Co-COO of SEGA, they have the gaming industry experience most start-ups could only dream of.
There isn’t yet a wealth of information about the blockchain itself and the tech involved. In a Medium article, I tracked down a brief description of the architecture:
“…we decided to run Oasys Layer 1 (Consensus Layer), which is an EVM side chain and public blockchain specialized for games, and build it so that users will rarely use Layer 1 directly, and the actual logic of the games will run on the Oasys Layer 2 (Execution Layer). Since each metaverse (game developer) can run its own Layer 2, there are no gas fees for users, and the developer covers these fees. Furthermore, Oasys is an environmentally friendly blockchain that doesn’t consume energy unnecessarily because of its PoS-based consensus mechanism, so the cost of gas fees for developers will be minimal.” — Oasys will be the Hub of the Multiverse Era!, on Medium
The public reasoning behind the decisions for this architecture is more marketing than substance to my eye, stating “the existing Layer 1 technologies have slow transaction speeds and high gas fees making the user experience (UX) challenging for mainstream user adoption.” This is only really talking about Ethereum as there are plenty of Layer 1 chains that are quick and do not have gas fees (WAX, Solana, Efinity, and so on.) Nevertheless, Oasys’s aims are fair and they appear to know what they need to achieve.
What Makes for an Effective Gaming Blockchain?
This ought to be an article in itself, but it’s an important question when assessing a new chain that purports to be a gaming chain. The three primary issues that held Ethereum back are the first port of call: transaction speeds, scalability, and gas fees. Oasys will need near-instant transaction speeds to avoid breaking the flow of games, it will need to be able to handle tens of thousands of transactions per second if they crack mainstream gaming (if not more), and of course, no gas fees.
There are plenty of blockchains that share Oasys’s aims, and while overcoming gas fees is cut and dry, scalability is trickier. Few chains have evidence they can handle the traffic they say they can, with arguably Binance Smart Chain and WAX the only two with relevant evidence in gaming. A now-infamous example of how difficult it can be for chains to handle high pressure is the game Sunflower Farmers and how it crashed the Polygon network.
Finally, an often overlooked but crucial part of a blockchain being successful within gaming is an SDK (Software Development Kit). Kokushi Hattori, Head of Marketing at Oasys said, “In the near short term, our main focus will be to attract game developers, content creators, and gamers…”, but without a proper SDK and documentation, that might be a challenge. There is a lot of attention in onboarding players and users in crypto, but not enough for onboarding developers.
Token Gamer is chain-agnostic and our preferred and most covered blockchains are based on merit. We will always welcome newcomers to the space, attempting to push blockchain gaming into the mainstream. With the all-star cast behind Oasys, you certainly wouldn’t bet against them; they have a blend of games industry and blockchain gaming backgrounds, which is important.
My two slight reservations are the technical difficulties as discussed, but also one concern I have is for blockchain gaming at large: the focus on P2E. P2E is a fundamental mechanic of blockchain gaming and one I’m excited to see utilized, but there is a heavy focus on P2E as the core of every blockchain game as opposed to an important element of it.
Oasys’s statement of intent is to bring P2E to the mainstream, and “P2E” may be meant as synonymous with blockchain gaming, or as a way of attracting investors, but I would have loved them to have used “blockchain gaming” instead.
Nevertheless, Oasys is one for gamers to keep an eye on.