Zilliqa, a Layer-1 blockchain with a recent slant toward gaming, is releasing a Web3 console as early as Q1 next year. You might be thinking you’ve heard about a Web3 console before and it was a disaster of an announcement, and you’d be right. However, this is a little different.
What Is Zilliqa?
Zilliqa is a Layer-1 blockchain that pitches itself against the likes of Ethereum and EOS. Zilliqa uses sharding to overcome the familiar scalability issue, where there are multiple blockchains each handling some of the network load. The network has its own native coin, $ZIL, and a complex ecosystem that looks to onboard developers and house dapps.
Despite its gargantuan following on social media and its consistent top-100-token rank, it hasn’t quite cracked the mainstream, particularly in gaming which appears to be the new focus of Zilliqa. For example, in October last year, Ninja in Pyjamas (NIP) — one of the most familiar names in esports — officially partnered with Zilliqa. Since then, they have joined the Blockchain Gaming Alliance and partnered with more esports organizations.
Nevertheless, it has felt a bit quiet from Zilliqa — particularly on the gaming side of Web3 where, if I’m honest, I’d forgotten about them — until now.
The Race for the Web3 Console
I have been in blockchain gaming since, for all intents and purposes, its birth, and few pieces of news have left a worse taste in my mouth than the first announcement of a Web3 console, the Podium One. This veritable feast of red flags was devoured by mainstream media and consequently spat out. So, I’m hesitant when I hear Web3 gaming console.
The above video is really a soft announcement. You can (sort of) see the prototype, and you get a rough idea of the hardware, although the specs are not yet released. The alleged aspiration is to “hide the complexity of Web3 from the end-user” which although I agree with — blockchain is a technology that needs to work silently in the background — sounds deceptive. They also told Decrypt that their engineers had been in the research phase for 6 months which seems woefully brief for the first Web3 console, but is in line with their ambitiously early 2023 release date.
Zilliqa is clearly pushing hard into the Web3 gaming sector and I like that — the more the merrier, it gets lonely in these trenches at times — but they have a lot to prove. As it stands, the lack of games, partnerships, and utility provided to Web3 gaming leaves them some way behind their true rivals, which are Immutable X and Polygon, and even other Layer-1s like WAX. That is, unless there’s more that’s being kept under wraps. I have seen a clip of their own survival game they are producing, but it looks like a basic Unity indie project.
And so, another Web3 console has been announced, and although it’s a marked improvement over the abomination of an announcement from Polium One, it’s nevertheless underwhelming and light on details. As Zilliqa is a fellow member of the Blockchain Gaming Alliance and a sizable organization taking action in Web3, I genuinely hope this project pans out, but they have a mountain ahead of them.