This year has made evident that games transcend entertainment. While not a revelation for the game community, the burgeoning use of games in health, politics, science, and other important domains has upended the mainstream notion of games as simply recreation. Their nature as a creative, interactive reflection of our lives and ideas gives them the capacity to be truly anything.
We believe they can be economic platforms—ones that create radical new pathways for economic empowerment.
This year has also been pivotal for Forte. Work on our free and open platform has made great strides, our developer partnerships have grown, and the games using our technology are rapidly advancing. Together, the progress made in these three areas brings us markedly closer to enabling true community economics in games, and bringing its benefits to the game community at large.
As we approach the turn of the year, we’d like to pull the curtain back a bit and share more on our thinking, where we are today, and what to expect going forward.
The Forte platform
Our platform consists of several congruent technologies and services that give developers everything they need to create and operate a token-based economy for their game. This economy can be an additive layer that complements existing revenue sources, or serve as the primary one. There are no rules or limits—the token economy’s scope and role is entirely up to the developer and their gameplay design.
One of the key focus areas for our platform is ease of use. For developers, this applies to their entire experience, which runs the gamut from tokenizing assets to creating and operating live token-based economies. Our aim is to enable them to accomplish all of this without having to worry about any of the underlying complexities of the technology or economics. To achieve this, we believe an end-to-end solution is the most sensible approach, based on our own experiences making games, operating live services, and playing games ourselves.
A simple developer experience directly translates to player benefits as well. Our platform facilitates player-facing features integral to token economies in general, but without the complexity that’s all too common today for even the most basic tasks, such as creating a token wallet. Removing these barriers means more players can participate in and benefit from a game’s economy. And every minute and dollar saved by developers from not having to become experts in economic theory, blockchain technology, and regulatory compliance can be invested into the player experience instead.
The Forte platform is currently pre-alpha and invite-only as we continue to build out features, strengthen security, ensure stability, and more. Much of the core functionality is already in place and being actively tested. As of today, there are over 2.5M players across our partner games using Forte technology on a test network. The learnings and insights we’ve gained so far have been invaluable in our ongoing development, and have already improved the platform in meaningful ways.
We’ll have more platform specifics to share in the coming months, including our marketplace framework. This has been an area of intense focus for us since day one given its critical role in token-based game economies, and we’ve come up with new solutions and safeguards that we believe effectively address many of the challenges and pitfalls found in token markets today. The framework is designed to directly benefit developers and players via better security, increased stability, more accurate value estimation, and faster compute times.
Our developer partners
Blockchain is a foundational technology that underlies our platform. Its distinct characteristics make impossible-sounding ideas like genuine property rights, embedded public histories, and uniqueness for digital files possible. But these and other newly viable features in and of themselves are not useful nor do they magically result in community economics. They require practical application and thoughtful economy design wrapped in a great gameplay experience, and this is where the true challenge lies.
We’ve partnered with some of the best, brightest, and most respected game developers in the world to take on this challenge. They already know how to fuse technology and creativity to craft engaging player experiences. And we’re working with them to apply that expertise to their game projects, using the economic foundation and designs provided by our platform.
A fundamental goal we set for the platform was to make it useful for developers of any size, background, or expertise. It benefits immensely from being built in parallel with our partners’ projects in this regard. While we used our own experience making games as a starting point for the platform, the reality is that we’re building a platform that has no precedent in terms of features or scope. Accordingly, the daily feedback we receive from our partners helps ensure the platform not only meets their needs today, but other game developers in the future as well.
As for the partners themselves, we’ve announced eight well-established developers to date, covering a spectrum of experience. We now have over 20 developer partners, from across an even wider spectrum of backgrounds working with the Forte platform. While each partner is remarkable in their respective ways, the group as a whole is one we simply could not have imagined when we first started this journey.
Games using the Forte platform
All of the work we’re doing is fundamentally for the benefit of games and everyone they touch. This includes the traditional ecosystem of developers, players, publishers, fan communities, and so on. It also includes the people, organizations, and industries that might not be part of the established ecosystem today, but will be increasingly relevant to games due to their ever-expanding ubiquity and utility.
An important decision we made related to this was to design our platform to fully support existing games, not just the games of tomorrow. The latter may have been simpler from a platform perspective, but to leave behind the deep ecosystem that exists today—the one we grew up with, contributed to as industry participants, and whose pain points we intimately understand—would undermine our aims as an organization. For this reason, we have two broad categories of partner games: existing and bespoke.
Existing games are ones that have already been publicly released and have active player communities. When ready, these games will be updated with new experiences made possible by our platform, and will demonstrate how established games—and traditional game designs in general—can benefit from it, even post-launch. Bespoke games are those being created from the ground-up to be blockchain native, with the benefits of the technology and our open platform woven into the core player experience.
In total, there are over two dozen game projects in active development integrating the Forte platform, split roughly 50/50 between existing and bespoke games. We specifically chose projects that cover an extensive range of genres—competitive, role-playing, simulation, strategy, sports, etc.—to help ensure our platform will work and benefit as many games as possible.
Over the last year, our team has been working closely with our partners to explore, validate, and integrate Forte-enabled game features and economic designs. Some of them augment trusted, proven concepts like earning cosmetics and rewards, while others more deeply explore the possibilities that our platform opens up: guild ownership and governance, in-game player-to-player services, and something we call “community lore” (we’ll have more to say about this down the road). But first and foremost, all of them are of service to great player experiences.
What’s to come
We’ll be announcing the next wave of developer partners in the very near future. As much as we’d like to, we can’t share details just yet. But we can say that each one has had an immense impact in their respective fields. Some of you might be surprised by the announcement, but you will not be disappointed.
Looking further out, we’ll be unveiling more partners, announcing their games, detailing platform integrations, and more. We also have some exciting creative projects that we’ll talk more about in the new year.
With regard to the platform, we’ll have a lot to share after it moves out of pre-alpha—and not just in terms of features. As mentioned, the Forte platform comprises multiple components that will carry developers through token design ideation to token economy operation, and transform players from devoted customers of their games to aligned, economic collaborators in their worlds.
This is a tremendous undertaking that goes beyond digital asset ownership or scarcity, and involves things like protocol and economy design, market making, compliance, tool creation, player services, and game development. Our plan is to openly share our learnings, economy designs, and other resources as soon as they’re properly validated, and to open source applicable platform components so that anyone can benefit from them.
Many technologies used by games (3D graphics, surround sound, haptics, etc.) have an obvious and immediate impact for players, because they generally work to amplify player immersion via our senses. Our platform is different in that it works to amplify community alignment via economics.
We believe many of the issues that exist in the game community today can be meaningfully addressed by enabling economic systems within games that encourage players and developers to work together. These systems offer immense creative possibilities as well. An open, transparent infrastructure is what’s missing today, and is exactly what we’re building.
The next generation of game hardware is just around the corner. As players, we’re excited for the better graphics, faster load times, and other quality of life improvements they’ll bring. But as industry participants, we’re committed to building the foundation for the next era of games—one that will be defined by the new economic opportunities it brings to the world.