How Robot Cache hopes to thrive during the Steam vs Epic store battle
It has been a turbulent year for most blockchain game projects but one of the previously most high profile outfits has gone pretty much under the radar during 2018.
Labelled by some as ‘Steam on the blockchain’, Robot Cache was announced with some fanfare back in the crypto boom year of 2017. But aside from the proverbial whitepaper and a modest $3 million funding round in September, little further of substance had emerged from the PC distribution platform.
For too long, one company dominated PC game distribution, but now there will be more choice.
Now, however, it’s decloaked, boasted 22 publishing partners including the likes of 505 Games, Devolver, 1C Games, BigBen and CI Games, who will bring over 700 titles to the platform’s launch, which is due sometime in the first half of 2019.
Interested parties can also sign up for inclusion via Robot Cache’s self-service portal.
“We’ve been talking to everyone from triple-As to indies and we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the response,” comments CEO Lee Jacobson.
“That’s because of the disruptive nature of the platform we’re offering; digital resale is a paradigm shift.”
More than resale
Yet while the ability to resell PC games and get 25% of the price back remains its unique selling point for users, Robot Cache’s potential goes beyond this.
For one thing, Jacobson reckons that despite the ability to do so, the majority of Robot Cache’s users won’t be reselling their games. Looking at historic data from US retailer GameStop, he says only around 25% of gamers got involved in such secondary activity when it came to physical games.
That sounds counter-intuitive given the headlines Robot Cache generates, but psychologically it could be the possibility of selling your games and the actuality of selling your games appeals to two different types of people, even when applied to more fungible digital games.
Significantly Jacobson thinks the ability for Robot Cache’s users to mine small amount of the platform currency using their PCs’ idling resources will be a big draw too. Called IRON, this ERC20 token is also what users are paid in for selling their games, hence locking retail activity on Robot Cache within the platform.
More generally, with the announcement of the Epic Games Store, Jacobson argues the wider distribution market for PC games is in flux and that’s positive for everyone.
“For too long, one company dominated but now there will be more choice and better, fairer and more experiences,” he says.
Certainly with the 70:30 revenue split now looking like it’s on the way out with Steam’s new higher tier model battling with Epic’s 88:12 and Robot Cache’s 95:5 margins (or 70% for developers with respect to resales), times look better for PC game publishers and developers.
How Robot Cache will fit into this dynamic ecosystem remains to be seen, of course. Certainly it will be dwarfed by the 125 million users Steam has and ten of millions of users Epic has already accumulated thanks to the success of Fortnite.
But Jacobson doesn’t seem too concerned.
“There’s been an enormous amount of interest already but we don’t need tens of millions of users to be successful,” he says.
And with many months still to go in terms of signing up new partners as well as signing up what Jacobson hopes will be some exclusive content, it looks like 2019 will prove the perfect opportunity for Robot Cache to carve out its own unique niche within the hardcore PC games market.
Sign up for early access to Robot Cache at http://bit.ly/2Pw4ITL_robot-cache