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Credit: Warner Bros.

Ready Player One-style gaming universe lets you be one character across multiple games

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Aug 27, 2018, 10:53 AM EDT

Could we be heading toward a future in which your powered-up Mario avatar from Nintendo’s latest platformer jumps straight out of one game and behind the Mario Kart wheel of another — all while keeping the same look and same stats?

Well, the idea hasn’t set off any light bulbs in the big brains at Nintendo — at least not yet. But a new blockchain consortium of games from separate developers is allowing players to create and use an avatar that preserves the same identity and characteristics regardless of which game it’s inserted in — more or less the way Parzival, the virtual protagonist of Ready Player One’s OASIS, leaps from one independent gaming scenario to another.

VentureBeat reports that a small number of developers behind some little-known blockchain games “have banded together in a syndicate to create a decentralized gaming multiverse,” allowing players to use their in-game assets across multiple games. 

The proprietary Enjin Coin blockchain development environment operates on a principle somewhat like that of a cryptocurrency, floating data across a secured but decentralized cloud accessible from anywhere. The company makes it possible for players to store and manage their game assets across multiple games via the Enjin Smart Wallet, a cryptocurrency cloud stash.

The idea reportedly kicked off when SpacePirate Games, the developer behind the participating game Age of Rust, invoked Ready Player One to promote a shared goal of creating a world of "player-owned game items supported by other games,” which it described via Twitter as “the next evolution in gaming. It’s the ‘Ready Player One’ type of universe; we’re working with other games to start it.”

The key difference between the real version and the multiverse portrayed in Ready Player One is that there’s isn’t one big company, like the film’s Gregarious Games, overseeing everything. Rather, “the multiverse growing on the blockchain is completely decentralized and is developing organically through collaboration and innovation,” the report states.

We don’t know whether the rewards that come with leveling up your character in more than one game also come with the same kind of risks shown in Ready Player One, in which one good wipeout can mean losing months and years’ worth of hard-won power boosts and in-game wealth. If an idea like this ever catches on with Nintendo, though, our Mario’s gonna be hitting the brakes big-time when he spots that first treacherous banana peel on the asphalt.