This Steam Competitor Lets You Resell Digital Games, Mine Crypto For New Ones

Steam, Spotify, Vudu, and iTunes. The landscape of visual, interactive, and audio entertainment has rapidly shifted to digital ownership over physical. While I can’t speak for film and music fans, I know that a ton of gamers dream of reselling their digitally-purchased games when they’re finished with them. That dream may come true with the impending launch of Robot Cache. Robot Cache is a Steam competitor that lets users resell their digital games, and even lets them utilize their gaming PCs to easily mine cryptocurrency.

In the eyes of its creators, the goal of Robot Cache is to address the drawbacks in current digital distribution platforms like Steam, inject the service with some modern twists like the built-in ability to mine cryptocurrency, and give higher-percentage profits to developers.

Robot Cache was conceived by someone PC gamers should be familiar with: Brian Fargo, the founder of Interplay and InXile Entertainment and the man behind game franchises like Fallout, Wasteland, and Baldur’s Gate. Robot Cache’s other key players include Lee Jacobson (CEO), an entertainment executive who’s driven operations for Virgin Entertainment and Viacom, as well as Philippe Erwin (SVP, Business Development), who has held senior executive positions at several Fortune 500 companies including Warner Bros. and Activision Blizzard.

Used Digital Game Market, Higher Percentages For Developers

Steam is a giant in the PC gaming space, earning Valve $3.5 billion in revenue during 2016. While alternatives do exist, it’s pretty much the only game in town for visibility, mind share, and the sheer size of its user base. But Robot Cache isn’t pleased with the lack of flexibility it gives to PC gamers, nor with the revenue given to developers and publishers. Valve takes 30% of each title sold, where Robot Cache promises to funnel “up to” 95% (the criteria upon which isn’t clear at press time) to developers and publishers.

While that’s undoubtedly attractive to the people making and selling the games, gamers themselves can look forward to a very exciting and potentially revolutionary option: reselling the digital games they’re finished with. On Robot Cache’s digital resale market, gamers will get back 25% of the purchase price (which is dictated by the publisher), and the developer or publisher will get 70%. It’s worth mentioning that in 2016, GameStop earned a staggering $9.36 billion on the sale of used physical games, and publishers didn’t see a cent of that, so its a notable incentive.

[Clarification: Only games purchased on Robot Cache can be sold back.]

Mining For Games

Here’s the fascinating catch: that 25% you get for selling your “used” digital title is rewarded in the form of IRON, a brand new CryptoCurrency coin (with a soft cap of $15,000,000) created by the Robot Cache team. Think of it as a form of in-game currency which can be used to buy new games, but also can be cashed out, likely through a Crypto exchange like Coinbase or similar, then deposited into your bank account or PayPal.

Using the Robot Cache software, you can even put your gaming PC to work for you and have it mine IRON automatically. But IRON is basically a cryptocurrency locked to the Robot Cache ecosystem, which means the mining client is has to be contributing its hashing power to an existing altcoin. Via email, Brian Fargo confirmed that the software will be mining Ethereum at launch, but it may change over time. Will the built-in mining software auto-switch to whatever the most profitable coin is at the time to maximize earnings for both company and gamer? How long will it take me to mine for a new game with the GPU in my PC? That remains to be seen, but I love that this is even an option.

A large and active user base could make or break a platform like this, and my biggest question for Fargo was how many titles we’ll see on Robot Cache when it launches in Q2 2018. “We are in the final contract stage with a number of publishers and expect to have several hundred games available at launch,” Fargo says. Well hey, Steam only launched with a handful of titles so it’s a good start.

I’ll be keeping a very close eye on this one so stay tuned!


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